Culture & Heritage
4 Things to Know About Boulder's Culture and Heritage
1. We are fresh-air fanatics. Boulder was originally founded in 1858 at an outcropping of Red Rocks, in what is now known as Settler's Park, by gold seekers in 1858. This area, defined by its striking red sandstone fins, is today a popular hiking spot. And so goes much of Boulder's heritage. The Colorado Chautauqua came along in 1898, and this development also became a refuge for outdoor enthusiasts, setting the city on a course of parks and open space preservation that remains a core part of Boulder's culture.
Recently named America's Most Active City by Time magazine, one of America's Top Adventure Towns by NationalGeographic.com and the Happiest and Healthiest City in the country by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, it's no secret that Boulder thrives on enjoying the outdoors all year-round. Join in the fun by hiking, skiing, rock climbing, cycling, picnicking, playing Frisbee or simply strolling along with Boulder's passionate, outdoor-loving locals.
2. We're independent thinkers. It's true that we're sometimes called the "People's Republic of Boulder." The University of Colorado was founded early in Boulder's history, in 1877, and along with it came the free-thinking ways of a college town that was once touted as the "Athens of the West." The Naropa Institute, founded by Tibetan Buddhist Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, added an even more progressive element to the educational makeup of Boulder when it opened its doors in 1974. As one of the most highly educated cities in the nation, we value a diversity of perspectives — something you'll probably notice right off the bat.
3. Creativity thrives here. Combine a gorgeous natural setting, a sense of cultural freedom and a highly educated population and you've got a recipe for a thriving creative class. AmericanStyle magazine calls Boulder one of the Top 25 Small Cities for Art - and we think the distinction crosses into all the arts. With a bevy of cultural institutions such as the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Boulder Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Ballet, Dairy Center for the Arts, Colorado Light Opera, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art - along with unstructured outpourings of creativity (think talented street performers, plein air artists and coffee shop musicians) — you'll find the atmosphere of creativity positively inspiring.
4. A spirit of innovation has taken off. In the 1950s, '60s and '70s, companies like IBM and Ball Aerospace moved to the Boulder area. National laboratories such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opened, helping make Boulder a central high-tech research hub. And today, Boulder is recognized as a hotbed for successful new Internet startups businesses, creating an atmosphere of entrepreneurialism, idea-sharing and excitement.