Boulder, Colorado, is a high-altitude town with a lively downtown, a diverse selection of outdoor sports, hotels and activities. Start your trip by strolling down Pearl Street, followed by a visit to one of the city's museums and attractions, many of which offer free admission. There are tours for every taste, including culinary adventures, farm, tea and brewery tours. What is Boulder known for?
From history and art to an excellent natural history museum, the Fiske Planetarium and NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, visitors find many fun things to do in Boulder, CO.
1. Pearl Street Mall
© Photo Credit: Downtown Boulder Inc
The Pearl Street Mall is a central hub for shopping, dining, arts and entertainment for visitors and locals alike. A famous Boulder attraction, the mall is home to a wealth of shops, restaurants, galleries and businesses, all of which reflect the warm and welcoming charm for which Boulder is renowned.
With a red brick pedestrian walkway for easy access to the mall, Pearl Street is a year-round gathering place. Shoppers hurry along with their bags, couples stroll by shop windows, diners fill the terraces and revellers pack the bars. Musicians and performers fill the air with music while children play on colorful jungle gyms.
Local treasures at the Pearl Street Mall include the Dushanbe Tea House with its delightful menu and breathtaking hand-carved mosaics, the Art Mart packed with locally made art and Colorado souvenirs, and the popular Into The Wind store where shoppers can find all sorts of fun gadgets, trinkets and toys.
2. Fiske Planetarium
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Based at the University of Colorado, the Fiske Planetarium is a popular attraction for both locals and visitors who love the stars. The Planetarium features a variety of exhibits, presentations and shows about the sky, the stars and the universe.
Shows are presented in one of the highest resolution theaters in North America, an Sky-Skan 8K full dome immersive theater, where visitors are surrounded by a 65-foot diameter screen, spectacular visuals, and incredible sound while the star machine displays over 20 million stars and the Milky Way. Visitors can also enjoy late-night laser shows with a new state-of-the-art laser system, as well as the popular Friday night stargazing at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory.
Weather permitting, stargazing evenings are held on the Sommers-Bausch Observatory's Observation Deck on Fridays throughout the year, whenever the University of Colorado is open. Stargazers can explore the night sky through pier-mounted 16-inch and 18-inch telescopes as well as tripod-mounted binoculars and identify the stars with the world's largest star wheel.
2414 Regent Dr, Boulder, Colorado 80309, Phone: 303-492-5002
3. Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMOCA)
© Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Founded in 1972, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMOCA) is a dynamic art museum that presents significant contemporary artworks. With the aim of educating and inspiring creative experiences and exploration through regional, national and international exhibitions, presentations and performances, BMOCA hosts contemporary art exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Located in a 1906 historic landmark building in downtown Boulder, the museum presents a wealth of educational programs for audiences of all ages and interests. These programs include Media Live, Summer Games, and Your Brain on Art.
1750 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, Phone: 303-443-2122
4. Boulder Chamber Orchestra
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Since its establishment in 2004, the Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO) has been Boulder’s premier chamber orchestra, featuring world-class musicians and playing to sold-out audiences throughout the year.
The BCO, which has been hailed as nothing less than “superb,” is currently under the musical directorship of Bahman Saless. Saless has conducted a variety of other renowned orchestras, including the Martinu Philharmonic, the Timberline Symphony and the Rond Rock Symphony Orchestra.
The Boulder Chamber Orchestra not only performs outstanding concerts, but also presents a variety of educational programs, workshops for up-and-coming artists, and community outreach programs.
1905 Kohler Drive, Boulder, CO 80305, Phone: 303-583-1278
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5. Local Table Tours
© Local Table Tours
Experience Colorado’s unique and delicious cuisine with a fun foodie tour. Local Table Tours is a food tour and event company that offers a variety of culinary tours and experiences around Boulder.
Food tours are led by local foodies with a passion for Boulder and its culinary delights, and visit top foodie spots, where gourmands and food lovers can taste their way through a variety of esteemed establishments. Local Table Tours also offers cocktail tours for those who want to appreciate the art of cocktail-making, with private cocktail classes and plenty of samples.
Other drink-centric tours include visits to the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Proper Pour to savor some of Denver’s best handcrafted beer and other beverages. Tours are generally between one and two hours, so comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
6. Eldorado Canyon State Park
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One of Boulder County’s most spectacular natural treasures, Eldorado Canyon State Park is an outdoor-lover’s paradise and has something for everyone. Coming to hike along the magnificent sandstone cliffs, fish in the South Boulder Creek, or just take in the breathtaking scenery, locals and tourists alike frequent this day-only park year-round. If you are wondering what to do in Boulder with active kids, this is a great place to explore.
Eldorado Canyon State Park is home to some of the best rock climbing in the world and offers over 1,000 technical rock climbing routes in and around its golden cliffs. South Boulder Creek is also ideal for fishing, paddling, swimming and picnicking during the warm summer months, while winter sees cross-country skiers and snow hikers enjoying the scenery.
The state park is open during daylight hours only, and visitors must leave before dusk. There is a small entrance fee.
9 Kneale Road, Eldorado Springs, Colorado 80025, Phone: 303-494-3943
7. Boulder Falls
© Bernie Duhamel/stock.adobe.com
For hikers on the hunt for a beginner-friendly trail in Boulder, Boulder Falls delivers in spades. A quick 0.10-mile loop with a 63-meter elevation gain, the trail has a 3- to 6-foot-wide path that provides a short and easy trek to the small but powerful Boulder Falls. The trail is nestled in the midst of 5-acres of mining claims and has been referred to as the “Yosemite of Boulder Canyon”. It’s a great place to visit for exercise and also for picnics. Once you reach the waterfalls, which make a great view, the picturesque and cool rocks serve as the perfect natural benches and tables to enjoy your picnic on.
Boulder Canyon Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80303
8. NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)
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NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) handles the study of atmospheric and other processes that affect air quality, weather, and climate across the globe. ESRL scientists and researchers monitor the atmosphere carefully, study all of the intricate processes that comprise the Earth system, and integrate the findings into environmental information products.
These products, in turn, help to improve critical weather and climate tools for the public and private sectors, such as hourly weather forecasts. Guided tours of the David Skaggs Research Center at the ESRL are available for the public to enjoy, with stops at the Space Weather Prediction Center, the National Weather Forecast Office, and Science on a Sphere. Tours last approximately 1.5 hours.
325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado
9. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
© Stephen Collector/Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau
Overlooking Boulder Creek in the heart of Central Park, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is one of Boulder’s most beautiful and popular tourist attractions. Handcrafted in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and shipped to Dushanbe’s sister city of Boulder as a gift, the elaborate teahouse features exquisite exterior tile panels, a hand-carved and painted ceiling, and a fountain of seven hammered copper sculptures based on a 12th century poem, “The Seven Beauties. ”
Traditional afternoon tea is served with crisp English-style white linens and teatime accoutrements, including a three-tiered tower of freshly baked cakes and scones, sweet and savory pastries, and cucumber sandwiches, as well as a range of usual and unusual teas.
1770 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, Phone: 303-442-4993
10. Cure Organic Farm
© Cure Organic Farm
Established by Anne and Paul Cure in 2005, Cure Organic Farm is a commercial family farm that grows 100 different varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs and flowers spread over 12 acres of landscaped terrain just east of Boulder. All of the farm’s products are distributed to farmers markets, restaurants and eateries in Boulder, and the family’s own on-site farm store.
Home to ducks, hens, heritage Berkshire and Mangalitsa pigs, and several honey bee hives, this fully sustainable farm offers a range of educational tours where visitors can experience the day-to-day happenings of an actual working farm.
Tours include local food production and distribution, composting and its role in food production, animals on the farm, farm operations, and Certified Organic Agriculture. Farm tours are available from April through May and September through October, and last 1-2 hours.
7416 Valmont Road, Boulder, Colorado 80301, Phone: 303-666-6397
11. Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
© Jax Fish House
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar on Pearl Street is one of the best places to go for fresh seafood. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming vibe appropriate for families, while the eatery’s popular oyster bar is vibrant and fun, attracting a younger crowd with an array of daily drink specials and sublime cocktails.
In addition to salty oysters served in their shells, the menu features a variety of fish, shellfish and shrimp, cornmeal fried oysters and a mouthwatering lobster BLT. Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar hosts special events throughout the year, including weekly events which need to be booked in advance due to their popularity.
928 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302, Phone: 816-437-7940
12. Hotel Boulderado
© Hotel Boulderado
Hotel Boulderado has been in operation since 1909 in the heart of downtown. There are 160 guest rooms with your choice of historic Victorian or modern mountain style. All rooms have irons, ironing boards, safes, sitting areas, complimentary wireless internet, premium cable channels, local calls, voicemail, complimentary toiletries, and bathrobes. Many rooms are also family friendly and suites have evening turn-down service. Suites add separate living rooms with mini fridges and sofa sleepers. There are also Carriage House Guest Rooms ideal for larger groups who want to share living areas.
The property still has the original Otis elevator, which has been well-maintained and is in working order. Take advantage of the 24-hour front desk, room service, dry cleaning, ATM, fitness center, babysitting, valet parking, concierge, and/or town car service. Visit the atrium lobby for conversation, coffee, and cocktails. Sip a drink at the Corner Bar while enjoying the patio. Or enjoy contemporary dishes at Spruce Farm & Fish. You can even get a drink at License No. 1, the first bar in Bolder to get a liquor license.
2115 13th Street, Boulder, CO, Phone: 303-442-4344
13. The Museum of Boulder
© The Museum of Boulder
The Museum of Boulder is Boulder, Colorado's premiere nonprofit cultural history museum, originally founded in 1944 as the Boulder History Museum within the city's historic Harbeck-Bergheim House. Since 2018, the museum has operated out of the city's historic Masonic Lodge building at Pine and Broadway, striving to educate regional residents and tourists on the rich social and cultural history of Boulder and the greater Colorado region. An extensive collection of more than 45,000 historic artifacts showcases items from the region's pioneer industries, indigenous communities, and modern-day populations and achievements, presented within galleries and interactive multimedia experiences within the Boulder Experience Gallery. Visitors can explore the history of the region's Arapaho indigenous community or view artifacts and displays related to major regional accomplishments, including the construction of Ball Aerospace's Kepler telescope. A massive historic photograph and document collection is also maintained by the museum in conjunction with the Boulder Carnegie Library, highlighting more than 900,000 items.
2205 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302, Phone: 303-449-3464
14. Boulder County Farmers Markets
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The Boulder County Farmers Markets is a corporation made up of the Boulder and Longmont Farmers Markets, established to provide an outlet for local agricultural producers to sell their products directly to the public. Both markets started off as small family gatherings and have since grown into two of Boulder’s favorite attractions.
The markets provide places for local farmers to sell their produce and wares, and for the public to get out and enjoy them. Farmers sell fresh vegetables, fruits, salads, and herbs, while other vendors sell delicious homemade food, local handicrafts, and artworks. Both the Boulder and Longmont Farmers Markets run every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the year.
The Boulder Farmers Market is located on 13th Street between Arapahoe and Canyon, while the Longmont Farmers Market is held at the Boulder County Fairgrounds on Saturdays and downtown on 5th Avenue on Wednesdays.
1435 Yarmouth Ave. # 102, Boulder, Colorado 80304, Phone: 303-910-2236
15. OAK at Fourteenth
© OAK at Fourteenth
Combining Colorado’s natural beauty with Boulder’s contemporary dining aesthetic, OAK at Fourteenth is a stylish neighborhood restaurant on Pearl Street.OAK features a creative menu of local and seasonal New American Cuisine, cooked in a rustic wood-burning oven that gives meat dishes a beautiful smoky flavor and creates a warm and cozy atmosphere in the restaurant. Creative menus focus on one-of-a-kind, oak-fired dishes with ingredients sourced from Colorado’s abundant agricultural landscape. Visitors also enjoy sublime hand-crafted cocktails and impressive artisanal wine and beer list, the perfect accompaniments to OAK at Fourteenth’s excellent food and inviting atmosphere.
1400 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, Phone: 303-444-3622
16. Snarf's Sandwiches
© Snarf's Sandwiches
It all started in 1997 on Pearl Street in Boulder, just across the street from the current location. That is why Snarf’s on Pearl is considered a flagship store of the most popular sandwich maker in Colorado. Their oven-toasted sandwiches have been awarded year after year the title of Best Sandwich in Boulder. There is no big secret: the sandwiches are simply made using the best and freshest ingredients and are served with wonderful hot soups, crisp fresh seasonal salads, and delicious desserts. The sandwiches are made with the best quality meats and cheeses, their own blend of peppers, and their own salad dressing. Their in-house made toasted bread is available white, whole wheat, or gluten-free. There are now more than 20 Snarf’s Sandwich shops in Colorado. They are all slightly different and blend perfectly into their neighborhoods.
2660 Pearl St. , Boulder, CO 80302, Phone: 303-444-7766
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17. UCAR Center for Science Education
© UCAR Center for Science Education
The UCAR Center for Science Education, a division of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), aims to encourage both adults and young learners to explore, discover and educate themselves about the changing world they live in through science. The center focuses on developing educational experiences for the public through a variety of programs in scientific literacy outreach, workforce development, and community engagement.
Visitors to the center can enjoy a range of informative exhibits and participate in activities on weather, climate change, sun-earth connection, atmosphere, and chemistry.
3090 Center Green Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80301, Phone: 303-497-1000
18. Shelby American Collection
© Shelby American Collection
Automobile enthusiasts are bound to enjoy a trip to the Shelby American Collection, a historic car museum that celebrates and displays one of the finest collections of Cobras, Shelby Mustangs, and GT40s in the United States. Founded in 1996, the collection was made possible through donations from the Miller Family Automotive Foundation as well as the generosity of collectors and owners of Shelby’s across the nation. See beautifully restored cars that changed the face of racing in the 1960s and comb through exhibits that pay tribute to visionaries and pioneer drivers like Carroll Shelby, Bob Bondurant, Allen Grant, and other drivers in the Shelby American Team.
5020 Chaparral Court, Boulder, Colorado 80301, Phone: 303-516-9565
19. Best Boulder Date Ideas: Flagstaff House
© Flagstaff House
Flagstaff House has been named as one of America's most romantic restaurants by OpenTable, offering a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience atop gorgeous Flagstaff Mountain. The restaurant is located at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet above sea level, housed within the Flagstaff House historic building, which was originally constructed as a summer cabin home in 1929 and transformed into a restaurant in 1971. Today, the Forbes Four Star and AAA-Four Diamond restaurant is helmed by executive chef Chris Royster, known for its breathtaking New American cuisine and internationally-renowned wine list, which has received the acclaimed Wine Spectator Grand Award each year since 1983.
1138 Flagstaff Rd, Boulder, CO 80302, Phone: 303-442-4640
20. University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
© University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
Showcasing natural and cultural wonders from around the world with a focus on the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest, The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History fosters exploration of and education about the natural environment.
Featuring one of the most extensive and respected natural history collections in the Rocky Mountain and Plains regions, with a collection of over four million artifacts and specimens, the museum is one of the top natural science museums in America. The museum’s extensive collection spans such genres as botany, entomology, anthropology, paleontology and zoology and is showcased in a variety of exhibits and displays that are open to the University and the public.
Founded in 1902, The University of Colorado Museum is housed in the Henderson Building on the University campus. Admission to the museum is free.
15th and Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80309, Phone: 303-492-6892
21. The Dairy Center for the Arts
© The Dairy Center for the Arts
Housed in an old dairy plant, the Dairy Center for the Arts represents all the arts under one roof: dance, theatre, music, cinema, visual art and more. As Boulder’s largest multi-disciplinary arts center, this unique performance venue and gallery space offers the community a chance to experience and enjoy a variety of captivating and exhilarating artistic performances as well as high-quality visual art.
The center’s three galleries exhibit the works of over 80 regional, national, and international artists in juried shows each year. The center also hosts special presentations by specific artistic groups including Imagine Colorado, art teachers, and the Boulder Art Association. The center also offers a unique arts education program for children called Kids at The Dairy.
This program is designed to introduce young children to live performances across all artistic disciplines with the aim of making the arts more available to children.
2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, Phone: 303-440-7826
22. Ozo Coffee
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Ozo Coffee is a craft coffee shop and coffee educational facility in Boulder, originally founded by Justin Hartman in 2007. The cafe, which has built a reputation as a leading venue for American craft coffee in its decade of operation, sources all of its coffees through direct trade and sustainable sourcing relationships and offers a plethora of public coffee educational experiences, including SCAA certification-track courses for those looking to work within the coffee industry. A wide variety of espresso-based beverages are served up at the cafe's five area locations, including an extensive menu of creative lattes and mochas with flavors such as blackberry maple, Irish cream, and pure raw liquid cacao. Specialty tea beverages are also available, including chais and matchas. A light cafe menu pairs breakfast and lunch paninis, granola, and burritos with fresh-baked pastries and regionally-produced sweets.
5340 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80303, Phone: 303-440-0233
23. Avery Brewing Company Tap Room Tours
© Avery Brewing Company
Founded in 1993, Avery Brewing Company is a well-known brewery in Boulder and is fast becoming one of the most forward-thinking breweries in the nation. Avery produces a range of artisanal beers, including award-winning flagship beers such as White Rascal Belgian-Style White Ale, Ellie’s Brown Ale, Mephistopheles’ Stout, and the ever-popular Out of Bounds Stout.
The company offers informative tap room and brewery tours where visitors can explore the brewery and its operations and bottling process, learn how beer is made, and sample some of the products. Guided and self-guided tours are available on a daily basis.
4910 Nautilus Ct, Boulder, Colorado 80301, Phone: 303-440-4324
24. Colorado Shakespeare Festival
© Casey Cass/University of Colorado
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is an annual festival held in Boulder that celebrates the works of William Shakespeare and his continuing influence on society.
Established in 1958, the festival is run by the University of Colorado Boulder and strives to preserve Shakespeare’s classic works and educate the public on the playwright’s importance and influence. Professional troupes and artists from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival theater company perform Shakespeare’s plays beneath starry summer night skies in the historical Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, when the weather permits, or in the newly renovated indoor University Theatre.
These artists inspire, challenge and cultivate audiences’ imaginations throughout the festival. Enjoy dinner in the Shakespeare Garden before the show, or stock your own picnic basket and dine al fresco during the show.
Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Boulder, Colorado 80302, Phone: 303-492-8008
25. Long's Gardens
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Founded in 1905 by J.D. Long, Long’s Gardens is a third-generation, family-owned and -operated iris farm in the heart of Boulder. The farm offers a tranquil escape for visitors from the city and specializes in growing and selling bearded iris, which provides spectacular natural scenery when in bloom from May through early June.
Long’s Gardens sells iris plants ranging in size from the Miniature Dwarf Bearded at 8 inches in height to the Tall Bearded at 27 inches and higher. Long’s Gardens also sells T-shirts, tote bags and books on caring for irises.
Visitors should note that the gardens are only open during blooming time: May through June.
3240 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80306, Phone: 866-442-2353
Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
For delicious farm-to-table vegetarian, vegan and raw cuisine, head to Boulder’s Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant. Leaf serves an array of eclectic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes, as well as organic wine. Compact, neat and hip, Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant uses fresh locally-sourced ingredients from its own Three Leaf Farm, tucked along the banks of Coal Creek in Lafayette.
The farm produces the organic fruits and vegetables, herbs and free-range eggs which are used to create Leaf’s appetizing menu. Leaf offers exceptional vegetarian and vegan catering services for all types of events, as well as a traditional afternoon tea service every Saturday afternoon and a daily Late Night Happy Hour in the evenings.
1710 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302, Phone: 303-442-1485
The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark
Located at the base of Boulder’s Flatirons, The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark is one of only a few remaining Chautauquas in the United States. Chautauquas were institutions that provided popular adult education courses and entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Colorado Chautauqua is the only site west of the Mississippi that has been in continuous operation since its founding.
Spanning 26 acres of land and home to historic buildings such as the Auditorium, Dining Hall, and Academic Hall, the Chautauqua site is now managed by the Colorado Chautauqua Association (CCA).
This body aims to educate the community about the history and heritage of the Colorado Chautauqua through cultural, educational, social and recreational experiences for all ages. The CCA also offers comfortable lodging, programming and spacious venues for private events around the historic site.
900 Baseline Road, Boulder, Colorado 80302, Phone: 303-442-3282
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Based in the historic Macky Auditorium at the University of Colorado campus, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Colorado’s premier ensembles. The orchestra plays to audiences of over 20,000, giving outstanding performances from Arvada to Highlands Ranch.
Under the experienced guidance of music director Michael Butterman, the Boulder Phil’s main concert series covers a variety of genres and includes eclectic performances with dance, choral and visual elements. Voted “Best of Boulder” for the past three years, the Boulder Phil is setting new trends in the world of orchestra by wowing audiences with bold innovations.
The Boulder Phil also strives to give back to the community. The Discovery Concerts aim to inspire next-generation music-lovers, and the annual “Young Artist Concerto Competition” fosters new talent as do side-by-side mentorship concerts with the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras and Front Range Youth Orchestras.
1595 Pleasant Street, Boulder, Colorado 80309, Phone: 303-449-1343
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Celestial Seasonings Tea Tour
One of the largest specialty tea manufacturers in North America, Celestial Seasonings was founded in 1969 and has been producing quality tea for the world ever since. Tea leaves and herbs are harvested from the Rocky Mountains by hand, then dried, blended and packaged to be sold at stores across the country.
Celestial Seasonings serves more than 1.6 billion cups of tea every year. Visitors can take a free tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory to learn all about the tea-making process and how the company produces its traditional, all-natural herbal, red, white, green and black teas.
Tours involve a short video introduction followed by a 30-minute walking tour through the factory, about 45 minutes total. The Tea Shop and Celestial Café serves hot cups of Celestial Seasonings tea and sells a range of gifts, healthful foods, and personal care products.
4600 Sleepytime Dr, Boulder, Colorado 80301, Phone: 303-581-1202
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