Location: Boulder, CO
Distance from Denver: 29miles (35min) ♡ ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Street parking or parking in a garage. It is v crowded on the weekend so you may be cruising for a bit before a spot opens up. I wish light rail ran up here! ♡
Parking Fee: bring coins for street parking
Where We Ate: Seeds Library Cafe | Ku Cha House of Tea | Kilwin's Fudge | Fior a Latte | Rincon Argentino
Local's Food Picks: The Med | Thai Ave (lunch only) | Half Fast Subs | Sweet Cow (in Louisville) | Rayback Collective
Sights We Saw: Pearl Street Mall | Sugarloaf Mountain | Panorama Point
Boulder is one of my favorite day trips from Denver. It is right in the foothills of the Rockies, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and not to mention that it has its own laidback vibe that is amazing to soak in! Every time we go to Boulder, I want to do it all! It is so hard to choose between a day in town (a must) and partaking in a hike (absolute must). So we have taken the time to carefully curate a day where you can do both! I wore the cutest blue summer dress to walk around town in, and I have to say I love the material so much! It was super breathable and the addition of the bow made an otherwise plain dress a must-have summer staple. I brought my hiking gear along in the car and changed before we went hiking. This way I got to be cute, but also didn't need to hike in a dress and sandals - the best of both worlds! :)
We started out the day on the Pearl Street Mall; coincidently the Boulder Farmers Market was going on so the already hard to find parking became almost impossible. After 10 minutes of circling, we lucked out and parked on the street in front of the St Julien (PSST bring coins for the meter) and walked the three blocks over to Pearl Street. The mall was teeming with tulips and I was so happy! The street performers were out in full swing, the vendors were out greeting folks as they walked by, and music streamed through the air. We hit up two of my absolute favorite stores in the mall: Ku Cha House of Tea and Kilwin's Fudge. Ku Cha has an amazing selection and is the cutest store - so if you have a tea lover in your life, this is THE place to be. We went to pick up a few blends that we could enjoy (we ♡♡♡ the BOUNCE BACK blend and the MEDITATION blend) and enjoyed sitting in the little Tea Room they had in the back. We then hurried over to Kilwin's Fudge, where as usual, the aroma found us before we found it. I love Kilwin's because they make everything by hand & the portions are huge! They allow you to sample before you buy, and are super flexible with minimum purchases which is hard to find. We bought a 1/4 pound of sea salt caramel fudge, 1/4 pound of the mud fudge, and a caramel dipped marshmallow. As if all of this food wasn't enough, we walked back to the car and headed over to Rincon Argentino for lunch. The patio is a must-sit location, so if you have multiple people in your party, I highly recommend having one person go save the group a table. We really enjoyed the food here - we purchased 4 empanadas (me: the hongos (#14) and choclo (#15) | him: the traditional (#1) and pollo barbacoa (#8) which were hit and miss. I liked the #14, he liked the #8). Each of the empanadas are shaped a different way and we spent waayyy too much time trying to figure out how to fold each one!
Feeling pretty stuffed and lethargic, we decided it was time to work off all of the amazing food Boulder offered. We headed up to the Boulder Canyon area to Sugarloaf mountain. Now I know there are tons of hikes closer, such as those in Chataqua Park or Mt. Sanitas but you guys - they are SOOOO crowded! We really didn't want the headache of finding parking or dealing with other people when all we wanted was to get away from the hustle & bustle of downtown. Sugarloaf Mountain offered the perfect reprieve. It is a super short hike and you basically have the whole mountain to yourself. We spent an hour at the top just enjoying each other's company. We saw a storm starting to roll in and reluctantly hiked back down. We rewarded ourselves with some of Kilwin's yummie fudge and drove over to Panorama Point on Flagstaff Road to enjoy an overlook of town before we drove back home. What a magical day! ♡
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Recap of the Perfect Day:
- Drive to Boulder and grab a light breakfast at Seeds Library Cafe.
- Go to Pearl Street Mall for the morning (Ku Cha House of Tea | Kilwin's Fudge | Fior a Latte).
- Eat lunch at Rincon Argentino.
- Drive into Boulder Canyon to hike Sugarloaf Mountain. Eat the celebratory fudge you purchased at Kilwin's.
- Drive to Panorama Point for a selfie, (optional: HH at Rayback Collective), then head back home!