I’m asked at least twice a week where people should go during their trip to Boulder, Colorado so I feel it’s time I create an all-in-one blog post for you so that you can narrow down your must-visit list. In this post you’ll find some of my favourite healthy restaurants, hiking spots, coffee joints and much more.
I’ve been fortunate enough to call Boulder my home for nearly five years now and still, my fascination with it does not cease. I’m constantly discovering new gems on Pearl Street and divine restaurants to light up the flame in my belly.
Please know, there are more spots than this that might potentially rock your world. If you have one that I didn’t list, please feel free to comment below. This is merely a starting point– enjoy!
Consistently my go-to spot for dinner and lunch, Zeal is basically “Boulder in on a plate” (hey, new tagline?). Their dishes consist of dark leafy greens, bone broth, grains, local meats, juices, acai bowls, smoothies, date balls and even kombucha / tequila cocktails. They recently moved locations so they are now directly on the Boulder creek, which makes for a beautiful scenery.
Another gem, Fresh Thymes is a quicker restaurant (order at the counter) but one where you can get some of the most nutritiously dense meals. Think grilled local chicken thighs with pesto, grass-fed skirt steak, rosemary flat bread with herb oil, veggie tarts and full-fat desserts galore!
Even though Zeal might be my most-visited spot, Shine is my favourite “healthy” restaurant. It’s owned by three woo-woo spiritual ladies who host dance parties, workshops and spiritual services right in their restaurant. THEY ARE AMAZING. Definitely check out their potions (some are aphrodisiacs, whoop whoop) and definitely get an order of their curry or jackfruit tacos.
This is a great spot if you want something fast, healthy and not in the highest price point. I love this spot when I want to hit up some grub still in my workout clothes post AcroYoga or bouldering. My favourite, and most-ordered, dish is the smokey chicken bowl.
Okay, so if we can set aside “healthy” spots for a second, Bartaco is my other favourite spot most definitely– and lucky for you, I still consider it to be healthy (healthy for the soul at least). They have tons of taco choices, sides, salads, bowls and of course, cocktails. I love their carnitas tacos, fish tacos, poke and the “old thymer” cocktail (I’m a bourbon girl….but you can’t go wrong with any of their drinks I think).
They get fairly crowded early on, so plan to grab a drink at the bar while you wait for you table.
The Kitchen is split up into three sections– the kitchen next door, the kitchen and the kitchen upstairs (ranked in order of casual to fancy pants). I love all three, so it really depends on what kind of meal experience you want to have. If you want something more laid back, go “next door” and if you want more of a date-night feeling, go to the kitchen or kitchen upstairs. One of the BEST meals I’ve had in my entire life was at the kitchen….it was the duck confit. And it’s orgasmic. If it’s on the menu, love yourself deeply and order it.
Magical hole-in-the-wall Thai food. Play a fun game called “catch all the typos in the menu” for extra fun points. Order the green curry and a Chang beer.
Adorable little chocolate shop at the end of Pearl Street…..get their “sipping chocolate” to have one of the most indulgent experiences of your life….or go all out with one of their chocolate tart pies. You’ll know it when you see it.
Coffee and Tea
Hands down the best cafe in Boulder for a latte, cappuccino or drip coffee. It has a European vibe, as half of the cafe is Boxcar coffee and the other half is a cheese, meat, bread and wine specialty store. I recommend you stop off here for a coffee (and a bottle of wine to crack open at your airbnb) and then walk up/down Pearl street.
Fresh, minimalistic, modern coffee shop. Great spot for a treat as well– I love their quinoa bowl and avocado toast!
This is my most-visited coffee shop for working. It’s calmer in the morning as it can get incredibly crowded in the afternoon with lots of bustling entrepreneurs and bookworms. Every evening they have live music and wine– beautiful spot for people watching, listening to music and winding down at the end of the day.
If you can make it happen, I so urge you to get a cup of tea at the Dunshabe Tea House! The architecture is gorgeous and
This is our most well-known speciality juice cafe. On the pricier side but great quality and so very nourishing. I recommend their golden latte, mint chip smoothie and the brite juice. Ohhhh and if you’re feeling real extra, get their cinnamon cashew nut milks for the drive home. DIVINE.
One stop shop for acai bowls.
Want to say you’ve bouldered in boulder? The Spot is my favourite Bouldering gym, as it comes with a side of good music, slacklining and a small gym upstairs. Go on Fridays for $10 bouldering all day (I suggest you bring your own shoes to avoid the smell of the rentals, but they have them if you need them).
For more of a workout rather than a creative climbing session, hit up Mecha. They are a megareformer pilates studio with INSANE results. You’ve been warned: it is not easy. The good news is that the pace is very slow so you’re less likely to risk getting an injury and their reformer classes are only 45 minutes.
More climbing! This gym is considered the nicest climbing gym (there is a brand new one in Denver too) but it’s more for belay climbing rather than bouldering (aka you are attached to a rope). There is a small bouldering section, though, as well as a very nice gym and yoga classes. There’s even an AcroYoga class if you’re feeling extra frisky on a Wednesday!
$10 yoga classes with great teachers and great energy.
The most popular hike for out-of-towners-. I do suggest it, but know that it may be slightly crowded. On the easier side.
Basically like walking up a flight of stairs for an hour. Definitely a moderate-intense hike, but it’s one of my absolutely favourites.
Yes! Do this one! Also moderate.
If you want to get out of town, go to Rocky Mountain National Park and do the “four lakes” hike— you guessed it….it’s where you see four lakes. Not strenuous at all…more like a walk rather than a hike.
Get pampered downtown at the Dragontree Spa. It’s one of our best spas and will not disappoint.
For a quicker / less expensive massage, stop into the Relaxing Station for an hour-long massage for only $35. It’s a chinese massage parlor, and it’s kind of a hit-or-miss, depending on who you get and what kind of mood they are in (there are like 20 masseuses) but it’s still a place I adore and visit weekly.
I didn’t even know about this place until recently and I’m so bummed I missed out on five years of coming here! If you’re into metaphysical bookstores, come in here for all your personal development / spiritual / woo-woo books, incense, crystals and tarot decks. Also, it’s right next to Ben and Jerry’s– just sayin.
Alright, there’s your Boulder must sees! Go have fun.
Post photo by Walnut Street Photography.