Plan your ultimate trip with our list of the top things to do in Boulder. 

When it comes to the American travel scene, one of the most popular locations that should come to mind is Boulder, Colorado. Boulder, Colorado is known across the United States as one of the most beautiful cities. For starters, it offers stunning views of some of the most beautiful topography America has to offer. Not only that, but it is here where you can soak in views of the iconic Flatiron mountains. The adventure does not stop there. There is so much local culture and heritage that you simply can not miss out on. With so many things to do in Boulder, why wouldn’t you want to visit this beautiful location?

Today, we have rounded up some of the best things to do in Boulder that are simply awesome. For exploring the outdoors to drinking in experiences of some of the best museums this great city has to offer, we have got you covered. Let’s get started with our round up of the some of the best things to do in Boulder, Colorado.

1. Visit the Flatirons

Things to Do in Boulder - Flatirons

One of the most popular things to do in Boulder, Colorado is to visit the iconic Flatirons. You simply can not come to Boulder without taking the time to put this location on your itinerary. The Flatirons are massive slabs of sandstone. What makes these slabs of sandstone so iconic is the fact that they slant at a very steep angle. While the Flatirons are a completely natural landscape, they are distinct to Colorado. It is this beautiful backdrop that draws hundreds and thousands of visitors here every year. If you plan on visiting Boulder, then one of the most popular things to do in Boulder is to visit the Flatirons.

There are a couple of ways to experience the Flatirons. The most popular way to view these beautiful mountains is by making your way towards the chautauqua historic district. Once there you will find the Open Space Mountain Park’s area. This open field is one of the best ways to get a clear view of the Flatirons. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then it only makes sense that you will want to hike up towards the direction of the mountains. There are plenty of trails along the foothills that were designed to be hiked through. These hiking trails will lead you straight into the Flatiron mountains. Without a doubt, exploring the natural wonder is one of the best things to do in Boulder.

2. Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra

Things to Do in Boulder - Philharmonic Orchestra

Credit: Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra / Facebook

If you find yourself in Boulder, Colorado, then one of the most popular things to do in Boulder is to pay a visit to the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. This Orchestra is truly a treat for all ears and should not be missed out on.

The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra performs regularly and is based in the Macky Auditorium at the University of Colorado campus. When the Orchestra gets together, its not aytypical for them to blow repeat visors away each time. Each performance is as stunning as the last. Ask anyone who has visited, and they will tell you that this is an experience that you truly will not forget.

Director Michael Butterman has led the orchestra to absolute success over years. In fact, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra has been voted “Best of Boulder” for the last three years. What makes this Philharmonic Orchestra so fabulous is the fact that they are able to play such a wide range of genres. This unique mix features dance, choral and even visual elements. These elements come together to create something truly beautiful.

Finally, another fabulous facet of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is the fact that they are so dedicated to their community. They offer an annual Young Artists Concerto Competition. This competition is a fantastic way for local talent to be fostered and grown. The competition always wraps up by a concert in which a local talent can find out their potential. Along with that, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra offer the popular Discovery Concerts. These Discovery Concerts are what prompt innovation in the new wave of music lovers in each upcoming generation. For an experience that you absolutely can not miss out on, this is an experience that you must put on on your itinerary. Coming out to see the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra perform is easily one of the best things to do in Boulder.

3. Take a Ride on Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour

Things to Do in Boulder - Banjo Billy's Bus Tour

Credit: Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours 

If you want to explore the city with a seasoned veteran, then one of the best ways to do this is through a local tour bus. One of the best things to do in Boulder is to book a seat on Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour. What once was a school bus is now an iconic motor vehicle that drives through the streets of Boulder, Colorado on a daily basis. 

On this tour, visitors will get an in depth understanding of everything that there is to know about Boulder. For example, you can take your fill of ghost stories, legends of the town, and really everything in between. The tour guides aboard Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour are super informed about the ins and outs of Boulder. One of the best things to do in Boulder is to soak in all the magic around you by going on this tour.

The tours on this bus last roughly 90 minutes. If you ask any local or traveler, they will tell you that it is 90 minutes well spent. Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour will take you to some of the most historic locations of Boulder. Dive into Boulder’s past and relive some of the most interesting stories that are too crazy to make up. Some of the things you can expect include an earful of crime stories that took place in Boulder. Everything from haunted hotels to suicides has a place on this bus tour. Although some of the stories are a little daunting, you can expect to have a good time filled with plenty of laughs.

Finally, the good news is, you do not have to worry about what time of year you come to Boulder to experience this bus tour. Banjo Billy’s bus tour is open all year round and accommodates a range of visitors.

4. Pearl Street Mall 

Things to Do in Boulder - Pearl Street Mall

Credit: Downtown Boulder / Facebook

In every city there is a hotspot that you simply cannot ignore. When it comes to Boulder, that hotspot is the Pearl City Mall. Ask any local or traveler and they will tell you that the Pearl Street Mall is easily one of the best things to do in Boulder. Pearl Street Mall is a fabulous collection of restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment. If you are visiting Boulder on a cool summer’s day, then going out to the Pearl Street Mall is easily one of the top things to do in Boulder. Wanderlust summer travelers, you should take advantage of this. Pearl Street Mall is situated in a picturesque location. This location makes offers a fabulous opportunity to stroll around the city of Boulder and to really get to know it.

One of the best aspects of Pearl Street Mall is the fact that every shop owner is full of hospitality. The restaurant and shop owners make this mall exceptional because a friendly face is waiting for you in every corner. If you would rather do some serious window shopping instead of retail therapy, then there is plenty of fun for you on the streets as well. You can expect to find some of Boulder’s local talent warming it up on streets for you to enjoy. Better yet, if you are traveling with children, there are jungle gyms outside for your kids to let off some energy throughout the day. If you are looking for one of the best things to do in Boulder, then exploring Pearl Street Mall is a fabulous choice to start with.

5. Dushanbe Tea House

Things to Do in Boulder - Dushanbe Tea House

Credit: Boulder Teahouse / Facebook

What is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Boulder is certainly not something many travelers would expect here. The  Dushanbe Tea House remains to be one of the most beautiful buildings that have so much to offer. Along with its stunning beauty,  Dushanbe Tea House is continually marked as one of the best things to do in Boulder that you cannot miss out on.

When you come to Dushanbe Tea House,  you are not simply coming just for the tea. In fact, coming to the Teahouse is an adventure all on its own. This marvelous tea house features many intricate designs and breathtaking beauty that makes it stand out from many other establishments. The history behind this tea house is just as fabulous and interesting

The Dushanbe Tea House was actually built in Dushanbe Tajikistan. This marvelous work of art took almost two years to complete. Over those two years, about 40 builders and artists came together to make the Tea House what it is today. From there, it was shipped over to Boulder, Colorado as a gift for the sister city.

One of the iconic features of the Dushanbe Tea House is the intricate designs on the outside. These beautiful designs are the creation of a painstaking process of mosaic tile designs. These mosaic tile designs have a very visible Persian influence that is coupled with the beauty of nature. In 1998, when it was packed up and shipped over to Boulder, the mission statement behind this gift was clear. It was and still is a symbol of friendship and cultural expression. Not only international friendship but local friendship too. The tea house is a constant reminder of Boulder’s rich cultural diversity and how it should be embraced.

Along with its beauty, the menus here make for one of the best restaurants in Boulder. When you come to the tea house, there are three menu options that you can choose from. The tea house offers a fantastic breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. However, one of their most popular menu items is their high tea menu. Sample some of the finest teas alongside delectable pastries that are too good to pass up. If you are looking for a fabulous getaway that offers a memorable experience, then Dushanbe Tea House is easily one of the best things to do in Boulder.

6. Boulder History Museum

Things to Do in Boulder - History Museum

Credit: Museum of Boulder / Facebook

In any destination you travel to, one of the most valuable things you can do is learn about the history of that location. The same goes for Boulder, Colorado. One of the most popular things to do in Boulder is to visit the Boulder History Museum. The Boulder History Museum is fabulous for so many reasons. For starters, it does a fantastic job of educating both locals and travelers about the importance of the constantly changing history of Boulder.

This wonderful museum is right on the iconic Hardback Bergheim house on University Hill. The calm and beautiful exterior may be subtle, but once you enter, you will be greeted with a wealth of knowledge. Is it is at the Boulder History Museum that you can find over 45,000 objects that pertain to this pivotal landmark. As with all museums, you can expect to have displays and exhibits that change over the year. Along with that, there are plenty of educational events that are geared towards both the younger visitors and adults as well. Before you make your trip out here, it is worth checking out their website to get a sense of what will be going on here during your stay.

7. UCAR Center for Science Education

Things to Do in Boulder - UCAR

Credit: UCAR Center for Science Education / Facebook

The UCAR Center for Science Education is easily one of the best things to do in Boulder if you love learning and exploration. UCAR is short for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and has plenty to offer for both adults and young learners. Visitors can give themselves the opportunity to understand the world around them through the many displays offered here. One of the main goals behind the Center for Science Education is to get visitors to think outside of the box. They do this by encouraging visitors to entertain STEM exploration. Along with this, the Center does an amazing job of promoting scientific literacy outreach and community engagement.

There are many exhibits that are so wonderful for so many reasons. For starters, visitors can get an in depth understanding of the way our planet interacts with different forces that cause the weather to change and climate change to take place. Along with that, visitors can explore the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. Finally, if you have a sky lover on your hands, they can understand all that there is to know about the atmosphere. Whether you are traveling with kids or not is really no matter for debate. The UCAR Center for Science Education is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Boulder for people of all ages.

8. Boulder County Farmers Market

Things to Do in Boulder - County Farmers Market

Another one of the most popular activities and without a doubt one of the best things to do in Boulder is to visit the Boulder County Farmers Market. This farmers market is an establishment of some of the best vendors for local agriculture around. What makes this farmers market fantastic is the fact that you get way more than a traditional Farmers Market may offer. The Boulder County Farmers Market is made up of the Boulders Farmers Market and the Longmont Farmers Market. These two farmers markets have come together to create the Boulder County Farmers Market. This merging of vendors has really helped make the Boulder County Farmers Market what it is today.

There’s plenty more than just the selection that makes this farmer market great. For example, you get to buy directly from the farmer. There are no middlemen. This way, you always know where your produce goods are being sourced from. Plus, it is always a bonus when you get to talk to the farmers directly. In true farmers market style, there is more than just products that you can choose from here. There is also a range of homemade foods, handmade gifts, and crafts for you to sample here as well.

To enjoy this fabulous farmer markets you have the benefit of flexibility on your hands. With accessible hours, there is no reason why you should not visit. The Boulder Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the year. This farmers market can be found on 13th Street between Arapahoe and Canyon. As far as the Longmont Farmers Market, you can expect to find them at the Boulder County Fairgrounds every Saturday. On Wednesdays, you can sample some of their products on 5th Avenue.

9. Visit the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark

Things to Do in Boulder - hautauqua National Historic

Credit: Colorado Chautauqua / Facebook

Another one of the best things to do in Boulder is to visit the iconic Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. Chautauquas were once buildings that were home to many popular adult education classes and entertainment. Chautauquas flourished in the late 19 century and bled into the early 20th centuries. What makes the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark so unique is the fact that it is one of the few remaining Chautauquas left in the United States. In fact, the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark is the only one on the west side of the Mississippi. Not only that, but it is the only one that continues to be in operation since its founding. 

This iconic landmark spans over 26 acres of the Colorado foothills of the beautiful Flatirons. When you visit today, you will be able to find a fully functioning institution that includes an auditorium, a dining hall, and an academic hall. One of the major missions of the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark is to preserve the history that is so deeply rooted in its past. Today, visitors can gain a valuable experience. This is because of the fact that there are plenty of experiences that revolve around cultural, education, social, and recreational experiences that can be of great value for people of all ages. The Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark gives visitors a unique experience in the fact that they will learn all that they need to about this unique facet of colorado’s past.

10. Dairy Center for the Arts

Things to Do in Boulder - Dairy Center for the Arts

Credit: Dairy Arts Center / Facebook

If you are a music and arts over, then this landmark is easily one of the best things to do in Boulder. The Dairy Center for the Arts is an art lovers dream. For starters, this popular location is housed in an old converted dairy plant. 

The Dairy Center for the Arts offers visitors a unique experience in the fact that you will get the opportunity to enjoy the arts including dance, theatre, music, cinema, visual arts, and other displays. When it comes to the magnitude and influence of the Dairy Center for the Arts, it is pretty impressive. Currently, this museum is the largest multi-disciplinary arts center in Boulder.

One of the best aspects of this museum is the fact that it has a pretty awesome gallery space. This gallery space allows visitors the fantastic opportunity to experience some pretty awesome exhibits. From stunning visual arts exhibits to stunning artistic performances, the Dairy Center for the Arts has it all.

Along with its gallery space, there are three gallery exhibits that feature the works of over 80 artists. These artists are not just limited to Colorado itself either. You can find the works of another local talent as well as domestic and international talent.

If you are traveling with children, then you are sure to love the Dairy Center for the Arts. What makes this a fantastic place for children is the fact that there is an educational program called Kids at the Dairy. This program enables young children the opportunity to get a first hand experience at what live performances mean.

Overall, for both art enthusiasts and young children alike, the Dairy Center for the Arts is easily one of the best things to do in Boulder. If you happen to be here and have some extra time on your hands, then it is simply worth checking out. Do not forget to leave this iconic location off your list the next time you are traveling through Boulder.

11. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Things to Do in Boulder -  Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Credit: Shakespeare Festival

Calling all literary lovers. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Boulder is to visit the popular Colorado Shakespeare Festival. This festival is unique for so many reasons. For starters, this festival has been around since 1953. Since then, this annual celebration has done a fantastic job preserving the influence that Shakespeare and his works have had over the modern world. 

The main mission behind the festival is to not only preserve Shakespeare’s work but to preserve the world’s understanding of what it meant to live and breathe in a Shakespearean society. The festival’s aim is to educate the public about the importance of playwriting. Along with that, the festival has a clear mission for trying to spark a true appreciation of the Shakespearean arts.

In true Shakespearean Fashion, visitors can look forward to experiencing a wonderful perforce in the outside stage. The cherry on top is that visitors get the magical experience of seeing a show under the starry Boulder sky. Of course, outdoor performances are only available when the weather is permitting. In other circumstances, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival theatre Company moves their performances inside to the indoor University Theatre.

If you are planning a romantic night out, then this certainly is one of the best things to do in Boulder. If you have a special or celebratory event, then we suggest that you stick around for dinner. Before your play starts, take advantage of a truly magical experience by dining in the Shakespeare Garden. And of course, you are always more than welcome to bring along your own picnic dinner to enjoy as the show plays while outside. For an unforgettable experience, checking out a Shakespearean show certainly is one of the best things to do in Boulder.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to Boulder, Colorado, the level of culture and beauty is simply unmatched. Along with other popular locations such as Denver, Boulder is simply too good too pass up. If you are planning a trip to Boulder, then you must make room for some of these popular things to do in Boulder. From exploring the outdoors to learning about the city’s history, there is something for every type of traveler. If you are staying in Denver, then click here for some easy tips to getting to Boulder from Denver. Here’s to happy exploring!

Related Article: 8 Boulder Hikes For The Ultimate Adventure

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Nadia El-Yaouti is a mother, English language arts middle school teacher, writer, and photographer. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, Nadia’s greatest pride is being a mom. When she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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