Insider’s Guide to Boulder County, Colorado
10 Fun Things to do in Boulder!
1. PUSH THOSE PEDALS
From casual commuters to Tour de France pros, Boulder is a bicyclists’ haven. To join the locals rolling by, rent some wheels at Boulder Bikesmith (2432 Arapahoe Ave.) or Full Cycle (1211 13th St.). Catch a group cruiser ride, complete with quirky bikes and costumes, every Thursday evening—it leaves Scott Carpenter Park (at Arapahoe Avenue and 30th Street) anywhere from 7 to 7:30pm each week.
Boulder’s best homegrown bands play Sunday nights at the Mountain Sun pub (1535 Pearl St.) and Monday nights at the Southern Sun (627 South Broadway). Sip a sudsy Sun creation while you listen to The Motet or Go Go Lab; some national acts perform too. The 10pm concerts are free and always hopping. February is the 17th Annual Stout and Chop Month at both pubs, bringing liquid yumminess in the form of every type of Stout beer imaginable, presented by a chop-laden server.
Its proximity to downtown Boulder, moderate length and spectacular views make Mt. Sanitas one of the most popular trails with Boulderites. From a trailhead on Mapleton Avenue (west of Broadway), the loop climbs 1.4 miles to the Sanitas summit, passing by red sandstone formations and ponderosa pines, and descends another 2 miles via an open, grassy valley (beautiful views to the south) and the old rock-quarry wagon road.
Tucked away in Lafayette, the WOW! (World of Wonder) Children’s Museum is a treasure. Kids love to explore the many interactive exhibits and programs, ranging from science topics to music to arts and crafts. Boulder County parents agree: WOW!, inexpensive to visit, is just as good as similar museums in bigger cities.
5. BE A BEACH BUM
If you can’t seem to escape the summer heat, head to Boulder Reservoir. Locals say there’s something about immersing yourself up to the neck in the cool open water that does the trick. If you tire of swimming, canoes, kayaks and sailboards are available for rental.
For an outdoors twist on the typical concert hall, set up camp outside Chautauqua Auditorium during the Colorado Music Festival’s fabulous summer series. The music floats out the hall’s many doors, while you can enjoy breezes and a picnic on the lawn. Meanwhile, restless kids can run around and use the nearby playground.
For a laid-back outing, try disc golf, Boulder’s favorite mish-mash sport. Locals emerge to play the free course at Harlow Platts Park (1360 Gillaspie) all times of the day, often with beverage in hand. It’s always free to play; you just need a disc or two. Pick up a driver or putter at Play It Again Sports, 653 South Broadway.
8. MEANDER FOURMILE CANYYON
The beautiful Anne U. White trail follows Fourmile Canyon Creek for 1.5 miles of brilliant wildflowers, miniature waterfalls and young aspen stands. The creek water, plus plenty of shade, makes this a favorite escape from the summer heat.
9. EXPLORE THE STARS
Fiske Planetarium (on Regent Drive on the CU campus) hosts a wealth of star shows, live talks and laser and music performances. Don’t miss the new “Science on a Sphere” demonstrations, free in the lobby. After you investigate the asteroid belt or see the latest from the Hubble Space Telescope, do some telescoping of your own at free stargazing sessions every Friday at 9pm.
10. REVEL NEDERLAND-STYLE
Not exactly a hidden wonder, NedFest is nonetheless as authentic a local event as you can get. Music groups span bluegrass, jazz and world-beat genres for concerts on the shores of Barker Reservoir in Nederland. Join the eclectic party for three days of top-notch music, rustic camping, hula-hooping and other shenanigans.