Welcome to Boulder, CU parents and guardians! Maybe you’re dropping off your freshman (gulp…you got this!), visiting for Family Weekend or for CU graduation. You'll likely be looking for things to do near the University of Colorado while you’re here, and we've got your guide to Boulder’s chill vibe, amazing food, great shopping and even better views.
It’s a long-running joke that Boulder is “25 square miles surrounded by reality.” Curious about how it got to be such a unique place? Read our Boulder Myths and Truths page, or check out this guide to all the Things Boulder Is Known For.
Nearly all hotels in Boulder are only a few minutes from campus, as Boulder's geography is quite compact. Those that are the closest are found here:
|Hotels Near CU|
Those slanting ochre sandstone formations you see all over CU’s marketing materials are Boulder’s pride and joy. An up-close look at the Flatirons for yourself is a must. Head to Chautauqua Trailhead, where you can take some pictures and go for a hike on an extensive trail network if you like. (On summer weekends, you can ride the free Park-to-Park Shuttle from the CU Regent Lot or downtown to avoid parking hassles.)
If the Flatirons are Boulder’s pride and joy, Pearl Street is its heart and soul. With four, brick-paved blocks closed to traffic, this open-air promenade has the energy of a European plaza, lined with dining and shopping, great for people-watching and catching street performances.
Put your feet to a trail for some nature therapy and adventure. Two gentle but spectacularly scenic trails are available at Wonderland Lake or Bobolink Trailhead. If you would like more of a workout, head to Realization Point (be prepared for a short but steep and winding drive up Flagstaff Road) and try Range View or Boy Scout trails.
If your student’s going to be here for a few years, wouldn’t it be nice to know more about the city they’ll call home? The Museum of Boulder tells Boulder’s story with the most fascinating multimedia exhibits. The museum has spacious galleries that are now open and observing additional safety guidelines.
How a hand-carved, hand-painted and hand-assembled Persian teahouse ended up in Boulder is quite the story (read it here). You can visit Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse and enjoy a cup of tea — one of dozens of varieties they serve, sourced with care from across the globe. A nice, big, shady patio beside Central Park makes this a great place to dine outside.
This easy, scenic walking tour will take you on a leisurely stroll down Pearl Street, along Boulder Creek, and back to Pearl in a pleasant loop that should take about an hour, depending on how long you stop to admire the artwork. Boulder’s collection of murals is also constantly expanding, no surprise in America's fifth most vibrant arts community.
A nice mountain drive will give you the broader lay of the land and give you time to chat as a family. We’ve compiled several easy scenic drives here. Our recommendation would be to do the Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park Scenic Drive.
If you’ve never tried an e-bike, you’re in for a treat. You'll feel like a superhero zooming up hills with the greatest of ease. Pedego's Best of Boulder E-Bike Tour takes you through historic downtown, along the Boulder Creek Path and up to the foot of the Flatirons.
Need a great place to treat your student while you’re in town, or a nice place to dine while they are occupied? Try one of these.
Need a hot plate, a broom or some extra hand sanitizer for your student’s dorm room or apartment? Here’s where to go.
Boulder is compact and easy to get around, and downtown Boulder is especially walkable. The area next to the University of Colorado is called “The Hill”; you’ll find quick-bite eateries, coffee shops, yoga studios and more here, catering to students. The city is surrounded by 45,000 acres of open space, with forest and foothills always minutes from your hotel door. More Neighborhood Info
Get the inside scoop on our Boulder's attractions.