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One City Six Ways: Boulder, Colorado

by Debra Bokur

Nov 23, 2017

Dgmcmillan | Dreamstime

Destinations / North America

Located at the feet of Colorado’s soaring Rocky Mountains just west of Denver, the historic, laid-back university town of Boulder was once part of the Nebraska Territory and later a destination for gold and silver seekers. Today, Boulder still glitters with year-round outdoor offerings, a farm-fresh culinary scene and a host of cultural offerings.

 

History & Culture: The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Monument (one of Colorado’s 25 National Historic Landmarks) enjoys a premier location at the base of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons. A robust schedule of concerts, theater, lectures, film screenings and other events are offered year-round in the auditorium.

 

Culinary: Boulder loves to eat, and it’s difficult to find a local restaurant that doesn’t tout the freshest locally produced ingredients. Favorites with locals include Zolo Southwestern Grill for Mexican fare, and River & Woods for traditional recipes served up with a hip twist. A host of food-centric tours focus on mead, craft brews, artisan ales, wine and spirits, while food trucks and carts can be found in multiple locations — including the new Rayback Collective, a food truck park. During spring, summer and early fall, wander the vast Boulder Farmers Market downtown or take a self-guided tour of Boulder County’s Farm Trail.

man biking in colorado

Photo: Marek Uliasz | Dreamstime

 

Active: A heavenly haven for sports enthusiasts, Boulder’s altitude and geographic setting make it a huge draw for professional and amateur athletes. Activities include cycling, mountain biking, hiking, bouldering, rock climbing, running, kayaking and snow sports. Boulder BCycle program makes cruise-style bikes available to visitors at numerous stations around town. Don’t mind steep paths? Test your leg muscles by hiking the Mallory Cave trail to a rock cave home to a rare species of bats. Organized tours leave from the parking lot of the National Center for Atmospheric Research just outside of downtown. In winter months, board the dedicated ski bus that leaves from the central Walnut Street bus station. In just 30 minutes, you’ll be at Eldora Ski Resort where new lifts and great groomed trails have the bonus of stunning mountain scenery. Buses run pretty much on the hour during the day between the resort and downtown Boulder throughout ski season.

 

Wellness: Treat yourself to an authentic Thai massage session at Siam Sensation or end your shopping spree on the Pearl Street Mall with a soothing massage, facial, Ayurvedic therapy or acupuncture treatment at The Dragontree. For total indulgence, the Spa at St. Julien transcends the usual hotel spa experience: This luxury sanctuary is based at the very feet of the towering mountains, with views of the Flatirons. Boulder is also home to Cloud Nine Float Center and Isolate Flotation Center, where you can experience a mind-altering isolation float in a private tank. Missing your at-home yoga classes? Boulder has you covered, plus some. It’s home to dozens of yoga centers, from low-key drop-in spots to high-intensity classes with celebrity teachers. It’s no coincidence Yoga Journal magazine is also based here.

Chautauqua Park in Boulder Colorado Chautauqua Park in Boulder Colorado

Photo: Tang90246 | Dreamstime


Romance
: Take in a concert at the Chautauqua auditorium, but enjoy dinner and mountain sunset views pre-show on the fabulous wraparound deck at the site’s Dining Hall. Visitors in summer can take in a performance at The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, held outdoors under the twinkling stars at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre. Enjoy afternoon tea at the breathtaking Dushanbe Teahouse, hand-carved and hand-decorated by artisans and craftspeople in Tajikistan, then shipped to Boulder to be reassembled in its present location. Wander to the western end of the Pearl Street Mall to buy take-home handcrafted treats at Piece, Love and Chocolate, a shop adored by locals. Book your stay at the historic Hotel Boulderado, opened in 1909. Reserve the Romance offer with chilled Champagne and chocolates, late check-out, a restaurant credit and luxury accommodations. Strolls along Boulder Creek path come fully equipped with gorgeous mountain scenery and the sound of rushing water flowing downhill from the high, snow-covered peaks.

 

Family Fun: Take the drive up Highway 119 to the western edge of Boulder County and the small, historic mining center of Nederland, where a tiny downtown core includes a mining museum and collection of wildly quirky shops and restaurants. Along the way, watch for the signs that lead to Boulder Falls. A small parking area directly on the side of the road allows for access to the falls, seen from the roadside. Back in Boulder, pay a visit to the Fiske Planetarium for stargazing, and take a walk along the Pearl Street pedestrian mall to Into the Wind Kite Shop — way more than just kite shop, this magical toy emporium has been a Boulder institution for more than 30 years.

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