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Top Fall Activities in Boulder

The crunch of leaves underfoot, that deliciously earthy smell in the crisp air, the embrace of your favorite cozy sweater and the warmth of a hazelnut latte.... Fall is a sensory delight in so many ways, especially in Boulder, where a short hike can lead to spectacularly colorful treetop views and acclaimed chefs are eager for you to taste their favorite harvest-time dishes. If you're visiting during this season of splendor, check out these activities below.   

Go Leaf Peeping

Here are just a few ideas on where to see the fall colors in and around Boulder.

Walk
  • Mapleton Hill: One of Boulder’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods, Mapleton Hill bursts with fall color each year. Stroll Mapleton Avenue between Broadway and 4th Streets to admire the stately homes and old-growth trees.
  • Mesa Trail: The south end of the Mesa Trail is a great place to walk among the turning leaves. Yellow cottonwoods and red sumac are prevalent in this area. The trailhead is on the north side of Eldorado Springs Drive. 
  • Wonderland Lake: A gentle loop trail at Wonderland Lake provides reflecting views of the golden cottonwoods and the Flatirons in the distance.
Bike
  • Boulder Creek: The gentle Boulder Creek Path is lined with trees along its banks and perfect for leaf peeping by bike. Head east to admire foothills views and open space vistas along the way. As you head back to the city, you’ll cross paths with bike commuters, training Olympians and dog-walkers.

Family Biking Boulder Creek Path

Drive
  • Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway: For a scenic fall drive from Boulder, take Hwy. 119 (Canyon Blvd.) west ScenicDrives2018up to Nederland and you’ll hit Hwy. 72, part of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic and Historic Byway. The byway runs from Black Hawk to Estes Park and is one of the best places in Colorado to see fall colors.

Take a Mural Tour

Boulder has seen an explosion of murals in the last three years, with more than 100 murals popping up in that timeframe. The latest round of 23 in the Street Wise Boulder series all share a theme of "ARTivism," a combination of art and activism. Check out our mural page for maps, grab a hot drink from a coffee shop and hit the streets. 

Street Wise Boulder Mural

Sip Some Fall Beers

Boulder has over 20 breweries and many of them serve food and are open for indoor seating and have outdoor patios. Special seasonal releases are common, so check the latest tap lists for gems like Avery's Rumpkin (pumpkin-infused with rum notes) or Upslope's Pumpkin Ale. 

It's also the perfect time for cider, with two fantastic options to try in Boulder: BOCO Cider and Locust Cider.

Man and woman drinking beer outside at Sanitas Brewing

Stop by a Farm Stand or Pumpkin Patch

Boulder is surrounded by acres of farmland, the bounty of which supplies our acclaimed restaurants with the tastiest ingredients. You can go right to the source and shop the following Boulder County farm stands — while enjoying some amazing fall landscapes along the way.

Enjoy a Coffeeshop Patio

Sip a warm, creamy latte or maybe a hazelnut-spiced cappuccino while you relax on a coffeeshop patio and people-watch or read a book. Coffeehouse patios include Ozo Coffee on East Pearl, Alpine ModernCaffe SoleBeleza Coffee Bar and Amante Coffee on Baseline. 

Stroll Pearl Street

With mountain views and a canopy of changing trees, Pearl Street is a sight to see in autumn. You'll likely catch street performers, shop sidewalk sales and grab a patio seat for open-air dining on our chefs' incredible fall flavors.  

Pearl Street, Boulder, CO

Taste Fall's Bounty

Boulder's chefs are renowned for their ingenious use of ingredients readily available on Boulder County's 800+ farms. Now's the time to grab a table (outside, if that's most comfortable for you) and taste their amazing creations. 

2021 Fall Events

September Events | October Events | November Events

Plan your visit around a fall festival or event. Below are a few annual events to get you started, with a complete calendar available here

Ongoing

CU Buffs Football Season
September 3-November 26, 2021
Watch the Pac-12 CU Buffs compete on beautiful Folsom Field.

Boulder Farmers Market
Every Saturday, April 3-Nov. 20, 2021 (8am-2pm) 
Every Wednesday, May 5-Oct. 6, 2021 (4-8pm)
Rated the No. 1 farmers' market in the country by readers of USA Today. Come sample, shop, meet local farmers, smell the flowers, hear live music, sit by the creek and eat great food.

Dracula, Death of Nosferatu
Every Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18-Oct. 31, 2021
Arts in the Open's fall production of the Gothic classic, "Dracula, Death of Nosferatu," adapted by Christopher P. Nichols, will take place in the historic Chautauqua Park.

September

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema
September 3-5, 2021
Check out a stellar selection of international dance films, along with workshops, installations and performances. 

Boulder Creek Hometown Festival
September 4-6, 2021
Head downtown for entertainment, a chili cook-off, a classic car show and food and drink along the banks of Boulder Creek.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Grant Farm (@grantfarmband)

Street Wise Boulder Mural Festival
September 6-12, 2021
Marvel at large-scale murals on walls all over Boulder that have been created in the span of just a few days by talented artists from across the globe.

Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
September 10-12, 2021
This three-day autumn festival features live music, great food, local microbrews, wine and margaritas, with the added excitement of children’s activities and featuring Firefly Handmade Markets.

Firefly Handmade Market
Sept. 10-12, 2021
This exceptional craft fair featuring local artisans was named one of the best craft fairs in the country. The fall market is happening in conjunction with the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest (see above).

Bluebird Music Festival
September 25-26, 2021
This is a must-see music fest featuring acts like Jeff Tweedy, Jade Bird, City and Colour, Phoffman and more at the historic Macky Auditorium.

Bluebird Music Festival

October

Community Harvest Festival
Oct. 6, 2021
Free fall celebration at the Growing Gardens’ urban farm, with pumpkin and face painting, lawn games, goats, a bluegrass band, local food trucks and pumpkins and iris bulbs for sale.

First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week
Oct. 8-17, 2021
For one full week, more than 50 of Boulder’s top restaurants offer a special three-course, prix-fixe menu.

Indigenous People's Day Weekend at the Dairy
Oct. 9, 2021
The Dairy Arts Center is hosting Navajo Nation musican Levi Platero for a concert at the Gordon Gamm Theater, folllowed by a Creative Nations Fashion Show.

Boulderthon
Oct. 10, 2021
Run a half or full marathon that ends in beautiful downtown Boulder, or be a spectator for this inaugural foot race.

CU Family Weekend
Oct. 14-17, 2021
Families are invited to Boulder to connect with their students, attend educational sessions, see a planetarium show, and enjoy a chance to meet other Buff families.

World Singing Day Boulder
Oct. 16, 2021
A free community sing-along where people of all ages, backgrounds, and singing abilities are invited. No rehearsals or preparation needed. Just show up!

Celebración de la Comunidad (Latinx Community Celebration)
Oct.16, 2021
The Colorado Chautauqua's first bilingual Latinx community celebration will feature Latin-themed food, story hour with puppets and music from Latin Grammy Winner Gaby Moreno.

Burgundy Wine Festival 
Oct. 22-24, 2021
During a four-day extravaganza, guests will taste some of the rarest wines of Burgundy at some of Boulder's most highly acclaimed restaurants.

Munchkin Masquerade
Oct. 31, 2021
Each Halloween, Downtown Boulder is invaded by tiny ghosts and goblins, dinosaurs and dragons, fairies and princes, superheroes and animals of every size for trick-or-treating along Pearl Street.

Munchkin Masquerade

Open Studios Fall Artist Tour
October 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17, 2021
Boulder artists open their homes and studios to the public for a unique and intimate arts event that spans three weekends.

Boulder Valley Indigenous Peoples Day
October TBA, 2021
Learn about Indigenous culture through artist talks, films, discussions, panels and more. 

November

CU Homecoming
November 4-7, 2021
CU plays Oregon State in the homecoming football game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Other events include the Pearl Street Stampede, an awards ceremony, an alumni-brewed beer event and a virtual 5K.

CU Folsom Field Football Game

Switch on the Holidays
November 21, 2021
Come see the lighting of downtown in holiday lights and an appearance by Santa Claus, too.

St. Nick on the Bricks
Friday, November 26 and Saturdays, November 27-December 18, 2021
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.

Snow Much Fun Light Displays
November 21, 2021-January 9, 2022
Thousands of twinkling lights will illuminate Boulder's Civic Area and downtown Boulder. Visit creative, themed displays, with a map to guide you.