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Boulder Neighborhoods

Boulder, Colorado

December 10, 2020

Very cool city. In spite of the admonition about the bridge, I haven’t ventured far from the Hill, Pearl Street, CU, and downtown. Lots of time in the Flatitons. I’ll admit part of my lack of adventure is COVID. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

(Actually now that I have put checks by where I’ve been, I have done pretty well. I know my way to the laundromat, Whole Foods (including the convenient Amazon boxes), the bagel place, Safeway, the Circle K, the post office, Target, Wahoo’s Tacos, the seamstress, Boss Lady Pizza and Wells Fargo. Canyon Boulevard is key as are 9th Street, University Avenue, Baseline Road, and Broadway.)

I still have three weeks here. Tonight hopefully I get to walk in the snow after my dinner of salmon, sweet potato and Brussels Sprouts. Yum!

Downtown Boulder ✔️

Downtown is the always-lively heart and soul of Boulder, which centers around historic Pearl Street. This brick-paved pedestrian walkway is lined with independently owned shops, acclaimed restaurants and distinctive Victorian-era architecture. The shopping and dining continue on Pearl East and Pearl West, plus a few blocks to the north and south of Pearl. It’s where visitors come to stroll, tech startups come to work, farmers come to sell their bounty at the Boulder Farmers Market and Boulder locals gather for great events and entertainment.

3 Things to Do:

  • Watch live street performers on Pearl Street — or simply people-watch from a shady bench

  • Snap pics of the iconic Boulder Theatermarquee 

  • Admire Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse’sspectacular architecture

The Hill ✔️

University Hill — more commonly referred to as simply “The Hill” — is just up a (you guessed it) hill from downtown. As the neighborhood across the street from CU’s campus, it is a hub of social activity for students and those who come to enjoy great food, drinks and live music. 

3 Things to Do:

  • Catch a concert at the Fox Theatre, named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best live music venues in the country

  • Indulge in a plate of paella at Café Aion or “ugly crust” pizza at The Sink

  • See a poetry reading or simply grab a cup of joe at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Café, or settle into a booth at the sleekly styled Alpine Modern Café for a latte and avocado toast

Chautauqua  ✔️

The Chautauqua district is located at the base of Boulder's Flatirons and is one of the most scenic and popular destinations in town. This historic area of Boulder centers around the Colorado Chautauqua, founded in 1898 as part of national series of cultural and educational summer retreats to which orators, performers and educators traveled, bringing lectures, performances, concerts, classes and exhibitions to the public. Today, people visit for the natural lands, a sprawling park, rental cottages, performance venues and an esteemed restaurant.

3 Things to Do:

  • See the Flatirons, the iconic slanting rock formations that make Boulder…Boulder! Hike from Chautauqua Trailhead, snap pics or admire from a picnic blanket spread out on Chautauqua Park

  • Have brunch on Chautauqua Dining Hall’sbeautiful veranda 

  • Come for an evening at the Chautauqua Auditorium, built in 1898, and hear famous singer-songwriters perform, watch a silent film — or spend a few days during the esteemed  Colorado Music Festival. 

Twenty Ninth Street

A retail district with killer mountain views, this is where you’ll want to head for brand-name shopping, dining and entertainment, all centered around the open-air Twenty Ninth Street shopping center. Summertime also brings in crowds for outdoor concerts during the Twenty Ninth Street Live music series.

3 Things to Do:

  • Shop til you drop at Twenty Ninth Streetshopping mall. There’s Apple, Anthrolopogie, Lululemon, Madewell, H&M and soooo much more

  • Get picnic fixin’s at Trader Joe’s

  • See a movie at Century Theatres

South Boulder

A residential district with a big heart, denizens of South Boulder are loyal to its laid-back lifestyle, easy access to trails and esteemed national laboratories. The neighborhood is nestled into the foothills, with beautiful lands to explore.

3 Things to Do:

  • Grab a beer and some gourmet grub at Southern Sun

  • Tour the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Hike the lovely Shanahan Ridge Trail through pine forests and rocky outcroppings

North Boulder

Once an industrial zone, NoBo is quickly becoming a new hangout for young families, artists and fledgling businesses — from breweries and wineries to importers of artisan goods. Rapid growth means plenty of good restaurants to choose from, plus a chance to see Boulder’s up-and-coming artists in action.

3 Things to Do:

  • Take part in the First Friday Art Walk and meet the rising artists of North Boulder

  • Sample libations at two wineries and one brewery, all next door to one another: Settembre Cellars, BookCiiff Vineyards and Upslope Brewing.

  • Stroll the perimeter of shimmering Wonderland Lake and take in views of the foothills 


Removed from the hub-bub of central Boulder, this northeast neighborhood outpost is teeming with things to see and do, making it a worthwhile destination for a day or half a day. You’ll drive past beautiful Boulder Reservoir and watch lush farmland roll by your window on the way to several top attractions.

3 Things to Do:

  • Explore Gunbarrel's exploding brewery scene at Finkel & Garf, Avery Brewing, Vindication Brewing, Gunbarrel Brewing Co. and Asher Brewing

  • Go behind the scenes at Celestial Seasoningson a free, 45-minute tour of this major tea manufacturing company

  • Take a stroll around peaceful Twin Lakes

Central Boulder ✔️

Geographically central to the rest of Boulder, this area is close to just about everything and is a frequent hub of activity for visitors who will find hotels, cultural institutions and venerable restaurants. 

3 Things to Do:

  • Visit the Dairy Arts Center to explore the latest gallery exhibitions or to catch a dance or theater performance by one of 11 resident companies

  • Stop in the much-loved McGuckin Hardwareand find the gadget you didn’t know you needed

  • Have a to-die-for breakfast at The Buff, crispy empanadas at Rincon Argentino or high-end flavor and classic margaritas at Zolo Southwestern Grill

Old North Boulder 

A small enclave just north of downtown, Old North Boulder is characterized by mid-century modern homes, urban farms and the distinctive wavy roofline of the Ideal Broadway Shops and Community Plaza Shopping Center. You’ll find yourself right at home among locals here by grabbing a bite to eat, a cup of tea or browsing a handful of gift shops. 

3 Things to Do:

  • Stop by Mountain Flower Goat Dairy for a free tour (by appointment) or dig-your-own irises at the urban Long’s Gardens

  • Run and play at North Boulder Park, which sports a fantastic Flatirons view

  • Grab a delicious pastry from Breadworks Bakery & Cafe or an ice cream cone in flavors like Oatmeal Cookie or OZO Coffee at Sweet Cowcreamery

East Boulder

We’ve heard this area called the “Brooklyn of Boulder” and think that’s pretty apt. With slightly lower real estate prices, there’s a growing tech industry here, which helps fuel progressive, chef-driven restaurants, plus coffee shops, breweries, a record shop and access via winding bike trails.

3 Things to Do:

  • Dine at a Top Chef champion’s restaurant: Blackbelly Market

  • Sample freshly crafted beers at Upslope, VisionQuest or Stein Brewing

  • Catch a show at BDT Stage, Boulder’s dinner theater

University of Colorado ✔️

Since it was founded in 1876, the University of Colorado Boulder has shaped Boulder’s cultural identity as a progressive, forward-thinking city. Today, it’s beautiful campus covers 786 acres, and visitors are welcome to stroll among its signature Tuscan Vernacular Revival buildings, sprawling greens and tree-shaded alcoves. See beautiful Old Main, the college’s original structure; Macky Auditorium, where discussions, readings opera, theater, music and dance performances happen year round; and pop into the University Memorial Center or Center for Community for a bite to eat.

3 Things to Do:

  • Visit the CU Art Museum, CU Museum of Natural History or the CU Heritage Center — all three by donation

  • Stroll over to Varsity Bridge, a lovely and peaceful photo op

  • Recline and be mesmerized by a laser or star show at Fiske Planetarium

See the complete list of Things to Do at CU.

Creative Neighborhoods Projects

From murals on residential buildings to crocheted fences enclosing some of the new outdoor restaurant spaces, the Creative Neighborhoods program has cool projects popping up all over town. You'll find maps that plot all the work sites here. This City of Boulder and Create Boulder program helps puts artists to work during COVID-19 in the spirit of the Work Projects Administration of the 1930s.

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