Although I grew up in Chicago, I have now been living in Boulder, Colorado for almost five months. As you will soon discover, I absolutely love it here! The people are wonderful, there are an abundance of outdoor activities, and the food options seem endless! I certainly would suggest spending more than one day in Boulder, but if you’re pressed for time, this is how to spend your day.
The perfect day would start off with breakfast at Snooze. Although this is not a hidden gem, the restaurant is popular for a reason! Make sure to get there early to put in a reservation. I’d also suggest ordering a brewmosa. Yes, you read that right. Can’t beat having a breakfast beer to start your day!
If you are in Boulder, you absolutely must go hiking at least once. There are trails for everyone, regardless of your experience level! One of my favorite hikes is up the Chautauqua First-Second Flatiron Trail. This hike is on the easier end and runs just under 3 miles round trip. Make sure to bring plenty of water, especially if it’s a really hot day. I’d also suggest packing a lunch to eat at the top. Nothing like having a picnic at an elevation of 7,132 feet (about 2,174 meters)!
If you’re looking for something less intensive, you can try Viewpoint Trail. It’s a hidden trail, and you could easily pass it up if you didn’t know what you were looking for. It’s only about one-mile round trip, up to the top at Panorama Point and back down to where you started. You get amazing views all the way up on this short hike, so make sure to watch your step with all the distracting scenery surrounding you!
If you didn’t eat lunch at the top of Chautauqua, head over to The Sink to have one of the best burgers you will ever eat. Located in the heart of “The Hill,” Boulder’s home to many University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) students, The Sink has an entire page of burger options to suit your fancy. Still don’t see anything that stands out? No worries, build your own burger like I did! For me, it doesn’t get better than an avocado jalapeño burger.
Walk off your lunch by crossing Broadway and exploring the CU-Boulder campus. Don’t get too carried away though, because soon you’ll need to head over to Celestial Seasonings to tour their tea factory! Tours begin every hour Monday through Saturday from 10-4 and Sunday from 11-3.
Not a tea fan? Maybe a beer tour is more your style! A trip to Boulder is certainly not complete without craft beer! You can get a tour of Boulder Beer Company, Colorado’s first microbrewery. Tours run Monday through Saturday at 2pm, and there is also an additional 4pm tour on Saturdays.
And the best part? Both of these tours are free!
As you wrap up your tour filled afternoon, head back over to downtown Boulder to explore Pearl Street. There are plenty of shops to browse through, regular street performers throughout the day, and if all else fails it’s a great area for people watching!
Get ready for your splurge of the day because the best meal is yet to come. Enjoy a delicious dinner at The Mediterranean Restaurant (or “The Med” for short). But make sure to reserve your table beforehand because it can get pretty crowded here! My favorite meal? Start off with the Ajo Asado appetizer and Moscato d’Asti wine. Yes, I know it’s a dessert wine, but live it up and order it with your appetizer. They actually go really well together (at least that’s what my newbie wine palate tells me)! For your main entree, the Garganelli con Pesto is to die for, but I really don’t think you can go wrong with anything you order here!
If you’re still ready to go after dinner, hit up one of the many bars on and near Pearl Street. There’s plenty to choose from, so it’s tough to go wrong!
At a quick 35-minute drive from downtown Denver, a day trip in Boulder will keep you plenty busy with the countless activities and attractions the city has to offer. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to stay even longer!
Marissa Sutera is a travel writer currently based in Boulder, Colorado where she seeks out any adventures she can in between her travels. She is the creator of Little Things Travel Blog, where she shares tips and stories of her travels while ultimately focusing on appreciating the little things in life. You can connect with her by following her on Facebook or Twitter.