Every time I get home from a weekend with my former college roommates and very best friends, I’m SO grateful for the rare in person time together. Our annual girls weekend is something sacred that we’ve kept going for 11 years now, regardless of who’s getting married, who’s having a baby and where in the US we’re living. We typically pick a location that’s relatively easy for everyone to get to (i.e. direct or reasonable flights) and a city with great food, drinks and fun things to do. This year, we were looking for something a little more outdoorsy and low-key and opted for Boulder, Colorado. Between hiking in the beautiful mountains, the great restaurants, the breweries and the focus on wellness, Boulder is the perfect destination for a girls weekend getaway in the US.
While this specific itinerary was for a girls’ weekend, I highly recommend Boulder for a weekend getaway or longer vacation for anyone. (In fact, I’m already thinking about the next trip back with my husband and son!) Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or with your family, there’s really something for everyone in Boulder, Colorado.
Disclaimer: We received accommodations at the Embassy Suites in Boulder and transportation from Green Ride Boulder in exchange for review. As always, all opinions are our own. This post may also include affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission for items purchased through our links, at no charge to you.
Getting to Boulder, Colorado
The five of us traveled to Boulder, Colorado from five different cities across the US. (Pittsburgh, Boise, Buffalo, Brooklyn/NYC and Philadelphia.) The great thing is that the Denver International Airport is accessible via direct flights from all five of those cities. DIA is approximately an hour away from Boulder, and there are several options for getting from the Denver Airport to Boulder. Upon searching for the best option, we discovered the Green Ride airport shuttle and ended up using it both to and from Boulder.
Green Ride Boulder is one of the easiest and most cost effective options to get from the Denver Airport to Boulder, whether you’re traveling solo or with a group. The current rate for Green Ride is $42 for the first person to be dropped off directly at your hotel or residential address. After that it’s an extra $10 for the second person and only $5 extra for each person after that. Kids under 12 are also free with Green Ride Boulder, which is a great option if you’re traveling with family to Boulder from Denver International Airport.
A few things to keep in mind when using the Green Ride Boulder airport shuttle from the Denver Airport:
- Green Ride airport shuttles to Boulder run every hour on the :35.
- You can reserve your shuttle online or call Green Ride Boulder at 303-997-0238 to book. (I recommend pre-booking since the shuttle was completely full when we left from DIA.)
- Get to the pickup location 10-15 minutes prior to departure if your flight schedule allows.
- If you do happen to miss your shuttle, you’re automatically booked on the next one.
- Both to and from the airport, our shuttles arrived earlier than scheduled. Be aware that you may be transferring to a different bus once you arrive at the office in Boulder, which only helps with efficiency for drop offs.
I would definitely use Green Ride Boulder again for transportation from the Denver airport, and I’m so glad we came across it. For more information on Green Ride Boulder, see their website here.
Visiting Boulder, Colorado in June
Although Colorado is famous for its unpredictable weather (hello, snow in May of this year) June is *usually* starting to warm up and feel like summer in Boulder. The average temperate is typically in the 70s or 80s, without some of the unbearable humidity we experience on the East Coast of the US. Unfortunately, that unpredictable Colorado weather hit Boulder when we were there. Instead of 80s F and sunshine the city experienced before and after our trip, we had rain and the temperatures dropped as low as the 40s at night. The fluctuation in weather can make packing for Boulder a little tricky. My packing for this trip ironically wasn’t that different from my Iceland Girls weekend last July. Here are a few tips for packing for Boulder in June:
- Check the forecast beforehand to account for the potential (but uncommon) cool weather
- Pack layers and a thin waterproof or water resistant coat
- Bring an umbrella
- Determine whether or not you need hiking boots for your hikes. Many of the trails are rocky, and since we only had sneakers we avoided some of the trails that were a little more rugged.
- Bring your swimsuit as it’s usually warm!
Where to Stay in Boulder, CO
Historically on our girls trips, we’ve stayed in larger hotel rooms or suites that can accommodate the five of us. During our search we came across the new Embassy Suites in Boulder, which just opened up in 2017. The Embassy Suites is in a central location near the University of Colorado Boulder campus and nearby shopping and restaurants. On a nice day, it’s an easy walk to the Pearl Street Mall, and the hotel also has great access to nearby hiking and breweries.
From the minute we walked into the Embassy Suites in Boulder, I was struck by the beautiful decor. Not only was the hotel filled with artwork from local artists throughout, but it also did a great job at bringing the outdoors in. Things like water features, rocks and chirping birds are added touches that definitely remind you that you’re in Boulder versus any other hotel in the world.
We stayed in a 1 bedroom suite with 2 queen beds. Whether traveling with my family or for a girls trip, I love the Embassy Suites for the spacious bedrooms, pullout couch and the shared space for spending time together. The wetbar, mini fridge and microwave also offer added conveniences that you would have at home.
Amenities at the Embassy Suites Boulder
While the rooms themselves were beautiful, the amenities at the hotel even surpassed that. The Embassy Suites in Boulder offers a great complimentary breakfast and nightly manager’s reception that come with any Embassy Suites. The spread at the manager’s reception far surpassed others that I’ve seen, and it included fresh fruit and vegetables as well as various salads, chips and dips. (Plus several beverages including house wines, cocktails and beer.) The breakfast at the Embassy Suites in Boulder was also plentiful, with the traditional hot and cold items you’d find at a breakfast buffet, including made-to-order eggs.
The other thing that set the Embassy Suites in Boulder apart was the amazing outdoor area. The pool was not only warm enough to swim in the cool weather, but the pop art sign above it was absolutely beautiful at night. The pool also had ample seating and had two large fire pits on either side. There was also a ton of outdoor seating throughout the exterior of the hotel. If you can’t get outdoors to exercise, there’s also a large 2-story fitness center in the hotel.
If you’re at the Embassy Suites Boulder in the summer, the hotel also offers yoga or barre on Sundays at 9:30am. (Currently it’s running from June 2nd-August 25th.) The classes are free, both to hotel guests and the public, and they currently alternate between a yoga studio and a barre studio on a bi-weekly basis. Since it was a bit too cold for outdoor yoga when we were there, they held it in the ballroom of the Embassy Suites. After class, you can also get bottomless mimosas at the Hilton Garden Inn next door. All you need to do is purchase a brunch entree!
We had an amazing experience at the Embassy Suites Boulder, and I would no doubt stay there again on a future visit to Boulder. If you’re interested in booking your own girls weekend at the Embassy Suites Boulder, check out the BFF Girls’ Escape package for a full wellness and relaxation experience. While we did not book this exact package, we participated in many of the included services, and the staff at the Embassy Boulder was SO helpful with our planning of this amazing weekend.
Things to Do in Boulder
There is no shortage of fun things to do on a girls’ weekend trip in Boulder, Colorado. Although we had to adjust our plans a bit due to weather, it didn’t stop us from having an amazing time. Below are our recommendations for things to do during a weekend getaway in Boulder. The best part is that with the city being so accessible to hiking and the outdoors, you can easily get the best of both worlds during your trip.
Hike the Trails in Boulder, Colorado
Hiking is definitely one of the biggest draws to this outdoor mecca. And thankfully, the weather cleared up just in time for a quick hike before I left Boulder. We opted for the Chautauqua Trailhead, since it was easy to get to and offers trails of varying complexity. Chautauqua is located in Boulder’s Flatirons, which get their name for the shape of the mountains. None of us are serious hikers or had hiking boots with us, but we love the outdoors. If you’re looking for a moderately easy hike like we were, follow the Bluebell trail from the ranger station at the base of the trails. (FACT CHECK)
There is limited parking at the Chautauqua Trailhead, and visitors are strongly encouraged to use public transportation to get there. As of June 2019, Boulder is offering free parking shuttles to Chautauqua Trails in the Flatirons, as well as free or discounted Lyft rides. For more information on discounted or free transportation options to the Chautauqua Trails, see here.
Get a Facial at Alchemy Face Bar
We knew that we wanted a little bit of self-care time during this trip, but didn’t want to spend hours at the spa that we could be spending in the gorgeous city of Boulder. We visited Alchemy Face Bar at the recommendation of our hotel, and it was perfect for a quick facial and a little bit of pampering. From the minute we entered Alchemy, we were greeted by the warm staff and treated to a cup of hot tea and chocolate. There’s also a store with a great selection of natural products, and you can shop and sip on tea while you’re waiting.
We all opted for the 30 minute “Basic” facial, which is tailored for your specific skin type and only uses organic products. Not only is the facial itself super refreshing and effective, but it’s also reasonably priced. The staff were also really accommodating in finding a time that worked well for all five of us. Definitely recommend Alchemy Face Bar if you’re looking for a great place to get a facial in Boulder. (Plus, if you happen to be staying at the Embassy Suites in Boulder like us, it’s on the same block!)
- Location: 2701 Canyon Blvd, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://alchemyfacebar.com
P.S. If you’re looking for a facial in the Denver area, there’s a location there too!
Shop at the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder
It’s not a girls trip without a little shopping, right? Pearl Street Mall is in the heart of Boulder, and it’s a beautiful outdoor mall area with a variety of unique shops and restaurants. Below are some fun specialty shops in Boulder. There’s also a great selection of boutique stores, but admittedly I didn’t do any clothing shopping for myself on this trip!
- The Boulder Book Store for a huge selection of books and gifts
- Colorado Limited for clothing and other gear adorned with Colorado’s flag
- Liberty Puzzles for unique wooden puzzles (including some state and country specific puzzles for my fellow travelers!)
- Rocket Fizz to take you back to your childhood with every kind of soda and candy you can think of
If you’re looking for additional retail shopping from name brands, head over to the Twenty Ninth Street shopping mall in Boulder.
Visit the Breweries in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is lined with more than 20 local breweries around the city. Whether you’re taking a tour or stopping at a few on your own, I definitely recommend checking them out. We visited Boulder Beer Company and Sanitas Brewing Company when we were there. Boulder offers free tours on a daily basis and has both an indoor and outdoor seating area with a full food menu. Sinitas Brewing Company also offers an indoor and outdoor seating area, along with a taco stand to help with any food cravings. Both offer live music throughout the week, so be sure to check before you go.
With so many breweries located right near each other, it’s possible to do your own brewery tour using Uber or Lyft. You can also rent bikes and access them via bike on the trails throughout the city. For a combined hiking and brewery tour, see here.
Browse the Boulder Farmer’s Market
I love visiting local farmer’s markets whenever I check out a new city. It’s a great way to sample the local goods, especially if you’re traveling with a group looking for different things. The Boulder Farmer’s Market offers a ton of product and plant varieties, as well as local eateries and coffee drinks. If you want to eat breakfast or lunch at the Boulder Farmer’s Market, there are also covered tables for you to sit at. The farmer’s market in Boulder is on Wednesdays and Saturdays at certain times throughout the year. Be sure to check the website before visiting.
- Location: 13th Street between Canyon & Arapahoe in Boulder
- Website: https://www.bcfm.org
Take a Tea Tour at Celestial Seasonings
Did you know that this famous tea brand hails from Boulder, Colorado? If you’re looking for a break from the outdoors (and let’s be honest, the drinks), check out Celestial Seasonings’s headquarters. We went to Celestial Seasonings with the intent of doing the tour, but we unfortunately JUST missed it for the day. (Lesson learned, get there early and don’t wait for the last tour!)
Fortunately, there’s so much to do at Celestial Seasonings even without the tour. The tea tasting area offers an unlimited amount of hot and cold teas to sample, including several unique flavors I hadn’t heard of. You can also find a seat in the cute cafe area that’s surrounded with history about the famous tea maker. You can also check out the Tea Shop next door, which has several cute gift items and many tea flavors you can’t find in stores.
- Location: 4600 Sleepytime Drive, Boulder, CO
- Website: http://www.celestialseasonings.com/visit-us/
Yoga Outdoors in Boulder
We had visions of doing outdoor yoga (and possibly with goats!) while in Boulder. The weather didn’t work in our favor, but fortunately the Embassy Suites in Boulder that we were staying at offers free yoga on Sundays. While this free yoga event is typically outdoors, the cool weather during our visit kept the event inside. (Not quite the same experience, but still an awesome workout!) On the day we were there, Dailey Method in Boulder was doing a yoga inspired barre workout. I recommend checking both the Dailey Method for barre class in Boulder and Self Care Sundays at the Embassy Suites and Hilton Garden Inn in Boulder.
If you’re looking for other ideas for outdoor yoga, here are a few that were recommended to us:
- Goat yoga at Mountain Flower Dairy
- Yoga with baby goats at Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga
- Private outdoor yoga session with an expert at Cairn Guides
Where to Eat and Drink in Boulder, Colorado
Aside from the outdoors, the selection of food and drinks made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients has to be one of the biggest draws in Boulder. Whether you want something healthy or indulgent, it’s easy to find a great selection of foods for any appetite.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery in Boulder
I had been hearing about how amazing Snooze was for years. Since we were so close to Denver where the restaurant first opened, it was a no brainer that we had to eat at Snooze for brunch at least once during our visit to Boulder. With the unique selection of breakfast foods and drinks, as well as some old favorites, it definitely lived up to the hype. Snooze has a unique selection of breakfast cocktails including Bloody Marys (which were so good) and mimosas.
As for the food, we shared a pancake flight with 3 different types of pancakes. Every pancake we had was supper fluffy and flavorful, and the sweet potato pancake was definitely my favorite. We also shared an order of eggs Benedict, and the Smashed Avocado Benny was seriously so good. In addition to the innovative menu. Snooze also sources most of it’s ingredients from local farms and suppliers.
Tip: Snooze doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait unless you put your name in ahead on the Yelp waitlist app. We were able to shop around Pearl Street while we waited for our text notification. Snooze also offers coffee while you wait, so it’s not bad at all if you’re not in a rush!
- Location:1617 Pearl St, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://snoozeeatery.com/locations/boco/
The Buff Restaurant in Boulder
This Boulder staple exclusively offers breakfast and brunch, and it has a large selection of hearty breakfast offerings. The Buff is most known for its skillet breakfast, which is primarily eggs and potatoes with a variety of toppings, served on an iron skillet. The Buff also offers $.99 bloody mary’s and mimosas with the purchase of a brunch entree. While I can’t say it was the most mind blowing bloody mary I’ve had, it was definitely worth the price tag! I split the granola pancake and huevos rancheros. Both were yummy and the portions were pretty huge for everything our group ordered.
- Location: 1101 Walnut St, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://www.buffrestaurant.com
The Boulder Danushabe Teahouse
We admittedly didn’t get a chance to eat at the Boulder Teahouse since we ran out of time during the weekend. With the glowing recommendations from several people, however, it’s definitely at the top of my list for the next visit to Boulder. The restaurant was happy to let us walk around inside though, and it’s an absolutely gorgeous building. The interior is intricate and colorful and seriously a work of art. (Fun fact: The Boulder teahouse was actually build in Dushanbe, Tajikistan completely by hand, taken apart and then put back together in Boulder.) The Boulder Tea House offers breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week and brunch and dinner on the weekends. A traditional afternoon tea with light food offerings is also available daily from 3-5pm.
- Location: 1770 13th Street, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://www.boulderteahouse.com
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
Rio Grande offers a Tex-Mex menu, and the first restaurant was opened in the nearby Fort Collins, Colorado. The amazing selection of margaritas drew us to this place, and the food was just as good. The margaritas were perfectly mixed and the freshly made guacamole and salsa were great starters. (Although forewarning, the salsa is definitely on the hotter side!) We opted to share a combination of meals, including the fajitas, a chicken burrito the crab and shrimp enchiladas. Rio Grande offers happy hour Mon- Fri from 3-6pm, and it was packed when we arrived on a Friday night.
- Location: 1101 Walnut St, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://riograndemexican.com/locations/boulder/
The Mediterranean Grill (The Med)
The Med in Boulder serves Mediterranean cuisine that includes a combination of tapas, paella, Italian food and more. The restaurant is most known for its tapas and twice daily happy hour, when both drinks and tapas were on special. We shared the paella, chicken parmesan and several small tapas for a mix of flavors from the menu. We just missed happy hour, and if I had a do-ver, I would probably get there earlier (or later) to catch the happy hour specials for discounted tapas.
- Location: 1002 Walnut Street, Boulder CO 80302
- Website: https://www.themedboulder.com
Modern Market Eatery
We were looking for a quick and healthy meal on our last night in Boulder so we could relax and eat dinner outside by the fire at our hotel. The Modern Market was located in a shopping plaza in walking distance from the Embassy Suites, and was exactly what we were looking for. I had the Modern Avo Toast and half of a Thai Coconut Chicken Salad. Both items were super fresh and flavorful, and it was a great option after eating a heavy meal for brunch.
- Location: 1600 28th St Unit 1212, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://www.modernmarket.com
This organic juice shop and eatery is local to Boulder and stopped in while strolling the Pearl Street Mall. I was feeling a little off that morning (which I blame on equal parts cheap wine and altitude sickness.) I asked for a recommendation on a juice that was fresh and hydrating, and the staff recommended a blue juice that was perfect for just that. In addition to juices, Wonderpress also offers specialty espresso drinks, special toasts and smoothies.
- Location: 946 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO
- Website: http://wonderpress.co
We came across this place while searching prior to our trip, and after just one look at the video on their website, we knew we had to visit. Something about the outdoor setting and live music against the mountains just feels so much like Colorado. The Rayback Collective is huge, with a large, industrial feeling indoor area and garage doors that open to the outdoor seating area. Rayback is also dog-friendly and kid-friendly. There’s even a large grassy area for the kids to play in. (Something I can’t help but notice whether traveling with kids or without!) The entire place feels like you’re going to a backyard party at your neighbor’s, and not in the clicky unwelcoming way.
With an ever changing list of beers on tap, a trip to the Rayback is a great way to sample several local Colorado beers. Especially if you don’t have time to visit multiple breweries during your trip. While the Rayback Collective doesn’t serve food itself, there’s usually at least one food truck parked there. Where we were visiting, there were three food trucks offering a variety of foods.
- Location: 2775 Valmont Road, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://therayback.com
License No. 1 Bar
We admittedly didn’t go to many bars on this trip and opted for cocktails with dinner instead. (My, how times have changed!) We were looking for a place with good drinks that didn’t have too much of a college feel, and License No. 1 was recommended to us. This prohibition style bar is housed in basement of the history Hotel Boulderado, and it has a classy lounge feeling to it without being slightest bit stuffy. The bartenders were able to make anything on or off the menu, and they seriously treat mixing drinks like an art form.
License No. 1 Bar has live music Thursday- Saturday, and happy hour is daily from 5-7pm. There’s also a photo booth if you’re looking for a fun way to commemorate your night.
- Location: 2115 13th St, Boulder, CO
- Website: https://www.boulderado.com/dining/license-no-1/
Whether you’re heading to Boulder for a momcation (like me), a bachelorette party, or anything in between, it’s the perfect destination for a girls weekend.
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