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You’ve probably wondered about Boulder, Colorado. At this point, it seems to have reached mythical Colorado status. Similar to Unicorns, Big Foot, and the Jackalope. This place can’t be real? Can it? It is real, and it’s a great place to visit. In fact, it’s my view that 36 hours in Boulder typically is enough of a taste for many people to fall in love and never return home. I’ve met a lot of those people.
36 Hours in Boulder
Is enough time to have a wonderful experience before going into extreme sticker shock. Almost 65% of Boulder homes are listed at a million dollars, Google is opening a campus on 28th/29th street, and people are annoying fitter than the rest of Colorado…which is pretty fit. Like most kids who grow up in a place, I have things about it that I love and things that make me crazy. For this trip, you’ll get to experience all of the amazing whimsy that is Boulder.
6:00 pm You’ve arrived at Denver International Airport…which is not close to Boulder. Fortunately, you can take the aptly named “Train to the Plane” from the airport to downtown Denver’s Union Station for $9. Keep your ticket! You will transfer at Union Station to the Flatirons Flyer Bus (FF) going directly to Boulder. Show the ticket that you used for the train. The bus station is underneath the train platform. If you get confused, just ask one of the security personnel.
Where to Stay
Ok, I’m going to suggest two really nice hotels “read…not cheap.”
- St. Julien’s-yes, it’s a 5-star hotel, but you’re only there for one night.
- The Hotel Boulderado-Is a lovely historical hotel that also is wonderful to visit during Christmas.
Both hotels are located withing walking distance of the Boulder bus station which is the last stop for your bus. If you would like to research additional hotel options check out the links below:
8:0o pm (ish) You’ve checked into your hotel and are ready to explore the town. Feel like a beer? Check out The Rayback Collective. a multi-use space dedicated to enjoying: beer, food, and fun. Call a LYFT (use my affiliate code-1st time users get $5 credit towards their first ride). Enjoy some beer, good food truck food, and if it’s a beautiful Tuesday night-sitting underneath the stairs by the fire pit.
10:00 pm (ish) Ready to head back to downtown Boulder, but not ready to call it a night? Check out one of the following bars for an additional nightcap:
- Shine-A ridiculously awesome space run by triplets. The food, wine, and energy is always great. Check out the events tab on the website to see what events are being held while you’re there.
- Tahona Tequila Bistro-Head a couple of blocks west (towards the mountains) from Shine to get to Tahona. I’ve spent many hours enjoy Tahona’s great food and varieties of tequilas.
- The Bitter Bar-Is a dark, somewhat moody, space with great drinks, and a wonderful energy that always makes me feel like the man of my dreams is going to walk through the door at anytime.
12:00 am (ish) Head on back to your hotel.
8:00 am (ish) So, it’s a little early. That’s ok-time to rally! Time to eat breakfast/brunch. Check out the following three restaurants. I would recommend giving them a call to see if you can get a reservation as all are EXTREMELY popular.
- Foolish Craig’s-A long-time Boulder mainstay. Great food, big portions, good (slightly…hippy) service. Meaning, I’ve had a couple of times when what I ordered and what I got were a little bit different. But, still really good. Sometimes you jut have to go with the flow. Located on Pearl Street.
- Snooze-This place is CRAZY popular. There are 2 other locations in Denver and those are also crazy busy. Located on Pearl Street.
- Lucile’s-The original Lucile’s is located one block off of the Pearl Street Mall. Lucile’s specialty is Creole-style breakfast food. Yes, they do have beignets, chicory coffee, and other delicious Creole style foods that will clog your arteries. #YOLO.
10:00 am (ish) Explore Pearl Street Mall which is an outdoor walking mall. There is a focus on locally owned businesses but over the years I’ve noticed some national chains making their way onto the mall. Typically, though they are of the Patagonia variety vs. Walmart. You’ll see what I mean when you visit.
12:00 pm (ish) You’ve walked around for awhile and need to eat. Here are some recommendations that happen to be right downtown.
- The Dushanbe Teahouse-I prefer the tea service personally. But, a lot of people really enjoy the lunch/dinner service. Regardless, it is a lovely space to enjoy lunch.
Let’s Go Hiking
Hiking should take at least 2-3 hours. Estimated deaprture time: 1:00 pm (ish) until 4:00 pm (ish). It would be ridiculous for you to visit Colorado and not spend a few hours hiking in the mountains (or, technically, the Foothills). When you’re visiting Boulder it’s ridiculously easy to get a good hike in. I send people to Chautauqua Park which is located at 9th and Baseline.
There are a couple of ways you can get there.
- Take a LYFT-New user? Get $5 off your first ride when you sign up using this link.
- Take the green Skip bus on Baseline and Pearl street to “The Hill.” You want to get off by the Walgreens and the bus stop with the clock (13th and College). Then, you will walk towards the mountains on College street. If you see the Starbucks on the corner you’re on the correct street. Turn left on 9th street and walk until you hit-Chautauqua Park. You will know it when you see it.
- Take the green Skip bus on Baseline and Pearl Street to Baseline and Broadway. Walk up Baseline until you hit 9th street.
Speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have about your health and altitude sickness.
At this point you’ve (hopefully) returned to your hotel, taken a quick shower, and are ready to eat . There are a number of great places to check out throughout the city of Boulder. This itinerary, keeps it simple for you. Check out the following:
- The Med (the Mediterranean Restaurant)-Has been my favorite place to enjoy happy hour in Boulder for more years than I would like to admit. It’s still that good. I typically sit on the patio and people watch. I only order the tapas-not the entrees. The tapas are legit.
- The Boulder Farmer’s Market-Every Wednesday and Saturday is open between Canyon and Arapahoe Street. The food vendors are incredible. Seriously. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan there are typically some amazing options for you to enjoy too.
- The West End Tavern-Has some damn good burgers. Dayum! Sit upstairs on the rooftop patio, drink a beer, and order a burger. Enjoy.
- T-Zero-Located at the St. Julien’s hotel. It has a ridiculously good (and affordable) happy hour and St. Julien’s has live music throughout the summer. Eat, drink, stay for the dancing.
During the summer there a number of fun and affordable events to check out while you’re in Boulder. Here is a list of some of my favorites:
- Chautauqua Park-Has live music, a silent movie series, and dance performances.
- Meetup.com-Meet the people who live in the town. If you’re traveling on your own, or just would like to live like a local-check out the different meetups that are happening during your visit.
- Mountain Sun Pub-I love this place. In my view, it’s one of the most “real, unpretentious” places in Boulder. Get a beer, eat some nachos, listen to some music.
- Go to Denver-Take the bus to Denver and check out the nightlife located in or around Union Station.
Boulder is one of those places that you may find yourself returning to again and again. It may be because of Chief Niwot’s curse, or just because you love the town so much. In my view, 36 hours in Boulder isn’t enough. Let us know when you plan on visiting again!