Ah beautiful, bountiful, fresh aired Boulder- the epitome of health, education, fitness and drive all wrapped into the perfect little package that has been loving dubbed “The Bubble.” Here, patrons escape on lunch breaks to run in the rolling greenbelts, have board meetings in the winter between runs down the slopes and somehow always manage to squeeze in a morning yoga flow or 5 mile run along the babbling creek that travels the spine of the city.
Once a well kept secret, Boulder has attracted a lot of attention in recent years as it emerges as one of the next Silicon Valleys- home to some of the fastest growing tech and start up companies (particularly with the expansion of Google’s new offices in central Boulder). A star and role model for environmental awareness and protection, each Boulderite, whether bred or transferred, seems to have the innate ability to conserve, recycle and dapple in the largely protected open spaces that the city, and its surrounding areas, has to offer. Plus, with the legalization of its unofficial mascot, locals seem to be extra… happy. With a plethora of outdoor activities and 5 star dining locales, it can be hard to decide which ones to choose first! So if you only have time for a quick day trip, here are some of the top picks for your visit to this mountain gem.
9 am -
9th St & Baseline, Boulder, CO 80302
What would a day in Boulder be without frolicking in its most beautiful attraction! Start your day off with some of those infamous Colorado endorphins and that refreshing mountain air. Chautaqua Park and its trails begin at the base of the magnificent flatirons, jutting out of the rolling, evergreen filled hills and flatline fields of gold. Slap on some sunscreen, bring a hat and a water bottle and get going. While there are many different trails you can take depending on your time and fitness allowance, we recommend The Chautauqua Trail for its scenery and gradual elevation gain (helpful for those not used to our thin mountain air).
11 am - Alpine Cafe
904 College Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
Caffeine time! Congrats, you've certainly earned it! Stroll downhill through one of Boulder’s historic neighborhoods along 9th street (about 3/4 of a mile), to the adorably compact and quaint caffeine grounds of Alpine Modern Cafe. Founded by husband and wife duo, Lauren and Lon McGowan, this open spaced cafe was inspired by the architect and design focused online editorial that the couple launched back in 2013. After expanding into a curated online shop and, later on into boutique in downtown Boulder, the two decided they wanted to create a welcoming space for the community to gather; and so, Alpine Modern was born. Grab a late breakfast here; the bright space boasts an ample menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner specials complete with a fully stocked wine, beer and coffee bar. Take your cappuccinos, pastries and breakfast sandwiches and find a cozy corner or- if you're lucky, a spot by the fire pit outside.
Walk along Boulder's historic downtown outdoor mall afterwards- Pearl Street. Wherever you go, those beautiful flatirons will always be your backdrop (and your "due West!").
12:30 pm - Get Cultured: BMOCA
1750 13th St Boulder, CO 80302
In the center of the Boulder bubble and at the start of the historic downtown quarter, you will find the city’s prized and quaint museum of contemporary art. While the space is charmingly compact, it's just the right dose of modern art and a refreshing contrast to the outdoorsy themes of the town. Plus, with admission prices at only $1 (and free on Farmer’s Market Days- Wednesday and Saturday), it’s hard to say no to. As if the surrounding nature isn't enough beauty, BMoCA is currently showcasing "Evolving Visions of Land and Landscape," a stunning exhibit compiling the works of artists who lived in Boulder from the mid 1800's to present times. The work is a melange of abstract, metaphorical and literal interpretations of the American West. Get your eye fill and then head next door for a lovely high tea.
2 pm - Afternoon Tea at Dushanbe Tea House
1770 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Stepping over the threshold between the sidewalk and the front doors of Dushanbe is likely one of the fastest forms of foreign travel. Take a moment to take in the stunning colors of the Far East, and the intricacies and details of this special place. For three years, forty different craftsman in various cities of Tajikistan created components of the Teahouse, expending a tremendous amount of artisanal effort and skill into the hand-carved and hand-painted ceilings, paneling, columns and tables of this sanctuary. In 1990, each piece of the teahouse was delicately imported from overseas and assembled into the magical space it is today. Enjoy an afternoon high tea with plates of hummus, tea cakes and cookies, and menu of over fifty types of tea.
3:30 pm - Tapas at The Med
1002 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302
A notorious town staple, The Med offers some of Boulder's top cuisine as well as the best outdoor dining garden. While you cannot go wrong with anything on the Mediterranean focused menu, we recommend ordering a variety of tapas (small plates) to share with the table. A favorite? Gamblas a la Plancha- "griddled" garlic, lemon shrimp topped with fresh salsa verde.
Enjoy the rest of the afternoon shopping through the boutiquey mom and pop shops of Pearl Street.
7 pm - Dinner at Pizzeria Locale
1730 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
The brainchild of Frasca Food & Wine’s owner/chef, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, and sommelier Bobby Stucky, Pizzeria Locale is as close as you can get to Italy while still having the flatirons as your backdrop. Born from a passionate cooking career between Europe and the States and a significant amount of exploration through Southern Italy, Pizzeria Locale opened its doors in 2011 and has been dishing out authentic, Napoleon pizza ever since. In true Italian fashion, the restaurant focuses on using simple, fresh and local ingredients. Sitting at heart of Locale- next to the open fire oven, cutting into the perfectly crisp thin-crust pizzas, sipping a traditional aperitif and one of the two selectively appointed tap wines for pizza pairing- it'll be hard to remember you're in Colorado. Buon appetito!
9:30 pm - Drinks at Bitter Bar
835 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302
On the far west side of downtown, you will find the unassuming, adobe-esch exterior of the best mixology bar the city has to offer. Hipster, posh, laid back and pretentious in all the right ways, Bitter Bar will offer a fantastically interesting note to end your night on. With their “World Famous” cocktails, the mastery and skill of the mixologists is very pronounced from its unique menu; think tequila, shaken raw egg white and jalapeño for a new breed of “margarita.” For those adventurous type, ask your mixologist for their favorite or pick your poison and ask for something new. As if the melange of cocktails and decorations was not entertainment enough, the bar draws an eclectic crowd that can be fascinating to watch or converse with. Eat your heart out.
11 pm - Still Going?
Down the street you can find Boulder's famed and dangerously strong margaritas at The Rio- but be warned! These bad boys are fantastically deadly; their unassuming, sweet-sour blended mix will certainly deceive even the best of us as to how much alcohol we are actually consuming- the reason for the restaurant and bar's 3 drink limit! Go up to the roof for a stunning view overlooking the city’s night scape and one last drag of that invigorating mountain air. And, if you are still going after that, Tahona’s Tequila Bistro offers some great after hours dancing- maybe that’s the real secret to staying fit here!