Things to Do in Boulder County: The Complete List

by Rachel Daly
Published: Last Updated on

Looking for things to do in Boulder County? Look no further! Boulder, and the surrounding communities, offer so many fun things to do. So here’s our complete list: local attractions, things to do outdoors, museums, farms, arts & culture, kids activities, summer activities, winter activities… You’ll find something for everyone! Looking for something free to do? Check out our list of Free Things to do in Boulder County.

Local Attractions in Boulder County

things to do in Boulder in July
Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall during Pearl Street Arts Fest, Photo Courtesy Downtown Boulder

Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall

Boulder’s Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall is located in the center of historic downtown. Along the brick-paved street, you will find amazing restaurants, delicious coffee, fun & eclectic shopping, and entertainers. In the springtime, Pearl Street is filled with over 15,000 tulips. In the summer months, Pearl Street activates its pop jet fountain, a splash pad beloved by local children. In the fall, Boulder hosts a Halloween extravaganza on the mall with the Munchkin Masquerade. In the winter, Pearl Street is home to St. Nick on the Bricks, where kids can enjoy a free visit with Santa.

Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark

Located at the base of the Flatirons, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of only 26 National Historic Landmarks in the state of Colorado and one of the few remaining chautauquas in the United States. Part of the “chautauqua movement” that swept the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is the only chautauqua west of the Mississippi that has continuously operated with its original structures intact, largely used for their original purposes. Now in its second century, the Colorado Chautauqua attracts over one million visitors each year while remaining committed to its historic purpose. They offer musical, arts and educational programs, charming accommodations in our historic cottages and lodges, indoor and outdoor meeting space, wedding and celebration venues, coffee, ice cream and shopping at the old-timey General Store, fine dining at the historic Dining Hall, and direct access to 40 miles of trails and thousands of acres of open space.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Relax and unwind at the gorgeous Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. The teahouse was crafted by more than 40 artisans in several cities in Tajikistan. The teahouse is a present from Boulder’s sister city of Dushanbe, celebrating the ties of the two cities. To learn more, sit down for tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, where they will tell you the whole story and you can see the beautiful building for yourself. Amazing food, comforting drinks and delicious desserts!

Boulder Falls

Looking to do something outdoors that is also easy? Check out Boulder Falls, 70 foot water falls just off the road up Boulder Canyon. The hike to Boulder Falls is a quick 10 minutes (100 yards).

Visit Panorama Point

For the easiest way to get a magnificent panoramic view of Boulder Valley, visit Flagstaff Mountain’s Panorama Point. It’s a simple pull-off, just half a mile up the mountain. The views are breathtaking!

Brainard Lake

The Brainard Lake Recreation Area is the most popular destination on the Boulder Ranger District. There are tons of fun things to do at Brainard Lake including hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, and nature viewing. Brainard Lake is a popular place for tourists to see moose! Because of the area’s high elevation, the best time to visit is after the snow melts in July and August.

Visit Eldorado Canyon State Park

In Boulder’s backyard, Eldorado Canyon State Park offers many outdoor activities! Hike amongst the towering sandstone cliffs, climb Eldo’s sheer golden walls, or picnic on South Boulder Creek. Eldorado Canyon offers 500+ technical rock climbing routes, attracting climbers from around the world to challenge their skills on Eldorado’s golden cliffs. The park tends to be very busy in the summer, so Boulder County offers a free shuttle service!

Celestial Seasonings Tour

Tours at Celestial Seasonings are temporarily canceled. We will update the post when the tours resume. In 1969, Celestial Seasonings began with hand-picked herbs from the Rockies sold on the shelves of a single Boulder health food store. Now, the company sells billions of cups of tea per year, with popular blends like Sleepytime Tea and Red Zinger. The company offers free tours of the Boulder factory, with its famous tea room, tasting room and gift shop.

Rock Climbing Gyms

There are a handful of climbing gyms in Boulder, accommodating Boulder’s large population of avid rock climbers. Boulder Rock Club is a local favorite, and was one of the first climbing gyms in the country. Other notable gyms include The Spot (located in both Boulder & Louisville) and Movement Climbing & Fitness (known for its bouldering zone).

Year-Round Outdoor Activities in Boulder County

where to take out of town guests in Boulder
Bear Peak, Photo Credit Mindy Williford IG: @superglamp

Boulder Area Hiking

Let’s start with the basics! The very best free thing to do in the Boulder area is hiking. 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 trailsNCAR’s scenic pathways and challenging treks up Mount SanitasBear Peak (pictured) and South Boulder Peak. Boulder is packed with dedicated bikeways (over 300 miles!) in the city and throughout open space. 

There’s an app for that! Discover all the local trails, get real-time information on trail closures and even allows you to filter your search to find trails that fit your needs (paved trails, dog-friendly trails, etc.) with the free Boulder Area Trails App. Provides a single source for all designated public recreation trails and trailheads in and around Boulder and Broomfield counties and is designed to enable users to find trails by use or type, plan routes by connecting local community trails, and link to the appropriate agency websites for more information.

Hiking outside of the Boulder area? The free COTrex Colorado Trails App allows you to discover trails all over the state. View trails by allowed uses on the map, browse featured routes, download offline maps, record trips and notes in the field, complete challenges to earn badges, and share your experiences with the community. Check out this list of Apps that all Boulderites and Denverites Need.

Heil Valley Ranch

Heil Valley Ranch is located between Boulder and Lyons in the foothills where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountain upslope. Its 5020 acres support wildlife communities from each, including deer, elk, turkey, coyote, fox, mountain lion and bear. Heil Valley Ranch is open to mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and winter recreation. Heil Valley Ranch was severely affected by the Cal-Wood Fire and the south side of the park will be closed through at least Sept. 30. Portions of the north side of the park are open to on-trail use if not otherwise closed due to muddy conditions and can be accessed from the Picture Rock Trailhead near Lyons. Please be respectful of the closed areas due to safety hazards.

Boulder E-Bike Tour

On the JD’s Joyride’s Wall To Wall Boulder eBike Mural Ride you’ll see dozens of murals and other sights/sites while touring Boulder in fine style and ease on a Rad Power Bike. Your guide, Joel (JD), is a long-time local with a passion for Boulder, art and showing people a good time on two wheels. The leisurely 2 & 3 hour rides (your choice!) covers 10-20(ish) miles (eBikes make it easy!) and uses murals as our map to an insider’s view of what Boulder’s about. Through the prism of street art, you’ll learn a little something about this magical town that you won’t read in the guidebooks. The Wall To Wall Boulder eBike Mural Ride includes Rad Power Bike, helmet, water and snacks — and a real good time. 2 hour rides $72, 3 hour rides $89. More information here.

Gross Reservoir

Gross Reservoir is a popular destination for motorless boating, camping, fishing and hiking. Swimming is not allowed.

Hike & Learn at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)

NCAR’s Visitor Center is temporarily closed to the public. NCAR’s beautiful outdoor spaces and Visitor Center are perfect for a summer outing with the kids! Take a hike at the base of Boulder’s amazing flatirons with gorgeous views. At the Visitor’s Center, kids can learn about weather and climate with interactive displays. Kids can play with clouds and even create their own tornado! Other exhibits include Sun-Earth Connections, Layers of the Atmosphere, Climate Discovery and more.

Fishing at Barker Reservoir

Fishing enthusiasts will love Nederland’s Barker Reservoir, where fish are plentiful! Species include Arctic Grayling, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Muskie, Splake, and even Kokanee (Sockeye) Salmon. For info on the best fishing times, as well as weather and tips on good spots, click here.

Coal Creek Golf Course

Louisville’s 18-hole public golf course, Coal Creek Golf Course has been recognized as one of the best redevelopments in the country from Golf, Inc. The original course was wiped out in the 2013 floods. Coal Creek reacted by completely reinventing the course, featuring rolling fairways, dramatic elevation changes and strategically-placed sand bunkers. The course is heralded for its immense beauty with the rocky mountains as its backdrop, as well as for being an affordable option for beginning golfers.

Lyons Dirt Jump Bike Track

The Lyons Dirt Jump Track at Bohn Park is an adventure park for bike riders. The dirt jump track features natural terrain and materials to mimic local trails and give riders a place to practice. The track is also the home for Lyons Outdoor Games at Colorado Burning Can Festival!

Paragliding

If you’ve spent any time in North Boulder, you’ve seen the paragliders sailing through the open air near Wonderland Lake. If you are interested in trying it out, check out Boulder Paragliding LLC, Red Tail Paragliding, or Boulder Free Flight for tandem flights or lessons.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Looking for somewhere to launch your Stand Up Paddleboard? There are several locations in Boulder County to go paddleboarding including: Boulder Reservoir, McIntosh Lake, Union Reservoir, Gross Reservoir and Brainard Lake.

Rock Climbing

Boulder is a hub for rock climbing and bouldering, with tons of optimal locations for avid climbers. The famous Flatirons, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Flagstaff, Sacred Cliffs and Boulder Canyon are the most popular places for locals to climb.

Boulder County Farmers Markets

Offering fresh fruit, flowers, veggies and delicious edibles, Boulder County Farmers’ Market provides a place for locals to sell their products in a friendly, fun environment. The markets are held in Downtown Boulder on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in Longmont at the Boulder County Fairgrounds on Saturdays.

Notable Parks in Boulder County

Creekside Play Area

Kids of all ages, head outside to the new Civic Area nature playground, Creekside Play Area. This brand new playground was designed to give kids a safe, fun playground and water play area full of learning opportunities that allow children to learn and explore the natural world. The Boulder Civic Area is Located in Front of Main Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302. Open Dawn – Dusk, FREE.

Valmont Bike Park

North America’s most state-of-the-art public bike park, Valmont Bike Park is located in Boulder, Colorado on 40 acres of awesome. Bike Park amenities include family trails, cross country trails, cyclocross courses, a slopestyle terrain park, dirt jumps, a dual slalom race course, 2 pump parks, and kids bike play areas. Progression is the name of the game at this park, with “small” through “extra-large” trails and features that cater to everyone, from the beginning mountain biker to professional rider. Check out the bike park’s trail map here. Kids love Valmont Bike Park. Click here for more fun things to do with kids in the Boulder Area.

Scott Carpenter Park

Boulder’s Scott Carpenter Park and Pool is a community park that provides visitors with a wide variety of recreational facilities including a swimming pool, skate park, open turf field, diamond field, and the iconic Scott Carpenter playground. There is also an epic sledding hill for snowy days.

East Boulder Community Park

East Boulder Community Park features a dinosaur-themed playground that is nearly surrounded by fencing, making it easier for parents to keep tabs on running toddlers. Much of the playground is toddler-friendly, in addition to structures that older children will enjoy. Covered picnic tables provide shade as well as a great place for a picnic. East Boulder Community Park is located at 5660 Sioux Dr, Boulder, CO 80303.

Louisville Community Park & Sprayground

Toddlers and big kids alike will love Louisville Community Park‘s splashground! There’s nothing like water to keep a toddler’s interest. This fun splash pad is located right next to the park’s play structures as well as grassy fields. YES, there is a bathroom at this park! Located at 955 Bella Vista Dr, Louisville, CO 80027. Hours: Spray pad turned on for the season Memorial Weekend, open Dawn to Dusk. Cost: FREE. For a comprehensive list of splashpads, pools and other places to play in the water, click here.

Lyons’ LaVern M. Johnson Park

Completely renovated after the devastating 2013 floods, LaVern M. Johnson Park features tons of fun equipment including a zip line, giant web swing, and yes – a splash pad! The park also has a shallow play stream for the kids to enjoy. The park’s covered picnic area was built for all seasons, with gas-powered fire pits and of course bathrooms for your convenience. An ice rink is available in the winter months.

Niwot Children’s Park

Thoughtfully designed, Niwot Children’s Park has so many fun features. Sitting under the shade of large trees, the playground includes features that will please the smallest toddlers to the big kids! Kids will love climbing, swinging and sliding, not to mention the zip line.

Longmont Sandstone Ranch Community Park

Sandstone Ranch Community Park has a one of a kind adventure playground, complete with a tree house play structure, a web climber, climbing wall and a boulder labyrinth. The water and sand play is center stage, with aquatic animals for climbing, lily pads for hopping and spray jets for keeping cool. There is also a large skate park and a nature preserve.

Amusement Parks in the Boulder Area

things to do in boulder county

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. Many activities include 18-hole mini golf courses — choose from the Windmill Course or the Castle Course, or play both!! The park also offers bumper cars, as well as single-seat and double-seat go carts. Gateway is home to Boulder’s only batting cages, with a variety of pitch speeds for softball and baseball. The arcade is filled with different kinds of video and interactive games. Many of the games spit out tickets which can be traded in for fun prizes at the end of your visit. A snack bar is located inside. If that isn’t enough, Gateway also has a full golf driving range as well as a human maze.

Fun City in Estes Park

Estes Park is full of fun things to do with the kids, but Fun City is a classic stop for families. It’s impossible to miss with its giant rainbow slide! This amusement park has been charming kids since 1969. Adults will get a kick out of the retro feel of the park while kids delight in the thrill of go-karts, bumper cars, mini golf, bumper boats, bungee trampoline and more.

Museums in Boulder County

free things to do in Boulder County
Photo Courtesy CU Museum of Natural History

Museum of Boulder

The Museum of Boulder is great fun for kids, featuring the Google Garage as well as the Playzeum! Google Garage is a creative space for kids to discover , explore and experiment with technology. Play music by touching colors, build a robot, or experience virtual reality. The Playzeum is an interactive exhibit for kids to explore their imaginations. And don’t forget to make a trip to the rooftop deck, where you will get a breathtaking view of Boulder’s flatirons and downtown. 

University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Museum of Natural History is home to a variety of prehistoric fossils in its Paleontology Hall. The museum houses 150,000 catalogued specimens from all over the United States and the world, but the fossil vertebrate collection is focused on the Rocky Mountain region. In addition to prehistoric creatures, the museum houses invertebrates and plants, including beautiful pieces of petrified wood. Family friendly and full of interesting exhibits, CU’s Museum of Natural History is one of Boulder’s best free spots for learning and exploring.

Fiske Planetarium

Fiske Planetarium is located on the campus of the University of Colorado. The Planetarium hosts a diverse range of shows, star talks, LASER shows, and special live events in it’s 65-foot diameter dome (the largest between Chicago and Los Angeles!). In 2013, Fiske completed a major systems upgrade with an 8K Sky-Skan projection system that allows us to show the most cutting-edge content in a truly immersive environment that fully surrounds audiences with a huge screen, dazzling visuals, and fantastic sound.  The new star machine, which looks like R2-D2, shows 10 million stars and the Milky Way, the most beautiful indoor sky ever. The planetarium hosts special talks and educational events, and often host large crowds during astronomical and NASA-related events. Fiske is open weekdays for select shows and events, and hosts weekend shows and matinées. For the Planetarium’s show schedule, click here. The Fiske Planetarium is located at 2414 Regent Dr, Boulder, CO 80309. Shows vary daily, see full schedule here.

Lyons Redstone Museum

Learn about the history of Lyons, Colorado at the Lyons Redstone Museum. Located in a historic schoolhouse, the museum is home to local artifacts, historic photos, and an exploration of the Lyons Cemetery. Click here for more fun things to do in Lyons.

City of Louisville Historical Museum

The Louisville Historical Museum features permanent exhibits in its three historic buildings on Louisville’s early history and growth from 1878 – 1955. Admission is free. The museum also offers online exhibits, and hosts First Friday Art Walks in conjunction with the Louisville Art District. Click here for more fun things to do in Louisville.

Broomfield Depot Museum

The collections of the Broomfield Depot Museum includes artifacts, photographs, and archival materials associated with the development of the city and county, including public and private facilities in Broomfield such as schools, newspapers, postal service, cemeteries, and railroads; the late-20th century growth of Broomfield including the development of neighborhoods and subdivisions, and the Boulder-Denver Turnpike. The Broomfield Depot Museum is open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for more fun things to do in Broomfield.

Nederland Mining Museum

Visit the Nederland Mining Museum and get a glimpse into the world of hard rock mining days in Boulder County during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Learn about the lives of the mountain miners of yesteryear.

Lafayette Historical Society & Miners Museum

The Lafayette Historical Society & Miners Museum, located in the Lewis Home, contains a wealth of Lafayette history, from the early days of pioneer heritage, through the coal mining years and into the present. Visitors can see broad collection of artifacts which includes a kitchen full of unusual household items used by Lafayette’s founding families, plus a tremendous collection of mining tools and equipment.

Erie Historical Society’s Wise Homestead Museum

Erie Historical Society’s Wise Homestead dates back to 1869, when Oliver and Ada Wise and their three children built a farmhouse on a U.S. Homestead Patent. Through unique “windows to the past,” visitors are able to see the mud that was used to insulate the house and the animal hair used in the plaster. Also visible are samples of 1900’s advertising that were revealed as the original wallpaper was removed. The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 AM – 2 PM.

Broomfield Veterans Museum

The Broomfield Veterans Museum honors local veterans of all the United States conflicts and peacekeeping efforts, from the Civil War to the present, from all branches of service. The museum not only shares the stories of Colorado veterans, it is a center for veterans to connect, students to learn about our nation’s history, groups to explore the rotating exhibits, and families to honor their loved ones who served in the military. The museum houses nine rooms of exhibits, a library with over 2,500 history/military books and hundreds of archived videos of veteran interviews, and a multimedia room that seats over 40. The museum is free and open to the public and offers docent-guided or self-guided tours, and, twice a month, a presentation called Coffee and Conversation, where you can hear fascinating stories from local veterans and historians.

WOW Children’s Museum

One of the top reasons families love living in Lafayette, CO is the one-of-a-kind WOW! Museum. The World of Wonder Children’s Museum in Old Town Lafayette is a favorite for young children. Designed for interactive learning and play, WOW features a light & music room, an art room, a little clinic, a sandbox, a theater area complete with costumes and stage and so much more! Kids can spend hours exploring this fun museum.

Longmont Museum and Cultural Center

The Longmont Museum and Cultural Center is a community and cultural hub for the city, featuring changing exhibits in history, art and science. The long-term exhibit, Front Range Rising, is an award-winning look at the history and culture of this region from 14,000 years ago to today. The museum also holds regular hands-on education programs for all ages, as well as events like indoor and outdoor concerts and performances, film series and lectures.

Indoor Recreation for Kids in Boulder County

What to do with kids in boulder this summer
Photo Courtesy ABC Kids Climbing Facebook Page

ABC Kids Climbing

Open Gym is a great opportunity for families to try ABC Kids Climbing for their first time.  Kids are welcome to explore our facility, with parent supervision, to find the area in which they will have the most fun.  ABC has top ropes, auto-belays, ziplines, slides, and bouldering for kids of all ages to enjoy! No climbing experience?  No need to worry!  ABC’s expert staff will give all new families a tour complete with rules and basic climbing guidelines to get you started in the right direction. ABC also offers summer day camps for kids – details here. ABC Kids Climbing is located at 1960 32nd Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301.

The Bounce Place

The Bounce Place is an indoor playground in Boulder that features obstacle courses, bounce houses and inflatable slides for big kids as well as push cars, activity panels and building blocks for toddlers. Appropriate for kids up to age 10. The Bounce Place is located at the 29th Street Mall, 1711 29th St, Boulder, CO 80301.    

Warrior Playground in Longmont

The Warrior Playground is a full scale American Ninja Warrior and Obstacle Course Race training facility for kids & adults to experience the thrill of tackling the obstacles they see on the TV show. The Warrior Playground features many American Ninja Warrior obstacle replicas straight from the show; now even if you can’t get on the show, you can train like a ninja. If you have a little ninja at home, check out Warrior Playground’s open gym hours or sign up for a class! If it is your kid’s first time at the playground, they will need to take an orientation class. Warrior Playground is located at 33 South Pratt Parkway, Longmont CO 80501. 

Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park

Disappointed that ski season is over? Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park has got you covered! Shredder is an amazing indoor ski and snowboarding facility for ages 10 months to adult. Shredder offers ski and snowboard school classes to all ages, including freestyle fundamental classes (starting at age 8), Yeti School (10 months to 3 years), and beginning adult skiers/boarders. Check out Shredder for Birthday Parties, Summer Camps, Parents’ Nights Out, and so much more! Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park is located at  6655 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder, CO 80303. To view class schedules and prices, click here.

Carousel of Happiness

Head up the hills to nearby Nederland to visit the Carousel of Happiness, a magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel! Fun for all ages, this lovely carousel turns to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. Witness the 100-year old gears churn by watching from the upper observation window. The Carousel of Happiness is located at 20 Lakeview Dr, Nederland, CO 80466. Hours: Mondays & Thursdays 11 AM – 5 PM; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM – 5 PM. Wheelchair ramp available. Rides are just $2.

Boulder Rec Centers

Boulder has three recreation centers located in different parts of the city, and each has its own unique amenities. Each of the rec centers have a pool, but the North Boulder Rec Center and East Boulder Rec Center have kid-friendly features like water slides and warmer water temperatures. There are other activities like rock wall climbing, gymnasiums, ball courts and more things to do indoors with kids. To find out more about each of these rec centers, click here.

Broomfield’s Paul Derda Rec Center

The Paul Derda Rec Center is a community favorite, with a massive gymnastics center, kid-friendly zero-depth entry pool and lazy river, as well as an indoor track. Families love the indoor playground and child sitting facility. The rec center offers a ton of fitness classes and sports opportunities.

Lafayette’s Bob L. Burger Recreation Center

Lafayette’s state of the art recreation center has everything from an adult fitness facility and indoor track to a fun, kid friendly pool with a two story slide! Bob L. Burger Rec Center offers fitness classes, gymnastics, basketball, senior activities and more.

Get Air Trampoline Park

Get Air Trampoline Park is Longmont’s own wall-to-wall jumping fun. Spend a morning, afternoon or evening here bouncing off the walls! In addition to trampolines for the big kids, there is a Little Air area for kids under 46″ with a fun slide, foam pits, basketball, dodgeball, slacklines, fidget ladders and other one-at-a-time obstacles. Big jumpers and little jumpers aren’t allowed to jump together to keep all jumpers safe. This is definitely in my kids’ favorite list of things to do indoors in the Boulder area. Get Air Longmont is open seven days a week. Visit their website for hours and prices

Farms to Visit in Boulder County

things to do in boulder County
Photo Courtesy Boulder County

Boulder County’s Agricultural Heritage Center

Check out the Agricultural Heritage Center! Get a glimpse into the history of agriculture in Boulder County and enjoy the rural surroundings. This site focuses on the years 1900 to 1925 when local families prospered as farmers and witnessed the coming of the Modern Age. Kids will love the interactive exhibits, 1909 farmhouse furnished with items from the 1910s, animals on site including chickens, pigs, draft horses and sheep, two barns, blacksmith shop and more! A guided tour starts at 11AM during visiting hours.

The Bee Hugger Farm

The Bee Hugger Farm is a happy place where you can visit with goats, peacocks, chickens, sheep, horses, mini horses and more! Kids can climb tractors and adults can buy honey. The Bee Hugger is one of our family’s favorite free things to do in Boulder. The farm is open to the public with no entry fee. Text for questions to 303.330.8277. Located at 12590 Ute Hwy, Longmont, CO 80504. For a complete list of places to visit farm animals near Boulder, click here.

Sunflower Farm

Sunflower Farm is a rural haven in South Longmont where kids can feed goats, sheep and llama, jump from hay bale to hay bale, play in the corn house, playhouse and sandboxes, explore the tree forts and bridges, hold a chicken, soar down the zipline, balance on the slackline. There is even an old airplane to explore. All activities are covered by a single admission fee of a ticket—no other fees apply. Pre-purchasing tickets is encouraged, the farm frequently sells out. Purchase tickets here. Sunflower Farm is located at 11150 Prospect Rd, Longmont, CO 80504. Must reserve tickets ahead of time, tickets available here.

7th Generation Farm

If you want to see some sweet farm animals, 7th Generation Farm has pigs, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and dogs! While you are at the farm, pick up starter plants, eggs, honey, vegetables and more. 7th Generation Farm is open Friday 12-5 PM and Saturday 9 AM – 4 PM. Located at 100 S 96th Street, Louisville, CO 80027.

Strawberry Fields Urban Farm Petting Zoo

Set up time for a private family petting zoo at Strawberry Fields Urban Farm in Erie. The farm has the sweetest goats, as well as horses, chickens, pigs and more. Many of these animals are rescues, and all the proceeds go to taking care of the animals so they can live happy lives. Strawberry Fields is a favorite place for families to visit with farm animals near Boulder. To book an hour with the animals, go to the Strawberry Fields Urban Farm facebook page. The farm also accommodates birthday parties! For more info, message them hereStrawberry Fields Urban Farm is located at 12657 Jay Rd, Erie, CO 80516.

Cure Organic Farm

Visit with the farm animals and do a little shopping at Cure Organic Farm in East Boulder. Open 12 – 5 PM daily, located at 7416 Valmont Rd, Boulder, CO 80301.

YA YA Farm & Orchard

Part of a historic century-old farm specializing in heirloom apples, YA YA Farm & Orchard is a U-Pick-It Apple Orchard located in Longmont. When you visit the farm stand (open September – November)  you may visit with farm animals: Percheron Draft Horses, mini donkeys, chickens, ducks, and peacocks.  Bring a picnic if you wish.  Enjoy all things apple at the farm stand – apples, apple cider donuts, apple pies and more! YA YA Orchard is home to 1,000 fruit trees – mostly apple, but some cherry, plum and pear. They also have grapes, blackberries, and raspberries. U-Pick requires prior reservations and is sold out generally by August.  YA YA Farm & Orchard is located at 6914 Ute Hwy, Longmont, CO 80503.

Zoos in the Boulder Area

boulder with toddlers
Photo Courtesy Butterfly Pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion

The Butterfly Pavilion is home to over 5,000 animals! Kids will be immersed in a tropical rainforest where 1,600 butterflies live and Rosie, the tarantula is ready to be held by brave children. Step to Water’s Edge to be immersed in an underwater world full of sea creatures. The pavilion also features lovely gardens and a nature trail, as well as an indoor play area and fun gift shop. Butterfly Pavilion is located at 6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster, CO 80020.

Arts & Culture in Boulder County

Boulder Arts Week
Photo Courtesy Street Wise Boulder

Boulder Street Wise Self-Guided Mural Tour

Street Wise Boulder is an annual ARTivism mural festival in the streets of Boulder, Colorado. Their mission is to amplify artist voices and use the power of public art as a means to connect, spark change, and build empathy within the community. Street Wise artists are driven by social activism, and use their murals as a tool for connection. Take your own self-guided mural tour – map provided here. To make a donation, click here.

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Throughout its history, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has been a vibrant cultural cornerstone in its community. Each year, the museum presents an ambitious exhibition schedule and an innovative series of educational programs for audiences of all ages and interests. By welcoming diverse aesthetics and perspectives, BMoCA provides an open forum for dialogue and an investigation of contemporary art through the creative expression of ideas. Admission is only $2. More info and current exhibits here.

NoBo First Fridays

First Friday is a FREE self-guided tour of artists’ studios and creative businesses in the NoBo Art District. Meet painters, sculptors, photographers, designers and other artists along your stroll through the area. Featuring live music, demos and special activities in many locations. Located along Broadway from Pine Street to Highway 36. Follow the colorful flags to find surprises around every corner. First Friday runs from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on the first Friday of the month. Please note that many locations have other opening and closing times, see the map or list to check exact times. Details at NoBoArtDistrict.org

CU Art Museum

The University of Colorado Art Museum provides a forum for exchanging ideas, inspiring collaboration and fueling imagination through art. The museum’s growing collection and diverse exhibitions and public programs promote, inspire and generate interdisciplinary scholarship and cultural expression. CU Art Museum is free and open to the public.

Canyon Gallery at the Boulder Public Library

The exhibition series in the Canyon Gallery is where ideas meet action.  The gallery is a place where the people can experiment with new ways of sharing on community-driven topics.  Projects presented here merge visual display with conversation and civic-related content.  Check out the Canyon Gallery’s current exhibitions and the previous exhibitions.

Color Me Mine

At Color Me Mine, kids and adults will have a blast painting their very own ceramic piece! The art space is warm and cozy, and even has a free tea & coffee station. Pick your ceramic piece (they have everything from mugs and plates to piggy banks and figurines), pick your paint and start creating. Additionally, painting at Color Me Mine means you don’t have to clean up — the staff will handle all that for you. In fact, once you are done painting, your piece will be glazed and fired for you, all you have to do is pick it up a week later. This is one of my kids’ favorite things to do indoors in Boulder.

Firehouse Art Center

The Firehouse Art Center in Longmont is a non-profit art center that exhibits thought provoking art created by local, regional and national artists. The center features no fee admission gallery and our outreach art classes taught at no cost to under resourced areas of the community, striving to bring the healing nature of art to all.

Lafayette’s Art on the Street

Lafayette’s Art on the Street is the largest art on loan sculpture walk in Boulder County. Art on the Street 2021 marks the program’s 13th year, with 19 sculptures installed along Public Road and Simpson Street in Old Town Lafayette, and in front of the Arts Hub. View Art on the Street 2021 here.

Tower of Compassion

In 1972, the Kanemoto brothers commissioned the Tower of Compassion, located in Kanemoto Park. The five-story tower was built in the traditional style of a Japanese temple, and each level represents the meaning of compassion – Love, Empathy, Understanding, Gratitude, and Selfless Giving. The tower was donated to the City of Longmont with gratitude from the Kanemoto family for the kindness the community showed the family during World War II, when most Japanese immigrants were forced into internment camps.

Open Studio at Boulder Public Library’s Markerspace

Boulder Public Library and Building 61 offer Open Studio Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 – 7 PM, giving free access to: 3D Printers, Sewing Machines, Electronics bench, Design Laptops, Vinyl Cutter, Screen Printing Equipment and more are available for use at this time. More info hereAbsolutely free.

Libraries in Boulder County

what to do with kids in Boulder in summer
Photo by All Things Boulder

Boulder Public Libraries

Boulder offers five public libraries in different areas around town, all of which offer youth storytimes! Programs vary from lap babies to wobblers & walkers to toddlers and all-age storytimes. For the full schedule of youth storytimes for each library branch, click here. View today’s library branch hours here. For a map of all five libraries in Boulder, click here. Some of the Boulder Library’s branches have been affected by COVID, please check the BPL website for updates.

Annual Events in Boulder County

free things to do in boulder
Photo: All Things Boulder

Our favorite free things to do in Boulder County are the free events! These can be found on our monthly event calendars here. To name a few of the many annual free events in the Boulder area: Boulder Creek Festival and Boulder County Fair in the summer, tons of harvest festivals in the fall, St. Nick on the Bricks in December, and the Tulip, Elf and Fairy Festival in the spring!

Outdoor Summer Activities in Boulder County

Splash Pads Boulder
Pop Jet Fountain on Pearl Street

Tubing & Splashing in Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek is the perfect place to spend a hot summer’s day tubing, swimming, playing and relaxing! In May and June, the water can be running high and fast (depending on the amount of snowfall over the winter), but by July and August, the creek is running lower and slower, a great time for a beginner to try it out. Click here for our beginners guide to tubing Boulder Creek.

Boulder Reservoir

Boulder Reservoir offers one of the largest, seasonally lifeguard attended swimming beaches in Colorado. It features a marked swim area with rafts during the summer, as well as an excellent place to go stand up paddleboarding. To view all the safety rules, click here. Don’t have time to pack a lunch? Visit the Beachside Cafe, featuring an extensive lunch menu as well as snacks, kids meals and coffee and tea. Check out all the splash pads, pools, reservoirs and more in this dedicated guide. Boulder Reservoir is located at 5565 N 51st St., Boulder, CO 80301.

Longmont’s Union Reservoir

Union Reservoir‘s sandy swim beaches are a fun gathering spot for kids and families in Longmont. Lifeguards are stationed at the beach for safety. A sand volleyball court, picnic shelter and playground are located near the beach. Union Reservoir is located at 461 Co Rd 26, Longmont, CO 80504.

Paddle Boats at Lafayette’s Waneka Lake Park

Your child is sure to get a kick out of the fun, colorful paddle boats at Waneka Lake Park‘s Boathouse. Parents can rent the paddle boats by the half hour (which come with complimentary – and required – life vests). Enjoy a calm, fun boat ride on a swan, flamingo, dragon or duck! For all the details, click here. Waneka Lake Park is located at 1600 Caria Dr, Lafayette, CO 80026.

Adventure West St. Vrain Creek Tubing

For fun with the older kids, take a family-friendly float on the Saint Vrain Creek. Rent a tube for use in the Playpark or shuttle upstream with our Tube/Shuttle Bundle and kick-back and enjoy the ride! Adventure West’s Saint Vrain Creek location in Longmont offers walk-up or reservations for tube rentals, but reservations are required for the tube shuttle bundle as there is limited space on the vans. The tube shuttle takes you to the put-in and outfits you with a commercial grade river tube and complimentary lifejacket (free helmets also available upon request). Enjoy a 1 1/2 – 2 hour (depending on speed of creek flow) float with a few small manmade rapids in the playpark area. This 2-mile picturesque journey takes you through protected natural areas to an easy takeout on the Greenway where the shuttle will meet you and conveniently take you right back to your car or feel free to keep your tube and enjoy the tubing playpark as long as you like! Adventure West Longmont is open Friday – Monday, 10 AM – 5 PM.

The Great Outdoors Waterpark

The awesome The Great Outdoors Waterpark in Lafayette will open Memorial Day weekend! Plunge down the thrilling 21-foot high double flume slides. Guests 48” tall and brave enough to conquer the twists and turns galore are invited to venture down. Perching high atop the fully accessible, zero-depth entry leisure pool, The Grand Eagle Dump Bucket spills water every few minutes near play structures perfect for smaller children. The Great Outdoors Waterpark is located at 500 E South Boulder Rd, Lafayette, CO 80026. Hours: 10AM – 6PM daily.

The Broomfield Bay Aquatic Park

Broomfield’s outdoor water park, The Bay, has been a summertime tradition in Broomfield since 1991. Designed for children ages 1 to 12 years old, the water park features a large pool, tot pool, body slide, tube slides, sprayground, and is ADA accessible. Lots of room for picnics, snacks and treats are available to purchase. The Bay Aquatic Park is located at 250 Spader Way, Broomfield, CO 80020. By reservation until further notice. For more details, click here.

Splash Pads

There are several splash pads in the Boulder area, including the perfectly placed pop jet fountain in front of the courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall! Click here for a complete list of splash pads and more.

Outdoor Winter Activities in Boulder County

things to do in boulder in January 2021
Scott Carpenter Park Sledding Hill

Eldora Ski Resort

Just west of Nederland, Eldora Ski Resort is the closest ski resort to the Boulder area, just 21 miles up Boulder Canyon. Eldora receives more than 300 inches of snow every year, making for lovely skiing conditions close to home. The resort offers downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for all skill levels. Eldora is loved for its ease of access (no need to brave the back-ups of I-70) as well as its relatively inexpensive lift tickets.

Cross Country Skiing at North Boulder Park and CU South

The Boulder Nordic Club grooms North Boulder Park and CU South when conditions permit. Skiing is free and open to the public but memberships and sponsors pay for all of the BNC’s grooming operations and equipment. The BNC grooms with entirely BNC owned equipment, volunteer operators, and maintain formal agreements with land managers. 

Sledding

Boulder has several amazing sledding hills around town! On a snowy day, visit Foothills Community Park in NoBo, Scott Carpenter Park or Casey Middle School. If you want a truly epic sledding experience, head over to Chautauqua to the hill that was formerly a ski slope!

Ice Skating

Boulder Creek Events hosts an outdoor ice skating rink in the winter months in historic downtown Louisville at the Steinbaugh Pavilion. Longmont also provides a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink at the Ice Pavilion in Roosevelt Park. Lyons converts the grassy area at LaVern M. Johnson Park every year into an outdoor ice rink for the public to enjoy!

Performing Arts in Boulder County

Boulder in April
Photo Credit Taylor Wallace/aLive Coverage Photo Courtesy Boulder Theater

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre: BDT Stage

Since 1977, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre has been committed to providing live, Broadway-quality entertainment with fine dining to create a unique experience for groups, families and discerning theatre-goers. Members of our company have performed on stages all over the country, from New York and Chicago to Hollywood. They’ve been cast in sitcoms and feature films. Some have been nominated for Academy Awards. But they all call Boulder’s Dinner Theatre “home.” For the current show schedule, click here.

Boulder Theater

Downtown’s venue for live music, film and comedy, Boulder Theater hosts local and national artists. For a list of upcoming events and shows, click here.

Dairy Arts Center

The Dairy Art Center’s 42,000 square foot facility houses disciplines ranging from visual arts, theater, and film to dance and music. A professional environment complete with art galleries, performance venues, teaching studios, offices, rehearsal spaces, dance studios, and a 60-seat art-house cinema, it is Boulder’s largest multi-disciplinary arts center. The Dairy’s audience spans all ages, backgrounds and ability levels, from young student to seasoned performer and from first-time to seasoned theatergoers. Our audience is inclusive of all ages and backgrounds as well as adults and children of various cultures and levels of ability; our facility is accessible to persons with physical mobility challenges. To see the schedule of events at The Dairy, click here.

Planet Bluegrass

Lyons is home to Planet Bluegrass, a distinctive music venue on the banks of the meandering St. Vrain River, under the towering red rock cliffs at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Planet Bluegrass hosts two weekend-long world-class music festivals each summer — RockyGrass and the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival. These relaxed, community-based festivals have drawn in big stars over the years as well as local legends. In addition to the amazing music, the festival goers (known as festivarians) enjoy delicious food, drinks, kids activities, shopping, camping, and of course, tubing down the St. Vrain River.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I spend a day in Boulder?

To get the fullest Boulder experience in a single day, be sure to visit the beautiful grounds of Chautauqua, stroll the famous Pearl Street Mall, enjoy a cup of tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House and cool your feet in Boulder Creek. Then, go ahead and extend your stay because there are tons of other things to do and see in Boulder!

What are the top attractions to visit in Boulder?

Must-see attractions include: Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall, viewing the flatirons at Colorado Chautauqua, the beautifully hand-crafted Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, Panorama Point at Flagstaff Mountain.

What are the best outdoor activities in Boulder?

Hiking is number one: there are so many fun and beautiful places to hike in and around Boulder, including Chautauqua, NCAR and Boulder’s spacious mountain parks. Other outdoor activities include: tubing Boulder Creek, stand up paddleboarding at Boulder Reservoir, paragliding, fishing, biking, rock climbing and more.

What are the best things to do in Boulder with kids?

  1. Take a hike at NCAR or Chautauqua.
  2. Bike your heart out at Valmont Bike Park.
  3. Go fishing at Wonderland Lake.
  4. Visit Scott Carpenter Park’s skate park, pool, and old school playground.
  5. Go mini golfing or go karting at Gateway Fun Park.
  6. Visit Boulder Public Library for storytime and playtime at the library’s creekside park.
  7. Climb the walls at ABC Kids Climbing.
  8. Visit the Playzeum and Google Garage at Museum of Boulder.
  9. Visit a local farm to pet the animals.
  10. Paint your own ceramics at Color Me Mine Boulder.

What is there to do in Boulder today?

Check out this event calendar for events happening in Boulder today! Here are some of our favorite places to visit any day of the week:

  • Colorado Chautauqua
  • Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall
  • Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
  • Panorama Point
  • Wonderland Lake
  • NCAR
  • Museum of Boulder
  • Valmont Bike Park
  • CU Museum of Natural History
  • Boulder Public Library
  • Scott Carpenter Park

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2 comments

Jill Dreves September 15, 2021 - 3:35 am

Don’t forget Nederland is Boulder County~ Wild Bear Nature Center (Wildbear.org), Carousel of Happiness, ride the RTD bus up! Wonderful 20th annual Enchanted Forest 9/25 https://www.wildbear.org/events/enchanted-forest-2021/

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Jennifer Egbert September 21, 2021 - 10:57 pm

This is an awesome resource list. Fantastic for newcomers or visitors to have. Even those who have lived in the area for a while could probably discover something they haven’t tried yet. Can’t wait for fall!

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