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Things to Do in Boulder in Winter

A "Top 10 Winter Town" by National Geographic

Winter in Boulder is surprising. There typically isn't much snow on the ground, and outdoor activities abound. On warm days, bike rides and hikes are the norm, as are lunches on restaurant patios. On snowy days, coffee shops and breweries are the perfect refuge. Come play in our winter wonderland!

1. Opt Outside

Hiking in Boulder is great any day of the year, including all through winter (especially on these 5 great winter trails). You likely won't even need snowshoes — just a pair of boots and maybe ice cleats (Yaktrax or similar) if it's icy. The city offers free, guided nature hikes where you can discover winter birds, snowflakes and animal tracks in the snow. Most of the trails are located no more than five minutes from downtown.

A person on a winter hike in the Chautauqua neighborhood with their dog on a paved path surrounded by mountains.

Know Before You Go

Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared for quickly changing conditions. You'll need sunscreen (yep, even in winter), plenty of water, snacks and a few extra layers of clothing.

2. Fuel Up With an Unforgettable Meal

You don't draw MICHELIN Guide accolades or earn the title of America's Foodiest Town (Bon Appétit) without having some of the country's best chefs turning out incredible dishes, starring flavorful local ingredients. Come indulge at dozens of acclaimed restaurants.

A family cheers with smiles and laughter at a Pearl Street patio restaurant in Boulder, CO.
3. Ski Like a Local

An easy, 30-minute drive from downtown Boulder, Eldora Mountain Resort offers snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Eldora has a laid-back local vibe with enough skiing and riding for skiers and boarders of all levels. (Read about it in the LA Times!) Both Ski and Skiing magazines are based in Boulder, as is Warren Miller's famed ski film production company. So yes, we love to ski!

Skiers and snowboarders enjoying the powdery white snow at Eldora Mountain Resort in Boulder, CO.

Know Before You Go

Please use caution when driving mountain roads. It's best to download a map before you leave in case you go into areas with no cell coverage. In winter, ensure you have snow tires or chains. And if you need to take a moment to enjoy the scenery or consult your map, pull over in a safe, out-of-the-way spot.

4. Have a Spirit-Warming Brew

Boulder has been a craft brewing capital for decades. Cozy up to some hearty winter fare, paired with the perfect brew, at Boulder's breweries.

People gathering at Avery Brewing Tap Room in Boulder, CO.

5. Indulge with a Sweet Treat

Handmade chocolates at Lift Chocolate, cupcakes at Sweet Sisters Bake Shop, sipping chocolate and truffles at Piece Love and Chocolate, a wide selection of chocolate goods at Peppercorn and baked goods at Spruce Confections — Boulderites love to reward themselves with gourmet confections. Indulge your sweet tooth, too.

Croissants at Dry Storage

6. Discover a Cheery Winter Event

See below for winter's greatest hits and visit our full, searchable event calendar for more ideas.

A couple of people bundled up with warm drinks walking along Pearl Street, enjoying their holiday shopping.

Winterlong Events

Snow Much Fun Light Displays
November 20, 2023-January 31, 2024
Explore holiday lights both real and virtual in downtown Boulder this season. Check out holiday lights near the library and take a self-guided, augmented-reality tour throughout the district. Meet a snowman, an orca, polar bears and more as you scan QR codes and journey from the East End, the Pearl Street Mall, and the West End all the way to the Civic Area and library. Take selfies and use Instagram filters as you follow this winter wonderland trail. Free!

Downtown Boulder lit up with twinkle light-covered trees for the Snow Much Fun event.

CU Men's Basketball and CU Women's Basketball (Through March)
Watch the Buffs stampede the court at the Coors Events Center on CU's campus.


Warren Miller Film Premiere
November 9-11, 2023
Each year, Warren Miller kicks off winter with a new, groundbreaking ski film in Boulder. 

CU Buffs Football Season
September 2-December 1, 2023
Watch the CU Buffs compete on beautiful Folsom Field.

CU Homecoming
November 4, 2023
In-person events will include the annual Alumni Awards ceremony, Spirit Days on the Quad, Buffs on Tap, the 50-Year Reunion for the class of 1971 and the Ralphie’s Corral tailgate.

Switch on the Holidays
November 19, 2023
Come see the lighting of downtown in holiday lights and an appearance by Santa Claus, too.

St. Nick on the Bricks
Friday, November 24, and Saturdays, November 25-December 23, 2023
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.

Fresh Air Friday
November 24, 2023
Free access to all 41 Colorado state parks on Fresh Air Friday, including Eldorado Canyon State Park, just 15 minutes from Boulder.

Small Business Saturday
November 25, 2023
Shop great deals at small businesses throughout Boulder.


St. Nick on the Bricks
Friday, November 24, and Saturdays, November 24-December 23, 2023
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.

Lights of December Parade
December 2, 2023
Marching bands, floats, fire engines, holiday carolers and more. The grand finale includes an appearance by Santa Claus himself.

Winter Soulstice
December 8, 2023
Denver Gay Men's Chorus presents "Winter Soulstice," a celebration of the holiday season and DGMC’s new Artistic Director, Johnny Nichols, Jr.

CU Presents Holiday Festival
December 8-10, 2023
The decades-old celebration brings together student choirs, bands and orchestras — along with world-class faculty performers — for a concert of holiday favorites and new surprises.

Holiday High-Jinks & Aerial Absurdities
December 8-10, 2023
A light-hearted poke at the holiday hustle and bustle: Aerial shenanigans on invented apparatus, lively music, A.I.-generated experiments and more as a fun antidote to all the holiday hoo-hah. 

WinterFest at Colorado Chautauqua
December 8-10, 2023
Each year, at the foot of the Flatirons, the Colorado Chautauqua hosts a classic winter celebration. Enjoy carriage rides, Santa's cottage, historic cottage tours, a family holiday concert with Jeff and Paige, a guided caroling hike and much more.

Freezie Fest
December 9, 2023
Hunt for little stuffed snowmen hidden inside participating shops and you could win big prizes! Plus, enjoy visits with Santa, train rides on the Snowflake Express and loads of holiday crafts and activities along the Pearl Street Mall.

A little stuffed snowman hiding in a tote bag for Freezie Fest in Boulder, CO.

Holi-Slay Drag Brunch
December 16, 2023
Delicious Italian food at Stella's, remixed classic Christmas songs performed by Dixie and her crew, and unforgettable moments are sure to make this brunch the talk of the town.

New Year’s Eve Party at License No. 1
December 31, 2023
Ring in the New Year at Hotel Boulderado's speakeasy-style bar starting at 8pm. Dress to impress and enjoy live music, champagne toast and late-night bites.

New Year's Eve Party at St. Julien Hotel
December 31, 2023
Live music, balloon drops, champagne toast, dessert station, cocktail bars and more!


First Day Hikes
January 1, 2024
Start the year off right with a fresh-air hike.

A person looking out at a spectacular view of Boulder as the sun rises while on a winter hike.

February and March

Black Movement Festival
February 22-25, 2024
Black Movement Festival, presented by Jarrett Rashad Dance Theater in collaboration with the Dairy Art Center and Boulder Ballet, is a celebration of Black History Month. Experience performances by Black artists and speakers, and take classes in visual arts, dance, film, holistic lifestyle, history and more.

Winter Craft Beer Festival
February 24, 2024
A great beer-tasting event at Balch Fieldhouse at Folsom Field, right when you need it: mid-winter! 

Boulder International Film Festival
March 13-16, 2025
Films and filmmakers from around the world come to Boulder for a four-day celebration of the art of cinema.

Theater and Classical Music Season
Boulder's theater and orchestra seasons are in full swing in winter. Check out the performing arts listings here.