Boulder is a city in the southeast region of Colorado that’s located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s geographically close to Denver, Colorado’s capital city, but thrives on a completely different vibe. It has a population of around 100,000, and is a world-class destination for its natural wonders, award-winning restaurants, and industries. This region claims “the best” in terms of rock climbing areas, innovative restaurants and fine microbreweries. However, the University of Colorado in Boulder also accounts for some of the city’s traffic. The University educates about 25,000 students each year, and has 11 research institutes for thousands of scientific and creative endeavors.
Boulder is especially known for its natural landscape, which all starts with over 45,000 acres the city has preserved. Take your pick among the 60+ urban parks to take a stroll around a lake, play disc golf, or visit a playground. There are also numerous trails around the city, built to maintain regional boundaries, but perfect for hikes all year round. Valmont Bike Park is one of the most unique and diverse bike parks in the nation, and whether you’re a mountain biker, dirt biker, or casual biker, there’s bound to be a course for you. There’s good reason Boulder was named “the best place in the nation to indulge in outdoor sports” by Outside Magazine. And after all those activities, is it a surprise that Boulder is nicknamed “foodie town”? The city has a wide smattering of award-winning restaurants. But Boulder is also the “Napa Valley for Craft Brewing,” and has dozens of some finest microbrews in the US. Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder has shops with unusual names and wares for that perfect souvenir. If you happen to miss the annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival or Colorado Music Festival that’s held in Boulder, don’t forget that famous performers and guest speakers are invited for numerous events throughout the year.
Have you ever heard of South Park? It’s a real place, a real mountain town that inspired the animated television series. Try your hand at fishing or hunting, horseback or ATV riding. If that seems a bit much, tour the sites and visit the neighborhood shops that sell local crafts. The Lariat Loop in Jefferson County is 40 miles in the scenic foothills of Colorado that will take you back to the 1920s. Get a feel for what is was like in the Age of Motorcars by visiting popular attractions like Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum and the Mother Cabrini Shrine. And while you’re at the foothills of some of the highest peaks in central North America, why not explore Rocky Mountain National Park? It’s a large park that is divided into several areas: Trail Ridge Road, which leads to the highest part of the park; the Arctic-looking Tundra Trail, which stays cool even in the heat of summer; Bear Lake, a popular picnic spot; and Wild Basin, a forested area that’s great for gentle hikes. You can find civilization nearby at Estes Park, aka the “gateway to the Rockies,” a mountain town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. The city of Denver is also fit for a day trip from Boulder. Colorado’s capital city is a sprawling metropolis that has a completely different vibe from Boulder. It still has elements of beauty from nature, but also has a breathtaking and bustling cityscape.
Boulder can be divided into thirds from top to bottom for a better understanding of regional atmospheres. From the rural north to the busy center to the quiet south, finding the right accommodations could completely change the tone of your trip. Starting with the “heart of the city” that is central Boulder, accommodations in this area are plentiful and accessible. The downtown area, which is a part of central Boulder, even has hotels that reflect different nuances of flavor. There are luxurious green hotels/spas, for example, or classic “historic” hotels. Charming “boutique” hotels are popular as well. The central area is also where the University of Colorado makes its home, so there are a good selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s a fun place to stay if you’re into street performers, live bands, shopping, and beer. North Boulder is better for those who need to constantly satisfy their recreation needs. The North Boulder Park is a popular place for soccer, baseball games, and even picnics, so staying in this area may keep you active. Boulder’s southern area also provides escape from the busy downtown scene. South Boulder is perfect for hiking enthusiasts or bird watchers. Staying in the southern area will give you easy access to trails into the Flatirons or to Flagstaff Mountain.
When a place gets 300+ days of sunshine a year, biking and walking make the list of most popular ways to get around a city. There are over 300 miles of dedicated bikeways in Boulder that include on-street bike lanes, separate bike routes, and even special soft-surface paths. Walking is another widely used form of transport, with miles of pedestrian-friendly walkways throughout the city. The bus is another way to get around, though the fare is a bit pricey at $2.60. The city’s fleet of buses, which is the Community Transit Network, has routes to almost any area in the city. It’s also possible to get to downtown Denver or Denver International Airport via Boulder’s public transportation.
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