Playing cornhole outside Rayback
The Rayback Collective is a great summer hangout. Courtesy photo

We Asked You to Share the Best Summer Hangout Spots in Boulder


Boulder is beautiful year-round but it truly blossoms in the summer. There’s really no bad way to spend a summer in Boulder, whether it’s just casually strolling down the Pearl Street Mall with a latte in hand, watching the wild street performers; or sitting out under the stars with your lover watching a Colorado Shakespeare Festival production; or relaxing on a patio with a local brew after a full day of hiking.

We asked you to choose the best summer hangout spots in Boulder.

Here’s how Boulder residents like to spend their summers in town:

“The Rayback Collective. I love food trucks, so I often get something to eat and hang out. Sometimes I read or work, people-watch, sit in the sun.” – Bethany S.

TravelBoulder tip: Check out the Rayback’s online calendar to see what food trucks will be in the court, as well as what live music and entertainment to look forward to at night.

Scott Carpenter Park.
A glimpse at the Scott Carpenter Park. Photo by Callie Pederson

“[Scott] Carpenter Park. I played on the rocketship [playground equipment] as a kid and so did my kids and the creek is right there.” – April C.

TravelBoulder tip: This park also has a skatepark and an outdoor pool, so you can spend all day here with kiddos of any ages.

Spruce Pool. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Andrew Espinosa

“Spruce Pool. … We walk there. Gorgeous scenery, a great place to cool off and anything that occupies my toddler for awhile (and tires him out) is a win!” – Lesley W.

TravelBoulder tip: This pool, at 2102 Spruce St., has an adorable yellow duck slide for smaller kids. It’s arguably Boulder’s most popular public pool for families.

The water feature on the Pearl Street Mall. Photo by Aimee Heckel

“Farmers market. The water feature [for kids] on Pearl is always fun.” – Whitney W.

TravelBoulder tip: The pop-jet fountain is located on the mall near 14th Street and by the courthouse lawn, which has great, large trees with plenty of shade for a picnic after you play. Grab slices of pizza to go from nearby Pizza Colore.

Boulder Reservoir
Boulder Reservoir. Courtesy photo

“Dog beach! The back side of the Boulder Res. Dogs can be off leash, you can bring chairs, coolers, beverages, music, hammocks and people are nice. We practically live there.” – Jennifer H

TravelBoulder tip: There’s so much to do at the Boulder Reservoir. You can go boating, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding and have a picnic.

Elements Bistro. Courtesy photo

“Rooftop of Element Bistro in Gunbarrel. Fantabulous view of the mountains.” – Nancy S.

TravelBoulder tip: Elements, at 6315 Lookout Road, has a half-off happy hour (hello, margs) by day (3-6 p.m. daily), fire pits by night and great Taco Tuesday deals.

Rocks stacked outside the Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Eric Brannock

“I grew up in Boulder and still find Eben G. Fine Park one of my favorite spots. A summer day with a picnic lunch, a float in the river, a nap, great people-watching and stone-stacking in the river is the perfect summer day. I love that this park still feels like it did when I was a kid.” – Laura L.

TravelBoulder tip: This large park, 101 Arapahoe Ave., is a classic launching-off spot for tubing down the Boulder Creek. It also has access to various trails.

Outside of NCAR.Photo by Kaitlyn Payne

“We just went to NCAR for a hike and didn’t realize all the cool stuff inside the building! Lots of good information about Colorado weather. It was really neat.” – Tevin R.

TravelBoulder tip: The National Center for Atmospheric Research is a fun place for a field trip. Don’t miss the hiking right outside.

Farmers Market
A glimpse at the Boulder County Farmers Market in Boulder. Photo by Flickr user Amy Aletheia Cahill (

“Low key, farmers market, creek walks, mall walks, checking out the museum for contemporary art, First Fridays. Etown has stuff on Wednesday evenings. Nothing fancy.” – Liana E.

TravelBoulder tip: Check out Etown’s schedule for special events, including live comedy and music by big-name bands.

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