Updated: 8/17/2015

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Just 45 minutes from Denver’s airport, gorgeous landscapes, a walker- and biker-friendly compact downtown and plenty to do, you’ll be just as inspired as the locals to enjoy a day packed with activity.

Morning

The pedestrian Pearl Street Mall is Boulder’s central hub. Fuel up for the day at any of a dozen or so downtown coffee shops, where you’ll sit alongside students, freelancers and professorial types clicking away on their laptops. Then spend some time strolling the brick-paved Pearl Street, lined with historic buildings that now house on-trend boutiques and longtime favorites, like the Boulder Bookstore, Art Mart and Peppercorn.

For more shopping, head to Twenty Ninth Street, an outdoor mall headlined by H&M, The North Face and Apple. Hook up with Boulder Walking Tours to see the Boulder through its neighborhoods, historic areas and open spaces.

Boulder's iconic Flatirons stand sentry over the city, Boulder, CO
Boulder's iconic Flatirons stand sentry over the city, Boulder, CO

Saturdays and Wednesdays (May–October), stroll Boulder Farmers’ Market. One of the best in the state, the market has a strict sell-what-you-grow policy and a lovely setting next to Boulder Creek. Local chefs are often spotted shopping for the freshest produce, so you may find yourself tasting some of the market veggies while dining later. 

Creativity is found in every corner of Boulder, with more than 30 galleries, four museums, many theaters, dance studios and a large number of cultural performances each year.  

Afternoon

Head next door to the Dushanbe Teahouse to admire the intricate paintings and carvings adorning this building that was shipped, piece by piece, from Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan. Have a bite to eat and order a pot of tea from the teahouse’s exhaustive menu before embarking on your afternoon adventures.

Discover the hiking trails that cater to avid outdoor lovers. National Historic Landmark Chautauqua Park has a network of trails to suit every level of hiker and will give you an up-close view of the Flatirons — the slanting slabs of red sandstone that are Boulder’s most recognizable landmark — framed by a meadow that blooms with summer wildflowers. Stop into Chautauqua Dining Hall, which has been serving Boulderites since 1898. 

Evening

Boulder was named the “Foodiest Town in North America” by Bon Appétit, so dinner at one of the city’s restaurants is a must. Wander around the Pearl Street area for plenty of award-winning options, including Provencal-inspired Mateo; Pizzeria Locale’s traditional Neapolitan pies (brought to you by the chefs at another Pearl Street favorite, Frasca Food & Wine); or The Kitchen, an eco-friendly bistro that pairs food with decadent brews. 

After, visit a brewery to taste the local suds and take a tour — there are more than 20 now, pretty serious for a town of 100,000 people! Pick up a Boulder Beer Trails brochure at area visitor centers, take a walking tour from Boulder Brew Tours or catch a ride on the Boulder Brew Bus. Then head to OAK at fourteenth, where Vanity Fair-featured mixologist Bryan Dayton demonstrates the art of handcrafted cocktails for your sipping pleasure.

Get Sidetracked 

In Longmont, you’ll find golf courses, beautiful parks and a Certified Colorado Creative District. Survey the work of local artists in galleries and coffee shops. The area’s brewery scene is also noteworthy. Left Hand Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues’ Tasty Weasel Tap Room are longtime favorites, while 300 Suns, Longs Peak Pub, Großen Bart, Shoes & Brews, Wibby and SKEYE recently opened their doors. For those seeking thrills, Mile-Hi Skydiving Center hosts excursions to Longs Peak for divers of all experience levels. 

Winter Fun

While not a traditional ski town, Boulder was named a “Top Winter Town” by National Geographic Traveler for its proximity to skiing and charming downtown vibe. The magazine cites the ability to ski nearby Eldora Mountain Resort in the morning and head back down to town for a hike or bike ride in the afternoon. Non-downhill skiers love Eldora’s Nordic Center, which offers lessons and trails designed specifically for cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing.