The new Avanti Food & Beverage food hall on Pearl Street. Photo courtesy of Avanti Boulder/Facebook

How to Fall Back in Love with Boulder During the Pandemic


As we head into an uncertain winter after months of social distancing and self-quarantine, it’s natural to be tired of your day-to-day routine.

The solution: Find ways to see your city in a new light. Thanks to Boulder’s wealth of pandemic-friendly activities, it is possible to enliven your routine while staying safe. Whether you’re a seasoned Boulderite or a first-time visitor, we hope our one-day itinerary inspires you to embark on a new adventure.

Note: Local businesses have made your health and safety their top priority. Do your part by abiding by the latest restrictions, masking up and staying at least six feet from other patrons.


Start your day at one of the newest additions to the Pearl Street Mall: Avanti Food & Beverage, which opened in October. Housed in the former Cheesecake Factory space, the two-story food hall has six culinary stalls, two bars and a coffee shop. Grab a Rye Egg — a bagel sandwich stacked with pastrami, Swiss, egg and Russian dressing — at Rye Society Delicatessen & Picklery, which serves breakfast until 3 p.m. Then, stake out a spot on the sprawling rooftop patio to dig in amid gorgeous views of the Flatirons. While Method Coffee Roasters inside Avanti is temporarily closed, Ozo Coffee Company and Trident Booksellers and Cafe are located nearby, if you’re in need of a caffeine fix.

After you’ve fueled up, take a stroll along Pearl Street Mall, an excellent opportunity to support some of the city’s most beloved small businesses. Stop-worthy browsing spots include the three-story Boulder Bookstore (est. 1973), where you can browse over 100,000 titles; Peppercorn, a treasure trove of kitchenware, home décor and gifts; and PosterScene, the spot to pick up vintage posters, prints and more.


Before you leave Pearl Street, pick up a Colorado Backcountry Picnic Box from Cured, featuring an array of locally-sourced sustenance from Elevation Meat Co. salami to house-baked lavender butter cookies. Your next stop is the great outdoors for a hiking or snowshoeing excursion. Whichever route you choose, be sure to enjoy your picnic on the tailgate of your car before taking off. For those looking for an easy stroll, the 1.5-mile Wonderland Lake Loop Trail is a lovely jaunt flanked by trees and mountain vistas.

If you’re hankering to strap on some snowshoes (rentals are available at Crystal Ski Shop), try the 8-mile Walker Ranch Loop, a moderate, calf-burning route about 10 miles up Flagstaff Road that will take you through meadows, pine forests and rocky outcrops. Another great option is Brainard Lake, a recreation area about 24 miles from downtown Boulder that has sweet views of the Continental Divide and Indian Peaks.

Photo courtesy of Pexels


All of that physical activity has earned you a brew or cocktail on the patio at Ska Street Brewstillery, Boulder County’s only brewery-distillery from the masterminds behind Durango’s Ska Brewing Co. and Palisade’s Peach Street Distillers. Pair a True Blond Ale or Palisade peach margarita with some beer-battered cauliflower or smoked jerk chicken wings.

Brewstiller Damon Scott; photo courtesy Brewtography Project

Dinner calls for chef-owner Hosea Rosenberg’s farm-to-table fare at Blackbelly, where you can pick up a meal to-go or dine in the heated outdoor tent. Start with a house-made charcuterie board, then sink into the lamb shank cassoulet. Save room for the chocolate peppermint torte — the perfect finale to your Boulder adventure.

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