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Winter Solstice Guide to Boulder

Even though Boulder is gloriously sunny all winter long, this town’s outdoor-obsessed and spiritually inclined residents love to celebrate the winter solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year. This year in Boulder, the winter solstice falls on Thursday, December 21, 2023. If you’re visiting and would like to join in on the good vibes, there are many ways to commemorate this turning point to longer days ahead.

Greet the Day with a Sunrise Hike

Boulder's typically bluebird skies and snow-capped evergreen forests make the perfect backdrop for an early morning solstice hike. Put on your layers (even on the most sunny and mild of winter days, mornings are cold!), bring a thermos of your favorite hot beverage and celebrate the sun's return on the trail. A few ideal sunrise hikes include those at Chautauqua Park, Mount Sanitas and Betasso Preserve, which have gorgeous views and exposure to the rising sun’s warm rays. Read more about Boulder’s top winter hiking trails.

Panorama Point

Stick to Trails

With 300 miles of trails in the city, there’s no need to venture beyond designated paths. By sticking to the trails you help minimize the impact of the millions of visitors Boulder’s parks receive every year. By staying on the main trail, even in muddy conditions, you prevent trail widening and the creation of additional trails that encroach on natural habitats.

Look to the Sky

If you're seeking a more educational and immersive experience, or if you have little ones in tow, every year Fiske Planetarium hosts Colorado Skies: The Winter Solstice Show, taking you on a cosmic journey to explore the science and significance of this celestial event.

Fiske Planetarium

Solstice Yoga Classes

The winter solstice represents new beginnings and fresh starts. Embrace this symbolism with a special winter solstice yoga experience in Boulder – studios across town offer special workshops and solstice-centered classes for the occasion. Or, if you’d prefer to spend time in a bit more solitude, you can do 108 sun salutations to welcome the rising of the sun from your own hotel room. Many cultures believe this ritual is a powerful way to welcome a change of seasons. Learn more about yoga in Boulder.


A post shared by Yoga Pearl (@yogapearl)

Indulge in a Solstice Feast

As the shortest day shifts into the longest night, consider treating yourself to a solstice feast at one of Boulder’s more atmospheric restaurants, dimly lit and ideal for cozying up. Try Bramble and Hare, River and Woods or The Kitchen (there's a quaint bar area tucked away upstairs), all of which have charming booths, candles and warm wood furnishings. For a more celebratory vibe, gather around the light and warmth of a fire to enjoy drinks or food at one of Boulder’s restaurants and bars with fire pits.

Photo by Douglas Brown

Bramble and Hare

Stroll and See the Holiday Lights

Boulder's downtown holiday lights add a sprinkling of magic to the season and make for a lovely solstice activity. Warm your hands with a local hot chocolate, tea or coffee as you meander through downtown to see the city aglow.

Photo by Downtown Boulder

Pearl Street draped in holiday lights

Practice Presence with Tea

Boulder's tea spots offer an opportunity to practice presence and reflection on the solstice, a time for introspection and ritual. Let the warmth of a cup of tea guide your contemplation. Bring a book or journal to spend some time turning inward at a local teahouse like Ku Cha, Dushanbe or Pekoe.

Flowering teas at Ku Cha

Go to Hear Voices Singing

Bring warmth and light to the dark night by listening to Boulder's brightest voices sing out. You'll find an array of performances happening during the winter season by groups like Boulder Chorale, Ars Nova Singers, Boulder Opera, Rocky Mountain Corral, the CU Buffons (CU's acapella group—catch them every Tuesday night under the University Memorial Center arches) and more. Check out our live music page for more ways to incorporate music into your solstice festivities.

Brave the Cold Plunge

For the adventurous soul, consider a cold plunge as a unique way to mark the winter solstice – embrace the cold! Cold plunging has numerous health benefits, including helping stave off the winter blues. Radi8 Float and Isolate Float Center offer cold plunge experiences. There's even a local Wim Hof group in Boulder/Denver for those interested in this unique practice of cold water immersion.

Know Before You Go

Check the conditions where you plan to visit, especially in winter. Stay safe by knowing the latest news for weather and snow as well as for road and trail closures.

Engage in Rituals and Reflection

Lean into the spiritual aspects of the solstice through rituals and reflection. Many winter solstice traditions center around light, and one way to do that is with a lantern. You can buy a lantern, which doubles as a meaningful and gorgeous souvenir, from shops like Canova Home and Lolo Rugs and Gifts. Or you could even create your own lantern using craft supplies from local art stores like Two Hands Paperie or Art Parts Creative Reuse Center. Whether you’re using a lantern or simply lighting a candle, use this time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the year to come.

Seek Guidance with Tarot and Psychic Readings

Add a touch of mysticism and that quintessential Boulder-woo to your solstice celebration with a tarot or psychic reading. Check out the Boulder Psychic Institute or pop in to see the resident astrologists, tarot readers and psychics at Lighthouse Bookstore on Pearl Street.


Winter Solstice Events

Evergreen: Winter Solstice Celebration
December 14-15, 2023, 7:30pm
The Ars Nova Singers perform at Mountain View United Methodist Church.

Colorado Skies: The Winter Solstice
December 16, 2023, 2:30pm
Learn about the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year! Explore the winter constellations and find Orion, Sirius, the Milky Way galaxy and what celestial objects to look for with the unaided eye, a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditation & Sound Bath
December 20, 2023, 6:15pm
This workshop will start with warm-up exercises from Kundalini Yoga followed by a meditation for the Winter Solstice and a sound bath.

Winter Solstice Celebration at Dairy Arts Center
December 21, 2023, 7pm
Step into the heart of winter’s magic with Thomas Droge, a guide who intertwines the wisdom of ancient traditions with modern insight. Revel in an evening filled with the essence of tea, the expansion of the heart and a celestial journey alongside the stars.