One Day in Boulder Itinerary – Top things to do in Boulder, Colorado

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, look no further than Boulder, Colorado! Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this charming city is home to some of the best hiking and biking trails in the country. In addition to its natural wonders, however, Boulder is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect on a typical day in Boulder.

One day in Boulder Itinerary

What’s the best time to visit Boulder?

With plenty of outdoor activities to offer during all seasons, there is not a bad time to visit Boulder. For the average visitor, though, September and October might be the best time to visit the city! The sun shines longer in September than in any other month, so taking advantage of that can help make your trip go more smoothly. The temperature is usually a comfortable 65 degrees, perfect for outdoor adventures such as hiking and biking. If you’re looking for the best deals on accommodations and smaller crowds, visiting during these two months may be your best bet.

Boulder in Fall
Boulder in Fall, Author: Peter Wayne, Source: Flickr

A few facts about Boulder:

  • Boulder was founded in 1859 as a mining town.
  • It is the home of the University of Colorado Boulder, which was founded in 1876.
  • Boulder is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, so there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the area.
  • The city is known for its progressive attitude and relaxed lifestyle.
  • Boulder has over 300 days of sunshine per year, making it a great place to visit any time of year.
Street of Boulder
Street of Boulder, Author: F Delventhal, Source: Flickr

One Day in Boulder Itinerary

There are many things to do in Boulder, but if you don’t have a lot of time to spend, here is a great one-day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the city!

Start with a nice breakfast

It’s important to start your one day in Boulder right, so you’ll be happy to know that there are some great breakfast options in this town. The Point Cafe has excellent artisanal coffee drinks and breakfast burritos to die for, whereas Ado’s Kitchen will add an Italian twist to your breakfast. Doug’s Day Diner should also be on your list of potential breakfast places.

Visit the University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder
University of Colorado Boulder, Author: cuboulder, Source: Flickr

The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the top colleges in the nation, and its beautiful campus is definitely worth a visit. Take a walk around the grounds, check out the museums and galleries, and possibly grab a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants on campus.

University of Colorado Campus
University of Colorado Campus, Author: Amy Aletheia Cahill, Source: Flickr

Go for a hike

Coming to Boulder, Colorado and not going for a hike would be a real shame. Fortunately, Chautauqua Park is close to the university, and there you can enjoy some wonderful hiking trails and take a breath of fresh air. Alternatively, Boulder Canyon also has some excellent places for a hike and offers pretty spectacular views, too.

Chautauqua Park, Boulder
Chautauqua Park, Author: Brad Fagan, Source: Flickr

Sit down for lunch

The hike will probably help you build up an appetite, so once you’re done, head to lunch. Lucile’s Creole Cafe is a very interesting choice with excellent Creole cuisine, but there’s also Oak with its New American dishes. T/aco is a great choice for Mexican dishes.

Soak in the Hot Springs

There are several hot springs within an hour of Boulder, so if you’re looking to relax and unwind, consider spending your afternoon at one of them. Orvis Hot Springs is a clothing-optional resort, while Valley View Hot Springs requires bathing suits.

Explore the Pearl Street Mall

The Pearl Street Mall is downtown Boulder’s pedestrian shopping district, and it’s full of great shops, restaurants, and cafes. So, another way to spend an afternoon is browsing the stores, grabbing a bite to eat, and just soaking the city’s vibe in. Make sure to stop by Boulder Book Store, the largest independent bookstore in Colorado!

Pearl Street, Boulder
Pearl Street, Author: Pedro Szekely, Source: Flickr

Jump in The Sink for dinner

For dinner, head to The Sink. Now, The Sink is a local institution and has been serving burgers and beer since 1923. After dinner, take a walk along the Boulder Creek Path, a beautiful walking trail that runs through the city. It will be a fantastic end to your one day in Boulder.

Have Fun at an Escape Room

However, if you still have energy and are looking for something fun and different to do, try one of Boulder’s escape rooms. You and your team will have to solve puzzles and riddles to escape the room before time runs out. It’s a great way to test your teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Boulder at night
Boulder at night, Source: Unsplash

Where to stay in Boulder, Colorado?

Need a place to stay in Boulder? Don’t worry, there are plenty of options here for any budget! Whether you’re looking for a historic hotel, a hostel, or a luxury hotel, Boulder has it all. Here’s a quick overview of some of the best hotels in Boulder:

Hotel Boulderado

Hotel Boulderado

2115 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302

For Luxury Seekers: Hotel Boulderado. A historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Boulder, the Hotel Boulderado is one of the most iconic hotels in town. Built in 1909, this beautiful property offers guests stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and unique amenities like an on-site spa and restaurant.


Hyatt Place Boulder Pearl Street

Hyatt Place Boulder/Pearl Street

2280 Junction Place, Boulder, CO 80301

For the Mid-Range Practical Traveler: Hyatt Place Boulder/Pearl Street – Conveniently located just a few minutes from downtown Boulder, this Hyatt property is the perfect spot for those who want quality comfort for a reasonable price – including breakfast options and parking.


Colorado Chautauqua Cottages

Colorado Chautauqua Cottages

900 Baseline Road , Boulder, CO 80302

Value Stay: Colorado Chautauqua Cottages – These quaint little cottages date back to 1925 and are very close to Boulder Mountain Park. Comfortable, cozy and warm interiors make them an excellent choice for couples, especially in winter time, when they’re covered in snow. An amazing experience.


Basecamp Boulder

Basecamp Boulder

2020 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302

For the Budget, Road Warriors: Basecamp Boulder. A hostel located near the University of Colorado Boulder campus, Basecamp Boulder is a great option for budget-minded travelers. This hostel offers dorm-style accommodations and shared common areas, making it easy to meet other travelers.


Day trips from Boulder

There are plenty of great day trips you can take from Boulder. Whether you’re looking for a nature hike, a tour of a historic town, or just some time to relax in a beautiful setting, there’s something for everyone within a short drive of Boulder.

Rocky Mountain National Park

 This national park is probably the first day trip you’ll think of when you come to Boulder, and the good news is that it’s less than an hour from Boulder. It offers stunning scenery, hiking trails, and wildlife watching opportunities – in short, all the best of the Rockies.

Eldorado Canyon State Park

This state park is located just outside of Boulder and features beautiful red rock formations, hiking trails, and the historic Eldorado Springs Resort.


This exceptionally charming small town is located in the foothills of the Rockies and is a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet. You can relax in the town or explore some of the several hiking trails that are nearby.

Estes Park

This town is located at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and offers access to all of the park’s amenities. It’s a great place to stay if you want to spend more than one day in the park.

Extra Tips for visiting Boulder, Colorado:

  • Boulder is a very pedestrian- and bike-friendly city, so consider leaving your car at your hotel or hostel and exploring on foot or by bike.
  • If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to pack sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be intense at high altitudes
  • Many of the restaurants in Boulder are locally owned and operated, so be sure to support them during your visit.
  • The University of Colorado Boulder campus is open to visitors year-round.
Eldorado Canyon
Eldorado Canyon, Author: Brad Fagan, Source: Flickr


With its stunning mountain views, abundance of outdoor activities, and lively arts scene, Boulder is sure to please. If you’re looking for a fun, outdoorsy getaway that will also challenge your brainpower, look no further than Boulder, Colorado. This vibrant city is home to world-renowned universities and stunning natural scenery, making it the perfect destination for anyone who wants to have an adventure and learn something new at the same time. Boulder is a beautiful and inspiring place to visit and one you should be sure to add to your bucket list.

Boulder in Fall
Boulder in Fall, Author: Peter Wayne, Source: Flickr

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Anthony Presti
Anthony Presti
Travel and finance writer at ValueQuack

Anthony Presti is a travel and finance writer based in the United States. Most of his career has been spent in the animal welfare field, but he is also passionate about travel and helping people find ways to finance their adventures via ValueQuack, his travel & finance website. ValueQuack is an online resource for travelers to find creative solutions to better afford their adventures. Follow his site on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

One comment

  1. Hi I really enjoyed reading your ideas for one day in Boulder. So many great ideas for a place I love to visit. I wanted to let you know that the hot springs you mentioned are not near Boulder. Orvis hot springs is about 6 hours away and Valley View is about 3 1/2 hours away. Thanks for all your great travel info!

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