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Living In Boulder, Colorado: A Local's Perspective

Updated on January 11, 2013

Living in Boulder

I have lived in Boulder, Colorado for since the summer of 2007. I am really glad I have ended up here, even though it will only be temporary. When it comes time for us to pack up and follow our careers elsewhere, I'll always remember Boulder as being a beautiful, friendly, and fun place to live.

The Boulder Public Library
The Boulder Public Library
By Susan from Alameda, CA, USA (Boulder Creek) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Susan from Alameda, CA, USA (Boulder Creek) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Chautauqua hiking trails - breathtaking!
Chautauqua hiking trails - breathtaking!

Are There a Lot of Hippies in Boulder?

Before I moved to Boulder, I already had a lot of impressions of the town; some of these impressions have proved to be correct, and others have not. For example, everyone in Boston said, "Oh, Boulder! You're moving to a hippie town!" This isn't really the case, though there are a bunch of people I would describe as "hippies." For the most part, the citizens of Boulder are fairly liberal which is probably where the hippie association comes from. Many people in Boulder are also very environmentally conscious, and also outdoorsy - but the majority of people are not chaining themselves to trees to protest global warming, nor are they hiking up and down mountains every single day. If you think of Boulder as only a hippie town, you will miss one of the most striking aspects of the town: its wealth. Yes, Boulder is an extremely wealthy town. Sure, people are outdoorsy and health conscious, but this way of life often manifests itself as, well... snootiness. People may be wearing REI clothes and Keen hiking shoes, but man, those clothes and shoes are expensive! Just because someone is wearing a fleece doesn't mean that they're clueless about fashion; they probably spent $95 on that Patagonia fleece.

I also thought of Boulder as educated, and that part is true. The University of Colorado is the biggest public university in the state, and churns out a lot of people with degrees. There is also a big tech community in Boulder; Google and Microsoft both have offices in Boulder, along with a multitude of smaller companies. All the wealth and education in Boulder contribute to the high price of living in Boulder; our apartment here is far less expensive than our Boston apartment, but it's also much smaller and less nice. For a single person or someone with an entry-level hourly job, it would be difficult to live comfortably in Boulder.

The last stereotype of Boulder - which is absolutely true - is that it is a very beautiful town. The foothills of the Rocky Mountains loom over Boulder, and there are often spectacular thunderstorms in the afternoons - it's really cool to watch the stormclouds gather over the mountains and then break over your house! Boulder's elevation is just about a mile, and the climate is usually really nice - hardly any humidity, lots of sun, and NO BUGS! Yay! The layout of Boulder is amazing, and extremely bike and pedestrian friendly. You can walk anywhere in Boulder in under 45 minutes, if I had to guess. There are bike paths everywhere, and the Boulder Creek bike path is a main thoroughfare for bikes and walkers alike. I don't own a car, and I don't have to, which is something I wouldn't be able to do in many towns.

Things to Do in Boulder, Colorado

Do I have any recommendations of what to do in Boulder? Of course! This is just a partial list, as I could never fully describe everything there is to do in Boulder. A few things that spring to mind are:

The Boulder Public Library, its art exhibits, and the reading room that straddles the Creek

Chautauqua Auditorium, dining hall, playground, park and hiking paths

Many events at the University of Colorado

Biking and bike rentals - you can now rent bikes by the day or week from bike stands that are scattered throughout the town. The bike stands are powered by solar panels! Neat!

Tubing on the Boulder Creek - but not when it's overflowing!

The Farmer's Market on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings

Strolling along the Pearl Street Mall, eating at taco stands, listening to live music, grabbing a Ben & Jerry's ice cream, watching kids splash in the fountain...

Nearby skiing at Eldora! Accessible by public bus and only 45 minutes away. It's a small, family mountain that is great for children! You can also drive a few hours away and end up at Vail, Telluride, Winter Park, A-Basin, and more.

Celestial Seasonings tea factory tour! Go on, stick your head in the mint room! I dare you!

I like this photo because it shows that Boulder is still a regular old town - parking lots, streetlights, ugly apartment buildings, and rain.  But look at the mountains!
I like this photo because it shows that Boulder is still a regular old town - parking lots, streetlights, ugly apartment buildings, and rain. But look at the mountains!


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    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      My son is moving to Boulder or school. Ironically (or not), he was born in Boston! Appreciate your insights on this town. I will pass them along! MM

    • hazelbrown profile image

      hazelbrown 6 years ago from Central PA

      A Colorado wedding sounds beautiful! I am indeed very lucky to be living here!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Your hub brings back fond memories for me. I went to Boulder for a wedding in 1991. I don't remember the exact location of the wedding but we went up a mountain a little and sat on benches in an outdoor area. It really was a beautiful and tranquil setting. The reception was in an outdoor courtyard at a local bed and breakfast and it was very charming and beautiful. We visited the Coors brewery further up into the mountains if I recall correctly, with just breathtaking scenery. Colorado is an amazing place. You're lucky to be there even if it's only temporary.