A whip-smart college town with a proud hippy past,Boulder is located at nature’s doorstep—right where the mountains meet the plains—a prized location its residents fiercely protect while fully embracing its love of urban pleasures, too. This ultra-creative, entrepreneurial and outdoor-obsessed small city is nearly synonymous with the slanting red-sandstone Flatirons mountains that provide Boulder’s dazzling backdrop.
Shhhh… Best-Kept Secret: The Hit the Bricks LEGO Exhibitat the University of Colorado’s Heritage Center is a miniature version of Boulder in LEGO form with tiny little hidden references to Boulder’s pop culture.
Claim to Fame: Happiest City in the U.S. — National Geographic
Lay of the Land
Boulder is a compact “25 square miles surrounded by reality,” as the joke goes. The city is just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, but it feels a world apart, with the west side of town climbing quickly up into forested foothills. Downtown, brick-paved Pearl Street is the heart and soul of Boulder, lined with Victorian-era buildings that are home to independent shops and eateries. South of Pearl is The Hill, where many University of Colorado students live.
What Locals Love to Do
Stroll Pearl Street, Boulder’s historic pedestrian mall, bustling with street performers, shopping, award-winning dining, and some of the world’s best people-watching.
Hike 150 miles of gorgeous trails within minutes of any doorstep and discover hikes that are favored by elite athletes and casual hikers alike.
Mountain bike is a legendary network of trails, and rock climb in town or at the climbing mecca of Eldorado Canyon State Park, just 20 minutes south.
Dine-in what’s long been called America’s Foodiest Town, which also happens to be one of the nation’s most health-conscious cities.
Sample Boulder’s beer trailat nearly two dozen craft breweries.