There’s a reason Boulder, Colorado has been voted one of the best places to live by the likes of Outside Magazine and Forbes. In February, Bearfoot Theory went there to get a taste of what Boulder has to offer from its vibrant music scene, to its delectable food and accessible hiking.
Only got 24 hours? Here’s our list of what’s hot in Boulder, Colorado.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Location: 1730 Pearl St, Boulder, Colorado
Prices: House wines start at $6/glass. Pizzas range from $13-$17
This classic Neapolitan style pizzeria really knocked it out of the park. Thin, but chewy crust topped with only the finest Italian ingredients. Pizzas are about 11″ and meant for one person. The menu is split up into oil olive base and red sauce pizzas. Why not try one of each? Also don’t miss the appetizers. The spicy, lemony kale salad was superb, and they slice their proscuitto in house. Make a reservation or plan to sit at the bar. The bartenders were down to earth and wonderfully knowledgable about all of the Italian wines and food on the menu.
Location: 1535 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO
Prices: Beers start at $5 a pint. Entrees range from $6-$10
This Boulder institution’s got a bit of a hippy-ish feel with some of the best pub food and home-brew in town. Nachos, burgers, and pub fries washed down with an Illusion Dweller IPA is the perfect way to re-energize after a hike or mountain bike ride. They also have tons veggie options, including my favorite, the basil-blue garden burger.
Location: 1825 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado
Prices: Boxcar will set you back a dollar or two more then a regular cup o’ joe, but it was worth it.
Espresso here is unbelievably smooth and is made using locally roasted beans. Coffee-afficinados will not be disappointed. Boxcar also shares a space with Cured which offers an artisinal selection of cheese, charcuterie, and wine. Swing by here on your way up to the mountains. Get your coffee fix at Boxcar, and pick up some ready-to-go picnic goods to feast on while you are out on the trail.
WHERE TO HIKE
Mount Sanitas Loop
Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
Directions: Take Broadway to Mapleton Road and turn west. Drive 5 blocks and pass the Boulder Valley Hospital. The trailhead and parking area is located just past the hospital on the north side of the road.
This a very popular hike in Boulder and for a good reason. The trailhead is less than a 5 minute drive from Pearl Street and this ridge hike offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the town below. Start by hiking up the Mount Sanitas Trail and be ready for an immediate climb. The rock steps may seem endless, but the panoramic landscape as you get higher makes you forget the burning in your thighs. Once you hit the summit, circle down via the Sanitas Valley Trail, a wide gravel path with a gradual decline that’s easy on the knees. Tip: get to the trailhead early to beat the crowds and take plenty of water.
Elevation Gain: varies
Difficulty: Easy to Strenuous
Directions: Head west on Baseline Road past Broadway. Continue up the hill until you get to the Chautauqua Trailhead, located on the left.
Gorgeous landscape and tons of trail options make Chautauqua an essential stop during your time in Boulder. Whether you are in the mood for a stroll through the grassy fields or a blood pumping hike up the Flatirons, Chautauqua has something for everyone. A favorite in the Park is the Royal Arch Trail, a moderate to strenuous 3.65 mile hike. Grab a map at the Chautauqua Ranger Station and then head out on the steep out-and-back trail which gains 1,500 feet leading up to a magnificent natural rock arch and sweeping views. (Alternatively, if you aren’t up for breaking a sweat, the friendly folks at the ranger station are more than happy to provide some easier suggestions).
WHERE TO PARTY
The Fox Theater
Location: 1135 13th Street, Boulder, CO
Rated the 4th best music venue in the country by Rolling Stone, the Fox Theater is a cozy, standing room only spot to see some killer music. With a stellar sound system, the Fox draws in the some of the best national touring acts, as well as some impressive local talent. Check out the venue’s calendar before your trip to see if anyone of interest in playing, and make sure to get your tickets ahead of time, as many shows sell out.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Airbnb.com has some fabulous options for your stay in Boulder that are right in the middle of the action. Choose a place near Pearl Street for easy walkability. Check out these options listed for less than $150 per night.
WHERE TO SHOP
Photo Credit: Shihmei Barger
Downtown Boulder is a mecca for outdoor clothing and gear junkies, so shoppers beware. If you are on foot, start at Pearl and Broadway and head east on the Pearl Street Mall. Recommended stops include:
GoLite – A Boulder based company who’s products prove that going lightweight doesn’t mean a sacrifice in quality.
Boulder Army Store – Your one-stop shop for anything and everything you need for your outdoor adventure, from stoves to backpacks to clothing.
REI – A personal favorite. Knowledgable staff, quality gear, and the best no-questions-asked return policy on the planet.
Neptune Mountaineering – Not on Pearl Street but worth a mention. The premiere gear shop for climbers and mountaineers.