Boulder, Colorado

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

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Like most Rockies towns, Boulder’s first settlers came to get rich mining gold and silver. Now a casual yet sophisticated university town, Boulder attractions include many outdoor activities exploring the surrounding Rocky Mountain landscape. In fact, it was named by Outdoors Magazine as the best place in the United States to partake in outdoor sports.

Wildflowers near the Boulder Flatiorns. (Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group/Colorado Tourism Office)

Tucked into the Colorado Rockies foothills just below Flagstaff Mountain and a rock formation called The Flatirons, the residents are well known for being liberal and Earth loving. Other than the University of Colorado, the city also boasts the alternative Naropa University, the nation’s only Buddhist university and the Boulder School of Massage Therapy.

Shopping also brings many visitors who stay in the comfortable and elegant Boulder lodging year round; some historic, some modern. Shops with witty names and unusual items draw people to the Pearl Street Mall in downtown and the new 29th Street Open Air Mall is Boulder’s latest shopping district development.

In and around Boulder there are over 30,000 acres of designated space to hike or mountain bike, mountain climb, boulder, kayak, fish, run, golf or go horseback riding. In winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular. Alpine skiing and snowboarding are just 30 minutes away at Eldora Mountain. A still mostly undiscovered ski resort, it offers some of Colorado’s most affordable ski packages!

A popular hiking destination is Chautauqua Park. A variety of local retailers can provide you with a trail map of Boulder’s open spaces. Many trails start at the edge of town, while others require a short drive out of town to their trail heads.

Eldorado Canyon is where to head if you’re a rock climber. Just six miles outside of Boulder, it’s a wonder of natural beauty and famous for its hundreds of routes. The city’s open space also offers some great climbing spots, including routes of varying difficulty on the Flatiorns themselves. Boulder Canyon, due west of downtown Boulder, also has several good routes. Be sure to check with local authorities before you head to any of these spots, as they are affected with the change of the seasons as well as the subject to closure because of local wildlife.

Vegetarians won’t have any problem finding delectable restaurants to dine at, and beer fanatics will feel right at home with all the great microbreweries in the area. The brew-fueled nightlife is lively and popular with all the resident college students.

The college atmosphere also brings rich cultural activities, such as the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, as well as performances and lectures from world-famous performers and guest speakers who touch on a large variety of topics in the world.

The Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) is put on by the non-profit Colorado Film Society and focuses on the large, urban film-hip audiences of the Boulder and Denver areas, offering first views of the best new films in international cinema each year.

Long considered a forward-thinking community, Boulder inspired the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to base their operations in town. Both offer tours to visitors.

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