Our Guide to the Best Things to Do in Boulder

by Rachel Daly
Published: Last Updated on
where to take out of town guests in Boulder

Visiting Boulder? This is our guide to some of Boulder’s most iconic spots, local treasures and quirky favorites. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, fantastic dining or kid-friendly activities, we have you covered. Boulder is truly bursting with fun and exciting adventures, so this is just the tip of the iceberg. Locals, what would you add to the list?

Outdoor Adventures

where to take out of town guests in Boulder

Bear Peak, Photo Credit Mindy Williford

The most beloved aspect of Boulder is the natural beauty of the valley and its breathtaking views of the foothills and flatirons. With 110 miles of walking and hiking trails on over 35,000 acres of protected land, the possibilities for outdoor recreation in Boulder are endless. Hikers will adore Chautauqua’s meandering trails, NCAR’s scenic pathways and challenging treks up Mount Sanitas, Bear Peak (pictured) and South Boulder Peak. Boulder is packed with dedicated bikeways (over 300 miles!) in the city and throughout openspace. If your out of town visitor prefers a more relaxing way to enjoy Boulder’s vistas, check out the rooftop bar at the West End Tavern to enjoy a fresh craft beer and that unbeatable view of Boulder’s flatirons.

Classic Boulder Favorites

out of town visitors in boulder

Photo Courtesy Peter Irish, Street Performer and batfly’s YouTube Channel

Next, take your guests to check out Boulder’s quirkier side by visiting a classic Boulder hotspot. The Pearl Street Mall is a great place to get a taste of Boulder’s character, with street performers and lots of choices for shopping and dining. Take a break in the gorgeous Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, sip some tea and relax in the rose garden. Drive up Flagstaff Mountain to get a breathtaking view of the front range. Take a stroll or have a picnic at Chautauqua Park! To give your out of town guest a feel for Boulder’s history as well as experiencing fascinating exhibits, visit the Museum of Boulder.

Food, Delicious Food

best things to do in boulder

Photo Courtesy Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

With all this running around, visitors are sure to get hungry. Boulder is home to some of the most drool-worthy food on the planet. Start your day at Boulder breakfast spot, The Buff, for a homestead skillet, a cappuccino or a tequila sunrise. Head downtown to try The Boulder Med‘s extensive tapas menu, as well as a variety of Italian, French and Greek specialties. In the mood for something spicy? Check out the Rio’s amazing tacos and sip a margarita on the rooftop bar! Rio Grande also offers vegan-friendly and gluten free dishes. To satisfy your sweet tooth, stop by Colorado-based Sweet Cow Ice Cream in South Boulder, North Boulder or Louisville to choose from 24 delicious small batch ice cream flavors.

Arts & Culture

best things to do in boulder

Photo Courtesy Lindee Zimmer

Boulder’s creative and quirky vibe bleeds into its arts and culture scene all around town. Downtown Boulder is home to the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as an extensive list of boutique art galleries. Visit the Dairy Arts Center for interesting local art festivals, fun (and weird) cinema, as well as fascinating art exhibitions. More recently, street art is popping up on local buildings, fences and underpasses. The movement is headed up by Street Wise Boulder, who offers a map of some of the many murals around town. Boulder has a handful of music venues around town and tons of opportunities to see local musicians perform at nearby breweries and restaurants. Boulder Theater and the Fox Theatre host local and national musicians all year long.

Local Craft Beer Spots

where to take out of town visitors in Boulder

Photo Courtesy The Rayback Collective

Boulder is home to some of the best craft breweries in Colorado, and sampling a local brew is essential for visitors. Take visitors to Boulder hangout, the Rayback Collective, with over 30 beers on tap (including many of the local favorites) as well as a “backyard party” space complete with games, fire pits, and a chill vibe. Or go straight to the brewery! Boulder Beer is heralded for being Colorado’s first craft brewery, featuring favorites like Hazed Hoppy Session Ale, Mojo IPA, and Shake Chocolate Porter. If you are interested in checking out something a little more low key and different, stop by Cellar West Artisan Ales in North Boulder, a microbrewery that specializes in farmhouse ales. For a complete guide to the breweries of Boulder, click here.

Kid-Friendly Fun

places to take out of town visitors in Boulder

Photo Courtesy Gateway Park Fun Center Facebook Page, Photo Credit Mark Bolles

Looking for kid-friendly activities in Boulder? In addition to the outdoor activities and classic Boulder favorites listed above, there so many more ways keep kids entertained in Boulder! Gateway Park Fun Center is a kid’s dream come true (and so fun for adults too!). Opened in the 1980s, this park has maintained tons of original features, giving it an eclectic, old school feel that will bring you back to your childhood with activities like go karts, mini golf, batting cages and an arcade. The University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History is educational, interactive and fun for the whole family. In the lower level, kids will have a great time in the interactive play and learning area while adults can enjoy a nice, free cup of coffee or tea in the museum’s BioLounge with comfortable seats and inviting atmosphere. At NCAR’s Visitor Center, kids can learn about weather and climate with interactive displays — play with clouds, create a tornado and learn about our planet! For our list of family-friendly restaurants, click here.

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