City Guide: Boulder

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By: Cooking and Beer
Compensation for this post was provided by Discover card via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Discover card or AOL.

So as many of you already know, before more recently moving to Wyoming, I lived in Colorado for quite a while. More specifically we were located in the Boulder area. When I moved there years ago, it was like I just knew...I knew it was where I was supposed to be. I belonged there. When Zach told me we were moving away from this beautiful place, I literally cried for a month straight. In the end though, this is okay. Although we live in Wyoming now (which is much like Colorado but with less people), we are still only a 2-hour drive from Boulder, and the monthly trips have become a thing I look forward to.

Today's post focuses on all things that are special and amazing about Boulder, CO. We are going to explore where to eat, where to shop and how to enjoy all that Boulder has to offer without breaking the bank. In an area where the culture is much different than you have probably ever encountered, where people wait in lines for the most recent rare craft beer release, and where gastro pubs and locavores reign supreme; Boulder is a mecca for good food, good people, and a pretty spectacular landscape.

So hop in your all-wheel drive hatchback and strap on those Chacos. You'll need an Osprey pack with built in CamelBak (of course) that is filled with plenty of water. It's dry out here in the west! Oh, and if it happens to be February when you're visiting this beautiful city, don't forget those skis and snowshoes. Breckenridge, Aspen and Vail are right around the corner, and the skiing in the Rockies is one of the best in the world.

Where to eat:
Stop by a Gastropub, like Bru on Arapahoe Ave. Eating out can get pricey, but you can find a delicious meal packed full of local ingredients at an affordable price at one of the local gastropubs. Bru is our personal favorite. They keep things seasonal and flavorful. They have BY FAR the best happy hour in town, and their in-house brewed craft beer (some of which they bottle) is one of my favorites in the entire Front Range.

Upslope Brewing is one of my favorite breweries to hang out for a beer or two. Actually, Upslope is one of my favorite breweries out of ALL breweries. With two locations at Lee Hill and Flatiron Park, Upslope is always doing something fun and new. There also tends to be a good local food truck on scene, and if you are anything like me, you can't turn down a good food truck!
The day that I decided to folick around Boulder, also happened to be National IPA Day. Of course, Upslope was celebrating.

Street tacos anyone? Tahona on Pearl Street is the place to go. Taco Tuesday is the best day to go with $2 tacos. That is an extreme case of #winning going on right there. Their tacos are the best in town, and you can often see pork belly and duck gracing the pages of their menu. They also have a rad tequila bar and the best margaritas on the Pearl Street Mall.

If tacos aren't your thing, The Med is right down the street. If you love tapas, this is the place to be. They also have an amazing happy hour, and killer desserts.

If craft beer didn't conquer all, coffee would be at the top of the list. Coffee shops glitter the entire city of Boulder, and the Brewing Market is my favorite. With a couple of locations in the surrounding area, you can pick out Brewing Market coffee above the rest. It has that special taste; that taste you know comes from perfectly roasted coffee beans. They make by far the best cappuccino in town.

When the day is done, and you're craving yet another craft beer, head over to Avery Brewing Company. They have completely revamped their brewery and taproom by moving from their much beloved location off of Arapahoe Ave. and expanding into a full-service restaurant on the outskirts of town. Avery brews some of the best beer in the country, and they tend to have some very special beers on their everychanging tap list. Avery is an obligatory stop when you visit Boulder. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

When the day is done, and you're craving yet another craft beer, head over to Avery Brewing Company. They have completely revamped their brewery and taproom by moving from their much-beloved location off of Arapahoe Ave. and expanding into a full-service restaurant on the outskirts of town. Avery brews some of the best beer in the country, and they tend to have some very special beers on their ever-changing tap list. Avery is an obligatory stop when you visit Boulder. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Where to shop:
When it comes to shopping, your options are limitless. The Pearl Street Mall is an outdoor mall that has just about anything you could possibly want. Not only is it packed full of coffee shops and good restaurants, the shopping is one of the best. With a mixture of local art stores, high-end clothing boutiques and outdoor gear wonderlands, you name it, the Pearl Street Mall has it. Obviously my favorite store on the Mall is Peppercorn: the best and biggest kitchen store I have ever been in. Their cookbook wall is insane and their collection of locally sourced food items is unending. They have the most beautiful linens and cookware. It is a store to get lost in, especially if you are a food blogger. :)

In addition to the Pearl Street Mall is the Twenty-Ninth Street Mall, also an outdoor mall. While Pearl Street Mall pays tribute to local business and higher end products, the Twenty-Ninth Street Mall has more nationally recognized stores, your Lululemons and Apple Stores if you will. Both are great in their own way!

Where to visit:
Boulder, CO is an outdoor lover's DREAM destination. The most popular of parks in the Boulder area is Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. With an amazing history, beautiful landscape, and great hiking and running trails, Chautauqua is a major destination for many tourists that come to the Front Range area. It is definitely worth checking out on your next visit!

Boulder, CO is right on the eastern edge of the Rockies. Drive a few miles west, and you're in the heart of it. The Rockies are a playground for the outdoorsy-type. Backpacking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing are just a couple of the things people love to do. Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour's drive and the views are absolutely stunning. If this is your thing, set aside some time for these outdoor activities. It's an affordable way to see a beautiful part of this country.

The wildflowers in the Front Range area are something to see. If you are visiting in July or August, take a short hike into one of the meadows. You will see flowers that you never knew existed! It's one of my personal favorite things about living in this part of the country.
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