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10 Things You Gotta Try In Boulder

As much as we'd like, we probably can't be hiking every minute of every day of our visit to Boulder.  Right?  Hello?  Bueller?  Okay, so maybe there's more to life than just hiking.  And there's no better place to explore some of those options than in Boulder.  Below are some of our favorite things to share with visitors to this wonderful city.  

Breakfast in Boulder - One of the biggest surprises, and a pleasant one it was too, was to find out just how much people like breakfast in Boulder.  I kinda figured, it being full of healthy, active people and all, that breakfast for most would consist of a tablespoon of Greek yogurt, a hand full of granola and a seaweed smoothie.  Much to the happiness of my southern-fried heart Boulder is full of cafes, diners and restaurants which serve some of the best wakin' up food ever to fly off a griddle.  There are all varieties of fare to be had, all good, and most of it local grown and organic.   Arrive early or call ahead as the wait times can be longer than Saturday night dinner lines!  Some of our favorites:

  1. Lucile's Creole Cafe, 2124 14th St. Menu - Favorite: Carlin County
  2. Snooze, 1617 Pearl Menu - Favorite: OMG French Toast!
  3. Lucky's Cafe, 3980 Broadway St. Menu - Favorite: Huevos Rancheros
  4. Walnut Cafe, 3073 Walnut Menu - Favorite: Southside Omelette
  5. Foolish Craig's, 1611 Pearl, Menu - As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
  6. Centro Latin Kitchen, 950 Pearl Brunch Menu - Saturday and Sunday til 3:00

Walk, Jog or Bike Boulder Creek Path - This iconic urban trail has historically divided downtown Boulder on the north side from the University of Colorado on the south, and was voted one of the Top Ten urban trails by USA Today.  It is 5.5 miles long and is the east/west spine that interconnects most all of the hike and bike trails in the city.  Shady from lots of trees and cool from the snowmelt flowing through its namesake creek, it is a great place to spend a warm summer afternoon walking, jogging, biking or just relaxing.  Did I mention tubing?  Yep.  Don't have a bike?  No problem.  Boulder's 30+ B-Cycle kiosks are all over town.  You can buy a day pass for about eight bucks at the kiosk and then ride all day.  There is a caveat.  There is no charge for checking out a bike for 30 minutes or less.  However, if you exceed 30 minutes there is a $3 charge for each additional 30-minutes.  Check their website for all the details.  If you want to keep a bike all day and not have to worry about usage charges, the great guys and gals at University Bicycles are ready to help.  Each morning they put about 50 rentals bikes of all types and sizes on their sidewalk for quick, economical rental.  They are located at the corner of Pearl and 9th St.  A townie bike can be had with helmet, lock and tire repair kit for $20/day.  Road and Mountain bikes are more expensive depending on type and brand.  For a fantastic map on all the paved hike and bike paths in the city of Boulder including Boulder Creek Path click here...

Colorado Shakespeare Festival - From June through mid-August the University of Colorado hosts their annual Shakespeare Festival with several plays, performed either al fresco at their Mary Rippon theater or indoors in the University Theater.  They are always quality acts, and sell out early, so buy tickets before your visit for best date/seat options.  Find performances and tickets here.

Cured Picnic - One of our most delightful discoveries in Boulder has been meeting Will Frischkorn at a beer tasting event and learning about his and his wife Coral's passion, Cured.  Cured is their cheese, charcuterie and wine shop at 1825 Pearl Street.  That evening we were sitting on a terrace in the foothills above Boulder watching the sun go down, sipping local craft porter, when in walked Will with two large trays of cheeses and meats the likes I had never seen or tasted before.  Or since.  And it only got better.  As an avid biker I soon found out that Will was a professional road bike racer who raced with the Garmin team in the 2008 Tour de France, almost winning Stage 3 that year!  But I digress.  Cured offers several picnic options for two or more people.  Their expertise and knowledge will ensure you have a picnic unlike any other.  Pick up your picnic and a bottle of wine from Cured and head to the hills, mountains or Chautauqua park for a perfect outdoor experience.

Afternoon Tea at Dushanbe Tea House - Boulder's Dushanbe Tea House was hand-built, without the use of any power tools over a period of three years in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.  It was then disassembled, crated, shipped and reassembled in Boulder.  Today you can enjoy a delightful afternoon tea service or meal and take in the craftsmanship that went into the gift from our sister city.  Located at 1770 13th St. 

Johnny's Cigar Bar (alternate 'tea' service) - If you (and I'm not mentioning any names here, but you know who you are) are less into tea and more into scotch and cigars you can excuse yourself from the tea party (pun intended) and make your way across Canyon to 1801 13th St. and Johnny's Cigar Bar where you can sit on their patio and enjoy a nice smoke and a good single malt.

Small Plates Happy Hour at The Med and Braserie Ten Ten - Eating great food doesn't have to be expensive!  Boulder restaurants toast their customers with some of the best happy hours around, and in Boulder happy hour rarely means wings and fried cheese.  Some of the best foods in Boulder (voted Bon Appetite's 2010 Foodiest Town in America) can be had at happy smile prices between the hours of 3:00 - 6:30, many times 7 days a week.  Without a doubt our two favorite happy hours are at sister restaurants The Med and Brasserie Ten Ten who sit across from each other at 1002 and 1011 Walnut, respectively.  Each offer a large menu of small plate, or tapas, items along with discounted house wines and local beers.  Some of the more notable selections include: basil pesto steamed mussels, steak tartare, brie, crepes, bacon wrapped dates, spanakopita, carpaccio, baba ghanouj, and smoked trout.  Mouths watering yet?

Bicycle to Breweries - Want to guess where you can find a lot of bicycles parked on any given nice weekend day?  You got it.  At all of the local craft micro-breweries.  This is one of my favorite activities with visitors, riding from our home along the many bike paths and dedicated bike lanes to a few of the breweries in Boulder to sample beers.  Most, if not all of the breweries serve flights or tasters of their beers, typically in 3 oz servings.  And many of them also offer great food menus to boot.  It's a great way to spend a social afternoon with friends, while working off the calories between breweries.  If you don't have a bike, check the options above for renting one under Walk, Jog or Bike Boulder Creek Path.  Then click here for the super secret trail guide for biking from downtown to Fate Brewing, Avery Brewing, Upslope Brewery, Boulder Beer and finishing at Mountain Sun Brewery.  It's important to remember that you should not drink more than 12 oz of beer per hour (your mileage may vary), compliment your drinking with food, and add plenty of water to stay hydrated on the ride.  And note, the same penalties apply while Pedaling Under the Infuence as driving!

Buy Some Legal Pot - For 54 of my now 56 years pot, weed, maryjane, marijuana, dope, hemp, cannabis, reefer, whatever it has been called has been taboo, off-limits, persona non grata, verboten, illegal.  I remember going to parties in high school where pot was being passed around, just sure the fuzz were going to kick down the door any moment, arresting all of us, thus ruining any chance I had of attending college and getting a 1.2 GPA my freshman year.  And, as they say, I tried it, I didn't like it.  For it to be completely legal to now walk into a 'dispensary', lay down your credit card and buy a gram or ounce just seems too surreal.  So, I had to try it.  Again.  Still don't like it.  But, if you are old enough to have been part of the 60's and 70's, and aren't from Colorado, you might want to try the experience as well.  Just because you can.  Legally.  Lighting up is up to you.  Otherwise, donate it to a homeless hippie.  Just kidding.  They're are plenty of needy college kids out there.  Better yet, if you have teenage kids that think you are old fashioned, or out of touch with the hip scene, take a selfie in the shop holding some buds and Facebook/Twitter it with the caption "Really high in Colorado!"  That'll get their attention.

Boulder Farmers Market - On Saturday mornings from April through November you can find the Boulder Farmers Market in full bloom in Central Park on the corner of 13th St. and Canyon.  There are stalls full of fresh local produce, breads, flowers, plants, teas, meats, cheeses and many other locally made items.  There is also a food court area set up as well next to the Dushanbe tea house.  It's a great gathering place to shop, relax on the green, grab something to eat, and people watch.  

Boulder Dinner Theater - For 30 years the Boulder Dinner Theater has been opening the curtain on great stage productions like Spamalot, Shrek, Mary Poppins, Fiddler On The Roof and more, all the while serving great food with your evening entertainment.  I am never sure which I like more, the production or the intermissions when the actors serve our meals, desserts and drinks.  It's a fun night the entire family can enjoy!