We left Boulder exhausted. It could be that our oceanic lungs aren’t accustomed to the low oxygen content in the mountain atmosphere. Or simply that the buzzing, vibrant city nestled in the crook of the Rock Mountains has so many outdoorsy activities to offer that it keeps you on your feet hiking, biking, swimming, walking and eating (we did it all) from dawn until dusk. So with only 2 nights in town we programmed our time to use the mountains and swimming holes to burn off all the calories we consumed in their amazing 50% happy hours. Here are a few of our highlights and suggestions from our overly active, sun soaked days in Boulder.
1. Hike the Flatirons
Jay woke up at 6:30 am to head out for a run along the Boulder Creek which lines the base of the Rocky Mountains (another suggestion if you are a runner) and then came home, showered ate and set out for a gorgeous, heart pumping hike with me. Yes, I agree he is crazy. The hike up to the Flatirons is rugged in places, and mostly an uphill climb the entire way up. However, I saw one girl wearing hardcore hiking boots and athletic gear who was also casually sipping her latte from Flatiron Coffee (they also get the Jordan seal of approval. Go visit) as she trekked to the top. So before you go thinking you are unable to conquer such an endeavor, think of her and realize if she can you can too. I promise.
2. Experience Happy hour at Boulder Cafe
It is no secret I love a good deal and I am incredibly contentious with my money. So one deal I think every North American city (at least every North American college town. Come on Victoria) should embody is Boulder’s happy hour. Every day from 3 to 6pm drinks and appies are all 50%. If you end up missing the cut of there is one gem, The Boulder Cafe, who has a great menu, complete with micro brews and a wonderful California sauvignon blanc that upholds the happy hour deals from 3pm until close. I am talking we had 5 drinks and two appies for a grand total of $25 dollars. Does it get any better?
3. Explore the University of Colorado at Boulder Campus
I can’t deny it I became a teacher because I love school. This means I also love to visit college campuses whenever we go to a new city. UC Boulder had a special appeal to us because not only was it a school we had considered when looking into graduate schools but we also have very dear friends who I met while working at The Fairmont Empress hotel who have a grandson who attends there. We had heard great stories about the college experience in Boulder, as well as compared and contrasted the life of a Canadian undergraduate with that of an american through them. So we were excited to see it for ourselves in the flesh. The energy, bustle of the campus lived up to every tale. I loved the unabashed school spirit that was emblazoned in every student donning a CU teeshirt. By striking up conversations at our hotel, we learned that the school pride transcended to the parents from all over the country who were dropping on their college freshmen. It was a great, vibe that I relished. I know everyone tells me that Columbia doesn’t have the same sort of school pride and NYC doesn’t feel like a college town but part of me is secretly hoping I will find a bit of that there.
4. Pearl Street and The Hill
Boulder has two main areas that are worth exploring, Peal Street and The Hill. Both are packed with great foodie eateries, cute stores and tasty coffee, which is my trifecta when it comes to defining excellent neighbourhoods. Add the street performers of Pearl Street or the excellent student watching of the hill and you have a recipe for a great night. Did I also mention the happy hour discounts? yeah you can find those in both these areas. So really it could simply not get any better.
5. Eat at the Sink
We Jordans love a good burger and treat the hunt of good burgers with the same reverence other connoisseurs approach wine, coffee or luxury liqueurs. We figured a place that had been gone the whole way from being featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to feeding the president of the United States of America, Barrack Obama was a must try. The Sink lived up to all expectations. Their black bean vegan burger was flavorful, and Jay swears their grass fed beef (from Idaho) was juicy and delicious. Additional cool facts: the entire restaurant is run on wind power, every dressing is made from scratch in house and… they have a happy hour. This is my kind of place.