Snuggled up against the Colorado Rocky Mountains just north of Denver, is one of my favorite towns to visit: Boulder. I have been to Boulder many times because I have family and a very close friend who live there. Boulder has it all: fabulous local places to eat, fun local shops, a fun college vibe, and great outdoor activities. I repeatedly visit many of my favorite places in Boulder, especially restaurants. (I think with my stomach). Whether you have a day or weekend in Boulder, Colorado, I would highly recommend you check out some of these places.
My favorite hike close to town:
A quintessential landmark of Boulder are the Flatiron mountains on the south side of town. You can't miss these; they are massive slabs of reddish sandstone piercing the earth and up into the sky. A classic Boulder hike is to climb up to their base and, if you are more experienced and adventurous than I, even rock climb them.
Many of the trails around the Flatirons start at Chautauqua Trailhead. It is a popular and busy place, but still a lot of fun to explore. In the summer you have to pay a hefty fee to park close to them. However, if you go a couple blocks north, parking is free and you will walk through some gorgeous neighborhoods. There are also free shuttles that bring people from CU Regent and New Vista High School. Once at the trail head there are several paths from which to choose, or you can pick a trail ahead of time on the Boulder Colorado.gov website. I prefer to go up there with plenty of snacks and water and just explore. You can go from being on the high plains, to a gorgeous pine forest dancing with balancing stones, to touching the immense slabs of sandstone themselves.
My current favorite coffee shop: Spruce Confections
I enjoyed the refreshing pick me up of their delicious cold brew coffee drink called spruce juice. I hunkered down and wrote my first blog post there as I ate a yummy croissant and drank coffee, all while looking out the window and taking in the bustling activity of the street.
My current favorite breakfast/brunch/lunch places: Snooze and Tangerine.
Snooze has some SPECTACULAR pancakes and offers gluten free too, but it can be crowded and noisy. Tangerine can also get crowded and noisy, but sitting outside and eating one of the many yummy items on their menu (my favorite so far is their corn beef hash) is lovely.
My favorite activity: Walking Pearl Street Mall
I have loved walking Pearl street mall since I was a little kid. This fantastic walking street close to CU has an eclectic and fun bunch of local stalls and stores amoungst old brick store fronts. I have magical memories of walking through here at Christmas time, with snow falling and Christmas lights twinkling above my head. I always love going into my favorite toy shop, Into the Wind, to pick out some cool wind up toy. In summertime, street musicians provide theme music for your walk, and water splashes out of whimsical fountains to cool the air.
Shine, my current favorite Boulder happy hour spot is right next to Pearl Street. They have a gluten free kitchen. The inventive and fresh ingredients they use create fabulous flavors and delightful dishes. During happy hour, 3-6:30 pm, they serve special potions, which are like drinks from Hogwarts, and scrummy (favorite British word that I'm adopting) small bites.
While walking down Pearl Street and looking into the enticing stores, I typically can't help but dip into several of them. In Peppercorn, with all the kitchenware anyone could ever need, I marvel at their salt and pepper shakers, which are tempting purchases to add to my collection. The Jurassic Park dinosaur roaring at me from Nature's Way usually pulls me in to look at their prehistoric and magical rocks. I always look for unusual and delicious loose leaf teas when I travel. Ku Cha House of Tea is a lovely place to stop for a cup of tea and some good loose leaf options.
My special mention favorites:
I love dropping by Fresh Thymes for a delicious lunch or dinner. I normally order the flank steak, chickpea bread, and bone broth from the bone broth bar (I know this is slightly hipster, but that is what is so fun about Boulder).
When I was young, my uncle and I would go on epic hikes, 10+ miles long in the Rockies and treat ourselves to ice cream afterwards. Our favorite place was the fun and colorful, Glacier Ice Cream, where the flavors are always changing, but ALWAYS delicious! They have a couple locations in Boulder.
As you all will learn from my posts, my favorite dessert of all time is a good donut. LaMar's Donuts in Denver and Boulder are on my favorites-from-around-the-world list. The buttermilk bar hits my taste buds just right!
Let me know if this post inspires your marvelous wanderings!