Here’s the scoop
…on where to dine, drink, and do in Boulder. The list could be never-ending, so we narrowed it down to the cream of the crop, the top of the tier—highlighting places that are tried-and-true.
TO Dine For
BLACKBELLY: Restaurant and Market
Any Top Chef fans out there? As you may know, In season 5 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Hosea Rosenberg won. In the years that followed, Chef Hosea opened Blackbelly, first as a boutique catering service, with a food truck and farm, which then evolved into a full-service restaurant, independent butcher shop, and market, with its own line of house-cured meats and provisions. Through its evolution, the motto has stayed the same: food will always start with seasonal, locally-grown ingredients, and pasture raised sustainable animals.
Local Tip: The market may have the best breakfast burritos in town featuring specialty meat from the previous day’s special. Warning: these do sell out daily so get there early.
Frasca not only dishes out the best Northern Italian cuisine paired with top-shelf wine but also serves as the poster child for hospitality. Co-Owner and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey is the man behind the curtain—although he isn’t behind the curtain at all – he’s right there, front and center on the floor just about every night treating guests with the best service one can find. Authentic, locally-sourced food: check. High-class hospitality: also check.
Local Tip: Check out their sister restaurant, Tavernetta, in Denver by Union Station.
More Local Favorites:
In this kitchen, you’ll find entrepreneurship served with a side of ingenuity. The Kitchen was the first brainchild of Kimbal Musk (brother and investor of Elon Musk and Tesla), and since The Kitchen’s fruition, the healthy, fast, and inexpensive concept has taken off and been the primary motivator of this restaurant chain. Serving farm-to-table American food (with nods to Kimbal Musk’s South African roots) the food is delicious and supports spreading healthy food across the nation. Leaving an especially good-feeling aftertaste.
Local Tip: Kimbal Musk also owns The Kitchen Next Door (also a location in Denver), Hedgerow Bistros in Denver, and directs a food-oriented, non-profit called Big Green.
Chances are when you walk in you’ll see restaurateur Edwin Zoe’s Chef/muse/mother Anna Zoe, also known as “Ma Ma,” preparing yummy, authentic Chinese street food. Right in the heart of West Pearl Street, this local hot spot is an inexpensive lunch or dinner that serves hot or cold noodles, dumplings, potstickers, and an always mouthwatering daily special.
Local Tip: Ma Ma’s “CPR” is a delicious soup remedy for those days you’re feeling under the weather.
Have A Drink (Or Maybe Two)
Colorado has the second most craft breweries in the United States which means there is no shortage of good craft brews. Sanitas is our featured brewery because it’s a local favorite, one that might be lesser known, but reigns supreme because of three things: beer, tacos, location. Beer is a given, with house-brewed beers that rotate with the season, there’s always something on tap that satisfies the variety of beer drinkers. You’ll need to give that drink a purpose, and washing down some of the best tacos in town is it. Thanks, McDevitt Taco Supply. Lastly, location is key. With a huge outdoor patio and open views beyond, the 300 days of sun are not wasted.
Local Tip: There’s enough parking for everyone at this brewery, just make sure to bring a designated driver.
Here’s the hipster hot spot of Boulder. You could consider this lounge a creative cocktail haven and the ultimate spot for a date night. Despite having the best happy hour in town, it’s one of the best late night .
Local Tip: The Bitter Bar has the longest happy hour in Boulder from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Introducing the newest sweetheart to the Boulder Downtown scene that’s been positively reviewed and applauded since opening in 2017. Giving off an artist vibe, they call their modern menu a “Neo-Bistro” and serve creative cocktails on the side. Right on Pearl Street, it’s a must for a date night or a quick Instagrammable moment.
Local Tip: Check out their brunch. You won’t be disappointed.
Two things Boulder is known for—bluegrass and craft beer. Combine these two passions, and you’ll find a few Mountain Sun Pub & Breweries locations in Boulder and Denver. Enjoy affordable pub food with your brew and keep your eye on the calendar for local bands that play live folk, acoustic, or bluegrass.
Local Tip: Bring cash to avoid an ATM fee. This is a cash-only establishment.
Up and Do Something
Get lost from the digital world and get found in nature. Sometimes all it takes is a quick getaway on a hike to renew and reset. Fortunately, Colorado is known for its majestic beauty, and you don’t need to travel far to find top-notch hiking in and around Boulder. With mountain views rising up to elevations more than 8,000 feet—a great workout is almost guaranteed if you’re starting from Boulder (which is 5,400 feet above sea level). Meanwhile, the mesas and plains in east Boulder offer soft terrain rich in history and ancient geology. Truly the best of both worlds.
Local Tip: Need some resources to find those sweet spots? Check out All Trails or the local hiking group, Boulder Hiking Chicks.
PEARL STREET MALL
This is not like a regular mall, it’s a cool mall. It’s the heartbeat of the city, the talk of the town—and in typical Colorado Fashion—al fresco. Follow the red brick road where you’ll find the best eats, drinks, shops, and entertainment all in a four-block radius. Four blocks may sound like a quick jaunt, but with all of the regular street performers and local shops to pop in, you’ll be able to spend an entire afternoon at the mall and top it off with a drink.
Local Tip: By far the best people watching in town.
BOLDER BOULDER 10K
Runner’s World acknowledged BolderBOULDER as “America’s All-Time Best 10k” because it is, in fact, America’s best 10k of all time. Running since 1979, there’s been plenty of time to perfect a 10k where the whole town of Boulder comes down to run for fast or fun.
Local Tip: Mark your calendar—the race always takes place Memorial Day weekend.
ELDORA MOUNTAIN RESORT
If you’re new to Colorado, you’ll realize very quickly that there’s such thing as mountain traffic. On most weekends, summer or winter, there’s usually traffic on I-70 while city folk escape to the wide open spaces. Which is what gives Eldora Mountain Resort of its best selling points—the proximity to Boulder. You can avoid I-70 completely to go skiing or snowboarding.
Local Tip: Boulderites have caught on so weekends can still be busy. Weekday afternoons are always the slowest at Eldora.
THE DAIRY ARTS CENTER
The real questions is what isn’t there to do here. Art classes for young and old, theater, dance, art exhibits, comedy, and film are all available under one roof. Consider a membership to get involved with the art scene in Boulder. Our very our Firuzeh Saidi also has a lot to say about the Dairy Arts Center. Check out her blog post on all she has been doing.
Local Tip: Check out the schedule for The Boedecker Theater’s film talk backs.
BOULDER COUNTY FARMERS MARKET
The Boulder County Farmers Markets is a Colorado non-profit corporation established to provide an outlet for local agricultural producers to sell their products directly to the public. Not only does this routine Boulder activity support local farms and businesses, but it is also the perfect outlet to promote a healthy diet with locally grown goodness.
Local Tip: Go early for the best product!
CONFERENCE OF WORLD AFFAIRS
The Conference on World Affairs is an annual conference, open to the public, featuring panel discussions among experts in international affairs and other areas, proudly hosted since 1948 by the University of Colorado Boulder. CWA Week features 200 panels, 100 speakers, and performers, over 5 days, attracting more than 70,000 in cumulative attendance each year.
Local Tip: Take advantage of these worldly events without admission fees.
Despite yogas more recent boom across the country, yoga has been a focal part of Boulder culture for decades. Yoga Journal—founded in 1975—is headquartered in Boulder, Gaiam was born in Louisville, famed yogini Amy Ippoliti is a Boulderite, and there’s even a yoga infused music festival every June called Hanuman Festival. If you’re looking to start your practice or expand your practice, there are plenty of places to namaste.