Tucked away in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is an outdoor enthusiasts wonderland with all the charm of a picturesque American city. This quaint college town packs a punch in maintaining its roots in local natural industries, access to a plethora of outdoor adventures, bustling breweries, vintage music venues, highly rated restaurants and 360 degrees of awe inspiring natural beauty. Here’s everything you need to know for an amazing weekend in Boulder.
With only 72 hours in this colorful destination, you might wonder how to squeeze in all the sights and activities? That’s where our team comes in. We’ve rounded up the top rated spots to stay, eat and explore in Boulder- and although we experienced quite a bit on our road trip out West, the more we dug into Boulder’s iconic spots, the more we uncovered. All in all, the itinerary possibilities are endless in Boulder, but here’s the tried and true spots that were the highlights on our trip.
Stay at The St Julien Hotel & Spa
The St. Julien Hotel and Spa is the best hotel in Boulder and for good reason. The Four Diamond, Four Star full-service hotel and spa has a prime downtown location, boasting views of the Flatirons and an array of guest amenities including a full service spa, highly rated onsite restaurant and lounge as well as a complimentary shuttle service and access to the Boulder Creek Path right on the property.
The St Julien leaves no stone unturned when it comes to design and guest experience. Each guest room is an oasis, meticulously designed in neutrals and fresh white Italian linens and features a luxury waterfall shower and soaking tub with signature Canyon Mint bath amenities. Select rooms also have balconies and patios with your own private view of the Flatirons. After a long day of hiking, climbing, and exploring Boulder, your guest suite is the perfect spot to indulge in some R&R in the comfort of your own space.
St Julien is also home to Jill’s Restaurant, a modern bistro featuring a sustainable, organic menu of American cuisine with a French twist. Alongside Jill’s Restaurant is a full bar, an outdoor patio and a private dining experience in the Onyx Room with unparalleled service, creative cocktails and cuisine. The T-Zero Lounge is located in the heart of the hotel and a perfect spot for hand-crafted cocktails and live jazz music. We loved their spin on a classic old fashioned and the Sicilian Paloma with fresh squeezed blood orange paired with light hors’ d’oeuvres of crispy brussel sprouts and the iconic handmade tots, trust us these are not to be missed.
Luxurious relaxation permeates each space at the St Julien. The full service Spa accommodates massages, facial treatments and hair and nail services. In addition to the spa, guests can enjoy some R&R at the spacious indoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, steam room, and sauna. Exuding a casual elegance throughout the property, the St Julian melds quiet tranquility with luxury for the most discerning traveler. With impeccable service, attention to detail and a number of guest amenities, the St Julien checks every box for your Boulder stay.
Where to Hike, Bike and Climb in Boulder
It goes without saying that your weekend in Boulder will be filled with an endless amount of outdoor activities. From hiking, biking, running, and climbing, trails can be found almost everywhere in this bustling city. We have outlined some notable spots within Boulder, but this only scratches the surface on what Boulder (and a few miles outside of the city) has to offer.
Many visitors flock to Chautauqua Park for over 40 miles of beautiful hiking trails with various terrains that are accessible to all experience levels. Some of the trail heads lead into the Flatirons for an ultra scenic hike. The park is home to several recreational activities including basketball and tennis courts, pickle ball, and a playground. The park is a historic spot home to the iconic dining hall, general store and auditorium which hosts several folk, rock and pop shows during the Summer months.
Cycle or Hike Boulder Creek Path
This is a perfect trail for a leisurely walk. Clocking in at 7.6-miles, its half gravel half paved path is generally considered an easy route for cyclists and is well marked and maintained for pedestrians and cyclists alike.. As a guest of the St Julien, the path is just steps from the property making it a nice morning or evening activity.
Climb the Flatirons
Climbing the Flatirons is an experience and one that is perfect for beginners and experts alike. While the climbing is considered moderate, an ascent of a Flatiron is an experience you will never forget. From the hike in through a beautiful wooded forest, to the 360 degree views of Boulder and the surrounding mountains from the dizzying summit ridge of the First Flatiron, you will feel accomplished and proud to be a part of Boulder’s climbing history. Check in with Golden Mountain Guides to book a climbing tour and get outfitted with gear.
Where to Dine in Boulder
Boulder has an impressive roster of restaurants, from small cafes to James Beard award-winning restaurants. You can find a wide variety of international cuisine, farm-to-table menus with an eclectic ambience or a quick bite at a favorite local tried and true spot. No matter where you choose to dine, Boulder’s multifaceted restaurants do not disappoint.
Located in the St Julien Hotel, Jill’s Restaurant is a perfect spot for an upscale brunch, dinner or private dining experience. The menu highlights contemporary American cuisine with a French accent while also paying homage to their commitment to sustainable, organic farming practices. Jill’s is one of Boulder’s highly rated restaurants offering hand crafted cocktails and delicious entrees with fresh ingredients.
Boulder Dushanbe Tearoom
The Boulder Dushanbe Tearoom is a Tajik teahouse that has become a landmark in Boulder. Built in Persian style architecture by master craftsmen, the interior is just as ornately designed with turquoise and green carved ceilings and a large fountain with bronze sculptures. Known for their afternoon tea which features over 100 premium loose leaf teas and a large selection of international dishes. This unique spot is a calming refuge for the travelling tourist, outdoor adventurer or zen enthusiast.
Opening their doors in 2014, the butcher-driven restaurant boasts seasonal, local Colorado grown ingredients and pasture raised, sustainable animals. Blackbelly was born under the chef’s passions: charcuterie, top cuts from locally raised animals, and the flavors from his childhood in southwestern New Mexico. The result is a brilliantly diverse menu of seasonally fresh dishes and a dining experience unlike any other. This is Boulder’s hidden gem, that isn’t so hidden anymore. Guests rave about this spot and it’s for good reason. Make your reservations early.
Wrapping Up Your Weekend in Boulder
Not many cities can hold a candle to Boulder’s wide array of outdoor activities, hometown vibes, award winning restaurants and dedication to local industries. Boulder is a city to visit year-round, whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure- skiing, hiking, climbing, R&R, a solo trip or a weekend away with the family, Boulder offers a full list of activities suited for all visitors.
While our list highlights a handful of spots, Boulder is home to several iconic destinations also worth noting, like the Pearl Street Mall, The Boulder Theater, and the Boulder’s Farmers Market. No matter what is on your itinerary, Boulder will steal your heart and still your mind; in short, you’ll be exhilarated and booking your next trip back to indulge in some more.