I’ve traveled far and wide across this dear country, but I’ve never found a place quite like Boulder in the summer. With the Rocky Mountains towering overhead and the crisp mountain air, the town comes alive this time of year. World-class rock climbing, the breathtaking landscapes, the friendly locals, and the delicious food (Boulder was voted the ‘Foodiest Town’ in America by Bon Appetit in 2010!) – you’re bound to relax and make great memories when visiting Boulder.
As a native, I have full stock on Boulder’s best kept secrets. Here are my recommendations for enjoying a summer getaway in Boulder:
Snooze A.M. Eatery
If you’re a breakfast lover, Snooze is the place for you. Bright decor with a retro feel makes breakfast feel like a party, and the friendly staff is always willing to help you choose from their favorite dishes off the extensive menu. Locals love the Breakfast Pot Pie, the Sandwich I Am, and the Breakfast Tacos. If you’d like something a bit sweeter, choose from the wide variety of pancake specials and get the Pancake Flight. This place is always packed, especially on weekend mornings, so make sure you time your visit accordingly.
1617 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 / www.snoozeeatery.com / Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-3pm
For a fun date night, try Pizzeria Locale. Inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples Italy, their food is rustic, flavorful, and delicious. Try the Funghi pizza – you won’t regret it! I’m a fan of their street seating – it’s great for people watching, and enjoying the beautiful Boulder sunsets in the evening.
1730 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 / www.localeboulder.com / Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-2:30pm; 4:30-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun 11:30am-9pm
After a long day of shopping on the Pearl Street Mall or for a treat on date night, check out Two Spoons gelato. All of their gelato, frozen yogurts, sorbets and soups are made in small batches from scratch, and use all natural or organic ingredients. I recommend the milkshake – and skip the two spoons. You won’t want to share.
1021 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 / 303-545-0027 / Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm
Ozo Coffee Company
Ozo Coffee Company has taken Boulder by storm. They have several locations around town, but their Pearl Street shop is my favorite. With ample seating, it’s a great place to read, work on the computer, or meet with friends. Surpassing all of these details, though, is their incredible approach to coffee. All of their baristas and roasters excel at their craft, and are highly skilled at what they do – whether it’s a spicy chai or a cup of black coffee, you know you’re getting the best.
1015 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 / www.ozocoffee.com / Hours: Mon-Sat 6am – 9pm, Sun 7am-7pm
Don’t leave Boulder without spending an evening at the Rio. Grab some friends, and treat yourselves to their show-stopping house margaritas. Pair your drink with some chicken enchiladas, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a great night. On those hot summer nights, enjoy their rooftop deck, which has breathtaking views of the Flatirons and the Rocky Mountains.
1101 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302 / www.riograndemexican.com / Hours: Mon-Wed, Sun: 11am – 10pm, Thu-Sat: 11am-12am
Pearl Street Mall
The Pearl Street Mall is the best way to experience Boulder. The outdoor walking mall includes over 1,000 business (85% of which are locally owned!), quirky street performers, beautiful views of the Flatirons, and incredible restaurants (most of the recommendations above are along Pearl Street). A few of my favorite shops to check out: Two Hands Paperie, Boulder Bookstore, and Peppercorn.
In the late 19th century, a movement began in the United States to establish a summer school for individuals, mostly teachers, who wanted to spend the summer engaged in high-minded activities aimed at intellectual and moral improvement. At the height of the movement, some 12,000 communities had hosted a chautauqua. It was around this time that the Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder was formed, it’s location chosen for it’s breathtaking mountain setting.
Today, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of only a few remaining chautauqua’s in the United States. Eat lunch at the dining hall restaurant, and enjoy a game of frisbee in the park. Musicians such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mark Cohn, and Patty Griffin frequently perform at the Concert Hall, and it adjoins open space and trails that are great for hiking. My favorite hiking trail is the Royal Arch Trail, and though steep in places, it rewards you with a powerful, jaw-dropping view of the entire Colorado front range from the top.
900 Baseline Rd, Boulder, CO 80302 / www.chautauqua.com
St. Julien Hotel and Spa
The St. Julien Hotel and Spa is Boulder’s premier luxury hotel. Comfortable rooms with luxurious soaking tubs promise relaxation, and the views of the Flatirons are unbeatable. In the summer, the St. Julien hosts live music and dancing outside on the terrace, and the hand-crafted cocktails at T-Zero Lounge lend a swanky element to the experience. Jill’s Restaurant also has a fabulous lunch special during the week. And for a bit of fun, I’ve even spotted a few well-known celebrities in the lobby. This is the place to be!
900 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302 / www.stjulien.com
If you’re looking for a quiet and nostalgic experience, the Niwot Inn in historic Niwot is the place for you. Only 15 minutes outside of Boulder, Niwot is a beautiful and charming town with a lot of history. The Inn was recently renovated to include luxury amenities in the rooms, and you can walk to all the restaurants, coffee shops, galleries and antique shops in town.
342 2nd Avenue, Niwot, CO 80501 / www.niwotinn.com
Photo by Chelsea Diane Photography