Top Things to Do on Boulder, CO Vacation

Boulder, CO


Boulder is a big city with about 100,000 people and still manages to retain a small-town vibe. Whether you want to get your adrenaline pumping or a relaxed experience, Boulder has a lot to offer. Here is what you should include in your vacation checklist.

Hike at Chautauqua Park or Eldorado Canyon State Park

Chautauqua Park is perched on the southwest edge of the city and has 40 miles of hiking trails. You can hike through Canyons or Flatirons – there are many options to choose from. The numerous paths await bikers, dog walkers, and picnickers. If you want to be a little adventurous, you can explore the rugged mountains nearby.

Another reason why you should include Chautauqua in your vacation list is the fact that it makes for a great getaway. And with the cottages and rooms, it’s hard to beat accommodations like this while you’re hiking right out your backdoor.

Visitors are also blown away by the dining options. After a hike, you can grab your lunch and breakfast at the Chautauqua dining hall.

Shop at Pearl Street Mall

If you want to have a vibrant Boulder vacation, the Pearl Street Mall is the perfect place for an evening stroll. Stretching from 8th to 20th street, this buzzing thoroughfare has laid-back cafes and trendy galleries.

You’ll find some unique shops and chains Starbucks. There’s also an eclectic mix of boutiques and iconic stores to ensure you have a memorable experience. If you’re not more of a shopper, you’ll still be thrilled by entertaining street performances.

Visit Boulder Breweries

Your boulder vacation won’t be complete without a visit to the breweries. But this is not just your average town – many breweries have helped to kick off the craft beer revolution.

If you love beer, you can make your stop at Avery Brewing Co. Since it was started in 1993, the brewery has kept its signature beers (El Gose and The Reverend) at the top of the game. While this is a good reason to stop by, the BBQ plate is sure to satisfy the carnivores.

Another brewery is the Boulder Beer Co. On Mondays and Sundays, they offer free tours from 2-4 pm. You’ll understand the behind the scenes and brewing process. After the tour, you can grab a drink.

Don’t forget to explore the Upslope Brewing Company. It offers a variety of beers, and there’s something new for every beer drinker.

As you enjoy your Boulder vacation, you should visit the three wineries and two cideries. Whether you’re taking a distillery tour or behind the scenes brewery tour, you can be sure your day will be filled with quaff-worthy adventures.

Explore the creek path

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are many reasons why you should include the Creek Path in your Boulder vacation checklist. The 5.5-mile trail starts from the mouth of Boulder Canyon and outstretches towards the plains. As you enjoy the beautiful views of the creek, you’ll also learn about the culture and historical landmarks.

Since the 1990s, the Creek path has emphasized the importance of preserving land. Most people use the path for:

  • Connecting with nature
  • Finding solitude
  • Meeting up

To ensure you get the most in your Boulder vacation, there are many ways you can explore the Creek Path. You can start your adventure at Settler Park. If you enjoy rock climbing, you’ll have an amazing time at the top of the hill.

Alternatively, you can return to the path and head south over the bridge. Still, you can walk 0.8 miles and stop at Alfalfa’s Market. As you head further east, you can enjoy a picnic lunch at the central park. You may also want to stop at the public library after an action-packed day.

Visit Flagstaff Mountain and Summit Nature Center

If you’re looking for a place the whole family can enjoy, Flagstaff Mountain is a sure bet. And there are many reasons why you should include it in your boulder vacation. It sits 5 miles southwest and has numerous paths to choose from.

At Flagstaff’s peak, you’ll find a nature center that offers interactive exhibits. There are also tons of activities that can teach children about wildlife and geography. Most visitors appreciate the stunning views.

If you’re not a hiking enthusiast, you can drive through Flagstaff Road. Keep in mind that the steep corners can turn your ride into an adrenaline rush. You don’t have to pay to access the nature center, trails, and picnic facilities.

Take a tour at Boulder’s Farmers Market

Every Wednesday and Saturday, the Farmers Market offers a guided tour. You’ll see the local chefs buying ingredients, gathering to shop, and performing a weekly visit ritual. If you’re a food enthusiast, you have a good reason to add the Farmers Market to your Boulder vacation bucket list. You’ll see the best of:

  • Fresh-cut summer tomato
  • Local fruits
  • Veggies
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Fresh-pressed juices
  • Pizza

As you take the tour, you’ll learn more about the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. In the market aisle, there’s a fragrant garden with hundreds of roses.

That’s not all – the Farmers Market hosts local musicians. You may want to appreciate the soundtrack as you stroll past the stalls.

Visit the Museum of Boulder

If you want to have an unforgettable Boulder vacation, the Museum of Boulder is a must-visit. There is more than 4500 artifact collection that occupies the 7000 square ft. facility. The first items were collected in the 1920s and have remained significant objects ever since. Some of the things you’ll find in the collection include:

  • Musical instruments
  • Jewelry
  • Trade signs
  • Farm equipment
  • Ceramicware
  • X-ray machines
  • Kitchen sink

Apart from preserving historical artifacts, the museum archives things like:

  • Civil rights material
  • Climate change instrumentation
  • Protest posters
  • Cannabis industry equipment

You may want to carve out a couple of hours to see everything. Of course, the rooftop of the museum offers the best views of flatirons.

Visit the Leanin Tree Museum of Western Art

Leanin is a private museum, and there are many reasons why you should include it in your Boulder vacation list. Since it was incorporated in 1949, the museum has been part of American western art. The exhibits feature bronze sculptures and 400 paintings. Besides, the garden offers a chance to experience art and fresh air at the same time.

Take a beautiful journey through the Native Americans and old-west cowboys. Because the establishment is open for free, this can be a great way to spend your Boulder vacation.

Discover the University of Colorado

Even if you’re not a student, the University of Colorado has a lot to offer. Located a few minutes from downtown, the university has a rich heritage that will wow every visitor. If you’re a sports enthusiast, you can head to the football field and watch some of the best teams. Don’t forget to pick some buff gear before the kickoff.

If you want to enjoy your boulder vacation during your summer recess, you may want to check the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. You can also check out the plays, concerts, and performing arts at the university.

Visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Do you want to make your boulder vacation unforgettable? The National Center for Atmospheric Research offers state-of-the-art exhibits. The staff is excited to inspire people with hands-on exhibits about climate, weather, and the sun-earth connection.

While there, visit the NCAR-Wyoming for a self-guided tour. You’ll learn about computational science and the earth system. This sandstone building is used by scientists to study weather-related phenomena like the green effect and ozone depletion.

You’ll also find some of the tools to conduct experiments like satellites and robots. After you’re done with the tour, you can grab a snack at the on-site cafeteria.

Chill out at the Rayback Collective

Whether you’re looking for a place to unwind after a tough day or a fun place to hang with your friends, Rayback Collective has your back. No matter what you’re looking for in your Boulder vacation, you can be sure you’ll find it here.

One feature that makes Rayback Collective is the unique event space. The 2000 square foot space is located at the beautifully landscaped structure. It can host hundreds of people at a time.

The Rayback Collective is a place of productivity. It offers young professionals space to fuel the day with coffee or beer. There’s also a pouch with rotating food selections.

Boulder International Fridge Festival

The Fridge offers a lot of excitement for everyone – it helps to create collaboration among artists. In mid-august, they organize dances and music.

Explore Boulder’s Restaurant Scene

If you want to keep the memories fresh after your Boulder vacation, you should try different cuisines. Vegetarians can stop at the Leaf Restaurant. They offer raw and vegan cuisines that meet the tastes of every person and you’ll love their locally-sourced ingredients. Their appetizing menu also includes herbs, fruits, and organic fruits.

Casual diners on a budget can take their favorite cuisine at Half Fast Subs– you’ll love their signature meats and bread. If you’re looking for an intimate setting during your boulder vacation, you can try the Dark Horse Bar. It’s dimly lit even when the sun is shining.

If you prefer to get some energy from fruits and vegetables, the Wonder awaits you. This hidden gem offers cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and nut milk.

Another stylish restaurant is the OAK. They have the most amazing kitchen.  It gave me a lot of ideas for a kitchen remodel Boulder.  It also offers contemporary dining aesthetic while its creative menu features local and seasonal ingredients. The foods are prepared in rustic wood to ensure they retain their natural flavors. After you enjoy your meal, you can take the hand-crafted wines. You may also want to explore the artisanal beer and wine list. By the end of your boulder vacation, you’ll give Bryan Dayton a thumbs up – the man behind excellent food and inviting atmosphere.

Take a trip to the Fiske Planetarium

While the Planetarium may sound a bit old-school, it’s an awesome place to spend a few days during your boulder vacation. This establishment is not only magical but also entertaining – you can catch a laser light show to educational soundtracks. Fiske Planetarium also caters to the needs of those with limited mobility.

Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour

How about getting a history tour for your Boulder vacation? Whether you’re looking for a private tour like an anniversary or group event, Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour has you covered. You can bring your food and beverages on the bus. On this unique tour, you’ll learn more about Boulder. The tour guide will share fun stories. Banjo is also a great option for:

  • Bachelor parties

  • Graduation parties

  • Team building

  • Weddings

  • Birthday parties

Celestial Seasonings 

If you’re a tea enthusiast, you can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory. This manufacturing facility is the largest producer of herbal tea – it sends 8 million teabags every day. It includes red, green, and chai varieties. When you get there, you’ll be delighted to see how long you can withstand the powerful aromas.

Most visitors are surprised to see large bags of peppermint and spearmint tea. If you still have some time left in your Boulder vacation, you can sample the factory best-sellers. To ensure you have the perfect balance of your day, you can try the energizing matcha lattes, chai, and everything in between.

Shop at the Shine

The Shine is located in village Boulder Shopping Center. It’s a bright, lovely sport that serves different cuisines. And they cater to the needs of every person including, vegans and vegetarians. However, their main focus is serving gluten-free dishes such as quinoa. Don’t forget to try the funky cocktails and wines.

OZO coffee

Before you complete your Boulder vacation, you can walk to the OZO coffee shop for the morning cup of Joe. Since 2007, the café has built a reputation for making authentic coffee. While their signature drink is espresso coffee, they also have a detailed list of mochas and lattes. How about trying their fresh-baked pastries.

Stay at Hotel Boulderado

This is without a doubt the best historic American hotel. It features a stained glass ceiling and features contemporary furnishings. The elegant rooms and charming décor will make your boulder vacation unforgettable. Guests can enjoy the view of the Rocky Mountains and modern amenities. Other things that make the Hotel Boulderado unique include:

  • The complimentary wireless internet
  • Concierge services
  • In-room safe
  • Luxurious toiletries
  • Same-day laundry and cleaning services