Top Ten College Towns

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
TAP THE ROCKIES: Boulder is the landing zone for the Rocky Mountains (Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau)

4. University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado

Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this famously liberal city has been dubbed "the People's Republic of Boulder." The city of 100,000 is about 30 miles from Denver, the state's capital, but is full of that magic stuff that makes college towns feel like distant utopias. About 30,000 students attend the University of Colorado at Boulder, which is remarkable for its abundance of red-brick buildings and unusual architecture. CU-Boulder is also a big-time sports school. The Buffaloes play football before thousands of spectators at Folsom Field. Students gather at "The Hill," an area adjacent to campus, where you'll find bars and sandwich shops such as the Half Fast Sub Shop, which offers popular happy hour specials.

Just to the west of campus is one of the coolest bars in Boulder, named The Sink for a large fountain at the bar's predecessor, the Sunken Gardens restaurant. Famous for once employing actor Robert Redford, anything goes at the Sink. Patrons are allowed—and encouraged—to express themselves by writing on the walls. Being a city in a state famous for beer, Boulder is home to unique local breweries like Twisted Pine and Avery Brewing. Oskar Blues is located in neighboring Lyons. For those who prefer brews of tea to beer, Celestial Seasonings' main office and factory is in Boulder. Many visitors enjoy touring the factory and getting whiffs of powerful herbs and aromas.

Boulder's main pedestrian drag, Pearl Street, is teeming with creative activity. With musicians, mimes, and comedians performing street-side, pedestrians will be entertained in between visits to the street's numerous art galleries. Popular Pearl Street attractions include the Boulder Cafe, the Boulder Bookstore, which also contains a popular coffee shop, and Rio Grande with its extra-strong margaritas. Pearl Street's western end directly abuts mountains, allowing people to hike or mountain bike straight out of downtown.

Outdoor activities abound in Boulder. Each Memorial Day, thousands of people flock to the city to participate in the nation's second largest 10K race, the Bolder Boulder Race. The race coincides with the Boulder Creek Festival, which features wares from more than 500 vendors and live music performances of all genres from hip-hop to bluegrass.

Published: 18 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 8 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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