Boulder Travel Guide

USA  #14 in Best Adventure Vacations in the U.S.
Credit

Courtesy of Stephen Collector/Stephen Collector

Best Things To Do in Boulder

With more than 31,000 acres of parkland  which includes more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails  Boulder knows how to woo nature lovers. Get your adrenaline pumping on a hike through Eldorado Canyon State Park or Chautauqua Park or brave the trail to (and be rewarded by views of) the Flatirons. If you're looking for a more relaxed experience, spend your days window shopping along the Pearl Street Mall or perusing the works at the Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art. No matter how you choose to experience Boulder, devote some time to unwinding with a cup of tea or reveling with a pint of local ale.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated May 6, 2016

  • #1
    Things to do in Boulder
    View all Photos
    #1 in Boulder
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    These jaw-dropping rock walls flanking Green Mountain have become the symbol of the city, with many Boulder businesses sporting their image as a logo. Flatirons One through Five are the most prominent, but there are also several smaller formations  with more creative names  to explore. Altogether, these picturesque slopes are the most popular rock climbing areas around (you can even see markings left by some of the first climbers, dating back to the 1940s, on Number Three). But for those of you who aren't quite comfortable entrusting your life to a harness, you can still take in the Flatirons from one of the area's hiking trails – recent visitors said there's a trail for every age and skill level. For information about Flatiron trails, visit the City of Boulder website.

    Previous visitors say that no trip to Boulder would be complete without spending time admiring the rocks. But if you plan on hiking, travelers recommend coming prepared: The trails can be steep in places, not to mention slippery. And don't forget your camera – reviewers said you'll want to capture the stunning views.

  • #2
    Chautauqua Park
    View all Photos
    #2 in Boulder
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Perched on the southwest edge of the city, this tiny extension of Boulder Mountain Park offers some of the city's most photo-worthy vistas. Originally established in the late 1800s as a verdant retreat, this National Historic Landmark now hosts a handful of community events like concerts and festivals. Even when there isn't anything marked on the social calendar, Chautauqua is still a place to go for a breath of fresh air: Numerous paths and gardens await hikers, bikers, picnickers and dog walkers, while more adventurous travelers explore the rugged mountains nearby.

    Visitors are blown away by the park's landscape and its facilities, which include lodging, dining and auditoriums. However, some reviewers were less satisfied with the crowds and limited parking. Because of the park's accessible location just minutes from downtown Boulder, Chautauqua sees more visitors than some of the city's other hiking spots like Eldorado Canyon State Park and Flagstaff Mountain. If you can, try to get to the park early before your fellow hikers start clogging the trails.

  • #3
    Pearl Street Mall
    View all Photos
    #3 in Boulder
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND