12 Attractions in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a vibrant city nestled against the backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Known for its outdoor recreation, thriving craft beer scene, and dynamic cultural attractions, Boulder offers visitors endless opportunities for entertainment and adventure.

From scenic nature hikes to world-class museums, exciting spectator sports to local brewery tours, Boulder has something to delight travelers of all interests.

This article explores 12 of the top attractions that make Boulder an unforgettable destination in the American West. Learn about the city’s rich history at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, take in the panoramic vistas at Flagstaff Mountain, or wander the captivating public art scattered throughout downtown. With its picture-perfect mountain setting and friendly local community, Boulder promises visitors memories to last a lifetime.

Pearl Street Mall

The Pearl Street Mall is the lively pedestrian heart of downtown Boulder. This vibrant four-block promenade invites visitors to explore the city’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment. Outdoor performers, from musicians to dancers, entertain passersby while award-winning restaurants tempt taste buds. Local art galleries and unique specialty shops line the brick-paved street, beckoning browsers.

Grab an outdoor table to people watch, or join a free walking tour to learn more about Boulder’s past. Historic buildings now house modern stores, while maintaining their 1800s charm. The Pearl Street Mall offers visitors and locals alike the perfect destination to soak up Boulder’s quintessential vibe.

Chautauqua Park

Nestled against the dramatic Flatirons Mountains, Chautauqua Park envelops visitors in the beauty of the Colorado landscape. Wide, grassy fields are perfect for picnicking, frisbee tossing, or simply soaking up some sunny mountain views. Over 15 miles of hiking trails allow outdoor enthusiasts to venture deeper into the mountains, rewarded by spectacular vistas.

The historic Chautauqua dining hall and auditorium have been community gathering places since 1898, playing host to lectures, performances, and summer educational programs. Tour the grounds to admire the carefully preserved architecture and unique sandstone construction that makes Chautauqua a treasured Boulder landmark.

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History

With more than four million artifacts and specimens in its collections, the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History illuminates the natural wonders of our world. Explore galleries exhibiting dinosaur fossils, shimmering gems and minerals, African wildlife dioramas, ancient artifacts, and more.

Interactive exhibits allow visitors to experience science up close. Feel an earthquake, explore Colorado’s ecosystems, and come face to face with a Triceratops skull. The museum also offers kids’ programs and guided tours to enrich all visitors’ understanding of our planet and its history. From mastodons to meteorites, the UC Museum of Natural History is an exciting showcase of natural history treasures.

NCAR Mesa Lab Tour

Discover the cutting edge of atmospheric research with a tour of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesa Lab facility. This architecturally striking sandstone and glass complex houses advanced computer modeling systems, observational instruments, and dedicated scientists all working together to increase our understanding of weather, climate change, and much more.

Knowledgeable docents lead small groups on 90-minute walking tours tailored for the general public. Visitors will learn all about NCAR’s groundbreaking projects, view the distinctive Laboratory building, step inside working lab spaces, and take in the spectacular mountain views that surround the Mesa Lab campus. It’s an inspiring look at the important research happening right in Boulder’s backyard.

Flagstaff Mountain

Whether hiking, driving, or even taking a fun scenic ride in an open-air tour vehicle, summiting Flagstaff Mountain rewards visitors with a breathtaking panorama of the Boulder area and Rocky Mountain Front Range. The steep mountain road leading to the top affords stunning views of the city below with each higher switchback.

At the summit, expansive vistas stretch from the plains to the continental divide, with plenty of photo ops to savor the landscape. Multiple hiking trails also wind to the top, ranging from gently graded fire roads to more challenging single-track paths. Watch for local wildlife grazing along the mountain slopes as you explore this iconic Boulder viewpoint however you choose to arrive.

Eldorado Canyon State Park

Just a few miles outside central Boulder lies Eldorado Canyon State Park, offering visitors an escape into the stunning natural scenery this region is famous for. Rugged sandstone cliffs soar hundreds of feet over picturesque canyon hiking trails, providing world-class rock climbing and panoramic vistas. The park’s interpretive center features exhibits on the area’s ecosystems and history for indoor edification.

Those craving an outdoor challenge can tackle the scenic hiking trails leading to views that stretch all the way to downtown Denver. More casual walkers will enjoy Eldorado’s shady glens along South Boulder Creek, accented by booming waterfalls. From golden eagles soaring on thermal canyon winds to crumbling ruins of historical homesteads, Eldorado Canyon State Park encapsulates Colorado’s rugged splendor.

Boulder Creek Path

Explore Boulder’s hometown waterway with a walk or bike ride along the Boulder Creek path. Starting right in downtown Boulder, this paved recreational trail follows gentle Boulder Creek upstream, paralleling parks, outdoor sculptures, and the University of Colorado campus. Rent a cruiser bike and meander through the city at your own pace, waving at tubers floating in the creek as you go.

In Central Park, watch kayakers practicing their rolls as ducks paddle around scattered crumbs from nearby picnickers. Farther from town, the path leads past backyards, open space preserves, and the local Harlow Platts Community Garden before curving out towards the mouth of Boulder Canyon. With access points across the city, Boulder Creek Path welcomes all to enjoy this cornerstone of the vibrant Boulder lifestyle.

Avery House Brewing Company

As the largest brewery in historic downtown Boulder, Avery House Brewing Company crowns the lively craft beer scene in the self-proclaimed “Napa Valley of Beer.” Their cavernous taproom pours award winning IPAs, Stouts, Sours and specialty brews, never duplicating a style. Outdoor patio seating wraps the entire building, ideal for soaking up Boulder’s 300 days of sun with your flight.

Brewery tours run daily, led by expert guides eager to share Avery House’s brewing philosophy, stories, and of course samples. Food trucks keep thirsty patrons well fueled with everything from tacos to banh mi sandwiches. Watch packaged beer whiz down the canning line, or play cornhole with fellow beer enthusiasts. From tattoo parties to trivia nights, the friendly Avery House staff keeps the good times constantly flowing.

Celestial Seasonings Factory Tea Tour

Sip a steaming sample at the Celestial Seasonings factory while discovering how America’s favorite herbal tea brand brings their products from crop to cup. This beloved Boulder institution not only creates iconic tea blends like Sleepytime and Lemon Zinger, they also prioritize sustainable, ethical farming partnerships across the globe.

On an engaging, hour-long walking tour, visitors will smell fresh peppermint growing onsite, peek into the well-organized warehouse, and see everything from raw botanicals to uniquely-designed teabag machines. Expert guides share funny company history, explain tea blending methods, and point out the iconic art featured on each tea box. Finish by sampling unlimited hot tea flavors in the Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop. It’s an uplifting look at the incredible journey from field to cup.

Boulder Theater

As one the top music venues in Colorado, the historic Boulder Theater treats music lovers to an eclectic lineup of live performances nearly every night of the week. This magnificent art deco municipal building, constructed during the Great Depression, boasts amazing acoustics paired with an ornate theater interior. Crowds pack the main floor to sway just feet from the stage while theater box seat dwellers peer over intimate balcony railings.

Recent shows range from indie folk artists and funk bands to African dance troupes and metal rockers. Even comedy improv graces the vintage stage. Catch a show after dinner at one of the Cluster of hip downtown restaurants surrounding the Boulder Theater for an indulgent night out on the town.

Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden

Western art enthusiasts can gallop over to Boulder’s Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden, showcasing fine art collections inspired by the American West. As the world’s largest publisher of Western and wildlife bronze sculptures, paintings, and prints, Leanin’ Tree offers guests museum-quality galleries, lush gardens, live sculpting demonstrations, and much more on their six-acre campus.

Stroll under vibrant Aspen trees and around babbling creeks while admiring over 100 life-sized bronze statues by renowned artists like Chris Navarro and Gerald Balciar. Just across the garden path lies their public gift shop, brimming with hundreds of Western-themed items, from apparel to framed prints. For art lovers and free-spirits alike, an afternoon immersed in the Leanin’ Tree creative world feels like a welcoming breath of fresh mountain air.

Fiske Planetarium

Gazing up at the cosmos becomes even more wondrous under the 41-foot dome at Fiske Planetarium. As part of the University of Colorado Boulder Astrophysics program, the Fiske features engaging astronomy shows using their state-of-the-art Space Explorer projection system to fill the entire dome with vivid galaxies, planets, and astronomical phenomena.

Knowledgeable Fiske astronomers serve as show presenters, bringing to life the mysteries of the universe through dynamic storytelling and visual projections of actual scientific data sourced from recent discoveries. Visitors of all ages revel at the leading-edge space science research happening at CU paired with the Fiske’s immersive theater technology that takes viewers on unforgettable journeys inside our spectacular night sky.


From scenic foothills to historic downtown streets, Boulder’s diverse neighborhoods offer visitors unlimited possibilities to create their own adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts find paradise exploring the iconic Flatirons hiking trails or rafting Boulder Creek’s rapids, while culture mavens savor local theater productions, vibrant public art, and inspiring museums. Foodies indulge at award-winning restaurants and breweries that dream up tasty new flavors daily.

Whether listening to street music play out across Pearl Street Mall, wandering neighborhood farmers markets, or cheering for the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field, memorable moments await around every corner. With such spectacular natural surroundings and enduring Bohemian spirit, falling in love with the charms of Boulder comes as naturally as snow melting into mountain streams.

Leave a Comment