The Day Off: Boulder, Colorado
Your one-day must-do itinerary for the Berkeley of the Rockies
While Boulder has a reputation for being a crunchy college town, it’s also a rising tech hub that’s home to a new $131 million Google campus, Twitter and IBM offices, and a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration lab and National Weather Service forecast center. No matter what business brings you to Boulder, here’s how to make the most of your day off.
Start with breakfast at Santo, where Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg offers a menu that celebrates the cuisine of Northern New Mexico. Haute dishes such as mezcal- cured salmon tostadas are reserved for weekend brunch, but takeout breakfast burritos—stuffed with eggs, tater tots, beans, and red and green chiles—are available weekday mornings.
Get a hike in at Chautauqua Park, which offers 40 miles of trails through the jagged Flatiron Mountains. Follow the Woods Quarry trail to take in sweeping views of the city below from one of the stone “chairs” that were built by other enterprising hikers.
Refuel at the ornate Dushanbe Teahouse, which was given to Boulder in 1998 by sister city Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Look up for the mesmerizingly intricate Persian-style ceiling carvings, which are the handiwork of more than 40 Tajik artists, and be sure to order the plov, a traditional rice dish, along with one of the more than 80 teas on offer from around the world.
On the four-block pedestrian Pearl Street Mall, browse hygge-approved home goods at Alpine Modern and hand-made leather bags at by elke, where you can watch Elke Bergeron craft her limited-run collections.
For happy hour, head to Rayback Collective—a food truck park/food hall inside a former plumbing supply building—and order a flight of Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, including flavors such as Alpine Lavender and Savory Peach. According to Rowdy Mermaid founder Jamba Dunn, Boulder’s altitude and climate make for less acidic, more drinkable kombucha.
While not a white-tablecloth type of town, Boulder is home to one of Colorado’s most decorated restaurants: two-time James Beard Award winner Frasca Food and Wine, which celebrates the cuisine of Friuli, a mountainous region in northeast Italy. The pillowy agnolotti, served with fontina and truffle, is a must. (If you can’t get a reservation, opt for a wood-fired Neapolitan pizza next door, at the Frasca team’s Pizzeria Locale.)
End the night with s’mores around the fire at Basecamp Boulder, a hip reimagining of a mountain lodge with 50 rooms and an in-house bouldering wall.