The accolades given to the city of Boulder are so numerous, and so diverse, that the municipality keeps a running list on its website:
“#1 Most Educated City in America” —Forbes magazine
“#6 City with the Highest Ratio of Artists in the Country”—National Endowment for the Arts
“#5 Best Green Places to Live in America”—Country Home magazine
“#2 Cities with a High Percentage of Workers Employed in High-Tech Work”—American Electronics Association
And those are just the 2008 awards. Spirituality, environmentalism, science, sports and the arts make Boulder, with a population of approximately 100,000, a cultural and creative force.
A Boulderite could feasibly go to class in the morning, hike a Boulder Mountain Park trail at lunch, have dinner at an international restaurant and, finally, take in a performance at historic Chautauqua Auditorium before capping the night off at one of Boulder’s many cafés.
The Beat writers played an important role in the city’s history, as well as the history of the university. Naropa celebrates art and artists through regular departmental performances, as well as events like the Boulder Fringe Festival, which has roots in Naropa theater.
Outside Magazine calls Boulder the “best all-around town” for outdoor experience, and it’s easy to see why. Boulder is a great jumping-off point to the bountiful natural resources of Colorado, offering a wealth of opportunities for hikers, climbers, skiers, snowboarders, cyclists, kayakers and more.
For social outings and nightlife, Boulder residents head to downtown’s famous Pearl Street Mall, the lively, youthful environs of University Hill or nearby Denver. Boulder draws some of the country’s best touring musical artists and a wide range of cultural events to venues like the Fox Theatre and Boulder Theater—not to mention the world-famous Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, which is only a short drive away.
Its first settlers came to hunt for gold, but today, this casually sophisticated university town looks and feels very little like a mining camp. Tucked into the foothills below a rock formation known as The Flatirons, it’s close to Denver geographically, but worlds apart in attitude.
Its feel-good Earth Mother reputation is well deserved. The Naropa University, the nation’s only Buddhist University, is located here, as is the Boulder School of Massage Therapy.
Shopping, they say, is the number one pursuit of travelers these days, and you’ll find plenty of it here. Shops with clever names and unusual wares will draw in passers-by on the Pearl Street Mall downtown.
But shopping isn’t the only way to get outdoors in Boulder. The city was voted by Outdoors magazine as the best place in the nation to indulge in outdoor sports. Here, you’ll find 33,000 acres of designated space to hike or ride a bike, climb a mountain, kayak a river, fish, golf or ride a horse. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular in winter.
Restaurants also abound, and vegetarians are more than welcome. Don’t miss Boulder’s great microbreweries and exciting nightlife, thanks in part to the college-age crowd.
Because Boulder is home to Colorado’s largest institution of higher education, the University of Colorado, it offers rich cultural experiences, such as the annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival and its reputation for hosting world-famous performers and guest speakers, who expound on a menagerie of topics.
Boulder has long been a forward-thinking community. That fact, combined with its high-altitude location, inspired the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to settle here – both offer tours to visitors.