Boulder was named one of "America's Most Artistic Towns" by Expedia, as well as the fifth most vibrant arts community among medium-sized U.S. cities and the No. 3 most creative small city in America by the Western States Arts Federation. Both accolades confirm what locals already knew: this town fosters an environment that gives artists — and audiences — permission to be innovative, experimental, creative and expressive.
The city has the third-highest concentration of artists in the country, and creativity seems to spring up around every corner. There are more than 30 art galleries, four museums, a dozen movie and stage theater, and a huge variety of cultural performances each year. You can read all about it in our online Boulder Arts & Culture Guide.
Red rocks and blue skies, cool sunshine and long shadows, gripping mountain vistas and head-clearing open spaces — Boulder’s natural setting is its muse, drawing artists from all over the world to live and create here in one of the most inspiring towns in the West.
But it’s more than just outdoor beauty that makes Boulder an arts destination. A forward-thinking, risk-taking culture stretches back to 1877, when the University of Colorado made Boulder its home. Along with it came the free-thinking ways of a college town that was once called the “Athens of the West.”
Naropa University, 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. Today, Boulder is recognized as a hotbed for successful Internet start-up businesses, with innovative programs such as Techstars creating a vibe of collaboration and big ideas.
The spirit of innovation crosses over into the arts, as well. With an impressive roster of cultural institutions and outpourings of creativity wherever you look, you’ll find the atmosphere — and yes, the gorgeous setting — positively energizing.
Also read our Kids’ Arts page for family-friendly arts classes and workshops.