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Top 10: Free Things to Do in Boulder

Destination(s): Boulder

Once you’ve calculated your budget for lodging and food, this guide will help you enjoy Boulder without spending another dime. Luckily, much of what Boulder has to offer is based on its natural beauty and wonderful weather, so a perfect way to spend much of your time in Boulder is to hike, climb, and picnic while soaking up the Colorado sunshine. In the summer, Pearl Street is full of street performers and live music that will keep you interested for hours at a time, and the Outdoor Cinema is donation-based, so pay if you can or just enjoy the show! read more about Top 10: Free Things to Do in Boulder

Flatirons (The)

Flatirons (The)

  • 3198 Broadway (Parks Department)
  • Boulder, 80302

If you fly into Denver airport, the famous foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Flatirons, are undoubtedly the first things you'll notice. The Flatirons provide exceptional hiking, bouldering, and climbing, with rock grades ranging from easy to world-class. Different angles of these iconic mountains can be seen from various spots around the town, and of course an incredible view of the town can be seen by hiking or climbing up the Flatirons. Their red sandstone slabs provide a dramatic background for the town and images of the Flatirons are a ubiquitous symbol of the town of Boulder. read more about Flatirons (The)

Boulder Outdoor Cinema

Boulder Outdoor Cinema

Bands on the Bricks

Bands on the Bricks

Conference on World Affairs

Conference on World Affairs

  • University of Colorado Boulder campus
  • UCB 465
  • tel:303.492.2525
  • Visit website
  • Boulder, 80309
Boulder Creek Path

Boulder Creek Path

  • Parallels Arapahoe Avenue
  • 55th St. and Pearl Pkwy., to the mouth of Boulder Canyon
  • tel:+1 303 441 3200
  • Visit website
  • Boulder, 80302

The Boulder Creek Path runs from east Boulder up Boulder Canyon Dr. as it winds itself through the foothills. The path is paved as it meanders through town and then becomes gravel and dirt as it heads up into the mountains. The Boulder Creek Path is popular with joggers and cyclists because of its beautiful scenery; so enjoy the sights but you'll have to head further out of town if you're seeking solitude. There are many places along the way to stop and enjoy the sounds of the Boulder Creek, or to stop at a table or bench and have a picnic. In the summer time, head to Eben G. Fine park along the path just west of downtown where there is a playground for kids, picnic tables and grills, and a great area for tubing down the creek (there are some small cascades, so if the kids want to go, put a helmet on them and stick them in your lap). read more about Boulder Creek Path

Flagstaff Mountain

Flagstaff Mountain

  • Flagstaff Mountain Road
  • Flagstaff Mountain Road
  • tel:+1 303 441 3408
  • Boulder, 80302

Just west of downtown, the winding road up the mountain provides stunning panoramic views of Boulder, Denver, and the eastern plains after a beautiful drive or a strenuous bike ride. There are many picnic tables just off the road where you can park and walk for a few minutes and find yourself in a relatively quiet and secluded area. Flagstaff Mountain also has mountain bike trails and popular climbing routes, as well as the Summit Nature Center (open weekends in the summer) and an outdoor amphitheater. The Flagstaff House, one of Boulder's most upscale restaurants, is also situated on Flagstaff Mountain, which affords it incredible views and quite a romantic atmosphere. read more about Flagstaff Mountain

Chautauqua Park

Chautauqua Park

  • Ninth Street & Baseline Road
  • tel:303 442 3282
  • Visit website
  • Boulder, 80302

This picturesque park located at the base of the Flatirons has many trailheads that are the gateways to the Rocky Mountains. The park is a wonderful place for walking, picnicking, and people-watching. The park is part of the Chautauqua community, an idea built from the Chautauqua movement popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that was based around adult education that attempted to provide entertainment and culture for the whole community. The Boulder Chautauqua community opened in 1898 and contains a public dining hall, lodging, a community house for local events, and the beautiful Chautauqua Auditorium, which houses the esteemed Colorado Music Festival in the summer, as well as other concerts throughout the year. read more about Chautauqua Park

Boulder Farmers' Market

Boulder Farmers' Market

  • 13th Street
  • Between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue
  • tel:+1 303 910 2236
  • Visit website
  • Boulder, 80302

A local treasure, this is one of the best farmers' markets around. Almost everything can be found here, from freshly roasted green chilies, to gourmet cheeses and wines, to flowers and plants. Much of the food is organic, and all of it is grown by the people selling it. The Farmers' Market also has a food court with delicious prepared foods, picnic tables, and music. Grab some breakfast or lunch and take it over to Central Park to sit in the grass and watch the people. The Market hosts thousands of Boulderites and visitors every week, some who are there to see the sights and take in the smells, and others who are just there to do their weekly grocery shopping.
read more about Boulder Farmers' Market

Pearl Street Mall

Pearl Street Mall

  • Pearl Street
  • Pearl St. from 11th to 15th sts
  • tel:+1 303 442 1044
  • Boulder, 80302

This four-block pedestrian mall is a unique and essential part of Boulder. With a wide selection of shops and restaurants, this mall is sure to keep you entertained as you stroll in and out of art galleries, listen to musicians playing free live music, enjoy the shows of buskers (such as the famous Derek Derek), and have a bite to eat on one of Pearl Street's many outdoor patios. It's also a great place for kids, with water spouts that come out of the bricks by 14th street, street performers making balloon art, and big animal statues on which to climb on the east side of the walking mall. In the summer, Pearl Street is host to many events such as Band on the Bricks and the Downtown Boulder Art Fair. The stores also extend both east and west of the walking portion of the Pearl Street Mall, so be sure to continue on to find more interesting stores and restaurants. read more about Pearl Street Mall

Boulder Falls

Boulder Falls

Boulder Falls is located 11 miles west of Boulder on the north side of Boulder Canyon Drive. In the past, carryalls would bring visitors up for a visit and a picnic, especially after the narrow gauge railroad washed out in the great flood of 1894 and made the area more accessible to pedestrians. Boulder Falls today is still quite lovely, and merits a stop as you head west up the canyon toward Nederland. The torrent of icy cold water occurs where North Boulder Creek plunges 70 feet to enter Middle Boulder Creek. To get to Boulder Falls, follow Canyon Blvd. west into the mountains until you see signs for it. The Falls will be to your right and there is plenty of parking, but take care when crossing Boulder Canyon Drive, as people drive quickly around the mountain turns. read more about Boulder Falls