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A Self-Guided Art Retreat in Boulder

Need time, space and inspiration to recharge your creative juices? Boulder was named the fifth most vibrant arts community among medium-sized cities, so point your compass here! This town’s spectacular natural landscape and innovative thinkers are bound to move you, whether you’re planning a solo artist getaway or bringing some fellow creatives.

Day One

Creative Supply Stop

Nothing will get you excited to create like a haul of new materials. At Art Parts Creative Reuse Center, you'll find a fascinating variety of new and gently used art materials. Browse impeccably organized drawers, jars and shelves of beads, ribbons, fabrics and random found objects. Or head to Two Hands Paperie, a stationary store stocked with fine and funky papers, pens, journals and books. 

Art Parts Creative Reuse Center

Lunch with a View

Enjoy lunch on the rooftop of Rosetta Hall or Avanti F&B, two food halls with delicious food choices and incredible views. 

Rosetta Hall

Fuel Up with Coffee

Verb Coffee in North Boulder is frequented by the studio artists in this up-and-coming arts district and is a great place to get an afternoon boost.

Afternoon Workshop

Head back to your accommodations for some dedicated creative time, or plan ahead for a workshop at Bohemia in North Boulder, which offers adult workshops along with tables, drawers and cabinets full of found objects and supplies to use in your creations.

Bohemia Boulder

Quiet Dinner in the Country

Treat yourself to a special evening at Greenbriar Inn, a beautiful dining room surrounded by trees and pines in the foothills north of Boulder. The cuisine is decadent, and the desserts are like mini works of art. 

Craving something a little more low-key? Channel the Italian artist in you at Bacco or Proto’s Pizza in North Boulder.

Sweet Tunes

At BOCO Cider, they serve up house-brewed hard ciders and host local live music acts with impressive regularity. This is a great place to kick back and relax like a local.

Day Two

Breakfast at the Foot of the Mountains

Enjoy a hearty, farm-to-table breakfast at Chautauqua Dining Hall, situated at the foot of the Flatirons in a historic building that is part of the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark, one of the few remaining Chautauquas (cultural and educational retreats for families in the late 1800s) in the country.

Chautauqua Dining Hall

Head-Clearing Hike 

Hit the trails first thing in the morning to take advantage of the amber light that sets on the western Flatirons as the sun rises in the east. A vast network of trails leave from the Chautauqua Trailhead and head up into these monumental slanted sandstone formations.

Hiking on Bluebell Road

Farmers Market

If it’s a Saturday, stop by the Boulder Farmers Market, which is brimming with inspiration for your senses. Check out the gleaming eggplants and peppers, fragrant flower bouquets and basil bunches, taste a sample of honey or listen to bands play in the food court area.

Boulder Farmers Market

Dazzling Persian Craftsmanship

The market happens at the doorstep of the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, which was gifted to us by our sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It’s one of the largest teahouses in North America — and certainly one of the most spectacular, with hand-carved and hand-painted designs, artwork and a sculptural fountain. Have a cup of tea on the patio.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Contemporary Art Museum

Right next door to the teahouse is the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA), which always has thought-provoking installations by international contemporary artists. 

Picnic at Artist Point

Now head up Flagstaff Road to the Flagstaff Summit and follow the signs for Artist Point. This hidden picnic area is ringed by flowers in summertime and has access to captivating views year-round. Unpack your picnic, breathe in the ponderosa-pine-scented air and admire the panoramas.

Artist Point

Pearl Street Performers

Pearl Street is downtown Boulder’s open-air pedestrian mall, where several brick-paved blocks are closed to traffic. Here you’ll catch street performers playing music, performing incredible juggling and balancing feats and entertaining cheering crowds. In summer, there are flower beds full of colorful blooms, and the street is lined with independent boutiques, coffee shops and eateries

Photo by Pedro Szekely/Flickr Creative Commons

Pearl Street Performer

Dinner Downtown

Make reservations for an early dinner at SALT, a bistro on Pearl Street with an inspiring interior and creative, farm-fresh cuisine.

Dairy Arts Center

Catch a dance, theater or comedy performance at Boulder’s thriving arts center, "the Dairy." Be sure to stop in the galleries to see the latest local and national art on display. 

Dairy Arts Center

Day Three

Wake Up Your Tastebuds

Have a Creole-inspired breakfast (don’t skip the beignets — or the biscuits — or the chicory coffee!) at Lucile’s.

Go on a Mural Tour

Nearby are several fascinating murals, part of a street art gallery of some 100 murals all over town. You can start behind Boulder Theater and plot out your next stops on our mural map.

Gregg Deal Mural Behind Boulder Theater

Art on CU Campus

Meander over to Varsity Lake, a peaceful pond and stone bridge that create a scene worthy of a Monet painting in every season, then stop by and to say hello to Robert Frost, whose sculptural likeness sits outside the campus’ original building, called Old Main. Next, head to the CU Art Museum, which has a bright, inspiring interior and an excellent collection that spans the ages, from ancient to contemporary times.

Photo by University of Colorado

Varsity Lake on CU Campus

Lunch on the Hill

Pop into The Sink, located on The Hill across from the university, for pizza or a burger. Their interior is covered, top to bottom, in graffiti art and caricatures. Feel free to add to it.

Shop Local Goods

Boulder’s creative collectives make it possible to shop local artists’ works all in one place. Try Madelife, Art Mart, R Gallery or Ramble Marketplace.

A Dinner to Remember

Wrap up your last meal in style at Corrida, a rooftop Spanish restaurant with a chic patio and stunning Flatirons views.

Photo by Gwen Gray

Corrida's Rooftop

Music for the Soul

Catch a show at the intimate Velvet Elk Lounge, right off Pearl Street downtown. Or see if there’s a radio show taping happening at eTown Hall, where musicians are interviewed and perform live for a show taping that's syndicated across public radio nationally.