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SQS005: How to Climb and Complete the Manitou Incline

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Manitou Incline

Aka “The Beast” is one of the coolest experiences that I’ve had in Colorado. Hard as hell, intense, a lot of mental energy. But, I got it done.

  • I went with a great Meetup Group!

 

  • Manitou Springs-Cute town next to Colorado Springs. Happy to say it has fully recovered from the mud slides from a few years ago.

 

  • Traffic from Denver to Colorado Springs-is pretty heavy. Larkspur is in between both towns and has a lot of traffic because of the Renaissance Festival.

 

  • Start early!

 

  • Parking after 2:00 pm and the free shuttle.

 

  • Chase Bank parking.

 

  • Restroom situation.

 

  • This was hard!

Equipment Used

 

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SQS004: Cultura Craft Chocolate

Matt from Cultura Craft Coffee

Matt Armstrong

I am a chocolate addict. When I emotionally eat, good chocolate is what I like to reach for. Also, when I’m happy…you get the idea. I love all things chocolate. So, when I noticed a large number of chocolatiers/chocolate companies in Denver, I thought it would be great to talk to a couple of them to figure out what the deal was…and, hopefully score some free chocolate. I didn’t get any from Matt because I forgot to…ask..beg. But, we had a good time talking about chocolate.  Enjoy the interview.

Colorado Chocolate 

  • What’s the deal with all the chocolate? There is a ton of great chocolate being made in Colorado. I’ve had a great time “sampling” all of them.

 

  • Dead Dog Chocolate has changed to Cultura Craft Chocolate. Why the branding change?

 

  • What Matt’s role is in the company. Matt is originally from Cali (with a couple of stops along the way). I’m curious about how he got connected with Culture Craft Chocolate.

 

  • Chocolate makers vs. chocolatiers. What’s the difference?

 

  • The ongoing process of educating consumers about their chocolate (quality vs. cost). I love supporting local businesses and know that cost and getting consumers to be comfortable with potentially spending more is an ongoing challenge.

 

  • Matt’s business experience in Colorado so far.

 

  • We get sidetracked by his taco love. It’s kind of hilarious how much he loves tacos. He let’s me know if Denver has any good places to check them out.

 

  • We discuss how Matt got into chocolate making. It’s a pretty cool story!

 

  • Drinking chocolate and getting consumers to make the switch to higher quality chocolate. It has less sugar but tastes so good.

 

  • I wonder about his favorite chocolate and the most popular bars that they sell.

 

  • I get nosey.

Where to Find Cultura Craft Chocolate

 

 

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SQS003: Julie Rodriguez: Denver Nomz

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

In this week’s episode, I speak with Julie from @DenverNomz a foodie Instagram feed that I follow. I’m going to be honest and say that it amazes me that Denver even has a foodie scene to talk about. In fact, I’m so fascinated by this, that I plan to talk to other people in the foodie space and continue to explore good eating in D-town.

The Notes:

  • I geek out about High Lonesome Ranch. A food experience that I WILL have sometime in the next 12 months.

 

  • Julie finds her “online” voice

 

  • I wonder how Julie grew her Instagram feed so quickly.

 

  • Going from the East/South/Cali-to Denver. We talk about foodie expectations.

 

  • Julie almost loses her street cred with me because she doesn’t like green chili. I gasped.

 

  • She’s able to explore Denver’s food scene because it’s a lot more affordable.

 

 

  • We talk unexpected places.

 

  • Wrapping my mind around Birdcall.

 

  • We talk the evolution of this project.

 

  • Julie gives some advice regarding sustaining blogging focus.

Julie’s Camera: Nikon D3400

Click on the photo for product information.

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10 Amazing Snacks Made in Colorado to Take on Your Next Hike

One of my favorite activities to take part in here in Colorado is hiking. I can’t get enough of it. A typical hike that my friends and I will take part in usually lasts around 4-5 hours depending on the size of the group, length of the hike, distance from Denver, and the altitude.

There are a number of things to consider when planning your next hike but one that many people don’t spend enough time on is creating the perfect combination of snacks for your next hike. I thought it would be fun to share 10 amazing snacks made in Colorado to take on your next hike when you’re pressed for time or low on groceries!

Related Post: 10 Free or Ridiculously Cheap Ways to Get Fit for Summer in Denver

10 Amazing Snacks

  • Made in Nature Snacks-Headquartered in Boulder and manufactured in California, Made Nature has some amazing tasty and healthy snacks that hikers can carry with them into the backcountry.

 

  • Lara Bars-I absolutely love these and my current favorite is the Cherry Pie. Which is weird because I tend to prefer apples.

 

 

  • Binnie’s Coconut Butter-This is so good you want to slap somebody. I had the pleasure of meeting the founder and she is super focused on creating an amazing and delicious product creating obsessed fans everywhere.

 

 

  • Lithic Nutrition-this is made with cricket protein. Really. It’s a great source of protein that is a lot more earth friendly and produces a heck of a lot less methane because…crickets are easier to raise than cattle.

 

  • Noosa Yogurt-This yogurt is a Colorado obsession. Especially during the fall when the Pumpkin flavor is released. Right now they are releasing way too many flavors (can’t keep up with them all) but my current favorites are: Mexican chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. Of course lemon.

 

  • Power Puck-Share Good Foods makes these delicious treats.

 

 

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How to Get Around Denver: Buy a Public Bike!

Denver is not a city that people would consider to be a “bike city.” In fact, there is a lot to be desired in terms of infrastructure, dedicated bike lanes, and we need more bike paths. Many cyclists seem to be ignoring these issues and there are bikes everywhere! Cyclist life is real in Denver.

I’ve been riding bikes in Denver since I was a kid. You will see:

  • Road bikes

 

  • Cruiser bikes

 

  • Hybrids

My last bike was a brand new Cruiser Bike that my friend gave me for free! I loved that bike. But, it was hard to do longer rides on because that bike weighed like 100 lbs. Ok, maybe not 100lbs, but it was really heavy. There was no way that I would ride that bike on the US-36 bike path between Denver and Boulder.

I found myself checking out bikes like a bike fetishist. I needed that new bike and after awhile I discovered the bike that was right for me.

The Public C7 Bike

I love this bike. Seriously. LOVE.THIS.BIKE. Besides it the bike being very stylish and nice to look at, it is a hybrid road/cruiser bike. I love it. It’s 10 times lighter than my previous bike, handles really nicely, and basically-I LOVE IT.

Making the purchase was straightforward and I opted for free bike delivery to Slohi Bike Company. The best thing about doing this is that I didn’t have to deal with putting parts on the bike. The downside for me was that my car is so small that I had a hard time putting in my car.

Fortunately for me, one of the fabulous guys who works at the shop rode by and saw me struggling with putting the bike into my car. He proceeded to grab some sort of tool and took my front tire off so that I could finally put the bike in the car.

Slohi Bike Company

I am amazed by how much the Highlands area has changed each time I’m over there. Slohi is a wonderful combination of: bike shop, coffee shop, and ski equipment tuning space. This is basically a Coloradan’s dream. Then, it’s topped off by the beer place next door. Basically, this place is legit.  This is a brilliant business model.

The owner is absolutely wonderful to work with and I was able to pick up a SERIOUS lock to make sure my baby is safe LOL!

Summer Sale

Looking for a new bike?  Shop stylish bikes from PUBLIC Bikes and save 10% on your first order. Enter offer code READY2ROLL at checkout. Exclusions apply. Shop Now!

I am looking forward to riding to Cherry Creek Reservoir, to Boulder, and wherever else my bike may lead me.



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Luzia-Cirque du Soleil in Denver (a Review)

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

This might surprise some people but I am a theater geek. I love traditional shows and performances to shows that push boundaries and our imagination. Cirque du Soleil is a testament to boundary pushing and connecting with our imaginations. Every time a show comes through Denver I make a point of going to see it and this year’s show: Luzia, is no exception.

Luzia

Is a dreamy, moody, somewhat dark Cirque show and I LOVED it! In fact, this was quite possibly my favorite Cirque show and I’ve made a point of going to as many Cirque shows as possible whenever they are in town.

I liked that while there were some definite comedic parts to the show, that the show was a lot more restrained and a bit more…cerebral and whimsical than many of the shows that I’ve seen.

There is a rich symbolism in the staging of the show and the costuming is fantastic. I’m being deliberately vague about what happens in the show because I don’t want to give anything away.

The other wonderful part of the show was how incorporated natural elements into the story. Again, I don’t want to give anything away.

Tips

  • My friends and I purchased our tickets pretty early. The Big Top where they hold the show guarantees pretty good viewing from wherever you are in the tent. If at all possible, do try to avoid setting in the sections with obstructed views.

 

  • Get there early! There’s nothing worse than arriving a few minutes late and then having to wait to be seated and missing out the beginning of the show.

 

  • There are plenty of restrooms, think high-end portapotty hybrids with sinks to wash your hands.

 

  • If you sit close to the stage be aware that the performers may feel compelled to mess with you. Don’t freak out and just have fun with it.

 

  • Eat before you arrive-there is some food/snacks at the show, but I would recommend that you eat before as well.

After the Show

If you’re taking a rideshare such as LYFT, go to the gas station on the Pepsi Center grounds for pick-up. The official adddress is:

1500 7th St, Denver, CO 80204

It will be much easier to be picked up from that location. You can also take the light rail located on the North Side of Pepsi Center or catch a cab, rickshaw typically a little closer to Pepsi Center.

 

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Square State Podcast: Ben Thomsen

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It’s painful to admit that I actually recorded this episode on a beautiful day in November from the patio of one of my favorite coffee shops in Denver. It is one of my favorite conversations on entrepreneurship, drive, and friendship. It’s also painful because Ben Thomson took time out of his day to drop some wisdom my way and then I didn’t share.

Pod Fade 

Is a painful thing. If you are looking to start a business the following story is a great one to learn from.  It is possible to work with friends, it is possible to have more than one project and it is possible to grow creative endeavors.

Ben Thomson

Shamus McNutt, and Mark Grubbs are a trip who aren’t f#cking around. They are making the city of Denver theirs-one business at a time. I look forward to watching their businesses and sphere of influence grow in the upcoming years.

Flow State Marketing

Looking to grow your business and need some help with marketing-Ben Thomson and his friends/colleagues have worked with some amazing brands. Check them out.

Denver Munchies

It blows my mind that Denver now has a food scene…with good food. No more just steaks (even though they’re good) and potatoes. Check out Denver Munchie’s Instagram feed to get some foodie inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yoga on the Rocks: Fun Things to Do In Denver

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I am actively working through a list of all of the activities that I would like to do in Colorado. There are a ridiculous number of events and fun shenanigans to take part in. In fact, there are so many fun things to do in Denver, it can be a bit overwhelming. And, I find myself having to choose between 3-4 awesome events a day (especially during summer). Here’s a super incomplete list of things that I’m hoping to do this summer. What would be on your list of fun things to do in Denver?

Related Posts: 25 Activities to Do in Denver for $10 or Less

Fun Things to Do in Denver

  • Go chair lift speeding dating at ABasin

 

  • Spend the week at the Rocky Mountain Land Library (obsessed)

 

  • Wrestle with an alligator at Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

  • Board down a Sand Dune

 

  • Hike a couple more 14ers

 

  • Spend some time in Grand Junction/Fruita

 

  • Go to Yoga on the Rocks-DONE!

I love this list of fun things to do in Denver. It is crazy to me that it has taken me YEARS to get to Yoga on the Rocks. For those of you who don’t know what it is, every Saturday for the entire summer, different yoga studios/instructors will run a class at Red Rocks. If you are interested in going for this summer it is already sold out. Yep, for the entire summer. Crazy. In fact, I started looking at ticket purchasing information around March. Because I got sick of missing out. This year, I was able to purchase tickets for a class at the beginning and end of summer. On June 3rd, me and several thousand of my closest yogi friends. Namaste in shape this year and going to Yoga on the Rocks was a part of my plan. It was awesome.

I wanted to share some tips with those of you who would like to attend next year so that you can avoid some of the mistakes that I made.

Begin Planning Early

This is tip is HUGE. Around mid-March like the Red Rocks Facebook page so that you are in the loop and set a couple of reminders in your Google Calendar so that you don’t forget to purchase your tickets. This event WILL sell out (like the Derby Party). Just accept it and plan accordingly.

Day Of: Arrive Early

Once you’ve purchased your tickets don’t forget to set reminders in your calendars so that you don’t forget that you’re going. This year I had two friends who purchased tickets but they forgot and ended up going jogging instead of to the event. They remembered after I texted them asking “where are you?!” Oops.

I made the mistake of arriving late. It said that the class would start around 7:00 am…so I thought that it was a time suggestion vs. the actual start time. No arriving at 7:00 am and mingling. The class starts at 7:00 a.m. Nope, that wasn’t the case. Myself and hundreds of other people were frantically trying to get into the park, park our cars, climb up the stairs (and every time I climb the stairs, I get out of breath.) Find a spot and then get into our practice.

I arrived at 7:15 am (class started at 7:00 am) and ended up right next to the stage. Every single row, every single space was taken. Because I arrived late I was unable to check my space and make sure it was a good place for me to do yoga.

Check Your Space

Red Rocks is pretty clean for a concert venue, but, it’s a concert venue. Which means that smart attendees should always check around their space for:

  • Uneven texture on the ground. This may be hard on your knees-so head’s up!

 

  • Food remnants-I had the misfortune to put my mat next to a jalapeno slice. I kept wondering where the smell was coming from until I was able to figure out where it was. Too close to me!

 

  • Cigarette butts-eww! I also had one cigarette butt near me. If I had noticed it, I would have cleaned the space ASAP. But, I was late, so I couldn’t

What to Bring and What to Wear

Ok, remember, Red Rocks is at the base of the mountains. The temperature can and will fluctuate because of the location and early time of this event.

  • Wear layers! It will probably be chilly earlier in the day, then, it will get hotter. Take off the layers.

 

  • Bring padding to put underneath your knees. I didn’t have one and actually, I would like to always have one in general. Here’s a link to show what I mean.

 

  •  Water! It’s Colorado. You will get dehydrated and you’re working out at altitude-bring a water bottle.

 

  • Snacks-After working out you’ll probably be a little hungry. Don’t forget to bring some fruit, snack bars, etc. for after the class.

Extra Information

Don’t forget to go to the top 0f the stairs and check out the sponsors (usually a couple of food tents and clothing for sale). There also are nice clean bathroom facilities in the Trading Post/Visitor’s Center. The entrance is located at the top of the stairs in a kind of circular structure with stairs leading downwards.

I really love this event and hope that Yoga on the Rocks is one of the fun things in Denver that you get to enjoy this (or next)
year.



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Fun things to Do in Denver

 

 

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25 Activities to Do in Denver for $10 or Less

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

If you’re new to Denver, from Denver, or, are planning to visit this year here is a list of 25 activities to do in Denver for $10 or less. You constantly hear all of the stories about how expensive Denver is. While this is true, there are a ton of affordable (or free) activities that people can enjoy while they are in town.

Related Post: 36 Hours in Denver 

25 Activities to Do in Denver for $10 or Less

  • Visit Boulder-$9 round-trip

 

  • Cup of great coffee at Steam Coffee shop on Pearl Street

 

  • Rent a B-cycle-$9

 

 

  • Free work out at Civic Center Park through the Civic Center Moves program. They offer yoga and fitness classes. Hardcore!

 

  • Watch Twin Peaks Season 3 “Come to the Black Lodge” at Hooked on Colfax Wed or Sunday (Not sure how long this event will last). Buy a drink or two…

 

  • Go to your favorite Farmer’s Market and “sample check”

 

  • Play volleyball with a group of friends in Washington Park

 

  • Workout at Red Rocks (cost of gas)

 

  • Explore RINO’s murals (free)

 

  • Hop on a bike and look for Tiny Free Libraries

 

  • Have a beer and sit on the patio at Avanti

 

  • Free Walking tour

 

  • Free Days at Botanic Gardens/Denver Zoo/Denver Art Museum

 

  • Go to a cool festival: Denver Flea, The Big Wonderful, etc. ($5 dollars)

 

 

 

  • Go Hiking with a Meetup group! There’s a ton of great groups for different types of people.

 

 

 

  • Four Mile Historic Park (bring the kiddos)-$5 but it’s also free every second Friday of the month from 12-4 pm.

 

 

  • Ride your bike to Boulder on the US-36 Bikepath.

 

  • Run with your local running group. Suggestions include: Run the Bird, The Pub on Pearl Running Club (typically on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm), and Park Burger RINO running Club.  (Irish Snug is on hiatus until the end of summer)

 

 

Bonus Suggestions:

  • Grab a meal at Civic Center Eats (Food trucks)

 

  • Hang out at Denver’s Union Station and watch the world go by, stroll down Santa Fe during the next 1st Friday event (art, wine, and food)

 

 

  • Check out the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve (free), and hang out with a ton of other bike enthusiasts during the Denver Cruiser Ride.

 

Additional Travel Resources:

 

 

 

36 Hours In Boulder

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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.

Related Post: 36 Hours in Denver

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Caution!

Speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have about your health and altitude sickness.

Happy Hour/Dinner 

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.

Boulder Activities

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!