A mere 30 miles west of Denver, you will find Boulder, a beautiful town right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Those looking for a unique vacation spot or day trip from Colorado’s capital city, the stunning Boulder area proves perfect since you can find nature, great food, high-end accommodations and an artistic culture all in the same stretch. Whether you want to hike, dine on world-class fare or marvel at the area’s natural beauty, we have two days of pure bliss to help you get to know Boulder a little better.
Arrive at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star St. Julien Hotel and Spa, a luxurious venue located just minutes from the bustling Pearl Street walking mall. Not only do you get a centralized location and top-notch accommodations here, but a dose of local art, too. In the common areas you will see a slew of pieces by Boulder creatives like Mike Brouse, while each guest room sports landscape images by photographer Anne Barrett. Make sure to give your vacation a relaxing boost by booking a treatment at the hotel’s 10,000-square-foot, Four-Star spa or taking advantage of the indoor pool, steam room and sauna.
After you have settled in, walk the few blocks to Cured, a charcuterie and cheese shop that makes a lot of goods in house. Order food to dine in or ask for a special picnic set, a nice box or basket filled with hand-crafted salumi, cheese, nuts, their special jam and more delightful bites. Next, explore the aforementioned Pearl Street’s clothing shops, souvenir stands, quaint boutiques and numerous places to sit down and grab some local suds from Upslope Brewing Company or Boulder Beer.
Stick around Pearl Street to enjoy a real taste of Colorado at Eric Skokan’s Black Cat. This chef’s farm-to-fork restaurant not only sources local ingredients, but most of the produce, lamb and heritage pork come right from his farm down the road. Skokan takes whatever is growing to create a menu of elevated, seasonal delicacies. That means you might find Mulefoot pork with handmade dumplings in a mole sauce, Colorado beef with salted radishes and root veggies or a butternut squash “steak.” After dinner, stop by James Lee’s The Bitter Bar for the Black Forest (bourbon, lillet rouge, lemon and blackberries) or any of the other simple, yet perfectly balanced craft cocktails.
Get a great start to your day by having a peanut butter and banana smoothie or an order of huevos rancheros at Four-Star Jill’s Restaurant at St. Julien Hotel & Spa. Make sure you’re plenty energized because, if it’s a gorgeous day (which can happen even in the middle of winter), you will want to rent a bike from Full Cycle and explore the Boulder Creek bike path. The stretch runs about five and a half miles from Boulder Canyon to the Stazio Ballfields, and provides a great way to exercise in the mountain air while also showing the city in a wonderful light. You can also take a hike around one of the Flatirons. With over 150 miles of nearby trails, you can easily pick one based on your speed from this online map.
If the weather proves unbearable, enjoy Boulder from the inside by checking out the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. The space opened in 1972 in a historically landmarked warehouse building right in downtown. You can follow up the art theme by wandering along gallery row. The area starts at 11th and Pearl Streets; if you go east, you can pop into galleries such as SmithKlein, 15th Street Studio and Mary Williams Fine Art.ulde
For lunch, do as POTUS would during a stop in the city and get a burger at The Sink. President Barack Obama has been noted as a fan, as have celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri and Anthony Bourdain. Plus, at 92 years old, The Sink is Boulder’s oldest bar and restaurant, and who doesn’t want a side of history with their meal?
Spend the rest of your afternoon sipping tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a venue that was given as a gift by the city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It’s a lovely spot sporting cedar columns and a colorfully painted ceiling, all of which you can admire while sipping a spicy chai or one of the other premium selections. Between sips, keep in mind that Boulder is also the home of Celestial Seasonings. You can further your Camellia sinensis appreciation by joining a free, 45-minute factory tour for samples and checking out the Celestial Seasonings’ art gallery.
When it’s time for dinner, head to high-end Frasca Food and Wine. The restaurant, helmed by master sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, focuses on the cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a sub-alpine region in northeast Italy. That said, wine, too, is a big focal point here; they offer over 200 varieties. Make sure to book a reservation because the intimate dining room is one of the most popular addresses in Boulder.
End your night with some local entertainment. One place to explore is The Dairy Center for the Arts, a go-to destination for everything from dance to plays. Another great place to see a band is the Fox Theatre, a historical venue that Rolling Stone rated as one of the top 10 clubs in the country. Check the acoustics for yourself when Terravita (January 23) and Emily King (February 16) take to the stage.