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Top Picnic Spots in Boulder

Fresh food and the outdoors. We can’t think of anything that Boulderites love more. Combine them, and we’re in heaven. So grab a basket and make like a local to enjoy Boulder’s delicious food and equally as delicious summer scenery. 

1. The Chautauqua Green

This one’s a no-brainer. A sprawling, shady lawn within a stone’s throw of the iconic Flatirons? Yes, please. On many summer evenings, you can even eavesdrop on concerts held in the Chautauqua Auditorium — from the comfort of your own picnic blanket at Chautauqua Park. There's even a free weekend shuttle during the summer to get you to Chautauqua with ease.

2. Lovers Lane

This one is a secret spot recommended by the picnic experts at Cured, a downtown cheese shop and gourmet market. Lovers Lane is a romantic little sanctuary that’s still close to downtown. Walk up 22nd Street until it crosses Bluff, go up the steps and you’ll find it there.

3. Scott Carpenter Park

Again with the Flatirons views! A massive, emerald hillside beckons picnickers, sunbathers and the occasional yoga class — while a rocket ship-equipped playground pleases little ones at Scott Carpenter Park. The Boulder Creek babbles down below, and there’s even a public pool adjacent if you want to cool off before or after (you’ll need to check the pool’s hours).

4. Central Park

You don’t even have to pack a basket for this one. Simply stop by the Boulder Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning or Wednesday evening, grab a bite from the gourmet vendors in the market’s open-air food court and wander a few feet to Central Park, where you’ll join lounging locals and frolicking kids alongside Boulder Creek.

Central Park

5. Lost Gulch Lookout

This is a popular spot for sunrise and sunset views, and it's clear why. Just off Flagstaff Road, which zigs and zags up Flagstaff Mountain on the west side of town, you'll find this short trail to a stunning lookout. A perfect stop to replenish after one of the many nearby hikes, you can always grab a to-go meal from one of the many restaurants on the Hill before heading up.

6. Artist Point

This idyllic picnic spot is as romantic as its name. Perched at the top of Flagstaff Mountain, Artist Point has pine tree-framed vistas of the Indian Peaks and a wooden bench that reads, "In loving memory of David F. Steiert, gifted in the arts. Dancer, actor and storyteller." Enjoy your picnic right there at the point, or backtrack on the short trail a bit to find a couple of shady picnic tables.

Artist Point

7. South Mesa Trailhead

Before you get to Eldorado Canyon State Park on Hwy. 170, turn off at this trailhead to find several creek-side picnic tables shaded by towering cottonwood trees. Just beyond are rocky, pine-tree-dotted foothills and a network of paths that accommodate a variety of hiking levels. Or make your picnic on the banks of peaceful South Boulder Creek, near the trailhead.

South Boulder Creek at South Mesa Trailhead

Where to Shop for Picnic Food in Boulder

There are so many choices in Boulder when it comes to shopping for perfect picnic provisions. For starters, try the aforementioned Cured, which has a whole picnic menu! Ideal MarketSprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Lucky’s Market are great grocery store options with amazing delis. Dish Gourmet and Le Frigo are more great options with to-die-for nibbles.

...and Picnic Baskets

Peppercorn, a dazzling kitchen, culinary and tabletop shop on downtown Boulder's Pearl Street, has an entire wall of charming picnic baskets for sale!

Peppercorn Picnic Baskets