Jane's Guide To Boulder Colorado
So if you have been keeping up with my recent travels, you would know that I just got back from my trip to Colorado. Here I am going to be listing all the amazing places I visited to eat, stay, and shop. I absolutely LOVE writing these travel blog posts and I hope you enjoy reading them just as much. I find that reading about a few cool places in an area inspires me to get out of my comfort zone and make my own adventures. So here is my Boulder Colorado Map in words.
In looking for a place to stay, I feel I have a few options and key essentials I want to have. Of course those depend on where I am staying, so in this case I wanted to be close to the outdoors. I mean this is Colorado. The whole point is to be outside, close to the mountains, trails, parks, etc.
Basecamp delivered on this essential. There are trails right behind it, close to EVERYTHING, plus lots of bonuses to help get you motivated to be 'outdoorsy'. You can rent bikes (price included in stay), they have an indoor climbing wall with garage doors, a fitness center, spa, and sauna. One of my favorite things about this place is their minimalist approach to the decor. There is a ton of space to store things in without too much clutter and bulky furniture like most hotels have.
They are also very conscious of the environment (as is the rest of Boulder). They show it by have zero-waste soaps, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. It is small things like that that show they really care. The hotel is set up like a motel. All the rooms are accessed through doors that lead right outside. I liked that and felt totally safe.
Of course they have high speed internet (hallelujah) and a tv and what not. We were never really at the hotel. Stayed out all day long and then came back just to sleep basically. So we could have just found a simple airbnb or something but it is so nice to have the sheets changed, room picked up, and fresh towels every day.
Well of course I couldn't just go to a new a new city and NOT look up the thrift shopping scene, especially in such a cool place like Boulder. And let me tell you, The Buffalo Exchange delivered!I have never had so much thrifting before and that is saying something because I jump to the thought of buying anything second hand.
Buffalo Exchange on Pearl Street is a magical place. For those of you with a corky style, grungy style, casual, relaxed, fitness, bold, retro, or tomboy, you will find stuff you love here. They only except well kept, high quality, good brand clothing. So everything is is great shape and you can find your favorite brands I am sure.
I was able to snag a ton of really nice stuff for literally dirt cheap compared to the retailed price of the items new. I got a bunch of Lululemon leggings and tops, a bunch of Free People tops, Levi shorts, a North Face coat, and so much more. If you want to see exactly what I bought and how cheap everything was, watch this video. It is my thrift shopping haul!
Another magical place right on Pearl Street. Very similar to The Buffalo Exchange but cheaper I thing. I wasn't able to find the same amount of things there but I think I found nicer things there. I found more Lululemon pants, a hoody, some Stella McCartney runners, and few other high priced items.
I defiantly recommend checking this place out if you are looking for nice shoes especially. They had ton. The only thing is mack sure you go when you have the energy. I went right after spending hours in The Buffalo Exchange and probably didn't find all the goodies.
This is what we have all been waiting for....
What a cool place. Honestly such a cool atmosphere with a TON of options for us herbivores. They have a lot of healthy methods of preparing food and understand the importance of local sourcing. They have house made ferments, a ton of wonderful sauces, juices, local tofu/tempeh, and lots of other surprises.
I was able to enjoy the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, BBQ Cauliflower Wings with Tahini sauce, the Macro bowl with house ferments, coconut curry sauce, and tempeh, and the Vegetable Rainbow Curry with tofu. I am going to be honest, extremely oily. If you aren't physically bothered by oil then I would say go for it. This place has a ton of options if your into that. But if you have a sensitive stomach like me, I would steer clear of all the big portioned bowls and food laden with oil. Go for one of their acai bowls or smoothies.
This place was amazing and I 100% recommend giving it a try. Not all vegan but they have dairly vegan options that rotate. The whole concept of their bakery is genius. Most of their menu is cookies. Every classic, trendy, and flavor combo imaginable. And every cookie is baked fresh to order. So they come out hot and steamy. Yes to that! Most of the vegan options are also gluten-free as well.
I was able to try the Pumpkin Spice Cupcake and each of the available vegan cookie options. There was Maple Pecan, Lemon + Coconut, and Peanut Butter. My favorite of the three was the Peanut Butter. How could you go wrong?! Again, not healthy by any means but life is all about balance right?
If you know me at all, you know I love my smoothies and juices from cute little cafes. And even if super healthy and fresh isn't your thing (which btw, it should be :) you should really check this place out. If is such a cute atmosphere and perfect for a photo op ;)
Not everything is vegan (they use gee in some things) but everything is very healthy and can be adapted to be vegan upon request. I tried the Left Toast with creamy avo, radishes, and sprouts. The Green Monkey Smoothie was divine as well. If you like green juices, you would like that smoothie because it is just banana, coconut water, spinach, and almond butter blended with their green juice. And it was a much needed refresher after all the processed and unhealthy food I was eating all week. They also have little treats in one of their cold cases full of all vegan goodies from a local bakery. I was able to try a maca tahini chocolate cup and it was amazing. Those change all the time, but based on my experience, I recommend getting some of those.
Yes, yes, YES! Raw, vegan and organic everything! This place was such a hippy dippy place I loved it! And everything on their menu looked so good. The atmosphere was so neat and it is worth checking out just for the experience honestly. I found it very relaxing and a great place to escape the city. There are paintings and murals everywhere and crystals lighting up the room. I could feel a shift in myself when I walked in. The energy in there was amazing and that healthy energy was within the food as well.
I tried the Raw Burger. And let me tell you...YOU NEED IT IN YOU LIFE. Everyone does. Apparently there is over 40 ingredients just in the patty! It is amazing how much flavor they were able to get into it. It is so dense with nutrients and perfectly satisfying. I absolutely loved it in all of its saucy glory. It was on their 'specials' menu so it might not be available all the time. I also tried the Natural High Smoothie. Made with sprouted almond milk, almond butter, banana, maca, cacao, hemp protein, and coconut crystals. All of their smoothies are charged with crystal energy. This one was charged with Tiger's Eye which is a mood enhancer! And I was feeling it!
And then after all that we needed to take some stuff with us of course. So we ordered a slice of cheesecake of course. They had the Lemon + Vanilla Cheesecake available that day. That was so freakin creamy! Yes to that. Then we got a few of their raw chocolates. I liked that Date Caramel and Almond Butter Maca + Sea Salt ones the best. They also have two flavors of kale chips available too. We ordered the Coconut Cacao ones but they have a Nacho one too that sounded amazing. We wanted to try a pudding so we got the Power Porridge. It was so rich and creamy! It is basically an overnight oats (with a heavenly pudding texture) with sprouted almond milk, chia seeds, almond butter, banana, agave, and golden raisins. What a treat, especially if this is breakfast! Their raw brownie was pretty good as well. Super chocolaty and made with al sorts of nuts like walnuts! Everything was delicious and I believe that it is worth a little drive to get there if you aren't that close.
Hello Himalayan food! If you are a fan of classic, flavorful food you would LOVE this place. I found this place to be amazing and the whole experience to be so fun. The actual building itself was so cute and stays true to the culture of Sherpas. Everyone was who worked there (mostly sherpas) were so nice and really helped us navigate the buffet for all the vegan options. And yes, I did just say buffet.
They have a buffet everyday I believe and are open for dinner as well. Plenty of vegan options (If there were more, my plate would be over flowing for sure) and gluten free entrees too. The only thing is that their naan is not vegan. Just an fyi but you will not feel like you are missing out, I promise. Since it was a buffet, I got two plates of food (duh) and enjoyed every bite.
I got both white and brown rice, chickpea marsala, roasted potatoes, vegetable curry, cabbage, steamed broccoli, and fried onions. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it was! They have a little cold bar too with plenty of fresh vegetables and cut fruit. There were frozen peas that I added and it really helped lighten my plates up.
If you are in need of some good chips and salsa in a cool atmosphere, this is the place. Located on a side street off of Pearl Street, it is in a prime sport for after a little thrifting to grad a taco or two. Not all vegan but have a few great options especially if you are with a group of omnivores. Everything is super cheap ($2 for a huge bag of chips and $3 for a taco) and worth every penny because all the fresh ingredients they use. All the tortillas and chips are handmade and you can taste the love in every bite.
This farmer's market goes on for weeks during the year is such a good time. I was able to meet and connect with a ton of vendors there. I tried a ton of food and had such a good time, even though it was raining :) Below are all the vendors I checked out and enjoyed what they had to offer.
Ummm...a specialty chocolate food truck? Yes! Not all of their chocolate was vegan so we had limited choices for sure, but what we did try was heavenly. We got a nice chunk of 70% pistachio bark and tried the 80%. Both are delicious but I do prefer a little less intense so the 70% was perfect. Oh and did I mention you can order online? You can and I recommend it ;)
Pretzels are one of my favorite snacks and you would know that if you watch any of my grocery hauls and whatnot. Always have them in the house for when I need a little crunchy snack or something to add to a trail mix or something. But sometimes there can be some not-so-good ingredients in store bought pretzels. That is the main reason I LOVE these! They are all handmade and all the ingredients come from Colorado. How great is that? The sunflower seeds are ground right in boulder, the flour grown and milled right near by, and they are baked in a warehouse right downtown. Their secret....baking homemade soft pretzels into crunchy little pieces and dusting them with flavor. So many flavors are available and they are all vegan except the sour cream onion one and the honey mustard if you choose not to eat honey.
We bought our favorites: 2 bags of the limited batch of Sea Salt + Pepper, 1 bag of the Sriracha, and 1 bag of the Malt Vinegar + Sea Salt. Yes to all of those and they are all gone within a few days. They are now able to be shipped around the country and if you have somewhere you think these should be sold, reach out to them. They target breweries (explains the name) but I saw them in local grocery stores. I felt really good supporting this guy and his little business. Show him some love!
I never go anywhere without some ice cream.....sooooo I got to try this place out twice. Once at the Farmer's Market and once at their actual store. And let me tell you, you need their gelato in your life. Not all vegan but their vegan options are to die for. At the famers market I had a waffle cone with the Milky Chocolate Chunk and one with the Midnight Chocolate. So good even at 9am in the cold rain. But at the actual store, they had a few other flavors I tried them all but decided on getting one scoop of the Roasted Strawberry + Coconut and the Milky Chocolate Chunk again in a waffle cone. Kind of surprised me that they had vegan waffle cones and I am so glad they did! Waffle cones elevate the whole experience in my opinion.
This is one of the best carb stores I've been too. Selling delicious, fresh baked bread at a farmer's market seems like such a classic motif and I couldn't not get some. It all just looked so good I couldn't help myself. All of their breads at the farmer's market are vegan, just avoid their pastries. I got the Semolina Baguette. She did not disappoint. There is just something so fun about tearing off chunks of fresh crusty bread while walking down a beautiful street next to the mountains you know?
Well hiking is a big part of the lifestyle in Boulder and I know why. The mountains are amazing and nothing I have ever experienced before. The nature this so so blissful and unlike PA in every way possible. No forest really just grasslands with monstrous mountains looming over the city of Boulder. The nice thing about staying almost in the heart of the city, is that you can access trails so easily. Just about a 5-10 minute drive, you could even walk too. Below are the parks we went to and some details about our trails!
If you are an adventurer and love challenge, the hike up to the Royal Arch is a one for the books. Just make sure you go when either the weather is crummy or it is a weekday because it gets crowded! And I can't imagine climbing 1,311 ft up in a line of people. And apparently that happens, often. Since this place gets so crowded, parking can be a struggle which is why I always suggest ditching the vehicle and walking if you close enough. You could also rent out bikes or Uber.
The hike is't that long (about 3 miles) but you are climbing up pretty much the whole entire time. It great exercise but if you are new to the mountain terrain or the high elevation, bring water, more than you think you need or else you could get elevation sickness which is basically a bad migraine. Luckily, I did not suffer from that but I can imagine it is no fun.
Another great spot to sight see while getting you workout in! And trust me, with all the amazing vegan food your eating, you are going to want to work it off somehow and this is the best way in Boulder obviously. Bear Peak is about 5.5 miles long and gets up to 2,641 ft up. It is not as steep as the Royal Arch but sure is beautiful.
Another great one but it is a loop so there is no back tracking. It is a really nice hike for a warmer day because it isn't as intense as the others. Only goes up about 346 ft and is about 2.4 miles long. A great one to do with a group as well! Good for beginners as well.
Not just the most amazing amphitheater in the country, it also has amazing trails for intermediate to beginner hikers. This park gets its name from the giant red rocks that surround the landscape all around. There are multiple trails you can take but they all lead, curve, and go over the red rocks. These trails are little easier than the others at Chautauqua but I was still sweating! Just watch out for mountain bikers on these trails in particular. There are a lot of them!
If you are staying in Boulder for a while and are not planning on venturing out much except to go to the airport, you could probably get away with not renting a car. Especially if you stay at Basecamp where it is literally close to EVERYTHING and they have bikes you can rent. However, since I was going to a concert and red rocks, exploring Denver, and checking out other neighboring towns like Golden, CO, we rented a car.
Thanks to AVIS, it was super easy and they are connected to the Denver Airport so they have shuttles that come every ten minutes to transport you to and from the airport. Of course we got a Jeep because what other vehicle could you get when out in the mountains? Having a car just added to the ease of getting around but if you had everything all planned out, it is not necessary by any means.
Uber is always an option and there are quite few of them around so you probably won't have a lot of trouble getting one. Biking is my preferred method of transportation. There are bikers literally everywhere. Bike lanes are on every street and there are bike parking and lock areas on every street corner.
Since I was there for 5 days, there were times where regular groceries were needed. Of course we we stuck in a hotel room so we had no access to a grand refrigerator, stove, or even a microwave. But finding healthy-ish non-parisable items was easy at the local grocery stores in Boulder.
Small grocery store with plenty of options to choose from. A whole isle dedicated to nut butters. That's my kind of heaven. Lots of organic food, and yes, a bulk section. Small produce section and a bakery. Has just enough things to get us by.
Another great place to shop. Wish I had one of these at home. So many options and vast isles of vegan food. All the vegan cheeses, spreads, butters, yogurts, and ice cream. Whole isles of yummy looking protein bars and organic/cruelty-free beauty products. Not to mention they have a killer bulk section and I wanted to by just about every bulk granola they had! They had a salad bar and soup bar with a ton of fresh options. And there was a great juice bar with built-your-own smoothies and smoothie bowls! Got one of those before the hike! defiantly liked this place!