Being a university town has its perks. Some of the brightest minds in science live and work right here in Boulder, and other big thinkers often come here to share knowledge, connect with a progressive populace and enjoy our outdoor recreation. Hear their fascinating insights and stories at one of these Boulder lectures, talks or presentations.
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These popular lectures and presentation series have a broad range of topics, often ones you've never considered much before. This makes for surprising, interesting opportunities for edification.
Every year for 70-plus years, the CWA has brought in a hundred or so experts on a huge variety of topics from around the world to participate in 200 panels, discussions, plenaries, concerts, and events — all free and open to the public. Famous film critic Roger Ebert was a loyal attendee and presenter, calling it "the Conference on Everything Conceivable." Come for the full week of meaningful discourse in April.
During the school year, the University of Colorado at Boulder hosts a vast number of lectures and presentations from visiting professors, notables and luminaries. In any given week, you could attend multiple mind-opening sessions on topics from concrete poetry to forensic botany to beer brewing in the ancient world.
In 1898, the Colorado Chautauqua was built at the foot of the Flatirons mountains. It was a family retreat created in the tradition of national Chautauquas of the time, focusing on culture, nature, and music. Today, that tradition continues in the historic Chautauqua Community House, with speaker series featuring guests ranging from aerospace engineers to mountaineers.
Heard of TED Talks or its tagline “ideas worth spreading”? Boulder has its own independently organized TEDx Boulder series, held to great acclaim. In fact, five of the Boulder sessions have been featured by the main Ted.com site. Twice a year, 2,200 people gather in Boulder to hear world-class speakers share their experiences and knowledge. Be ready to be enlightened. You can also attend several smaller TEDx Salons throughout the year.
Another TED-style event happens regularly in Boulder and it’s so popular that tickets usually sell out in one day. Ignite Boulder gives each brave presenter five minutes and 20 slides to illuminate a topic they are passionate about. Topics have ranged from “I Actually Enjoyed Getting Punched in the Face” to “10 Selfish People Who Accidentally Changed the World for the Better."
A partnership between Boulder's Ku Cha House of Tea and the University of Colorado Center for Humanities & the Arts presents a series of Tea Talks on a wide range of topics ranging from Asians in Colorado to theater and dance. The talks are just 20 minutes, followed by 40 minutes of questions and answers, then complimentary tea and pastries. More information here.
Four times a year, CU hosts an extraordinary speaker for its Leo Hill Leadership Speaker Series. This is inspiring, motivating storytelling at its finest, with past speakers including intrepid North Pole solo trekker John Huston and the U.S.'s first black female astronaut, Mae Jemison.
Boulder was named one of "America's Most Artistic Towns" by Expedia, and the town is teeming with authors, artists, storytellers, and performers. These series give you a chance to hear from Boulder's artists — as well as visiting artists — up close.
As the premier bookshop in town, the Boulder Bookstore has always been a huge supporter of Boulder’s local authors and touring national authors alike. Book signings happen in among the wooden bookcases on the upper level.
Designed to enhance art students’ experiences, the University of Colorado’s Visiting Artist and Scholar Program is also open to the public. Hear the unique perspective of visiting visual artists.
A festival founded in India and devoted entirely to the literary arts and creative thinking brings a caravan of writers, thinkers, poets, and storytellers from around the world to Boulder each September. Guests can attend lectures, readings, discussions, live music events and more — all for free — during the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival – JLF at Boulder.
Also held in the cozy Chautauqua Community House (see above), the Colorado Chautauqua Association brings in thought-provoking novelists and nonfiction writers for intimate discussions as part of their Author Series.
Every other month, at Boulder’s Truth Be Told story slam, seven storytellers relate their tales in front of a standing-room-only crowd and five judges, who select the evening’s winner. It makes for a fun and riveting evening!
With several federal research laboratories based in Boulder, there's no question this town loves to nerd out when it comes to scientific exploration and understanding.
Designed for families, the CU Wizards free events happen one Saturday morning a month. University of Colorado professors share their knowledge on a particular topic with demonstrations geared toward little scientists.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) hosts quarterly Explorer Series lectures that give attendees an inside look at the advances their scientists are making in areas of study that stretch from Earth’s oceans, forests, and cities up through the layers of the atmosphere to the scorching swirls of plasma on the Sun.
Come hear from some of the leading archaeologists about recent discoveries, such as a newly discovered sunken ship in Israel’s Bay of Haifa, and new insights, such as innovative research about Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The AIA lectures take place at the University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History.
Local scientists across a variety of disciplines present their work in a fun, informal and interactive setting while enjoying some of Boulder’s finest craft brews at Science on Tap at Gunbarrel Brewing Company. You can expect plenty of beer to be flowing and a 30-40 minute presentation with intermission followed by discussion and Q&A.
Like beer? Like history? So does Travis Rupp, beer archeologist at Avery Brewing Company. Yes, we said beer archeologist. Rupp is responsible for researching how ancient civilizations created and consumed beer and then recreating that recipe for Avery to put on tap. From an ancient Egyptian ale dating back to 3,600 BC to a Peruvian brew from 1,000 AD, Avery has created eight ancient beers, which they showcase through an “Ales of Antiquity Dinner” which pairs their newest historical beer with food they believe the people of that time were eating (along with discussion about the history of the beer and foods).
Get an insider's view of what makes Boulder tick at these uniquely Boulder-focused talks.
The name pretty much says it all. Boulder’s most fascinating people speak at this Museum of Boulder at the Tebo Center monthly event (September–April). Enjoy wine, appetizers and a chance to interact with the speakers and ask questions. Past speakers have included an astrophysicist working on missions to Jupiter, the world's only blind coffee roaster, and a locally famous film critic.
Who doesn't love a good adventure story? With a large population of outdoor enthusiasts calling Boulder home, the following events have a welcoming audience. Join them to hear tales of remarkable discovery — and maybe have a few adventures of your own along the way.
Just 21 miles from Boulder is Eldora ski resort — where the locals love to ski. All winter, their Inspire Series invites folks to stick around on the mountain for exciting talks by skiers, mountaineers, travelers, and folks who have taken life to the edge.
This favorite independent Boulder outdoor gear shop invites guests to the store for unique talks, such as “To Antarctica and Beyond” with Conrad Anker and an evening with filmmaker Chad Jukes. Many of the events have a suggested donation to support outdoor-related charitable causes.
Like to walk while you listen to a talk? Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks regularly offer educational hikes with a naturalist. They are fun and fascinating, with topics that include astronomy, Chautauqua history, and even wild mating rituals! There are also family hike-and-learn programs, too.