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    Tube to Work Day

    You Can’t Make
    This $%#! Up

    Weirdly Wonderful Things to Do in Boulder

    Here in the People’s Republic of Boulder — “25 miles surrounded by reality” — we have a bit of a reputation for being…unique. And frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way. If you, too, like to let your freak flag fly, here’s how to get in on some decidedly unconventional fun. 

    1. Tell Your Friends You’re Going Forest Bathing

    Despite how it sounds, this activity has nothing to do with an actual bath of the tub-and-suds sort. The concept of forest bathing comes from a Japanese tradition called shinrin yoku. It’s a chance to simply unplug and metaphorically “bathe” yourself in the splendor and sensory delights of nature. Boulder’s forest bathing is run by the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and events happen regularly. How many towns have a forest bathing program run by the city? We’re betting not too many. 

    Dirt hiking trail surrounded by yellow flowers and pine trees

    2. Go Tubing in Your Tie and Loafers

    Tube to Work Day is a cherished annual tradition that sees Boulderites don their best business attire and splash into Boulder Creek to tube right through downtown. The event starts at Eben G. Fine Park, but you can catch the view of the hilarious action (e.g. spectators dangling breakfast from atop bridges for tubers to grab) anywhere along the creek near downtown. It happens in mid-July, and you’re welcome to join in (but register first).

    Man wearing a white helmet in a suit holding a laptop floating down the river

    3. Hike the Flatirons Like a Weirdo

    Over the years, folks have embraced Boulder’s creative, outdoor-loving spirit by scaling the Flatirons mountains in full scuba gear, on hobby horses, by moonlight, on roller skates and in birthday suits. Remember, safety first — but if the spirit moves you to, say, hike the Flatirons while in your skivvies…well, have at it. 

    Group of 3 young women and a man taking a selfie at the Flatirons

    4. Drink Potions Filled with Baby Laughter

    Stop by Shine Restaurant & Potion Bar to try their famous potion menu, a selection of house-made herbal tonics. Each flavor is made with specific intentions and exposed to particular soundwaves and gemstones to absorb those "energies." Try Fairy Bubbles, which has been tuned to the sounds of laughing babies and wind in the trees and to the energy of rose quartz, for example. (Yeah, we can’t believe we just wrote that sentence either — but it really is tasty!) You can also add a shot of CBD hemp oil or B12 to complete your full indoctrination into Boulderism.

    4 Small drinking glasses with different color liquids

    5. See a “Friday Night Weird” Film

    The Dairy Arts Center’s charming Boedecker Cinema is the setting for the Friday Night Weird series, a weekly cult classic film screening that shows everything from zombie apocalypse flicks to B-list cult favorites — everything from “Little Shop of Horrors” to “Showgirls.” Yep, it’s a weird and unpredictable lineup, just as it should be. 

    Dairy Arts Center Front Entrance

    6. Play the Oregon Trail on an Apple II

    Sure, your grandmother might have an old Mac in the garage — but does it still work? All of the vintage devices — 35 laptops, 73 desktop computers, 22 handheld devices and 10 game consoles — at Boulder’s Media Archaeology Lab on the University of Colorado campus are functioning. And you can take a walk right down memory lane by playing old games on them. The hours of the lab are a little funky, so check the website, but this a must-stop for anyone nostalgic for their Atari 2600, Apple IIe, Smith-Corona Typewriter or Etch A Sketch Animator. 

    Dozens of computer devices from various eras in the Media Archaeology Lab

    7. Sip on “Valor” Flavored Oxygen

    Flip through the encyclopedic menu at Tonic Herban Lounge, Boulder’s oxygen bar, and you’ll come across a page of 16 different aromas of oxygen you can breathe for a 10- to 40-minute session. Among them is Clarity (a mix of basil, cardamom, and peppermint) or Valor (a combo of spruce, rosewood and frankincense). You just sip back and breathe — great for those who need to chill out or are feeling a little worn down at Boulder’s 5,430-foot altitude. There are also pages and pages of inventive cocktails, tonics, brews, elixirs, water kefirs, kombuchas and desserts. 

    Sign for the Tonic Herban Lounge Oxygen Bar

    8. Taste 5,000-Year-Old Beer

    Like beer? Like history? So does Travis Rupp, beer archeologist at Avery Brewing Company. Yes, we said beer archeologist. Rupp is responsible for researching how ancient civilizations created and consumed beer and then recreating that recipe for Avery to put on tap. From an ancient Egyptian ale dating back to 3,600 BC to a Peruvian brew from 1,000 AD, Avery has created eight ancient beers, which they showcase through an “Ales of Antiquity dinner” which pairs their newest historical beer with food they believe the people of that time were eating.

    People sitting at the bar with two servers at the Avery Tap Room

    9. Hear Crowds Go Wild for Songs About Giardia

    Boulder’s local celebrities Jeff and Paige have made a career of singing about things like giardia, aphids, tectonic plates and cleaning up dog poop — and they have built a rabid fan following doing so. So what if the average fan age is around 6? This children’s music duo makes biology, nature and respect for the outdoors the coolest topics around by turning them into catchy, highly dance-able tunes. You and your brood can see them at Meadow Music on Mondays in the summertime or at venues like Rayback Collective throughout the year.

    People watching a performance at Meadow Music

    10. Discover Celestial Magic in the Foothills

    In the forested hillside west of Boulder is the StarHouse, a mountain temple surrounded by 200 acres of nature. Here, Boulder's most Boulder-y folks gather for spiritual and ceremonial practices, including celestial celebrations. For a truly hippy-trippy experience, attend a Sun Ceremony (on the solstice or equinox) or a Moon Ceremony (on the full or new moon), both of which encourage “quiet time to listen with our hearts and time to share.” These events are typically are by $10 donation. Check their calendar for details.

    Tester bottles with a DSH at Essense Studio

    11. Smell "Avocado Toast" Perfume

    The Essence Studio, an unassuming perfumery on North Broadway, may just be the best-smelling place in Boulder. This tucked-away gem is actually a highly sought-out destination by those in the know. It's run by award-winning perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, who is considered a "synesthete" and sees colors in response to scents. To experience her scent design as an art form (and take a whiff of original fragrances like "Avocado Toast" and "Become the Shaman" and "Little Smile"), stop by Tuesday–Friday 11am-5 pm and Saturday, noon–4 pm.