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Local, non-touristy gems in Boulder?

Solo trip to Boulder. Plan to scour the culinary, beer and hiking scene in just a few days. Beyond the obvious spots what are the local restaurants, bars, book stores, record shops and adventure things to do in and around Boulder? Will be there in early June.

5 Answers

top answer by
Alyssa from Boulder

Hey there! You are going to have so much fun. Make sure you check out Spruce Confections on West Pearl st. – there's a line for a reason! Their quiche and mocha make an amazing breakfast. It's also jokingly referred to as "The West Pearl Dog Park" because their patio is a great place to sit with your pup. The Kitchen Next Door has great beer and food, and Riffs Urban Fare is also a good lunch / dinner spot on Pearl. If you're looking for ice cream, there's no other place than Glacier Ice Cream. Seriously, delicious! So many flavors. 

As far as beer goes, you have so many options! Fate Brewing Company is excellent as well as Avery Brewing Company. Our favorite non-brewery is the Bohemian Biergarten – they have a ton of German (?) beers on tap and serve them in liters... can't go wrong there! 

With regards to hiking I suggest checking out the Flatirons from Chataqua Park (it can tend to be popular and crowded but is too good to pass up! Go early in the morning on a weekday to avoid the crowds.) The Panorama trail on Flagstaff is also a nice afternoon trail. If you're looking for something a little more ambitious you might try Green's Mountain, which has great views of the Front Range off the back.

I can't really help you with record shops, but Boulder Bookstore and Trident Booksellers & Cafe are both great little bookstores on Pearl. We also have a Farmer's Market every Saturday (am) and Wednesday (pm) that are always fun to cruise.

Have a great trip! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Spruce Confections (restaurant)
  2. The Kitchen Next Door (restaurant)
  3. Riffs Urban Fare (attraction)
  4. Glacier Ice Cream (restaurant)
  5. Fate Brewing Company (attraction)
  6. Avery Brewing Company (attraction)
  7. Bohemian Biergarten (attraction)
  8. Chataqua Park (attraction)
  9. Boulder Bookstore (attraction)
  10. Trident Booksellers & Cafe (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Serena from San Francisco

Hi Kyle, I have to agree with Jillian - Jax Fish House Boulder is one of the best restaurants in Boulder.  The Kitchen Boulder is another personal favorite. It's farm-to-table and so good. Check out their weekday community hour if you don't want to commit to a full meal. You won't regret it. 

For a quick bite, Illegal Pete's is kind of like a family run chipotle, but much better. The burritos are massive and perfect for a day where you might have had a few too many the night before. Lucile's is a great place for breakfast. 

Boulder Theater is an awesome small music venue. If the lineup looks good, it's worth seeing a show there. Boulder creek path is a great easy day hike/walk, but if you really want a good hike, Eldorado Canyon is one of my favorites. 

Lastly, if you are into theatre, the summer plays at Colorado Shakespeare Festival are a must. It's perfect for a nice summer night. 

Have a great trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jax Fish House Boulder (restaurant)
  2. The Kitchen Boulder (restaurant)
  3. Illegal Pete's (restaurant)
  4. Lucile's (restaurant)
  5. Boulder Theater (attraction)
  6. Boulder creek path (attraction)
  7. Eldorado Canyon (attraction)
  8. Colorado Shakespeare Festival (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Jillian from Los Angeles

Hey Kyle! The two main areas to check out are Pearl Street and The Hill

Pearl Street:

Jax Fish House Boulder is my favorite seafood restaurant in Boulder. Make this your splurge meal. Sit at the bar, enjoy some fresh oysters & catch of the day. Since you're solo, you shouldn't have a problem getting in, although it does get fairly packed. 

Trident Booksellers & Cafe is really close to Jax, so definitely pop in there to browse their collection before dinner! I've also heard amazing things about Beat Book Shop, but haven't personally been so can't speak to it.

Bart's Music Shack is well, yes a total shack. BUT it's a total gem of a shack. Rare vinyls. Worth it.

The Hill:

Grab a breakfast sandwich at Salvaggio's On The Hill. Get the heart attack. You'll thank me later. 

Another record shop I'd check out is Albums on the Hill which is located in a basement. They have a great selection and the staff has a total passion for music.

Try to catch a show at the Fox Theatre, it's just a classic Boulder experience. Even if you don't know the band, it's always a fun time.

And of course this may be obvious, but to burn off all of the amazing eats, you'll want to hike up the The Flatirons. Drive up Baseline road to Chataqua Park. The parking lot can get full, but you can always park on Baseline. Hike the Chataqua trail and follow signs to the first and second flatirons. The views are insanely beautiful. Here's a photo I took this past summer right before my hike!

Have's hard not to in this town. :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pearl Street (attraction)
  2. The Hill (attraction)
  3. Jax Fish House Boulder (restaurant)
  4. Trident Booksellers & Cafe (attraction)
  5. Beat Book Shop (attraction)
  6. Bart's Music Shack (attraction)
  7. Salvaggio's On The Hill (restaurant)
  8. Albums on the Hill (attraction)
  9. Fox Theatre (attraction)
  10. The Flatirons (attraction)
  11. Chataqua Park (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Christine from Boulder

For beer & an all-around good time, definitely hit up Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, a local favorite. It's a cash only place, though, but it's always a blast and they have tons of beer to choose from.

For hiking - if you're up to it, I'd definitely recommend Bear Peak, which will take you about 1.5-2 hrs to hike up. It's the best view among the local trails, imo.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery (restaurant)
  2. Bear Peak (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Sarah from Watertown Ny

Pearl Street is always fun and lots to do.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pearl Street (attraction)
2 thanks

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