Boulder Colorado, what can I say? This was the first city where I dove right in. I didn’t do too much research on where to go and what to do. And by diving right in, I put myself in the center of everything that was happening around me, and allowed myself to say yes and get connected.
I rented a small apartment about 3 miles from downtown. It featured a breathtaking view of the flatirons from the front yard. It was also within walking distance to a couple cafes and restaurants, grocery stores and other convenient points of interest. It was a quiet neighborhood, and there was a recreational center nearby with a bike/run trail and a spectacular view of the setting sun behind the flatirons. It also provided easy access to trails and was in close proximity to Chautauqua Park.
I worked in cafes for my first couple of days in Boulder. Then an internet problem at the cafe I was working in led me to my first coworking space. I literally typed “Colab Boulder” and looked at what came up, my urgency being that I needed to finish my work. I stumbled upon Colab Boulder, a nice quiet coworking office located downtown. I kind of just showed up at their doorstep, with a facial expression similar to that of a lost puppy! But, they welcomed me in and let me work there no problem. They also gave me a tour of their office and invited me out to lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed working at Colab Boulder and learning about the entrepreneurial energy that exist in Boulder.
I actually didn’t end up exploring coworking spaces too much further. Also within my first week, I met Ara T. Howard, CTO of Dojo4, a design and development firm based in downtown Boulder. In meeting Ara I was invited to spend the day at their office, also known as “The Dojo.” In spending one day here, I fell in love with the culture and the synergy of the people that work there. They thought it was a great idea for me to hang out when needed, and make their office my office away from home. I’m still super appreciative of the way their company is set up, and the fine work they do.
THINGS YOU MUST DO
CHAUTAUQUA PARK: Features amazing views of Downtown Boulder, as well as vast fields leading to the baseline of the flatirons. Highly recommend coming here for a hike and taking your camera to capture the moment.
FARMERS MARKET: Their Farmers Market is open on Saturdays and Wednesday afternoon into the evening. There, you will find a plethora of fresh produce and local vendors selling everything from salsa to granola. You’ll also find ample options for eating, including free samples everywhere and food booths ready to serve you dinner.
THE CUP: Nice little cafe on Pearl Street where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee/tea, lunch, or work. Ample space and tables, extremely easy to casually talk to strangers, and a great playlist for background ambiance.
PEARL STREET: Take the time to properly stroll Pearl Street, preferably at the end of the day as the sun is preparing to set. You’ll have the breeze of the evening air, and you’ll see it come alive with people. There are rows of local shops and restaurants, and good finds.
BMOCA: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art will have your mind deep in thought as you dive into the eclectic exhibits they have there. Highly recommend taking a little time to walk through here.
FLAGSTAFF MOUNTAIN: This is a worthy drive, but it is steep with some sharp turns so drive carefully. And even still as your car barely makes it up, you’ll look to your right and see a Mountain Biker totally rocking it out on the same road you’re on. It will boggle your mind, but you will be okay. Flagstaff Mountain has beautiful trails and views of Boulder, as well as mountainous terrain. If you’re brave you can climb out on some of the rocks for better pictures and views. Either way its very close to Boulder and a great drive/hike.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK: This park is another fantastic day trip. You can eat out at picnic tables overlooking fields, see a lot of wildlife (elk, chipmunk, etc). You also have your choice of dynamic drives and hikes, depending on what your heart desires. My friend and I chose a woodland trail and also took the drive to the very top of the mountain, where it was snowing! Such a cool dramatic transition from 80 degree weather to snow in a matter of minutes.
GARDEN OF THE GODS: This is a trek, but if you have a day you should do it. It’s right out by Colorado Springs. The visitor center will give you a map and has exhibits about the native animals that live there. The map features walking/biking and driving trails through this natural wonderland. Large formations of red rock shoot up in the air at large vertical lengths. It’s breathtaking to view. Park your car in one of the designated lots and hit the trails. You can hit more than one of them, and the map will let you know which ones are easy, moderate and difficult. This is also a good place to bring your camera. It features breathtaking views of mountains off in the distance and all the splendor mother nature has to over. Completely worth the drive.
EAT GOOD FOOD
Now, I am a more of a health nut, so my choices were definitely on the healthy side, but if you are a foodie, you should live it up in Boulder. Use a app like Yelp or Urban Spoon to find local recommendations or a palette that satisfies your appetite. Then go in and try it out.
Places I went:
- Native Foods (vegan/vegetarian friendly, nice variety of dishes and house made beverages)
- Cafe Aion (delicious tapas and sangria)
- Southside Walnut Cafe (great breakfast)
- The Rio (amazing margaritas)
- Dish Gourmet (downtown, great lunch spot, delicious salads and sanwiches)
- Snooze (a great brunch restaurant)
- Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place (try their elixirs and jackfruit tacos, you’ll be pleasantly surprised)
- Buffalo Bill’s Coffee & Confections (make it a day trip and enjoy the scenic drive)
I was able to find out about events through the coworking space I worked out of (CoLab), and I also used connections in Twitter. Additionally, I used CouchSurfing.org and attended their happy hour for locals and travelers, where I met some good people. Other than that, the connections I made within the first 2 weeks led me to other great people and good times.
Boulder is the city I fell into , literally, and did not miss a beat. It was as if I was there before I was there. I truly enjoyed my time and how being open put me in the path of great people and experiences. I will most definitely be back.