Boulder, Colorado is a footnote referenced in the smash single “Closer,” but the city with its scenic red-rocked Flatirons, first-of-its-kind legalization of marijuana, and farm-to-table restaurants is a headline in its own right. Only 30 minutes outside of Denver, Boulder has been called “The Happiest City in the U.S.” and with good reason–with its unhurried pace, the town is the perfect place for R&R. See our localized weekend guide below.
Where to Stay:
We recommend staying at the four-star St. Julien, only a five-minute walk into downtown Boulder, where all the locals crowd on Pearl Street. Sitting in the foothills of the sandstone Flatiron Mountains, the hotel will make you feel at home within its stately ranch. Each room offers luxe comforts including Italian linens, walk-in slate showers, and balconies with mountain views, and provide guests a restful retreat. Downstairs, a full-service spa offers treatments made from the hotel’s herb garden and services using top-of-the-line Body Bliss and Ajne products; the facilities also include a steam room, sauna, lap pool, and hot tub. In the lobby, guests and locals alike sit and talk, sipping on mulled wine and hot toddies. To get around town, ask the concierge for a complimentary bike to cycle along the high-altitude Chautauqua Park trailheads, or enlist the hotel’s shuttle to take you anywhere within two miles.
Where to Eat:
For dinner, we suggest the Flagstaff House. Housed in a 1920’s summer cabin atop Flagstaff Mountain, the Flagstaff House is an American-French, family-owned fine dining restaurant known to the locals as where you mark an occasion. Head executive chef Chris Royster is a Food Network “Chopped” winner and offers guests a seven-course chef’s tasting menu that explains why the second-to-none restaurant has so many returning regulars.
For a traditional afternoon tea, the Persian Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a must-see. The structure, handcrafted by artisans in Dushanbe, Boulder’s sister city, is a teahouse right out of Tajikistan. Its colorful ceramic tiles, carved ceiling, and painted panels make one feel like a worldly traveler without leaving the country–or city. The teahouse serves their customary tea from 3pm to 5pm daily, but asks that you make a reservation 24 hours before.
What to Do:
To experience the city just like a local, we recommend walking the Pearl Street Mall. This historic, four-block pedestrian walking mall and city park has some of the city’s best shops, restaurants, and bars. Purveyors of people-watching will be at home here, perusing the street artists and performers that pass. Shop at the four-story Boulder Bookstore for your next read or specialty shop Into The Wind to find a kite to fly up around the Rockies.
For an afternoon workout, consider taking a hike up Boulder’s Flatirons. There are many different piney trails and pathways to choose from of varying difficulty. For a beginner, we recommend the Marshall Mesa in south Boulder, or its sister mesa Flatirons Vista–both are for novices and boast breathtaking views from their peaks.
At night, we suggest taking in a show at the Boulder Theater, a town institution on the Pearl Street Mall. Once an opera house, movie theater, and concert hall in due turn that has seen performances from B.B. King and Johnny Cash, the venue now sells tickets for a variety of indie films and DJ-headlining sets. Make sure to stop by the Lounge for a taco by McDevitt Taco Supply pre-show.