Published: March 17, 2022
pearl street

Spring break is just around the corner and there are plenty of things to do in Boulder and Denver to spend your time. Whether you're looking for adventure or places to kick back and relax, here are some ideas if you’re staying in town.

1. Staycation at the Rec

During spring break, you have the opportunity to visit the Rec Center for free with your Buff OneCard. The Rec Center will have activities throughout the week you can participate in to have fun. Some of the activities include free ice skate rentals, free bouldering, free outdoor yoga followed by a hike through South Boulder Creek and more!

Check out things happening at the Rec for your staycation plans!

2. Campus museums and art galleries

Did you know there are several museums and galleries on campus? If you haven’t had a chance to visit them yet, spring break is your chance. Here are a few to consider: 

  • The CU Art Museum, which is located in the Visual Arts Complex, organizes year-round exhibitions of major international, national and regional art. There are three new exhibitions you won’t want to miss.

  • The CU Heritage Center is home to the Hit the Bricks exhibit–a Lego model of campus. It is also the campus history museum and includes collections showcasing CU in space, Ralphie and Glenn Miller memorabilia, and more.

  • The CU Museum of Natural History houses the largest natural history collection in the Rocky Mountains. There are a variety of exhibitions available for you to discover virtually and in person. Current exhibitions include climate change, animals in Colorado, ancient life in Boulder and more!  

3. In the city of Boulder

Boulder is filled with streets, restaurants and shops that offer experiences for you to visit no matter your interests. Here are a few locations to check out if you’re staying in town.

Pearl Street Mall. Pearl Street Mall is one of the city’s major attractions–enjoy a walk, shop around local boutiques or even pick up some treasures at a vintage thrift store. If you’re looking for a more unique experience, head a few blocks south towards 13th Ave. and Canyon Boulevard to check out the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Enjoy a meal or a delicious cup of tea and learn how this hand-carved, hand-painted teahouse ended up in Boulder. 

The Hill. If you want to support your community, eat local. The Hill is home to restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment venues and everything in between. Plus, with less students around, you can enjoy shorter lines and wait times at restaurants. We recommend Cafe Aion, the Sink or the Corner.

Museums and art galleries. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in art, check out the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. You can enjoy exhibits such as Natani Notah: Inner Lining, Erica Green: Once They Were Red and more. For a less formal art appreciation, check out Boulder Arts Week. You can engage in digital and in-person events like art walks, exhibitions, performances, dance, music, theater, lectures, readings and so much more.

Discover more activities and things to do in and around Boulder.

4. Outdoor activities

Whether there’s snow on the ground or the sun is out, there is no wrong time to explore the outdoors, especially in Colorado. Boulder is home to some of the most popular outdoor places to try activities like hiking, mountain biking and camping. Here are a few outdoor adventures to help you discover new places in your campus backyard.

  • Boulder Creek Path. Consider taking a walk along the Boulder Creek Path. This can be a great meditative and relaxing experience if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.

  • Flatirons. The mountains in our backyard are a great escape to appreciate nature. You can start with a hike at Chautauqua Park or any of the trails that surround it. 

  • Nederland, Colorado. Nederland is one of the most beautiful mountain towns around the area with lots of hiking trails to enjoy picturesque sceneries. A hiking trail also surrounds the Reservoir, providing stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. You can easily visit by bus or enjoy a scenic drive, and while you’re at it, stop in town for a delicious Himalayan meal at Kathmandu restaurant!  

  • Boulder Falls. You can also check out Boulder Falls which leads to one of Boulder’s beloved waterfalls! The hike is great for taking in the scent of the surrounding pine trees, feeling the cool mist rising off the falls and seeing wildlife!

  • State Parks. Did you know you have access to all of Colorado’s National and State Parks for free? Check out a parks pass from University Libraries to explore new trails. If you’re going camping, you can rent camping gear and other outdoor equipment through the Rec Center Outdoor Programs.

5. Around Denver

  • Did you know you can use your bus pass to visit Denver? Take advantage of this transportation method and explore the capital’s famous landmarks. 

  • Visit the Downtown Aquarium, the Denver Zoo or the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Some museums may even offer a discount with a student ID.

  • If you want to walk around and immerse yourself in downtown Denver, walk along 16th Street Mall. You can shop, dine and visit popular attractions to spend your day.

  • Take a walking tour of Denver. You may not realize it, but Denver has a unique and interesting past. From underground tunnels to a haunted Capitol Hill, this two-hour tour will detail all of Denver’s history in an accessible and enjoyable way. 

Visit Denver’s event calendar for additional activities and things to do. 

For more things to do, visit the Student Affairs website, check out student events webpage and be sure to follow @CUBoulderLife on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!