Best of Both Worlds in Four Cities: Boulder, CO

written by: Susan Lacke

Go Play in Boulder

Shortly after picking me up in Boulder, Colo., my Uber driver pointed at my shoes: “You a runner?” he asked upon seeing my race flats. I nodded. Before the 10-minute drive to my hotel concluded, I had a detailed list of must-run trails in the area. My driver not only offered to pick me up at 6:00 the next morning for a drive to the trailhead, but also to serve as my guide and pace bunny for a two-hour run.

This is a common occurrence in Boulder, a mid-sized mountain town where residents take every available opportunity to get outside. Who could blame them, really? With more than 300 miles of trails over hundreds of thousands of acres of unspoiled nature (all voraciously protected by the government, unlike–ahem–some states), Boulder is an outdoor-lover’s dream. Though the town is home to some of the world’s best runners, cyclists and rock climbers, opportunities abound for mere mortals to find their bliss in the great outdoors.

Travelers to Boulder won’t spend much time in a hotel room, but should book one anyway—specifically, at the St. Julien Hotel (, located in the heart of the city. Everything—from the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Range to the bustling shops, restaurants and breweries of the Pearl Street district, is just steps away. If you don’t want to walk, float—the hotel borders Boulder Creek, notorious for tubing adventures. Rent a fancy tube from Whitewater Tubing & Recreation ( for a daily fee, or go old-school with a truck-tire tube from the Conoco at the intersection of Arapahoe and Broadway.

Your first night in Boulder should be spent with a Contorted pizza (garlic oil, goat cheese, onion, pepper, and spinach) and Hoppy Boy IPA at Twisted Pine Brewery ( Chat with the locals, and you’ll quickly garner recommendations for must-visit spots for your sport, be it mountain biking (the rock garden at Hall Ranch) or rock climbing (the iconic Flatirons).

If active adventures aren’t your thing, fear not—the outdoors are still open. In the summer months, take a sunshine stroll through the Boulder Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings, or see your favorite Shakespeare plays performed beneath summer night skies at the University of Colorado’s Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre. When the weather turns, take in a CU football game or sip a hot gingerbread latte at Snow Much Fun, a winter wonderland in Boulder’s Central Park.

Rocks Candy

No matter how you spend your day, end it with a sweet treat. Boulder has a dessert scene that puts Willy Wonka to shame. Try a scoop of Butter Pecan at Sweet Cow ( or a slice of Boulder Cream Pie from Piece, Love and Chocolate (

See the other 3 vacation spots we recommend: Spokane, WA | Boise, ID | Santa Fe, NM

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Susan Lacke
Susan Lacke
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