On March 12Michelle Doucette answered the question:Far from the dive bars and dollar shots near the University of Colorado campus (in style if not in miles), Downtown Boulder offers a host of polished places for imbibing after dark. (And before dark — the town's daily happy hours are legendary. Check Downtown Boulder Inc.'s website for schedules.) If you're looking for an after-dinner drink, though, head to Walnut Street and start at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star St Julien Hotel & Spa; the bar is a chic spot for a taste of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey. Then walk one block west to the swank (but still mountain-minded) Bitter Bar for some of the best cocktails you'll find anywhere. The Bitter's bartenders really know their stuff and can craft a perfectly personalized drink in no time. Beyond The Bitter Bar, any one of Boulder's excellent restaurants are just as popular after-hours as they are for dinner — move over to Pearl Street and sidle up to the bar at Jax Fish House, West End Tavern or Centro Latin Kitchen and you'll enjoy good drinks and good eats late into the night.
On March 11Michelle Doucette answered the question:If you're visiting Boulder between April and November, the immensely popular Boulder Farmers' Market is a gold mine of Colorado fare and artisinal baked goods you'll want to bring home to share with friends — if you have the willpower not to chow down en route, of course. Other great souvenirs are products from hometown brands like Crocs (their flagship store is on Pearl Street) or Celestial Seasonings (their tea factory on Sleepytime Drive has an extensive gift shop). And you'd be hard-pressed to find a town with more outdoor retailers per capita (The North Face, Patagonia, REI, GoLite, MontBell, Outdoor Divas and Neptune Mountaineering are just a few), so Boulder is the perfect place to treat yourself to some gear and clothing. A new fleece will serve you well during Boulder's cool mountain nights and beyond.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Boulder. Strap on your hiking shoes, set off from the meadow at the base of the Flatirons, and hike up as far as you can go. Be sure to look over your shoulder periodically at the stunning views of Boulder and the Rocky Mountains beyond. Most of the trails that start in this meadow (at Chautauqua Park) are easy enough for beginner hikers and families, while some become much more challenging, especially if you decide to take on one of the Flatirons. Grab a map at the trailhead and explore as much or as little as you wish.
If you prefer exploring on two wheels, there are a half dozen or so bike shops in town that rent out bikes hourly or by the day. Pedal the paved Boulder Creek Path or tackle one of the mountain biking trails just outside of downtown Boulder.
In the heart of the city, float down Boulder Creek in a kayak or inner tube. A bike path parallels the creek the entire way, and you can get in and out anywhere along that path. Locals often get in at Eben G. Fine Park and float to the east side of town at 55th Street.
Finally, if you have time, take a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is just 50 minutes northwest of Boulder in the town of Estes Park. Here you’ll find stunning natural beauty and hiking paths for all levels.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:Locals and Forbes Travel Guide editors will tell you the best thing to bring home from Boulder is the memory of a new experience. Instead of souvenirs, bring home up-close and awe-inspiring photographs of the Flatirons or Rocky Mountains (taken on one of your scenic, exploratory hikes no less). But if you want something more tangible, opt for a handcrafted teapot from Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, buy a book from the independently owned Boulder Book Store, stop by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a sweet treat to stash in your carry-on bag, or grab a 100-percent organic cotton T-shirt from one of the vendors on the outdoor Pearl Street Mall.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:Boulder residents known for working hard, playing hard and eating well. Want in on the action? Our Forbes Travel Guide editors picked the best food experiences for you to feel like a local:
1. Visit Jax Fish House. Jax’s raw bar offers up to a dozen different varieties of oysters nightly, as well as clams, chilled crabs and lobsters. It’s all flown in daily.
2. Go to Upstairs at The Kitchen. Next door to The Kitchen restaurant, this spot is an intimate lounge and bar that offers a small menu of locally sourced, organic cuisine. The hundred-plus beer and wine list will knock your socks off.
3. Rethink the definition of fast food. Visit Lark Burger where all-natural, black Angus beef burgers are paired with fresh ingredients and served with fries infused with truffle oil and parmesan. For an extra indulgence, add a hormone-free milkshakes.
4. Stop by Zolo Southwestern Grill for upscale comfort food. The BBQ duck tacos and the fresh and chunky guacamole here are worth the visit alone. The atmosphere is upscale, and the food is innovative and hearty.
5. Sit down for breakfast at Lucile’s. This decades-old restaurant occupies an old Victorian house in North Boulder and some say it’s the best breakfast in town. Specialties include Southern Louisiana style chicory coffee and beignets.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:For vibrant nightlife in Boulder, Forbes Travel Guide recommends you take cues from the residents near the University of Colorado Boulder. Just a block from campus is an area affectionately called The Hill, where you’ll find clubs, a bustling indie music scene, a few gritty bars and casual dining. Farther down the road off of the Pearl Street Mall is the historic Boulder Theater where more mainstream bands perform. The lobbies of the St. Julien Hotel and Hotel Boulderado morph into local hot spots after dark, with upscale dining and live jazz music. Also noteworthy is the smattering of award-winning microbreweries and pubs around town, such as Avery Brewing Company and Oskar Blues Brewery, where locals gather for tastings, small plates and good conversation.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:Thanks to its compact footprint (the entire city is surrounded by open space and mountains) Boulder can be easily explored in one day. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you begin with a drive or hike to the Sunrise Amphitheater atop Flagstaff Mountain, which overlooks the town. Take in the 360-degree views, snap some photos, then wander back down to have lunch and stroll through the shops along Pearl Street. Next, pick up a free copy of the Boulder pedestrian and bike map (self-serve bike rentals are available throughout town) and explore the many paths that lead you through the city and along Boulder Creek. Make a pit stop at Dushanbe Tea House for afternoon tea and snacks. Wind down your day with an aromatherapy massage at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa, and dine at one of the many fine restaurants downtown, such as The Kitchen and Frasca Food & Wine.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:The best shopping in Boulder is along Pearl Street Mall, an outdoor, pedestrian area in the heart of the city. You’ll get a true taste of the Colorado town here, since most of the stores are locally owned boutiques. Highlights include the enormous Boulder Book Store, Into the Wind (a kite and toy store), and a two-story home goods store called Peppercorn (worth a stop just to ogle the sheer volume of cooking wares). Adventurous types will enjoy the bike shops, map stores and outdoor gear retailers. You can also peruse clothing boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants. For more mainstream stores, such as Macy’s, the Apple Store and Nordstrom Rack, head to the outdoor Twenty Ninth Street Mall.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:Kids are a welcome sight at most Boulder establishments and attractions — even on the toughest mountain trails. Here are a five Forbes Travel Guide recommended activities geared especially toward little ones:
1. Visit the playgrounds and hiking trails at Chautauqua Park. Pack a picnic and head to this park at the base of the famous Flatirons. Young kids can enjoy the wide-open meadow, the manicured lawn (perfect for soccer or kite flying) and the large playground. Challenge older kids with a hike into the Flatirons.
2. Explore the Pearl Street Mall. This outdoor walking mall is closed to vehicles, making it a safe and fun place to shop, eat and explore with children. Kids can climb on the mall’s sculpture and rock garden, or watch the street performers that line the area on sunny days.
3. Stop by the Boulder Farmers’ Market. Located at Boulder’s Central Park, in the heart of the city, this impressive farmers’ market is open on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. It features about 130 different vendors, food carts, musicians, art exhibits and grassy spaces to dine and play.
4. Visit Gateway Park Fun Center. With old-fashion fun for all ages, Gateway Park, located on the north end of Boulder, has go-karts, batting cages, an arcade and miniature golf. Each activity is just a few dollars.
5. See The Wonder of Science at Twenty Ninth Street. This scientific exhibit is housed at the Twenty Ninth Street outdoor retail center. Each installation is interactive and includes large-scale models of the planets, a local weather reporting station and a 35-foot-tall sounding rocket used in atmospheric studies.
On September 18Gina DeMillo Wagner answered the question:The best activities in Boulder are those that sample its unique geography, cultural heritage and environmentally friendly atmosphere. Here are five best things Forbes Travel Guide recommends adding to your Boulder to-do list:
1. Visit Chautauqua Park. Boulder is known for the famed Flatirons, the sky-scraping rock slabs located on the western edge of downtown. Chautauqua Park sits at the base of the Flatirons and is the launching point for several hiking trails that lead to stunning views of the Rockies and the city of Boulder below. Spend time in the park’s gardens, have lunch in the picnic areas or take in one of the many culture events held here.
2. Have tea at Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. This teahouse was built by the artists and craftsmen of Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The building itself is a work of art, featuring intricate tiling and carving on the walls, columns and ceiling. The tea and eclectic menu are first-rate.
3. Stroll down Pearl Street’s walking mall. At the heart of Boulder, Pearl Street is an entertainment hub that’s lined with stores, fine-dining restaurants and street performers. Grab a latte at one of the locally owned cafés and stroll for several blocks to take it all in.
4. Take a Celestial Seasonings factory tour. Discover how tea is made on a free tour that includes a video, a walk through the Celestial Herb Garden, a look at the tea bag factory and a visit to the heavily aromatic Mint Room. You’ll also get to sample a variety of teas along the way.
5. Bike, walk or float along Boulder Creek. An intricate paved path that follows the Boulder Creeks crisscrosses through town and heads west into the mountains. Hit the path itself to walk, run or rollerblade, or grab an inner tube or kayak and get into the creek to float or paddle the afternoon away.
On July 27Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Boulder residents have refined palettes, and it shows in the city’s booming restaurant scene and influx of award-winning chefs. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best places to eat in Boulder:
1. The Kitchen. The rustically modern interior of The Kitchen includes chalkboards proudly announcing the local origins and environmental footprint of many of the restaurant’s ingredients. The restaurant is a favorite among Boulder’s eco-conscious, food-loving locals. While the menu changes seasonally, it always offers a variety of meat, fish, poultry and vegetarian dishes.
2. Flagstaff House Restaurant. From the top of Flagstaff Mountain, just 10 minutes from downtown Boulder, you can marvel at the lights of the city 1,000 feet below. The seasonal, daily-changing American menu features locally sourced ingredients and is served in an elegant candle-lit dining room. Romance abounds.
3. The Mediterranean. Usually referred to as “The Med,” this is a local hot spot for tapas and drinks. You can get something as simple as almonds, olives and bacon-wrapped dates, then taste some Manchego or mozzarella, and move on to Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus). If you’re hungry for more, the menu includes full entrees.
4. Frasca Food & Wine. A James Beard award winner, Frasca Food & Wine has a menu inspired by the cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region in northeast Italy. The owner and chef are so dedicated to the authenticity of Frasca’s cuisine that they regularly embark on a trip to Italy with the entire staff to eat, drink and learn.
5. Q’s. The casually elegant Q’s is located inside the historic Hotel Boulderado and serves contemporary American cuisine with a focus on local, organic and sustainable foods. Seasonal menu items include dishes such as sweet corn soup and roast Colorado rack of lamb.
On July 27Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Whether you crave something small and private or large and plush, Boulder has a long list of luxe places to stay. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest these five top spots to stay in Boulder:
1. St. Julien Hotel & Spa. Guest rooms at this luxurious spot are crisp, modern and spacious (at least 450 square feet) with the kind of beds and exquisite linens that make you want to stay in bed all day. The large bathrooms have a stone soaking tub and just downstairs is one of the best full-service spas in town. The hotel is just a block away from Pearl Street and offers views of the Flatirons.
2. Hotel Boulderado. Opened in 1909, Hotel Boulderado is the living, breathing heart of Boulder. The Victorian building is a National Register Landmark and a member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America. You’ll notice intricate detail at every turn — whether it’s the cantilevered cherry wood staircase or the antiques in the sitting areas. Each of the 160 guest rooms is individually decorated and many offer views of the foothills.
3. The Stanley. If a majestic mountainside room is more important to you than urban convenience, the check in to The Stanley Hotel, located about one hour from Boulder in Estes Park. This grand, stately hotel is listed on National Register of Historic Places and its luxury amenities are just as impressive.
4. The Alps Boulder Canyon Inn. The award-winning bed and breakfast puts you close to the mountains in rooms that blend luxury with country charm. Each of the 12 rooms features a working fireplace. It’s a favorite choice for couples and those who want a little more privacy without sacrificing amenities.
5. The Bradley Boulder Inn. Just off quaint downtown Pearl Street, The Bradley is a charming hotel with stellar complimentary amenities such as a wine and cheese hour, fresh baked cookies, gourmet breakfasts and a make-shift art gallery.