Boulder, Colorado, affectionately known as The People’s Republic of Boulder, is a quirky, college town about 30 minutes from downtown Denver. Known for amazing scenery and a health conscious vibe, it’s also a great place for a family vacation. We are lucky enough to live in Colorado and Boulder is one of our favorite places for a weekend trip. There is an endless supply of things to do in town but we usually stick to our five favorite activities. Five Activities for Families in Boulder, Colorado
Chautauqua Park - Chautauqua Park, 40 acres of land capped by majestic sandstone formations known as the Flatirons, has an interesting history and a plethora of activities for families. It opened in 1898 as a cultural and educational summer retreat, and is now one of the 24 historic landmarks in the state of Colorado. There are hiking trails galore, a dining hall, the Chautauqua Auditorium, a playground and lodges and cottages for rent. The dining hall has sweeping views of Boulder Valley and serves a delectable breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as afternoon tea. Lodging consists of anything from a single room to a 3 bedroom cottage. A family could spend an entire weekend in Chautauqua hiking, attending one of the many events or shows at the auditorium, and enjoying the food and adorable lodging options. There is something for everyone.
Pearl Street Mall - Pearl Street Mall is an outdoor pedestrian mall dotted with historical buildings, shops, boutiques and restaurants. Along the walk, visitors will encounter small playgrounds, outdoor fountains and plenty of fun street performers. Some of our favorites: “Contortionist Man”, who can fit himself in a small box, the fire juggler, zip code man, who knows every zip code in the United States, and the many musicians.
Start on the east side of the mall and make your way past the pop jet fountain for the kids then nip over one block north to Spruce Street to have a drink and a Shirley Temple in the historic Hotel Boulderado. Continue down the mall and take in some street performers, then stop at the rock park so the kids can play. Enjoy your dinner at Pasta Jays, where you will find some of the most delicious pasta outside of Italy. Finish your day with a scoop at Ben and Jerrys! Pearl Street Mall is definitely the top of my list for five activities for families in Boulder. The Farmers Market - Everyone in Boulder comes out for the Farmer’s Market, held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Saturday hours are 8am to 2pm from April through October and Wednesday hours are 4pm to 8pm from May through October. The Farmer’s Market is huge, and is as much a social event as a time to get fresh Colorado produce. People come out with their dogs, meander around Boulder Creek, shop the produce, socialize on the lawn, and listen to music. There is also a variety of ready made food available if you want to picnic near the creek and simply people watch. Boulder’s eccentric residents provide plenty of entertainment.
Celestial Seasonings - Boulder is the hometown for Celestial Seasonings teas! Celestial Seasoning’s welcomes families and children over the age of 5 and provides a very unique tour experience. Tours begin with sampling teas and viewing original artwork from the labels, followed by a tour of the factory floor. In the factory, visitors will actually see tea being made from start to finish. Sometimes visitors even see the Sleepytime Bear, which kids love. A visit to the restaurant is well worth the trip. For tour information and reservations, call 303-530-5300. Rock Creek Farm - Rock Creek Farm is actually in Broomfield, a 20 minute drive from Boulder, but is well worth the visit if you are vacationing in the fall. They are only open between September 27th and November 2nd each year and they have an amazing “you-pick-em” pumpkin patch which delights young children. In addition to the pumpkin patch, they have cornstalks, straw bales, gourds and Indian corn. Kids also enjoy the calves, pigs and free range chickens around the farm. Your family can spend hours there, exploring the corn maze, spending time with animals, and enjoying caramel apples. The farm is open from 9am to 6pm daily and admission is free. Reach them at 303-465-9565.
Boulder is one of our favorite places to visit in the west. The combination of rich history and local eccentricities give it a delightful flavor that the whole family can appreciate. Add in the amazing scenery and beautiful weather (yes, even in the winter) and you have what I consider, the perfect family vacation. The best time to go to Boulder to experience all five activities for families is October.