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Just 30 minutes from Denver and surrounded by 45,000 acres of protected open space, Boulder is an outdoor lover’s town with urban flair. Located in the Boulder Valley where the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains collide, its geographical mascot is The Flatirons — craggy sandstone formations that tower above the town. The unique makeup of Boulder’s citizenry includes more than 35,000 University of Colorado students, techies plugged into the town’s thriving startup scene, scientists working at three national laboratories, and world-renowned athletes who come here to train at high altitude. They all contribute to the town’s crunchy play-hard culture; this is a place as much known for health food restaurants as it is for a booming brewery scene. Boulder has all the charm and recreational opportunities of a mountain village with the culture of a much larger city.
Denver International Airport (DEN) is the closest major airport to Boulder, at about a 45-minute drive away. Public transportation, shuttles, rideshares, and taxis are available to transport you from the airport to town. Rental cars are also available, although depending on your travel goals, may not be required to enjoy Boulder. Regional Transportation District buses make many stops within town, and the city’s HOP bus services downtown destinations. On summer weekends, free Park-to-Park hiker shuttles pick up in Boulder and drop off at trailheads. Get around like a local by checking out a bike at the city’s Boulder B-cycle stations. You can buy passes at stations, online, or with an app, and a credit card is required.
Boulder enjoys roughly 300 days of sunshine a year, and a mild climate thanks to its high altitude. That means even on balmy days, you may be in for a crisp evening. Spring in Boulder is warm and sunny, and Pearl Street is covered in thousands of tulips. Summer is a busy festival season, but also brings the hottest weather, particularly in August. In fall the leaves change color and temperatures dip, but are usually pleasant for hiking. Winter is a peaceful low season, accompanied by moderate snow. Any time you visit you’re likely to find several events going on, celebrating ideas ranging from classical music to yoga. In May, international crowds gather for the hugely popular BOLDERBoulder 10k Road Race.
Head to this gorgeous park at the base of the Flatiron Mountains to tromp more than 40 miles of scenic hiking trails and get a little closer to those dramatic rock formations. The grounds are also home to an auditorium that hosts the Colorado Music Festival, which features international artists over six weeks in July and August.
Located on the University of Boulder campus, this unique collection of historical devices includes phonograph players, Commodore 64 computers, and other relics of technology’s past. They all work, and visitors are encouraged to get hands-on with the collection. Visits are by appointment only.
Few activities embody the pace of summer more than lazily bobbing along, toes in the water, sun on your face, and your bum in a tube. You can launch a tubing trip on Boulder Creek where it curves through Eben G. Fine Park, just a short walk from the town’s commercial center, and spend the day floating along. Tubing season is roughly May through June. You can buy or rent tubes in town, as well as schedule a pickup once you’re ready to dry off.