I wrote this about a month ago, but figured it could go up to the 'Road Trip' board for easy access:
A quick perusal of kayak for Boulder hotels shows the 'Best Value Inn' at costing $60 per night. Everything else will cost $100+. The boulder outlook and both best westerns are decent places and not much more than $100. medium walk to the stadium. the Millennium is closest to the stadium and used to have the local pregame/postgame shows TV/radio shows on the outdoor patio by the creek. They are all decent sized walks from downtown though, with the Best Western Golden Buff being closest. (there are some decent bus route nearby, 20-30 minute walk to pearl street, easy stumbling distance for those so inclined). The restaurant at the Buff is great for a cheaper gameday breakfast. Best Western Boulder Inn is next to the outlook hotel, is probably a little nicer, and is a short walk for the Dark House bar.
The absolute best combination of location and price is the University Inn on Broadway. very easy to 3 -4 block walk to downtown, the hill, and the walk to the stadium is through campus from there. Looks like larger multi bed rooms are booked up, but they have fulls for about $100. The quality innboulder creek is another great location, but it's looking booked up as wellR. oadway inn (Broker Inn) is cheap, but it looks like the reviews are not all that great. It's defintiely seen better days...maybe a last resort?
If one has the money, staying at the st julien or boulderado is worth it for the location (now appear to be close VERY sold out though). Marriott is nice too, but costs the same $$$ ($240 - $300) as the downtown hotels while it is only a few blocks from the cheaper Golden Buff and Millennium. There are still a bunch of good restaurants and a couple of bars near the millenium/marriott/golden buff, but not as many as pearl st (downtown).
I'll add that there is a homewood suites and Residence Inn in the eastern part of Boulder - good if you want a kitchen and more space (2 bedrooms, lots of floor space for people to crash, etc). But there's not much interesting near them. Homewood is easier to get to campus from, and has a safeway/strip mall, the RI is in an office park, but has a teh Boulder Beer Brewery/Taproom across the street (great patio, good beer, not really a night spot).
Also, there are quite a few hotels in nearby lousiville. If they are close to Hwy 36 @ McCaslin, there is a very frequent commuter bus line to campus and downtown. It even runs to 1am. I even see a BW for $56/nt, but I personally don't think the savings is worth because it's not the same staying out there (also consider bus fare $8 for a round trip, there are taxis, but if you try to get one at 2am... good luck).
Downtown Denver is very doable. 30 minutes away by car (no traffic), 45 min by bus. Lots of nightlife...maybe more of the meathead variety in places, but also the places where people dress up. People definitely have less attitude IMO. I'd recommend a rooftop bar and rockies game if you have time. Finally, the Omni and Renaissance in Broomfield are convenient to Hwy 36 and both very nice and cheap on the weekends, though the location is a business park and shopping mall kind of place. The Omni has one of the better golf courses in the area, too.
Also, if you want to stay somewhere absolutely in one of the best settings in Boulder, cottages at Chautauqua Park would be great. The are close to the foothills and hiking trails, but still just above campus- there's even a nice dining hall there and some tennis courts. It does look like anything bigger that a 1 bedroom cottage is reserved for the CU weekend. It's pretty quiet there, and they aren't huge so the smaller cottages are places you would take your wife or girlfriend.
If you don't need something nice and want lower $100's prices, I don't think people would be too disappointed in (order of my preference):
1) BW Golden Buff
2) BW Boulder Inn
3) Boulder Outlook
Millenium is going to be nicer, but more expensive. Website says 46 rooms left starting at $180/nt.
I'd recommend getting something lined up soon - it may still be possible to find a rate that isn't prepaid, so you could cancel and change.
Last edited by ColoradoBear1; 08-01-2011 at 08:55 AM.
Much of the interesting stuff is located downtown on Pearl St (outdoor walking mall). If you want 'average' food, the staples are the Rio Grande and Walnut Brewery. Decent places, always full enough to seem lively. Walnut is actually the model for the Rock Bottom chain - slightly better than Gordon Biercsh IMO- Beer OK, - feels like a typical boulder place to go out, better vibe than any rock bottom.
Rio is famous for it's margaritas (there's one in denver too). They aren't superb, but are famously super strong. One of the best rooftop patios in Boulder and the bar is very lively until about 10 or 11pm when they close. it can become very interesting after people have put a couple drinks down. so there are better margs, but the rio hits the perfect price range to get college kids housed.
-Places with classier food and some good drinks:
West End Tavern(west pearl) - kind of a smaller menu, definitely not pub fare, maybe upscale American? Lots of great beers on tap and they have something called the 'bomb shelter' with a vast selection of rarer 22 oz bombers from craft brewers across the US ($20-$30 bucks even). Lots of Bourbon, a nice covered patio bar upstairs, open patio in the back with mtn views (must get food, can't do just drinks in back).
tahona(west pearl) - more upscale mexican food than the rio. not 'authentic' fatty gut bombs, but some good stuff. sometimes a band after 9. lots of tequila.
St Julien Hotel - has as nice outside patio with happy hour on fridays. Huge teraced patio has great view of the mountains. Can't see doing more than a couple of drinks here.
restaurants that might be better for drinks than food-
bacaro(west pearl) - i think the food used to be better, but it really looks like it should have good food. used to be very dance club like after 10pm in the back room. upstairs has a nice patio and you can look down on the street and watch the bouncer bounce people later at night. it might have more of a sorority/fraternity vibe (i'll refrain from calling it douchey, but...), and it is really amusing to see it fill up with college kids getting hammered while the older crowd is still finishing off their meals.
Centro(west pearl) - former restaurant was so famous it's mojitos that they kept them when it re-opened with a new menu. cool little outdoor patio bar section. not open super late.
Some restaurants (likely need reservations):
The Kitchen (and kitchen upstairs) - very nice restaurant. still not super pretentious. local and organic food. hate to compare to chez panisse, but along those lines and a little easier on the wallet. huge beer list with some absolutely crazy beers.
The Med (walnut st) - tapas and a lot of other Mediterranean food. nice coutyard patio. great happy hour before 6pm. can't go wrong here, though it gets crowded and can be noisy.
Dushanbe Tea House - building was built by Tajikistan artists, lots of hand crafted things. funny because it was an 'sister city' exchange with the city of Dushambe, and they got something really crappy from Boulder. good food.
Pasta Jays(west pearl) - simple italian. I like it more than a lot of the more expensive intalian restaurants in Boulder (and there are a lot of those).
Jax Fish House - the old head chef won Top Chef a few years ago. seems a lot more crowded even though I don't think he works there anymore. I've been disappointed often by seafood in similarly priced places in Boulder - that wasn't so at Jax. a little small and crowded.
Salt is a new restaurant right downown too... supposed to be decent.
Foolish Craigs(east pearl) - slightly less of a pretentious vibe, still good food.
Black Cat as twister recommends is supposed to be really good (never been). Meals are $20- $35 so getting to $130 a person is a lot of wine.
Also, some mid priced places away from pearl st where I've eaten and would go back: Arugula, Laudiso, Alba, Zolo.
There are lot of more expensive places that I've never been to...
later night bars:
Conor Oneils - typical irish bar, live music later in the evening, smaller outdoor patio in back. probably people doing car bombs all night.
Pearl St Pub (pearl st mall) - probably the most 'local' of the Pearl St bars, downstairs basement with separate bar and a few games (foosball, darts and pool downstairs + some video games). very strong drinks. people might call it a dive, but it's really not. CU tradition is to kiss the buffalo on 21st birthday. a slightly older crowd so it doesn't feel like a college bar all the time.
Sundown Saloon aka the downer (pearl st mall)- compete crap hole, but for some that's a good thing. 'trendy' dive bar is what I'd call it. another basement bar, smells kinda funny. cheapest pitchers of PBR in Boulder (I could be wrong, but it tastes stale compared to other places). Row of 5 pool tables. Not quite hipster, but not fratty by any means.
Catacombs - yet another basement bar under the Hotel Boulderado. again not a dive, good drink specials, can't quite describe the vibe, lots of little rooms with different things going on - game room, a couple of pool rooms, a couple of bars, sometimes a DJ.
Walrus (walnut st)- the kips of Boulder but with peanuts and foos and pool. cheap beer and a great place to find some roofies. I don't really know why anyone over 21 would be there (OK maybe 25), but I say the same about Kips and have been back too many times.
Round Midnight (west pearl)- seems like the only place in Boulder left that has a true dance floor. Not really full on club like, but has bands and/or a DJ. I've always thought it was a strange crowd.
For those staying near the southeast side of campus, the darkhorse is worth checking out. famous for the tuesday night trike races. quaint place, I think it's the only place I've been recently in Boulder with Big Buck Hunter. It might get kinda depressing a lot later at night when people head downtown, but pre and post game should be full and is generally fun.
Shooters is a bar near conors with a riding bull. seems a little strange for boulder, but just throwing it out there. perhaps that's your thing.
The Attic - decent place - not as crowded as other places, not really any theme, but a decent crowd, not dingy and they have alcohol. One of the later last calls, though I haven't resorted to that in awhile.
On the Hill (younger crowd):
K's China - rooftop patio, cheap drinks, I've never been inside actually, but last time I was there a friend passed pitchers though the emergency exit on the patio cuz they weren't letting people in (dont tell the cops).
The Goose (former La Iguana)- has a awesome patio, I'm feeling too old to really go back.
And then there is always the Sink. beers, pizzas, sandwiches, pasta, low ceiling and 40+ years worth of scribbling on the walls. Robert Redford used to work there when he was a CU student. The hill used to be more of a scene (maybe stuff goes down still, i'm just too old, and maybe it's the MMJ, but riots and couch burning just aren't as big now), but the sink is a classic.
When 2am rolls around and you get booted on to the street, there are a few places for late night food (after 2am)-
-The gyro stand near Old C's (never had one sober, but they are tasty).
-dubbins - a literal hole in the wall (4' wide and 6' deep) sandwich shop, 13th street right off mall, near catacombs and conors
-pizza colore - slices pizza will get the job done, not blondies though, on mall next to lazy dog
-cosmos - better than colore, by the slice (or deliver), on the hill and also on baseline and 30th near the dark horse
- illegal petes - on the hill and on the east end of pearl st mall(warning that one closes @ 2am). Burritos and similar stuff to chipotle but better. it feels a lot healthier than a burrito from the mission, who knows if thats the case.
Some other places:
The Mountain Sun (and Southern Sun, which is much larger) is another local brewery with some good beers and a definitely a hippie vibe. Guaranteed to see someone wearing a woven hat. Java Porter seems to be everyone's favorite beer, but they have a whole range. cheaper pub type food and sandwiches, but decently quality.
Old Chicago has an great front porch patio with great views of the busiest corner of the Pearl St mall (and full bar). Always good to check out people of all different varieties (from coeds running to the bar to some bums wandering around aimlessly and maybe even yelling random sh1t... just like at Cal!), but it's not like anyone would just drive to boulder for the food there.
The lazy dog is an OK sports bar on the east end of the pearl st mall, good place to catch a game, only real sports bar around. Nice patio on the roof (but the mountain view isn't there) and I've never figured out why its crowded some nights and empty others.
Also, if you like beers of the ale and strong ale variety, Avery Brewing is a smaller Boulder based micro that has just been exploding recently. They have had to pull back distributing from places like Northern CA due to too much demand. Very interesting brews, lot of specialties - they have a tap room in an industrial park in Boulder (their more mainstream beers should be available on tap everywhere... some other ones are just in bottles). If you want to go on a mini micro beer tour, Twisted Pine, Upslope and Boulder Beer are all in town, if you are around sunday evening, this looks like a great way to visit the breweries w/o driving.
Last edited by ColoradoBear1; 08-26-2011 at 12:57 PM.