Three Perfect Days in Boulder

Less than an hour from Denver, but worlds away, your trip to Boulder begins with the Pearl Street Mall—and its restaurants, pubs, and shops—and expands westward into the mountains. Plan on one day walking around town and along the Boulder Creek Path, one day driving to Nederland and the mountains, and another hiking the hogback. Tackle these suggested activities and meals in any order—you can’t go wrong in Boulder.

Highlights
13th St, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
One of the best weekly events in Boulder is in full swing, Saturday mornings in downtown Boulder. My daughters love the live music, pupusa stand, balloon guy, and the stuffed mountain lion at the Parks and Rec tent.
3980 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304, USA
Or the best lunch, for that matter. I like to belly up to the counter early in the morning, when the rising sun blasts into the cozy eatery, and the servers rush to lower the blinds. I nod yes for coffee, then order from the hash bar (smoked pork hash, corned beef hash, or tofu flannel hash). Recent renovations, menu upgrade, and new outdoor patio make Lucky’s Cafe easy to recommend. Of course, I’m biased, since I live in the neighborhood, so feel free to try it and let me know if I’m wrong.
Baseline Rd & 9th St, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
If you visit Boulder, hiking is a central part of the experience. There are many trails that criss-cross Chautauqua Park, but if you hike the ones under NIST you will find them to be much less crowded. Take the Table Mesa exit off the 36 Highway and head west (toward the mountains). Turn left on Lehigh and right on Bear Mountain Drive. You should see a trailhead on your right after you cross Wildwood. To get to Chautauqua Park, take the Baseline Road exit off the 36 and head west until you see the park sign and road begins to curve up the mountain.
627 S Broadway E, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
The ample space, enormous lodge-like room, and huge stack of highchairs and booster seat make this restaurant and brewery very popular with neighborhood families who can no longer fit in the smaller, original restaurant, the Mountain Sun, downtown on Pearl St. They have games, kids menus, and tasty brews for mom and dad.
20 Lakeview Dr, Nederland, CO 80466, USA
This is a cinch to recommend. Nederland is a fun little mountain town about 20 miles up Boulder Canyon from Boulder, and on the way to Eldora Mountain Ski Resort. It’s an easy half-day trip from Boulder and well worth it. For $1 a ride, your kids can go up and down and round and round to the sound of old-timey music played on a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ, on a restored 1910 Looff carousel. The 36 hand-carved animals are the work of Scott Harrison, a local veteran who has spent the last several decades creating them. The Carousel of Happiness opened on Memorial Day 2010. It is a nonprofit venture; hours vary; tel. 303/258-3457.
1397 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
I don’t use the word “best” lightly, but Salvaggio’s deserves it. For decades, they’ve been serving up the best classic sandwiches in Boulder at their three locations—a kiosk on Pearl St. in front of the courthouse, a shop at 26th and Pearl St. and one up on University Hill. They use all Boar’s Head meat, fresh baked bread, and wonderfully spicy chilis. In the morning, they do big sloppy egg sandwiches. Pictured above: their Italian sandwich on a roll. Done.
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