Boulder on a Budget

Now that you’ve discovered Boulder’s quintessential no-frills, great location hotel, we thought you’d like a few more insider tips on how to stay and enjoy Boulder on a budget.

Great websites for where to eat, recreate, play and check out the local arts and culture scenes: and


No, not a musician but fun and funky entertainment aboard a zany shack on wheels – it will forever change your impression of city bus tours! This is the tour to orient you to what’s hip, cool and historic in the city, including downtown Boulder, “The Hill,” and Chautauqua.,

Food on the fly

Offering the freshest, highest quality food with no preservatives, artificial colors or cruelty to animals, check out:

  • Coming Soon Alfalfa’s Market (across the street from Boulder University Inn) Arapahoe & Broadway
  • Whole Foods Market (Pearl and 29th Street) 404-545-6611
  • Boulder Farmer’s Market (Wednesday evenings starting at 5 and Saturdays from 9 until early afternoon) between Walnut and Arapahoe Streets, just east of Broadway.

Great eats on the cheap

($10 or less per person for an entrée, great apps and tapas)

Bagels galore. Go local with Moe’s, chain with Einstein or somewhere in between with City Street Bagels – great eats for breakfast or a filling sandwich.

Khow Thai (one block south of Boulder University Inn on Broadway) – great, Thai food; dine-in or take-out; no alcohol 1600 Broadway 303-447-0273

The Mediterranean Restaurant always referred to as “The Med,” this is the place for tapas and drinks, with an outdoor patio option. Consistently ranked as one of local’s most favorite dining and drinking spots, five years running. 1002 Walnut Street 303-444-5335


Serving up Mexican, Juanita’s, inexpensive and generous platters and favorite for frozen margs. Rio Grande – killer margs (two drink limit!) and some more innovative options for the Mex-fix crowd. Masa Grill and Illegal Pete’s – stand up and order and walk away with a full basket of freshly prepared burritos, tacos, salads and more.

Mustard’s Last Stand – undeniably the best hot dogs outside of Chicago and fries that put McDonald’s to shame is an absolute must and only a block from the UI.

Pizza options: Abo’s for NY-style pizza, Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana for a taste of Italy and Jalino’s for downtown gourmet. Abo’s and Jalino’s also offer late night eats and Jalino’s delivers in the downtown area.

Happy Hours & Live Music

Many local restaurants and bars offer happy hours (anywhere from 4 to 7 p.m.) with food and drink specials as well as live music and dancing options. Favorite places within walking distance (one mile or less) from Boulder University Inn include:

Bácaro B-Bar – Italian trattoria with Djs spinning dance music Thursday- Saturday. Covered rooftop terrace. Happy hour 4-6:30 M-F, 3:30-6:30 Sat/Sun. 921 Pearl Street, 303-444-4888.

Café Gondolier – Low-key Italian, pasta, pizza. Happy hour Mon-Fri, 2-6 pm with drink and beer specials, $4.69 all-you-can-eat spaghetti Tues-Weds and discount sunset dinners Mon-Sun, 4:30-6 pm, including 20 percent off all pizzas. 1738 Pearl Street, 303-443-5015

Catacombs Bar – Daily happy hour, 4:30-8 pm and on Sunday until midnight. Live blues and rock Fri-Sat; blues jam on Monday with no cover. Pool tables and foosball for play time. Call it a night!
2115 13th Street, 303-443-0486 (below The Hotel Boulderado)

Conor O’Neills – Straight from Ireland, it doesn’t get any more pub-classic than Conor’s. Good Irish fare, and daily drink and food specials. Happy hour daily from 4-7 pm and all day Monday with $3 Guinness. Live entertainment nightly. 1922 13th Street, 303-449-1922

Corner Bar – For a touch of sophistication, this full bar and outdoor patio is located at The Hotel Boulderado. Daily happy hour offers excellent appetizers and drink specials, plus full menu all day.
2115 13th Street, 303-442-4560

Foolish Craig’s – Daily happy hour from 3-6 pm including apps. Great microbrews on tap and bluegrass jam on Monday nights. Outdoor or indoor options. 1611 Pearl Street, 303-247-1803

Sushi Zanmai – for that raw fish fix, visit on Sundays when Super Sushi Happy Hour ($1.25 sushi) runs all night or Mon-Sat, from 5-6:30 pm when it’s $1.50. Sing along Karaoke every Saturday 10 pm-midnight.

Sports, Pool & Beer

Lazy Dog – local’s favorite just moved downtown to Pearl Street, just a few blocks from the Inn. Also a local’s top pick for places to play pool.

Dark Horse – legendary for sports-tuned Tvs in three different rooms

The Foundry – 1109 Walnut Street, 303-447-1803 – Rows and rows of regulation tables will make every Color of Money wanna jump for joy

Harpo’s – newer to Boulder’s sports scene, it gets accolades for fine food and walls of televised sporting events

True tea

No better place than Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, a gift to Boulder from its sister city, Tajikistan. Relax by Boulder Creek, people watch during the Farmer’s Market brigade on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays or enjoy true high tea, Boulder style. Chai lovers will enjoy the free refills!
1770 13th Street 303-442-4993

Free Entertainment

Not to be beaten is the pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall, listed on the National Historic Register. Street entertainers, including the infamous “zip code man” and “man-in-a-box” personalities keep kids of all ages entertained, along with local musicians, card and palm readers and balloon makers, to name a few.

Pack a picnic at Whole Foods and walk a mile and a half up 9th Street to Boulder’s Chautauqua Park and lay your blanket outside the auditorium between June 25 and August 5th and enjoy the renowned sounds of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra while watching the sunset over the Flatiron Mountains.

Gym & Swim

On those rare days when the sun’s not shining or you need a pre- or post-day workout, guests at Boulder University Inn can access the newly opened One Boulder Fitness center (no pool).

Need to do a few laps? Check out one of the Boulder Recreation Centers, in North, South and East Boulder – expansive facilities with day rates. They also offer Masters Swim Classes for the more hardcore athletes. In the summer, outdoor pools on Spruce Street and 30th offer lap swims and pool play for kids of all ages.

Pedal Power

Use one of our complimentary cruiser bicycles. Or, rent a mountain bike or higher end road bike at University Bikes, three blocks north of Boulder University Inn on the corner of 9th & Pearl. Prices vary by bike type. 303-444-4916

Rest & Rejuvenate

Guests at the Boulder University Inn, your Boulder hotel, can get massages for $50 per hour at Massage Specialists, next door to the Inn. Massage discount certificates can be obtained at the Inn’s front desk. For the under $50 crowd, check out Boulder College of Massage Therapy, 6255 Longbow Drive in Gunbarrel (15 minute drive from the Inn) 303-530-2100.

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Affiliated Lewis Hotels: The Golden Hotel in Golden, Colorado | Boulder University Inn | Boulder Creek Quality Inn & Suites

1632 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80302, phone 303.417.1700, fax. 303.442.8100
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