Establishment neighborhood
Dragontree Spa
1521 Pearl St., Boulder
The Dragontree is a veritable sanctuary centrally located in Boulder, offering transporting, therapeutic massages—perfect for an escape, even if you’re already on vacation here. Their spa services extend to acupuncture, Ayurveda, and cosmetic waxing; they also provide luxurious head-to-toe treatments in the Sangha Room—from foot baths to head/neck/shoulder treatments to combination packages that literally work on you from head to toe—which can be enjoyed by groups at a time (Sangha is Sanskrit for “a group of like-minded people who join together for mutual enlightenment”). They also have their own inside-and-out body care line, Dragontree Apothecary.
The Mount Sanitas Trail
1777 Broadway, Boulder
Mount Sanitas is a classic Boulder hike, in part because it's located walking distance from the center of Pearl Street. The trail itself is a brutal climb, but making it to the top, where you can see the entire town to the east and Long's Peak to the west, is more than worth it. This is a popular route for locals around lunchtime, and don't be surprised if you see people running the entire loop (comfort your wounded pride by reminding yourself that they're likely professionals). Photos: Victoria Garcia, Mario Lurig
Pizzeria Locale
1730 Pearl St., Boulder
An offshoot of Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson's beloved Frasca (in fact, it's right next door), Pizzeria Locale brings the founders' skills to the humble pizza—and to great acclaim. Here, pies come out of the super-hot oven in the back at warp speed, and prosciutto is sliced-to-order behind the bar on a gleaming red machine that looks more like it belongs in a Ferrari dealership than behind a deli counter. While you won't get out of here without a pizza (they do a great gluten-free version, but we wouldn't recommend skimping on the real stuff to anyone but the truly allergic), the antipasti dishes, like a ridiculous fennel salad and perfectly crispy arancini, make worthy openers. Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson partnered with Chipotle a few years ago to open a few fast-casual versions of the restaurant in Denver, and while they're perfect for a quick lunch, we prefer the white-washed original. P.S. They deliver.
1606 Conestoga St., Boulder
Chef Hosea Rosenberg (Top Chef season five champ) debuted Blackbelly first as a catering company, with a focus on local, organic ingredients. Since the 2011 launch, Rosenberg's larger vision for Blackbelly has been realized with the addition of a restaurant, butcher shop, and market. The restaurant serves dinner daily; the menu highlights the fresh butcher offerings and their impressive charcuterie spread. Blackbelly's happy hour, 4-6pm every day—oysters included—is noteworthy. Next to the restaurant, the expert, whole-animal butcher counter is open every day except for Sunday, and also serves breakfast and lunch on the weekdays—from egg-and-tater-tot burritos to bone broth and BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.
3601 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder
Basta's location is admittedly random (it's off Arapahoe in an otherwise unassuming apartment complex with an open patio that's very much secluded from the street), but that's part of what makes it so great. The elegant yet casual restaurant, which specializes in pizza baked on-site in an extremely hot oven, is helmed by chef Kelly Whitaker, also of Cart-Driver and one of the area's most promising up-and-comers. Though the pizza is year-round, Whitaker's ingredients are constantly changing to accommodate Boulder farmers and whatever they have in stock—expect great contorni, a few good salads, and piada bread—a puffed-up bread Whitaker bakes on-site and tops with burrata. The wine program, which is run by Frasca alum Alan Henkin, is more than worthy of a menu this good.
Chautauqua Trailhead
Bluebell Rd., Chautauqua
In addition to hosting the Chautauqua Organization's lectures, films, and musical performances, this little enclave of summer homes (many of which can still be rented) is home-base for some of the best hiking in Boulder. The classic trail here is the Royal Arch, a two-mile out-and-back that climbs several switchbacks to a section of the flatirons that forms a golden, natural arch and offers sweeping views of the plains, with the city of Boulder laid out below you. From this trailhead, you can also link up with the Mesa Trail, a 7-mile stretch that crawls along the base of the mountains and runs the entire length of the city from North to South. Sure, it's a Boulder pilgrimage to complete the entire thing (down-and-back) in one day, but you can also access it in small pieces.
1825 Pearl St., Boulder
Will and Coral Frischkorn's adorable little shop on the east end of Pearl Street is a one-stop-shop for picnicking, with a gorgeous selection of imported cheeses, cured meats, prepared snacks, and some really amazing hand-picked wine selections. If you're too lazy to do the shopping yourself, Will and Coral will happily put together a basket for you (they also do great catering for small parties—ask about the perfectly crispy roasted chicken). Chautauqua, Red Rocks, and Flagstaff all make great destinations once you've got your foodstuffs in hand.
Boulder County Farmers’ Market
13th St. between Canyon & Arapahoe, Boulder
It will surprise nobody that Boulder's farmers' market is excellent—and the real-life experience completely delivers on what you'd imagine, as you'll find everyone from yuppie moms serving gluten-free granola to hippies selling vegetables to an old-school beekeeper who's been selling honey sticks to generations of Boulder kids. In the fall, you'll also find gorgeous peaches from Western Colorado. For travelers who aren't interested in a full haul of produce, check out the prepared foods area, where there's live music on Saturday mornings, and a beer garden on Wednesdays (the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is right here, too, for a cultural diversion). Favorite vendors include The Orange Tent (order the eggs benedict over rice and the iced chai), Amazing Corn Tamales, and Tres Pupusas.
1200 Pearl St., Boulder
Weekends has had a shop on Pearl Street for going on thirty years (though they've upgraded to bigger spaces over time), offering a mix of clothes for men and women, plus a solid selection of shoes, exceptional jewelry case, and a few well-curated home items. You can always count on them for a few great Canada Goose jackets, Rag & Bone denim, delicate cashmere sweaters, and dainty gold jewelry—they now carry Shinola watches, too. An attached, semi-separate denim shop offers a wide range of designer jeans, plus some fashion picks that skew a bit flashier and younger than the rest of the shop.