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What to Pack for Boulder

Wondering what the must-pack items are for a trip to Boulder? Here’s your best bet for what to pack year-round and in each season. Just leave a little room in your suitcase because the shopping here is chock full of indie shops and boutiques with irresistible finds.

In every season...

Boulder is all about being outdoors. Chances are good you’ll be sipping drinks on rooftops, going for a nature walk or hike, renting bikes to pedal around town, taking pictures in front of the Flatirons...even our shopping malls and districts are open-air! So be sure to be prepared for a range of temperatures. Boulder sits at an altitude of 5,430 feet, so evenings get cool here year-round.

  • Comfortable shoes – Boulder's a walkable city and you'll want to roam far and wide.
  • Layers – Boulder sits exactly where the mountains meet the plains, which means the weather can change quickly. It also means that you can easily head up to higher elevations, where it's cooler. Layering a t-shirt with a sweater/sweatshirt and jacket or coat ensures you are prepared for anything.
  • Water bottle – You’ll find plenty of fill stations in this eco-conscious city.
  • Sunscreen – At this altitude, the effects of the sun are much stronger than at sea level, and it's sunny all year round.
  • Sunglasses – We get 245+ days of sunshine a year.
  • Lip balm – It’s quite dry in Boulder in every season, so drink more water and bring lip balm.
  • Backpack – You’ll be out exploring all day, so best to tuck everything in a comfortable, adventure-ready bag.
In Spring 
  • Rain jacket/windbreaker – We don’t get a lot of rain, but it can get windy in early spring.
  • Boots – In case of a spring snowstorm, which can happen even in May. Trails get muddy in spring, and we ask that you step through puddles instead of around them to prevent erosion.
  • Warm coat – It can be 66 by day and still hit 25 overnight here in spring, so stay warm!
Photo by Abbie Youngs

Hiking at Chautauqua

In Summer
  • Shorts – July is our hottest month, and temps can climb into the upper 90s. 
  • Sandals – Ideally comfortable, walking sandals or sports sandals, like Tevas or Chacos.
  • Light jacket – When the sun goes down, it gets cool, even after a hot day.
  • Bathing suit – In case you want to hit the Boulder Reservoir or your hotel pool.
Photo by Justin Bilancieri

Splashing in the pool mid-summer

In Fall
  • Warm coatFall evenings are almost always chilly in Boulder.
  • Boots – Our first snow typically comes around Halloween, so it’s best to be prepared. 
  • Camera – The leaf-peeping on the nearby Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is worth bringing your “good camera.”
  • Wool or synthetic socks – Keep your feet warm and dry and avoid cotton, as it rubs when hiking.

Strolling West Pearl Street in fall

In Winter
  • Extra layers – Ever heard the expression, “There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”? We live by that in Boulder, and folks are outside even on the coldest, snowiest days. Bring some extra layers and you will be able to do all the activities you'd like. 
  • Snow cleats or slip-on traction – If you plan to do any hikes or nature walks, you’ll want to bring traction for your boots, as snow can stay on the trails and make things slippery. We like Yak Traks or similar options.
  • Warm hat and gloves – While many winter days will be sunny and mild, you’ll want to keep your head and hands warm for a hike on a colder day — as well as after dark.
  • Wool or synthetic socks – Keep your feet toasty and avoid cotton, as it rubs when hiking.
Photo by Andy Colwell
What You’ll See Locals Wearing

While Boulder has a fair number of stylish souls and creative dressers, most folks look like they stepped out of a Patagonia catalog. Here are the most common items you’ll see:

  1. Puffy coats – Lightweight for spring and fall, puffier for winter.
  2. Fleece jackets – To keep cozy and easily shed a layer if needed.
  3. Leggings and athleisure wear – Post-hike stops for coffee or lunch are the norm.
  4. Sneakers, hiking boots or sports sandals – Ready for adventure in walkable Boulder.
  5. Water bottle – As a community, we try hard to reduce waste, and carrying a water bottle is almost universal among locals.
  6. Rain jacket – We aren’t big umbrella folks in Boulder. A waterproof shell is what we keep around.
  7. Casual clothes – Even for dining out, the dress code here is quite casual. Jeans are just fine in almost all settings.

Dinner at The Kitchen in downtown