Create Your Own Wellness Retreat
Looking for a way to escape the go-go-go pace of everyday life and focus entirely on your wellbeing for a few days?
Boulder has been a wellness destination since the late 1800s when a health retreat called the Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium opened at the foot of the mountains, drawing health-seekers from around the country. While the sanitarium is no longer, Boulder's wellness culture continues to thrive, putting all the ingredients you need to design your own wellness retreat at your fingertips.
Boulder is a center for mindfulness and meditation philosophy and practice, which is now recognized by the medical community for its measurable health benefits. You don’t need to go far to find a quiet, soul-reviving place to sit in stillness and observe your thoughts.
Don't just take our word for it, read about how Boulder is a center for mindfulness in Denver's popular 5280 magazine.
Here are a few good choices:
- Walking a meditation labyrinth is an ancient practice that remains a powerful way to set your mind free. There’s nothing to it. You just follow the path and see what happens.
- The StarHouse in the foothills west of Boulder (two outdoor labyrinths open any time)
- St. John’s Episcopal Church (outdoor labyrinth open to anyone any time)
- St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church (outdoor labyrinth open to anyone any time)
- Take some time to meditate outside. Feeling awkward about sitting with your eyes closed in public? Honestly, that’s just an average sight in Boulder.
- Sunrise Amphitheater is a spectacular perch on Flagstaff Mountain overlooking all of Boulder Valley.
- Sawhill Ponds is an out-of-the-way wildlife habitat with plenty of ponds beside which you can plant yourself, listen to birdsong, close your eyes and breathe in the cool Boulder air.
- On the Bobolink Trail are several spots where you can sit on the banks of South Boulder Creek and tune out the rest of the world.
- Learn to meditate and practice with others at Boulder Shambala Center, which offers regular drop-in meditations and educational programs. Or search our events calendar with the keyword "meditation" and you'll be sure to find various meditation-related events and classes at any given time in Boulder.
Boulder has been described as a “mecca” for massage education and training, so some of the world’s best massage therapists are right here.
- At Siam Sensation Thai Massage Spa — a tucked-away, go-to spa for locals in the know — you’ll be greeted with a steaming cup of ginger tea and kneaded into a state of bliss by experts trained in the art of Thai massage.
- A therapeutic foot bath at the raved-about The Dragontree Spa can help relieve headaches, cramps and pain, while a full menu of Ayurvedic treatments (steam baths, silk-gloved treatments, warm oil, dry brushing and more) focuses on the integration of the body, mind and spirit to relieve pain, illness and discomfort.
- Plan to spend a full day at the Spa at St Julien to take advantage of their steam room, sauna, pool, hot tub and patio, use of which comes complimentary with any service. The massage therapists at the St Julien know how to quickly identify your individual needs for an unbelievable, muscle-melting experience.
- A next-level facial is available at Alchemy Face Bar, which uses only natural, clean products and a holistic approach to skincare. They even have their own line of makeup, Alchemy Minerals, that are actually healthy for your skin, so you’ll be able to take your glow home with you.
- Feeling a little run down? Visit Hydrate IV Bar in Boulder for an intravenous infusion of saline, B12 vitamins and other minerals and vitamins to help you feel refreshed and nourished.
- Breathe deep and discover relief from various respiratory and skin conditions like asthma, allergies, acne and psoriasis at Salt of the Earth, a holistic relaxation and rejuvenation center in North Boulder that offers salt therapy.
Get the blood flowing, the heart pumping and the endorphins flowing with some gentle movement on your self-made wellness retreat.
- Yoga Journal called Boulder’s yoga scene “unbeatable.” Some towns have a gas station on every corner; this city has a yoga studio on every corner. You can mix yoga with museums, beer, paddleboards, nature and more — or you can simply choose the studio nearest your hotel. We've yet to come across a bad one!
- Nature walks are known by researchers to reduce stress and improve mental health. And in Boulder, there’s almost always a nature trail within five minutes or less no matter where you are. Here are a few gentle, scenic strolls:
- Wonderland Lake Peaceful views on a relatively flat, easy loop around a shimmering lake.
- Teller Lake Mountain panoramas east of Boulder and lots of birds a-chirping.
- Bald Mountain This short hike up Sunshine Canyon has a scenic overlook that will take your breath away.
Fuel your body with fresh, nutritious, mostly plant-based food for a few days and you’ll see your energy level soar and your happiness increase. It’s the Boulder way, and there are plenty of restaurants to oblige. Check out these healthy places to eat in Boulder.
- Flower Child A large, cheery café with greenery and flowers and satisfying dishes like the Mother Earth bowl or the Strawberry Fields salad.
- Leaf An upscale-casual vegetarian spot with a loyal fan following and owners who source some ingredients from their own farm.
- Thrive Possibly the hippy-est place in Boulder, and we love it. Everything here is raw, to preserve healthy enzymes, vegan and gluten-free — yet is somehow totally delicious.
- Whole Sol Blend Bar Decadent-tasting frozen acai bowls, smoothies, avocado toast and cold-pressed juices all make eating healthy quick and tasty, right on Pearl Street.
- Wonder Cold-pressed juices, house-pressed nut milks, smoothies and ginger shots are made fresh daily here at this California-inspired juice bar on Pearl Street.
Drink in Some Serenity
- Ku Cha House of Tea is a Chinese teahouse on Pearl Street that might look like just a retail shop from the outside, but inside is a peaceful spot to sit and sip. Want to become a true tea connoisseur? Check out the shop’s website for a calendar of tea tastings and classes.
- At Tonic Alchemy Lounge, you can’t help but be transported to another, much more chill universe. Sip on crystal flower chakra elixirs, flavored water kefir (a probiotic beverage), Ish’s Brew (a honey-based, kombucha-like drink), or an herbal cocktail. Add a puff of flavored oxygen to the mix for an extra lift.
- If you need to unwind, The Root Kava Bar is the place to do it. The kava plant — part of the pepper family — has been cultivated for thousands of years in the South Pacific and is said to reduce stress and ease anxiety while increasing mental focus and aiding muscle recovery.
Where to Stay
These comfy places to rest your head put you close to nature or have a full spa on site.
- A-Lodge Boulder This historic lodge has been updated to a chic, contemporary escape nestled in the woods beside a babbling creek.
- St Julien Hotel and Spa A luxurious getaway with a full spa in the heart of downtown with Flatirons views.
- Colorado Chautauqua Quaint cottages at the foot of the Flatirons in Boulder’s historic Chautauqua District.
- Foot of the Mountain Motel This classic motor lodge offers a retro vibe and proximity to Boulder Creek and hiking trails.