It's Spring Somewhere! On the road in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado is a city with a reputation. With a beautiful location at the base of the Flatiron Mountains, the eastern-most slope of the Rockies attracts fit, hip, and educated people. Everyone walks or bikes everywhere. It’s safe and crazy quiet for a city, and the food is incredible. Plus, the weather might be the perfect combination of “seasonal” yet basically sunny. It’s spring there, now. What’s not to like?
Well, some people claim Boulder is pretentious and snooty, and there’s some basis for that sentiment. It’s also why Boulder is a terrific place to visit, but a challenging place to live. Boulder’s real estate market is simply insane, ranking it among the most exclusive enclaves in the country. In 2016, the median house price in Boulder exceeded $1,000,000, and the rental market is similarly competitive. The city has the money to paint the fire hydrants turquoise!
Nevertheless, the lifestyle and vibe are most enjoyable. The hotels in Boulder are mediocre overall, so sample the AirBnB offerings, which will get you into the funky local homes. That’s where the housing prices begin to make sense – decades ago, Boulder enacted statues limiting building construction, both residential and commercial. Instead you’ll find lovely western-style neighborhoods with older, distinct homes full of character and charm. Anything in the north or east ends is worth exploring. Downtown, Pearl Street is Burlington’s Church Street west – the shopping and the food options are excellent.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the activities going on around town. Rent from University Bicycles downtown (something that IS affordable!) and check out the miles of trails; paddleboard at the nearby reservoir; hike along a network of trails; enjoy one of the local parks where you will find ultimate Frisbee games, slack lining (casual tightrope walking, between trees), adults flying kites, juggling, dogs playing, families out just enjoying the playground; or go up into the mountains for more extreme pursuits.
There’s one downside to that great weather – recently it hasn’t rained or snowed enough and Boulder has forest fire problems. Indeed Gregory Canyon, barely beyond the eastern end of town, had a fire just last week, suggesting this summer might be scary.
However, if you are making vacation plans, a visit to Boulder won’t disappoint. It remains at the very least one of the more interesting, unique, and memorable destinations out west.