Major Landmarks of Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a vibrant city located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. With its close proximity to nature, thriving arts scene, and lively downtown area, Boulder has plenty of famous landmarks and attractions for visitors to explore. Here are some of the top landmarks and destinations to check out when visiting Boulder.

Pearl Street Mall

The Pearl Street Mall is located in downtown Boulder and is considered the heart of the city. This four-block pedestrian mall is filled with shops, restaurants, galleries, street performers, and more. Some of the highlights along the Pearl Street Mall include:


This outdoor amphitheater hosts free live music during the spring and summer months. Local and national acts perform everything from bluegrass to rock music. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy some great free entertainment.

Pop Jet Fountain

Let the kids splash and play at this interactive fountain located on the east end of the mall. The fountain has both ground spouts and overhead arches that spray water in different patterns.

Street Performers

From magicians and musicians to dancers and living statues, you’ll find an eclectic mix of performers entertaining visitors along the length of the mall. Performers must audition to earn their performer license in Boulder.

Local Shops & Restaurants

The Pearl Street Mall is home to dozens of locally-owned shops selling clothing, gifts, art, and more. There are also many restaurants with outdoor patio dining overlooking the mall.

University of Colorado Boulder

The flagship campus of the University of Colorado system, CU Boulder is located on 600 acres just west of downtown. Notable university landmarks include:

Macky Auditorium

This historic concert hall opened in 1922 and hosts various music and performance art events. Home to the Artist Series performing arts program.

Fiske Planetarium

See an immersive digital show about the planets and cosmos at this campus planetarium. Public shows offered daily.

Norlin Quad

The large grassy area at the heart of campus, referred to as “The Beach.” Students often relax or study on the quad between classes.

Folsom Field

Home stadium of the Colorado Buffaloes football team that seats over 50,000 spectators. Behind the east stands is a large buffalo statue.

Chautauqua Park

Located at the base of the Flatirons rock formations, Chautauqua Park is a hub of hiking trails and open green space. Notable features include:

Chautauqua Dining Hall

This historic community house built in 1898 features a large dining hall and wraparound porch with mountain views. Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinners.

Ranger Cottage

Stop by the ranger cottage for maps, hiking tips, and information about open space rules and regulations before exploring the trails.

Flatirons Climbing Routes

Many classic rock climbing routes up the iconic Flatirons begin at Chautauqua. Routes range from beginner to expert.

Open Space Trails

Miles of scenic hiking trails extend out from Chautauqua into the foothills and mountains beyond. Popular routes include the Flagstaff Loop and the Flatirons Vista Loop.

Boulder Theater

Located on “The Hill,” this classic Art Deco theater opened in 1906 and hosts concerts, films, and other performances. Distinctive features include:

Marquee Sign

The towering marquee sign displays upcoming show posters and glows neon pink and blue at night.

Intricate Tilework

Ornate floral and geometric tilework frames the stage inside the historic theater.

Balcony Seating

The theater has balcony seating that offers views overlooking the main floor and stage area.

Pre-Show Patios

Right next door is the Fox Theatre with outdoor patios for drinks before shows. The Marquee sign sits between the two theaters.

Flagstaff House

Perched atop Flagstaff Mountain at over 7,000 feet elevation, Flagstaff House is a luxury restaurant with panoramic views. The mountain-top location makes it a distinctive Boulder dining destination.

Rotating Restaurant

The circular dining room slowly rotates giving a 360-degree view during your meal.

Sunroom Lounge

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the Sunroom provide stunning vistas looking east over the plains.

Award-Winning Wine Cellar

The extensive wine list has won the Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine.

Special Occasion Venue

With its romantic mountain setting, Flagstaff House is popular for proposals, anniversaries, and other celebrations.

NCAR Mesa Lab

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is a Boulder-based climate research facility notable for its unique architecture:

Walter De Maria’s Vertical Earth Kilometer

A striking underground copper rod sculpture that stretches 5,280 feet into the earth.

Ho Kepple Krenek’s Stone Circle

114 basalt boulders arranged in a circle to mark solstices and equinoxes.

I.M. Pei’s Mesa Lab Building

The iconic Mesa Lab rises out of the mesa bedrock and is visible from most of Boulder.

Self-Guided Tours

Free guided tours of the campus and architectural highlights are offered to the public.

Eben G. Fine Park

This downtown park on Boulder Creek is a popular summertime destination. Features include:

Millennium Bridge

A modern pedestrian bridge crosses over the creek to connect downtown to Central Park.

Creekside Beach Volleyball

Several sand volleyball courts line the banks of Boulder Creek.

Whitewater Kayak Course

An artificial rapid on the creek provides a water feature for kayak training and play boating.

Farmers’ Market

Local produce, food vendors, crafts, and more can be found at this park during the weekly farmers’ market.

Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory

Take a free tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea blending facility located just outside Boulder. Highlights include:

Mint Room

Breathe in the invigorating aroma of tons of freshly harvested mint.

Tea Conveyor Belt

Watch ingredients travel down a giant assembly line as blends are created.

Tea Sampling

At the end, sample various Celestial Seasonings teas like Sleepytime, Red Zinger, and more.

Gift Shop

Bring home some bulk loose leaf teas or fun tea-themed gifts from the factory gift shop.

More Noteworthy Destinations

Beyond the major landmarks, Boulder has a wealth of other destinations and points of interest worth visiting. Here are some additional worthwhile spots to add to your Boulder itinerary:

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

This nonprofit center provides medical care to injured and orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing rehabilitated animals back to native habitats. Tours allow you to see the resident raptors, foxes, coyotes, and other animals up close.

Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art

View an extensive collection of Western-themed paintings, sculptures, and prints. The museum store also sells prints, cards, and other works from hundreds of different Western artists.

NCAR’s Historic Observatory

Take a guided walking tour of the original 1940 observatory established by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. contains antique observing instruments.

The Rembrandt Yard

Five beautifully-restored Victorian homes built in the late 1800s surround a shared courtyard to create a little neighborhood pocket of history. The homes are open occasionally for special events.

Scott Carpenter Park and Pool

Named after astronaut Scott Carpenter, Boulder’s native son, this community park contains an outdoor swimming pool, sports fields, playgrounds, and nice views looking west over town.

East Boulder Recreation Center

In addition to a full gym and fitness center, this community recreation facility has fun leisure pool featuring a lazy river, waterslide, and kids’ area.

NoBo Art District

The hip North Boulder neighborhoods house dozens of art galleries, studios, and other creative small businesses. Take a walk along Lee Hill Drive to explore the eclectic art spaces.

Boulder Reservoir

Ringed by multi-use trails, Boulder’s reservoir provides opportunities for boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, and other water recreation.

Favorite Local Restaurants

In addition to its natural beauty and wealth of activities, Boulder is also home to a vibrant foodie scene filled with chef-driven restaurants that take advantage of the bounty of local farms. Here are some of the top local eateries visitors should try when exploring the culinary side of Boulder:

The Kitchen

Founded by Kimbal Musk, The Kitchen uses farm-to-table cuisine to create American dishes with menu items changing seasonally. Save room for the signature whiskey cake dessert.

Frasca Food and Wine

Enjoy Friulian-inspired Italian fare paired with wines from Frasca’s highly lauded wine list. Be sure to dine al fresco on the charming patio if weather permits.


The upscale yet hip atmosphere matches the creative contemporary menu focused on simply prepared fresh seasonal ingredients. Try the baked Brie and flank steak.

Oak at Fourteenth

High-end new American cuisine served in an elegant historic space. Oak is known for its technique-driven cooking and extensive wine cellar.


Specializing in authentic Spanish tapas, Corrida’s menu highlights ingredients like Serrano ham, manchego cheese, octopus, shrimp, and chorizo. Wash it all down with a glass of sherry.

Zoe Ma Ma

For flavorful street food-inspired Chinese dishes, head to this downtown favorite. Must-order items include cumin lamb noodles, green onion pancakes, and Sichuan wontons.

Il Pastaio

Handmade pastas, sauces, and other traditional Italian fare served in a rustic and cozy environment. Fresh pastas are made daily on site.

Blooming Beets

A plant-based restaurant with hearty vegan dishes like beet burgers, cashew mac and cheese, seitan Philly cheesesteaks, and avocado toast. Great spot for vegetarian and vegan visitors.

Outdoor Activities

Between the dramatic Flatirons rock formations in the west and the rolling High Plains to the east, Boulder is a paradise for outdoor recreation. The mild climate means plenty of sunshine for enjoying activities year-round. Some favorite outdoor pursuits include:

Hiking and Trail Running

With over 45,000 acres of open space surrounding the city, Boulder has seemingly endless trails to explore on foot. Popular routes include:

  • Royal Arch Trail – Ascends to viewpoints below the iconic Royal Arch rock formation in the Flatirons
  • Mesa Trail – Long trail along the eastern edge of the Flatirons with panoramic views
  • Bear Peak Trail – Challenging trail to the top of Bear Peak (8,461 ft elevation)

Rock Climbing

The Flatirons offer world-famous rock climbing on slab sandstone crags like the North Face of the First Flatiron. Many easier routes can be found in Eldorado Canyon State Park just south of Boulder.


Boulder has an extensive network of bike lanes and multi-use paths winding throughout town and into the surrounding mountains and valleys. Popular paved routes include Boulder Creek Path, Valmont Bike Park, and Switzerland Trail.

Paddle Boarding

Try stand-up paddle boarding on calm sections of Boulder Creek that run through town or on Boulder Reservoir which is surrounded by parks and open space. Rentals and lessons are available.

Fly Fishing

Catch trout in the cold mountain creeks that descend from the peaks surrounding Boulder. Local streams like Boulder Creek, Four Mile Creek, and Lefthand Creek offer both wade fishing and float fishing opportunities.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Throughout the year, Boulder hosts a variety of special events and festivals that highlight the city’s culture, food, and active lifestyle. Some of the most popular annual events include:

Bolder Boulder 10K Race

Held on Memorial Day, this popular 10K race draws over 50,000 runners from across the country, including recreational joggers and elite athletes. The race ends at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field.

Boulder Creek Festival

Memorial Day weekend, this festival at Central Park has live music, food vendors, a beer garden, and arts and crafts exhibitors. Race spectators often attend the festival on race day.

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

June through August, a season of performances by the CU Boulder theater troupe featuring classic works by Shakespeare and other playwrights in a campus outdoor amphitheater.

Boulder Farmers’ Market

April through November, Saturdays this bustling market fills 13th Street with farmers selling seasonal produce, baked goods, cheese, meats, flowers, and other local products.

Colorado Classic Bike Race

Mid-August, Pro men and women cyclists compete in this multi-stage race that finishes with the crowd favorite criterium loop around downtown Boulder. Cycling fans line the race routes.

Boulder Creek Hometown Fair

Labor Day Weekend, Located along Boulder Creek this street fair has food vendors, kids’ activities, art exhibits, circus performers, and live music across three festival zones.

Boulder International Film Festival

Early March, This five-day event features film screenings, panel discussions, and parties at various downtown Boulder theaters, with many visiting filmmakers attending.

Getting to Boulder

Boulder is located just 30 miles northwest of Denver, making it an easy day trip or weekend getaway from Denver. Here are some of the options for getting to Boulder:

Driving from Denver – The most direct route is to take US 36 to Boulder.Expect the drive to take 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. Parking garages downtown provide easy access to shopping and dining.

RTD Bus from Denver – Express RTD buses run regularly between downtown Denver and downtown Boulder. The ride takes about an hour. Buses have bike racks for multi-modal travel.

Amtrak Train from Denver – The Amtrak California Zephyr stops daily at Boulder’s station downtown and offers service to/from Denver. The train ride is about 40 minutes between Denver and Boulder.

Bustang Bus from Denver Airport – Affordable Bustang service goes between Denver International Airport and the main Boulder Station bus terminal in town. Travel time is around 75 minutes.

Taxi/Rideshare from Denver – Services like Uber, Lyft, zTrip allow door-to-door taxi or rideshare service to and from Denver. Good option if not renting a car. Cost is usually $60-$80 each way.

Places to Stay in Boulder

Boulder has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and styles:

Downtown Hotels – Conveniently located near Pearl Street Mall, theaters, and restaurants. Options range from national chains like Marriott to boutique historic hotels.

Bed and Breakfast Inns – Charming smaller inns and cottages providing hospitality in updated Victorian homes, farmhouses, or guest suites. Great for a romantic feel.

Motels & Hotels on 28th Street – More budget-friendly chain motel options line 28th Street on north edge of town by the bus station and US 36.

CU Area Vacation Rentals – Rent a room or apartment through services like Airbnb near the University of Colorado campus and surrounds. Provides a local feel.

Lodges at Chautauqua – Rustic lodges and cottages nestled at the base of the Flatirons in a serene mountain setting. Ideal for accessing trails.

Eldora Lodge – Located 21 miles west of Boulder, this ski area lodge offers accommodations convenient to hiking, biking, and scenic chairlift rides in summer.

With its perfect balance of natural beauty, outdoor allure, and cultural attractions, Boulder is a vibrant destination with endless opportunities to explore.

From hiking stunning trails and tasting farm-to-table cuisine to learning about science and history at museums and strolling the downtown pedestrian mall, visitors to Boulder can craft an itinerary packed with activities suited to their individual interests. Home to the University of Colorado and a progressive, environmentally-conscious vibe, Boulder invites visitors to recreate and engage with the community during their stay.

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  • From Downtown Boulder: Head northwest on Pearl Street toward 28th Street. Turn left onto 28th Street and drive for 2 miles. Make a right onto Valmont Road and continue for 1 mile. Turn left onto 33rd Street, and 1950 33rd St will be on your left.
  • From Denver International Airport (DEN): Take Pena Boulevard to I-70 W, then merge onto I-25 N. Take exit 217A onto US-36 W toward Boulder. After 20 miles, take Foothills Parkway exit, merge onto Foothills Parkway, and drive 2 miles. Turn right on Valmont Road, then left on 33rd Street. 1950 33rd St will be on your left.
  • From University of Colorado Boulder: Head southeast on University Avenue, which becomes Baseline Road. Turn right onto 30th Street and drive for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Valmont Road and continue for 1 mile. Finally, turn right onto 33rd Street, and 1950 33rd St will be on your left.