A Perfect Day Downtown
There’s a lot to do in downtown Boulder, so we put together some itineraries based on the length of your stay to help you plan your visit and make sure you make the most of it.
Here for an Afternoon?
Okay, so you won’t have time to enjoy all the wonders of the downtown experience, but that doesn't mean you can’t have an unforgettable couple of hours. First things first, make your way to the heart of Boulder - the Pearl Street Mall.
This four block pedestrian mall celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. Welcoming over two million visitors annually, the mall is home to some of the best people watching anywhere. Lively buskers perform year round to the delight of children and all those who are young at heart. In the summer months, the pop jet fountain keeps kiddos cooled down and there are countless special events that add to the ambiance of the most celebrated pedestrian mall in the country!
If it’s nice out, grab a bite to eat with a view. Rooftop decks and sidewalk patios are a great option. Check out the view from above with lunch at the West End Tavern, Rosetta Hall or Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant. Be one with the people on a sidewalk patio at the Pizzeria Locale, Hapa Sushi, or Next Door.
Have some time for shopping? Be sure to check out iconic destinations like Peppercorn and Into the Wind, and don’t forget to pick up a Boulder souvenir from BoCo Life, Where the Buffalo Roam or Jackalope. If you’re not in a rush after that, take a stroll to the beautiful Dushanbe Tea House for a soothing cup of tea before you’re on your way.
Here for a Day?
Are you ready for the best day of your life? Here we go! A great way to get a quick sense for downtown Boulder is through a guided tour from Local Table Tours. For a truly authentic Boulder experience, check out Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour. Where else can you sit back in a recliner on an old school bus tricked out to look like a traveling hillbilly shack?
If you are more of an independent explorer, there is plenty to see and do on your own. Grab a B-cycle and enjoy the Boulder Creek Path or go on a electric bike tour around town. Stop by the Boulder Civic Area located on the Creek across Canyon Boulevard. Other key points of interest: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) and the Museum of Boulder. If it's a nice day, grab a gourmet sandwich from Organic Sandwich Company, Dish Gourmet or Cured and find a spot on the Pearl Street Mall to enjoy the street performers or along the Boulder Creek!
No visit to downtown is complete without shopping and dining on or near the world famous Pearl Street Mall. So, where do you start a retail therapy session downtown? There is no wrong answer to this question. For the active lifestyle / outdoor adventurer crew, downtown offers a host of options from Fjallraven, The North Face, Patagonia, Burton, MontBell, prAna, and Athleta - just to name a few. Want to impress your teen with your keen sense of all that is hip and cool? Take them to Volcom, Billabong, Free People, Savvy on Pearl, Elison Rd., or Urban Outfitters. In need of business attire or something for a night out on the town? Check out Weekends, Barbara & Company, Haven or MAX. If casual cool is in order stop by Canoe Club, or Island Farm. If you are not sure what you are looking for, there is just about everything you can imagine from warm, Alpaca-made clothing at Alpaca Connection, costumes for every occasion at The Ritz, second hand treasures from Apocalypse to Boulder-casual vibe from stores like Cedar & Hyde.
Don't forget to top off a new outfit with shoes and accessories. "Go to" boutiques include Two Sole Sisters, Shoe Fly, Adorned and Angie Star Jewelry. For special occasions? Gems abound at Hurdle's Jewelry, John Atencio, Classic Facets and Todd Reed. Don't stop at this list! There are too many outstanding options to name. Visit the shopping directory on our site for complete listings.
If you are an artsy adventurer we’ve got you covered. From BMoCA’s captivating exhibits, to 25+ galleries showcasing painting, photography, jewelry and more, to an artist’s co-op, Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery, and some of the best home furnishings you can imagine, the downtown district is an empty canvas waiting for your brush to explore! If you’re planning a visit in the summer months, make sure to check out Pearl Street Arts Fest in July.
Here for the Weekend?
Now we’re talking! With a whole weekend of activities ahead you’ve got some serious planning to do. First, we need to decide where you’re laying your head at night. Some great options for a home away from home are the St Julien Hotel and Spa, the Hotel Boulderado, and The Bradley Boulder Inn.
If you’re getting in Friday, ease into town by treating yourself to an incredible meal at restaurants like Frasca Food & Wine, OAK at Fourteenth or Corrida before taking in the nightlife with a stroll down the Pearl Street Mall. On Saturday, start your day off right with the most important meal of the day. Check out the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives favorite Foolish Craig’s, Zoe Ma Ma and The Post Brewing Co.. Just steps away is the famous, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. For a quick bite and good cup of Joe, there are more than 20 coffee/tea shops where you will find some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the west making power deals and networking in what locals call the heart of Silicon Flatirons! See who’s who at places like Ozo and The Laughing Goat.
Then head right to the Farmers Market to take in the scene and partake in some delicious hand-crafted bites to eat while you stroll the Boulder Creek Path. Every Saturday from April through November and Wednesday evenings in May-Oct, the Boulder Farmers Market (the BEST farmers market in Colorado) provides a great selection of produce – sold to you directly by the farmers who grow their products.
Since you’re on vacation, you’ll probably be ready to dive right into another delicious meal, so try a local favorite like Riffs Urban Fare for a Colorado Bee Burger with garlic aioli, good cheddar and tender belly bacon, Chimera for delicious soup dumplings or T/ACO for urban tacos.
As evening approaches, be sure to check the event calendar for happenings throughout downtown. In the mood for some entertainment? See what’s going on at the Boulder Theater and eTown or check out local musicians and DJs at The Laughing Goat. Don’t miss downtown’s beer scene. Check out the Boulder Beer Trail and grab a cold one at Oskar Blues, Mountain Sun or West Flanders.
And before you head back to your lodging, grab a sweet treat at, Piece Love & Chocolate, Ben & Jerry's, Kliwins or Lindsay’s Boulder Deli @ Haagen Dazs. When you wake up on Sunday, feeling fulfilled, it’s time to grab a cup of Joe at Trident Book Sellers & Cafe or Alpine Modern Coffee Bar. If you're looking for a healthy way to start the day, stop by Wonder or Whole Sol. After that take a leisurely walk to the Boulder Book Store or Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery for some last minute browsing as you start planning your next trip to Boulder. Remember your visit with a Boulder-themed puzzle from Liberty Puzzles!
At any point during your short or long visit downtown, stop by the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center (1303 Pearl Street) where friendly ambassadors can assist you with recommendations, maps and brochures. Hours vary seasonally.
Also, check out LoveTheLocal.com for other itineraries from downtowners who will give you their favorite spots around town!