So, you’re bringing the kids, Nana, Pop-Pops, Auntie Sarah and Uncle Bob on your vacation to Boulder? Great choice! You’ll have no trouble finding activities for everyone to enjoy while you’re here.
After five false starts getting out of the hotel door, you'll be ready for fun! Head to one of these attractions or tours and rest easy that everyone will have a good time.
Boulder's historic downtown centers around Pearl Street, which is lined with shops and eateries. There are climbable sculptures, rock gardens to play in, street performers, a splash pad for summer, candy shops, coffee shops for hot chocolate in winter, and much more to explore.
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) offers an ongoing series of educational nature programs on topics including ecology, wildlife, local history, night hikes and children’s programs. All are free and open to the public. Just check the schedule in advance.
The CU Museum of Natural History is a treasure trove of more than 4 million objects, from dino bones to Colorado's largest collection of bee specimens. Grandparents may enjoy the museum’s anthropology section, with its collections of Southwestern pottery and textiles and Navajo and Pueblo silverwork, while kids should head to the basement to play with a small collection of hands-on exhibits, puppets and learning kits. Your party can opt to split up, too, with older members heading to the worthwhile CU Art Museum, not too far across campus.
Photo: Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado
Also on the CU campus is Fiske Planetarium, whose 65-foot diameter dome is the largest between Chicago and Los Angeles. Check the schedule for family-friendly films like, “We Are Stars,” a visual exploration of cosmic chemistry and our explosive origins on Earth.
Grandparents and older members of your party might need a break from the kid-focused action. These choices combine mature interests with unique things to do.
Eccentric characters and surprising events color Boulder's past, which you'll learn about as you see some of Boulder's best sights. Download our Historic Neighborhoods Walking Tour Map and saunter through the historic Hotel Boulderado, pioneer neighborhoods, Pearl Street Mall, the neighborhood of Mork & Mindy's famous TV house, public art, and eTown Hall.
In 1898, the Colorado Chautauqua was built at the foot of the red rock formations known as the Flatirons. It was a family retreat created in the tradition of national Chautauquas of the time, focusing on culture, music, and nature. During summer, you can enjoy the Colorado Music Festival classic concerts at the Chautauqua Auditorium or catch the Silent Film Festival in the summertime — live accompaniment is played as the soundtrack for silent films. Dinner on the porch of the Chautauqua Dining Hall makes a great pre- or post-show experience.
If not everyone is ready to power around town on a bike, consider renting electric assist bikes for an extra boost. It’s a great way to get everyone out in the fresh air. View our guide to e-biking in Boulder for tours, more rental spots and routes.
The best perk of bringing the extended family on your trip is the free babysitting. If you can sneak out for an adults-only evening, here’s what to do.
You’ll be in good hands with the seasoned mixologists at The Bitter Bar, one of Boulder’s original craft cocktail hot spots. Start here for drinks, preferably to catch their excellent happy hour.
The iconic, art deco-styled Boulder Theater is an acclaimed venue for live music performances by the likes of Shawn Colvin, the Pixies, Seether and Steve Earle.
Hey, you don’t get out much! Really treat yourselves at this up-up-upscale restaurant perched above Boulder with views for days. The Flagstaff House is a popular place for special celebrations.
With an interior that manages to be swanky yet laid-back at the same time — think faux-fur throws and low lighting — Bramble and Hare is a romantic setting for down-to-earth (yet sinfully delicious) cuisine, sourced from the chef’s own farm. This is also one of the few restaurants in Boulder that’s open into the wee hours.
Top photo: Pedro Szekely/Flickr Creative Commons