Foodie Weekend Getaway in Boulder
1Kick off the weekend with a breathtaking half-mile drive up steep, winding Flagstaff Road to Panorama Point overlooking Boulder at 6,000 feet. Wait for a parking spot to open up (they turn over quickly) and make the short walk to the viewpoint. On a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Denver. Don't forget your camera.
2Drive another 500 feet up the road to the Flagstaff House Restaurant. Perched high above Boulder, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 180-degree views of the city, the Flagstaff House has been Boulder's most iconic dining establishment for more than 40 years. The French-leaning restaurant, owned and operated by the Monette family, features local ingredients like wild matsutake mushrooms. Take advantage of the 12,000-bottle wine cellar to put an already delightful dining experience over the top.
3Finish the evening in downtown Boulder at the chic T-Zero Lounge located inside the St. Julien Hotel & Spa. Sip handcrafted cocktails like the Beetnik, made with vodka, ginger liqueur, and (yes) beet juice from nearby Toohey Farm. On Friday nights in the summer, the back terrace is packed with locals who come to see and be seen, while dancing to live salsa music under the stars.
1Start the day at Boulder's best spa, located in the St. Julien Hotel & Spa. A serene 10,000-square foot sanctuary in an otherwise buzzy urban hotel, the spa specializes in all-natural products and services, like the St. Julien Scrub, which uses 100% organic ingredients. The therapists are experts in treating Boulder's pro athlete set with muscle-relieving extras like organic Arnica Alpine Oil.
2From April to November, the Boulder Farmers' Market, located downtown adjacent to Central Park, is the place to be on Saturday morning. More than 150 vendors sell seasonal fruits and veggies alongside artisanal food products, including locally-made honey, organic cheeses, rustic just-baked breads, and Colorado wines. You can expect a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, and a festive atmosphere.
3Next to the Farmers' Market, set against a backdrop of the iconic Flatirons mountains, Boulder Creek runs through Central Park, setting up a picture-perfect picnic spot in the grass along the water. First, peruse the market for your picnic lunch, especially the food vendor section, where local restaurants dish up hot plates. When in doubt, grab a chunk of goat cheese from the Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy booth, a fresh baguette from the Breadworks booth, and a bottle of Ensemble, a tasty red blend, from the Bookcliff Vineyards booth. Note: BYO corkscrew and blanket.
4Every Saturday at 2:30 pm, local food and libations expert Megan Bucholz leads the Taste of Boulder walking tour in the Pearl Street pedestrian mall area downtown. In about an hour and a half, you'll visit three standout Boulder restaurants like The Kitchen, Pizzeria Locale, and Aji Latin American Restaurant, with insider access to the kitchen and chef, and — of course — plenty of sampling.
5The Pearl Street Mall is Boulder's pedestrian shopping mecca, with more than 1,000 businesses, boutiques, and restaurants (85% of which are locally owned). While traversing the mall on the Taste of Boulder tour, take note of shops that pique your interest and circle back after the tour concludes. Don't miss Peppercorn, a two-story culinary specialty store showcasing cookware, kitchen utensils, and gourmet food items, and Cured, a new shop on the east end of the mall offering a handpicked selection of cured meats, cheeses, chocolates, table wines, and other gastronomic indulgences.
6For dinner, head to Black Cat, just off the Pearl Street Mall on 13th Street. Owner/chef Eric Skokan sources 90% of the Parisian-style bistro's ingredients from his 130-acre organic farm in Boulder County, including meat, produce, and herbs. His creative menu is geared toward foodies and changes daily.
7For a nightcap, wander down to the other side of the Pearl Street Mall to the Kitchen Upstairs, where Boulder's sophisticated set of athletes and academics gather. You'll find them around the community table in the bar drinking and discussing notable Colorado beers like Crooked Stave's Vieille, a barrel-aged saison, or nestled into booths beside the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the west end of the mall while sipping artisan cocktails.
1For Sunday brunch, drive through the UC Boulder campus to the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. At the far side of the parking area, you'll find the Chautauqua Dining Hall, unmistakable with its giant wraparound porch in the shadow of the Flatirons. A local favorite since the early 1900's, the dining hall serves classics like organic blueberry pancakes and Belgian waffles alongside progressive Boulder-style offerings including the tofu scramble.
2After fueling up at the dining hall, hit the trails at the adjacent 80-acre Chautauqua Park, Boulder's most popular hiking destination. Choose from flat to steep trails, a third of a mile to seven miles in length. Boulder's many professional athletes can often be seen pounding out a training run on the 6.9-mile Mesa Trail, and rock climbers hike the First Flatiron Trail to the 1,000-foot tall "slabby" rock formations on the park's westernmost edge. Bring water and pace yourself: hiking at 5,430 feet is always challenging, regardless of your fitness level.
3For one last taste of Boulder, stop at the Boulder Dunshanbe Teahouse. The building itself is a work of art, hand-carved and painted by artists in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and shipped to sister city Boulder in segments. In addition to an eclectic menu of African and Asian specialties, the teahouse makes tea-infused cocktails. Owners Lenny and Sara Martinelli grow many of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs on their 10-acre farm in nearby Lafayette.