Boulder, Colorado, is a cute mountain town located on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains National Park and is home to the University of Colorado. Also, Boulder is only a 30-minute drive from Denver, CO, making it the perfect day trip. Furthermore, Boulder is known for its outdoor activities, amazing breweries, and lively downtown. Thus, the mix of mountains and city life makes it the best of both worlds for any traveler. I took a day trip from Denver and planned a day filled with activities. Check below to see how I spent my 24 hours in Boulder, CO!
Coming from Denver? Check out my Ultimate 3 Days in Denver Guide for things to do in Denver.
Ready for some fun! See below how to spend 24 hours in Boulder, CO.
But first, cofee
I always love to start my day with a good cup of coffee! Indeed, a good cup of coffee always got us through the day, especially with all our hiking and exploring.
Boulder, CO, has many great restaurants, including coffee shops. So after driving into Boulder from Denver, we headed straight to Boxcar Coffee Roasters. This cute coffee shop is located near Pearl Street and is a must in Boulder.
Here, you can grab a cup of coffee and some excellent pastries. Boxcar Coffee Roasters not only has coffee and pastries but also a wine and cheese/meats section as well. Additionally, you can purchase sandwiches ahead or take back the bread and cheese for later!
Get on a hike
Colorado has many trails and mountains, making hiking a popular activity here. Certainly, Boulder, CO, has some of my favorite trails and provides a great way to get some exercise in.
Chautauqua Park is an iconic historical landmark in part of preserving wild lands 100 years ago. Although you can find many different trails here, you are bound to find something for every level of hiker skill, from the easy Enchanted Mesa Trail to the challenging Royal Arch Trail.
All these trails offer some fantastic views and wildlife. However, if you are prepared and want to tackle the Royal Arch Trail, you will benefit from seeing the iconic flatirons. Remember, be prepared with proper shoes and water for any trail you do!
A well-deserved lunch
After a hike, you would have worked up an appetite. Boulder is a foodie’s dream. There are many great restaurants downtown, but I recommend the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. There is excellent food, with the ceiling made in Tajikistan.
Whether you come for breakfast, lunch, tea time, or dinner, their menu has some delicious items. After our hike, we got a refreshing tea for a pick-me-up and breakfast items. Depending on the time of the day, their menu will change. I recommend reservations, but you can put your name down and explore downtown Boulder if you cannot.
*Dogs only allowed on the patio
Time to explore and shop!
Downtown Boulder has fantastic shops, dining, and entertainment while enjoying the incredible mountain views! The Pearl Street Mall, located on Pearl Street, makes walking through downtown Boulder easy.
Pearl Street Mall is a four-block pedestrian mall in downtown Boulder. This walkable area runs from 11th Street to 15th Street and contains restaurants and shops.
Here, you can shop or grab an ice cream cone. And shopping and dining here are top-notch! While shopping, you might also experience performers along Pearl Street for entertainment.
*Dogs are not allowed in some areas of Pearl Street Mall
A nice dinner to end the day
After a full day of hiking, shopping, and exploring, it’s time to end your day with a satisfying dinner. Boulder has fantastic restaurants, meaning you can’t go wrong with where you eat. Even after shopping on Pearl Street, there are many good restaurants to dine in. Below are some famous restaurants to try:
Flagstaff House ($$$)
OAK at Fourteenth ($$$)
*See the restaurant’s policy on dogs
If you have time
This post contains a jam-packed day! However, Colorado is known for great breweries. I recommend checking out a brewery if you have time on this trip or can come back for another trip. See below for a couple of options: