Boulder Travel Information

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The Denver Post once described Boulder as 'the little town nestled between the mountains and reality.' Shadowed by the towering Flatirons and surrounded by more than 31,000 acres of recreational open space and nature preserves, the community is 28 square miles of outdoor heaven.

Named after the mammoth rocks scattered across the terrain, Boulder brims with big city sophistication, college town smarts, and environmental sensibilities. Technology and research firms such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Storage Technology and Ball Aerospace keep the business economy booming. Of course, the 25,000 students enrolled at the University of Colorado (called CU in local tongue) keep the town feeling young. Plus, the incredibly diverse student crowd adds a worldly edge to the chiefly white and wealthy population residing in the city limits.

Wanderers from all over the world converge on the valley each year. Some are going to school. Others come for the renowned rock-climbing, mountain biking, hiking and skiing. Some show up searching for enlightenment or new age ideals. Others simply seek the mountain solitude. Whether disgruntled with East Coast congestion or the West Coast bustle, in search of spiritual freedom or simply on an exploratory mission from abroad, people find a reason to call Boulder home. Just try finding an actual Boulder native. It might be easier to find a nugget of gold up in the hills. In this hodgepodge of cultures and beliefs is a collective community rallying around the preservation of a natural landscape and a quality of life. Residents have banned together to fight off rapid growth and unruly developers. They managed to pass a law forbidding smoking in public spaces, including bars and nightclubs, and the town is currently battling chain stores from taking over the city. The community's aggressive nature in the political arena and fierce attitudes toward uncurbed growth has earned the city the nickname 'Peoples Republic of Boulder.'

Although it resides a mere 30 miles northeast of Denver and is lumped into the sprawling metroplex for statistical reasons, the town moves to its own funky vibe and might as well be three thousand miles down road. Living in Boulder is like living a different state of mind, in a place where time somehow moves slower, the paths seem a little less traveled and reality always seems a step away.

Downtown

Boulder's historic civic center serves as a gathering place for the entire city. Anchored by Pearl Street, a vibrant thoroughfare boasting a magnificent four-block pedestrian mall, downtown brims with tourists, but is also a lively haven for the eclectic locals. The tree-lined promenade, long ago a refuge for drunken cowboys and prostitutes, is alive with cafes, galleries, brewpubs, restaurants, and every type of shopping imaginable. Musicians and performers clutter the Pearl Street Mall vying for attention. Stroll by the occasional flower child aimlessly wandering the mall, small groups of blue haired urban punk rockers, and even a peaceful band of Hare Krishnas camped on the courthouse lawn.

Locals pour into downtown nightly to relax and shop. An array of small boutiques and interesting gift shops complement the few national retailers and stand among 15 bookshops. If you're looking for New Age knick-knacks, Deadhead mementos or ethnic art, check out the Crystal Dragon or Mole Hole. Pick up an exotic souvenir at one of the two Tibetan gift outlets. MAX and Solo keep the business crowd looking stylish, while more than six retro shops recycle all the hip fashions.

If high culture is on the agenda, then browse around one at one of the galleries brightening downtown, including the popular Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Busch Gallery International. You can also check out the Dairy Center for the Arts for productions by a local theater and dance troupe or a graceful performance from the Boulder Ballet.

The Boulder County Farmers' Market adds a bit of flavor from April to October and offers everything from organic veggies and local wines to famous homegrown cantaloupe. The Boulder Creek Path, crowded with bikers, in-line enthusiasts, walkers and wanderers, also meanders though downtown. Along the way, the trial passes the Underwater Observatory, Central Park, City Hall and Heartling Sculpture Park before winding into Boulder Canyon towards the mountain town of Nederland.

After a long day of exploring, kick back with a local brew on an outdoor patio, take in the amazing mountain views, and watch the world go by.

The surrounding Whittier and Mapleton neighborhoods feature towering cottonwoods and maples, blocks of stately Victorian homes with hefty mortgages and miles of flagstone sidewalks, providing the perfect setting for an late night romantic stroll.

The big box retail chains, strip malls, fast food fry pits (even Boulder has them), and Crossroads Mall occupy a long stretch of car heavy 28th Street, just a bit south of the city center. Although not the ideal destination for the tourist, the area is great for last minute stops before heading to the hills. The strip is also the place in town to find a movie theater.

University Hill

Known as 'The Hill' by locals, the neighborhood is the home of the University of Colorado. Literally parked on a hilltop above downtown, the district provides the typical college town quirkiness and a host of popular attractions including the Heritage Center and the Sommer-Bausch Observatory.

Spread across more than 600 acres of rolling landscape, CU is a feat of architectural beauty with old stone buildings sporting red Spanish tiled rooftops. Just moseying about the campus grounds creates a sense of wonder, moving through tree-lined passageways, catching glimpses of wildlife, and gazing into the serene depths of Varsity Pond. Catch a CU Buffalo football game at Folsom Field or take in a concert at Mackey Auditorium. The Sibell-Wolle Fine Arts Building houses a plethora of galleries displaying contemporary work by revered artists as well as students. Try to see Foucault's Pendulum make a move or stargaze at the Fiske Planetarium.

After checking out CU, head of to The Hill's entertainment district. The area floods with students filling the bars and restaurants searching for the perfect pizza and a cold beer. Neo-hippies peruse the streets, usually entertaining a pack of friendly canines, and the coffee shop crowd relates in one of the quaint cafes. The area can get a little rowdy, especially after Buff games and long nights of drinking.

The residential neighborhood bordering The Hill is an odd mix of fraternity and sorority houses, apartment complexes, rental houses and posh single-family homes. It is not unusual to see six or more people packed into one house trying to beat the area's high rent costs. The streets are usually bustling with activity well into the night.

Chautauqua Park rests at the base of Flagstaff Mountain on the southwest side of University Hill. The park, one of three remaining from the early 1900s cultural movement, features a dining hall and an outdoor auditorium that hosts an excellent summer concert series.

Other Places of Interest

Boulder contains a wealth of pocket residential communities peppered with parks and open space. Martin Park, on the south side of town, is a step into 1950s tract housing. Table Mesa, nestled in the western foothills, is home to the NationalCenter for Atmospheric Research and miles of easy nature trails.

Most of Boulder's big business sectors reside on the fringes of the city. Gunbarrel, on the eastern edge of town, is home to IBM and Celestional Seasonings. Boulder's small southern neighbor, Louisville, is home to Storage Tek. Broomfield, nine miles south of Boulder, recently opened the posh Interlocken Business Park and Resort and is attracting national attention as a hot relocation spot.

If you're searching for an otherworldly experience all together, take a day and visit one of the area's mountain towns. Eldorado Springs, where the world comes to rock climb, was once a hangout for the well-to-do including Damon Runyon and President Eisenhower. Now, it is a quaint commuter community of about 900 residents. Nederland, home to Eldora Ski Resort, is a tourist-oriented former gold claim that still possesses a bit of the anti-establishment mountain attitude.

Weather

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Avg. High 45° 48° 54° 62° 71° 81° 87° 85° 76° 66° 54° 45°
Avg. Low 18° 24° 28° 35° 44° 52° 58° 56° 48° 38° 28° 21°
Mean 34° 36° 41° 48° 58° 67° 74° 71° 62° 54° 41° 34°
Avg. Precip. 0.6 in 0.7 in 1.6 in 2.2 in 3.0 in 2.2 in 2.0 in 1.3 in 1.9 in 1.3 in 1.1 in 0.8 in