Kristen Baird Rattini
Boulder, Colo.'s free-spirited Pearl Street is part foodie haven, part public-performance space - and a completely delightful destination.If You Go:
Give us your foodies, your fitness buffs, your philosophers and your festivalgoers yearning to breathe free. They'll find liberty and the pursuit of happiness along Pearl Street in Boulder, Colo. This free-thinking college town of 101,000 nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains has long prided itself on its fiercely independent spirit and wildly creative bent. That anything-goes attitude is on full display in the street performers, inventive restaurants, convivial bars and eclectic shops that line and define Pearl Street as it stretches from the East End to the West End, with the colorful Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall in between.
People-watching reaches a Rocky Mountain high on the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall. Veteran buskers like Ibashi-i (a Rastafarian contortionist) and Derek Derek (a fire-flinging juggler) compete for tourists' spare change. Bands on the Bricks brings free live music to the mall on summertime Wednesday nights, while the Boulder Cruisers deck out their bicycles with themes each week for their Thursday-night rolls down Pearl Street.