• By Kim Grant

It’s tough to hit Boulder’s best highlights in a single day. There are too many. It’s like being asked to choose your favorite child. Can we just agree that Boulder, Colorado needs two days? So, for today, begin with the golden sunrise at Flagstaff Mountain, followed by a gorgeous hike through the iconic Flatirons. Sample the local flavors of Boulder’s vibrant culinary scene, from eclectic food stands at the Boulder Farmers Market (if the timing overlaps) to the globally-inspired menu at the Dushanbe Teahouse.

In the afternoon, tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory before immersing yourself in the city’s cultural scene at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. After dinner, sip locally brewed craft beers or distilled spirits. Now that you’ve dipped your toes into the essence of Boulder, The People’s Republic,  you’ll be back for more… especially since you didn’t have time people watch at the outdoor Pearl Street Mall.

Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder, CO, USA

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, Pearl Street, Boulder, CO, USA

Lucile's Creole Cafe, 14th Street, Boulder, CO, USA

Flatirons, Boulder, CO, USA

Boulder Farmers Market, 13th Street, Boulder, CO, USA

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 13th Street, Boulder, CO, USA

Brasserie Ten Ten, Walnut Street, Boulder, CO, USA

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 13th Street, Boulder, CO, USA

Celestial Seasonings D.C., Spine Road, Boulder, CO, USA

Frasca Food and Wine, Pearl Street, Boulder, CO, USA

St Julien Hotel & Spa, Walnut Street, Boulder, CO, USA

A-Lodge Boulder (Boulder Adventure Lodge), Fourmile Canyon Drive, Boulder, CO, USA

Avery Brewing Company, Nautilus Court North, Boulder, CO, USA

Vapor Distillery, Home of Boulder Spirits, Western Avenue, Boulder, CO, USA

Oak, 1400 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO, USA

Before Breakfast in Boulder

Flagstaff Mountain

Flagstaff Mountain is the perfect spot from which to watch the sunrise. As the sun’s rays peek over the horizon, the entire city of Boulder comes to life with a warm glow. The ascent is a scenic drive with several viewpoints along the way. Give it a good hour to fully absorb the tranquility of the morning.

Best Places for Breakfast in Boulder

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, is a hip place that offers a fresh take on breakfast classics in a mod setting. With a flair for creativity, their pineapple upside-down pancakes are a delight, balancing sweet and tart flavors with a fluffy pancake base. Care for a morning cocktail? Snooze has you covered.

Lucile's Creole Cafe

Lucile’s Creole Cafe, tucked inside a historic house, is a quaint, homey place that draws on Creole culture and a down-home cajun vibe. Their Eggs Pontchartrain, featuring pan-fried mountain trout, eggs, and hollandaise, served with grits and a biscuit, is a deserved favorite among locals and visitors. Beignets are amazing. Arrive early to try and beat the crowds for a  hearty meal.

Best Things To Do in the Morning in Boulder

The Flatirons

The Flatirons, Boulder’s iconic mountain range, offer exhilarating morning hikes. Various trails range from the easy, 2-mile Chautauqua trail (link below), to the more challenging, 3-mile Royal Arch trail. Choose the hike that suits your fitness level. These majestic rock formations against the blue Colorado sky, and the panoramic view of Boulder from the top, will leave a lasting impression.

Best Places for Lunch in Boulder

The Boulder Farmer’s Market is quintessential Boulder. It’s 100% Boulder. If your visit overlaps — it’s open Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm and Wednesdays from 4 pm to 8 pm — do not miss it. Full stop. And they say: it’s Colorado grown, raised, and owned.

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a gift from Boulder’s sister city Dushanbe in Tajikistan, offers a unique lunch experience. Amidst hand-carved columns and vibrant ceramic panels, you’ll savor an eclectic menu inspired by global cuisine. Their Plov, a traditional Tajik dish made with rice, carrots, onions, beef, and spices, is a favorite. Paired with a pot of their aromatic tea, lunch here is an immersive cultural experience. Again, don’t miss it.

Brasserie Ten Ten

Brasserie Ten Ten pays delightful homage to French cuisine. This elegantly appointed brasserie offers a warm and inviting ambiance, and the menu is meticulously curated. Cherished favorites are the Moules Frites, succulent mussels in a flavorful broth, paired with crisp fries, and the Croque Monsieur, a quintessential French sandwich brimming with ham, Gruyère, and béchamel. It’s the essence of French comfort food. The wine list is extensive, as is the charm and authenticity.

Best Things To Do in the Afternoon in Boulder

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA)

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) is a thriving cultural epicenter housed in a historic brick building, BMoCA’s dynamic exhibits feature contemporary artworks from local, national, and international artists. The exhibitions span various mediums, including painting, sculpture, digital art, and mixed media. BMoCA goes beyond a traditional gallery by organizing artist talks, workshops, and educational programs, promoting engagement and a deeper understanding of contemporary art. Check the rotating schedule of exhibits; no two visits are ever the same.

Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory

The Celestial Seasonings offers an insightful behind-the-scenes tour that explores the journey of tea leaves from field to cup. Discover how different tea flavors are blended, processed, and packaged — while learning about the history and health benefits of tea. The peppermint room is overwhelming, in a good way! The factory tour also includes a complimentary tea-tasting session. I dare you not to pick up a full complement of teas in the Tea Shop — and maybe a unique souvenir or three.

Best Places for Dinner in Boulder

Frasca Food and Wine

Frasca Food and Wine, an upscale restaurant inspired by the cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, serves a daily-changing menu in a stylish, contemporary setting. Notable dishes include handcrafted pasta and locally-sourced meats, all crafted with an innovative approach. Paired with a wine list curated by a master sommelier for a refined gastronomic experience.

Oak at Fourteenth

Oak at Fourteenth is a culinary gem in Boulder, effortlessly marrying rustic charm with an elevated dining experience. The stylish restaurant captivates with its open-kitchen and oak-fired oven and grill. A seasonally influenced menu celebrates locally sourced ingredients. Try the oak-grilled Baja striped bass (succulent and flavorful) or the slow-cooked short rib (tender and robust). The handcrafted cocktails, particularly those featuring house-made sodas, are creative and refreshing.


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Best Places to Stay in Boulder

St Julien Hotel & Spa

The luxe and romantic St Julien Hotel & Spa, in downtown Boulder, offers a sophisticated retreat with stunning views of the Flatirons. The rooms are tastefully appointed, featuring high-end linens, marble bathrooms, and all the amenities you’d expect. The hotel’s serene spa offers a comprehensive menu of treatments. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability, seen in various green initiatives, is commendable.

The Boulder Adventure Lodge

The Boulder Adventure Lodge, affectionately known as A-Lodge, is a magnet for outdoorsy types — and just a few minutes from downtown. The lodge offers comfortable rooms, dormitories, and campsites. Amenities include a slackline park, a climbing wall, and quick access to hiking and biking trails. The property has a rustic charm while providing modern comforts, like free Wi-Fi, linens, and a hot tub. I love the communal vibe and fire pit.

After Dark in Boulder

Avery Brewing Company

Avery Brewing Company, one of Boulder’s most renowned craft breweries, boasts a wide variety of beer styles in a lively taproom. Are you surprised? From robust stouts to refreshing IPAs, the beer menu is as extensive as it is creative. Take a guided tour to learn about the beer-making process or simply enjoy some conviviality while sipping a pint. Raise a glass to their 30 years in business in 2023.

Vapor Distillery

Vapor Distillery offers fine, unique craft spirits and a glimpse into the art of distilling in the heart of Boulder’s distillery district. Whether it’s the rhok gin (with perfectly balanced botanicals) or the barrel-aged arrosta coffee liqueur (rich and smoky bourbon), you’ll appreciate the commitment to craft and quality. Take a tour for insights into their distilling process. Sip it neat or in expertly crafted cocktails.

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