Boulder, Colorado is a Mecca for nature lovers, trendy youth, and the young at heart. With the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Flatirons, and the Pearl Street Mall, there's something for everyone in this popular destination. Some of the best things you'll see in Boulder, Colorado are inexpensive, if not free. We've compiled some of the best things to do in Boulder, whether you're looking for a hike, plan on people watching, or just want to see some new sights.
The University of Colorado gives Boulder its overall college town personality and flavor. Even if you're not a student, there are plenty of things to see and do on campus. Visit the CU Heritage Center, the historic Norlin Quadrangle, and the Fiske Planetarium. In the summer, they host the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and in the fall, you can watch the University of Colorado Buffaloes team take on other Pac-12 football teams at Folsom Field.
The Flatirons are a group of iconic Boulder hogback mountains that give Boulder its distinctive look. Make no mistake, these five mountains are impressive and will challenge any rock climber. But if you're not particularly technical when it comes to climbing, don't worry. There are plenty of hiking trails for all abilities that will bring you closer to the Flatirons and provide plenty of photo ops.
If you're looking for an easy walk that doesn't require dodging automobiles, consider Boulder Creek Path. This trail follows Boulder Creek from Boulder Canyon through downtown for 5 1/2 miles. It ends at the Stazio Ballfields on the east side of Boulder. There is plenty of shade by the creek, and Boulderites use this path frequently.
You haven't been to Boulder until you've visited Pearl Street Mall. The mall is a bit on the eclectic side, with some name brand stores, but mostly local shops, cafes, and restaurants. This is a great place to people watch while you grab a bite to eat.
Denver may be the microbrewery capital, but Boulder is no slouch, boasting more than 20 breweries within city limits. Whether you're looking for a hoppy IPA, a stout, or a pale ale, you can taste some of the very best beers out there without leaving Boulder proper.
Not interested in beer? Maybe you're more of a tea person. The Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory is a must for any tea lover's list of things to see in Boulder, Colorado. Founded in 1969, Celestial Seasonings packages and ships more than eight million teabags daily and over 1.6 billion cups of Celestial Seasonings' tea is sipped annually throughout the world. A visit to the factory is free; you will get to taste some yummy teas, and you can buy discounted teas in their shop.
The scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research take weather very seriously. These people study things like ozone depletion and climate change. Your free tour will include instruments their meteorologists use to determine weather changes, and you can even play around with fascinating and educational hands-on displays. This is the perfect site visit for anyone who ever wondered about how the weather is predicted.
Eldorado Canyon State Park is just 20 minutes south of Boulder. With 885 acres, you can hike, rock climb, horseback ride, kayak, and bird watch to your heart's content. The state park is free to visitors aside from an $8 parking fee. The 3.6-mile Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is a loop that offers spectacular views and moderately challenging climbing. Bring your camera; you'll be impressed.
If you're looking for a bit of nature that doesn't require you to leave the city, Chautauqua Park is the answer. You'll be thrilled by the amazing views and vistas. Don't want to leave? Have dinner in the dining room and stay in one of the quaint cabins. Entrance to the park is free, and it's only a couple miles from the University of Colorado at Boulder. There's even bus service in the summer.
Flagstaff Mountain, five miles southwest of Boulder, is a must-see. The climb can be strenuous for those who aren't acclimated to the high altitude, as it rises almost 7000 feet. In the summertime, you can take the road up to the summit to take in the exceptional views with less exertion. Once on top, visit the Summit Nature Center and its interactive exhibits.