Summer in Boulder means tons of live music, theater, races, yoga, beer and art — of all kinds, throughout the entire season.
It’s an exciting time of year to be in Boulder. Here’s a look at the highlights of all the biggest, can’t-miss events for summer 2018.
June kicks off summer with Downtown Boulder’s annual Bands on the Bricks outdoor summer concert series. This runs throughout the summer (June 6 until Aug. 8) every Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. in the 1300 block of the Pearl Street Mall. It’s the quintessential way to do a casual “hump day” in downtown. Jam out to live music, drink beer in the beer garden and dance. All for free.
The beer garden is the best nightlife option on a Wednesday. It includes famous margs from the Rio Grande (so strong there’s a three-drink max), plus local beer from a rotation of breweries throughout the summer. First up is West Flanders. The Fourth of July features The Post Brewing Co. and Avery Brewing Co. wraps up the season.
Musical highlights begin with The Long Run (an Eagles tribute band) on June 6, followed by Milestone, Jyemo Club and Tenth Mountain Division. See the full line-up here.
Also in June:
June 8 (through Aug. 12): This is the start of the annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Watch Shakespearean plays outside in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre (and indoors at University Theatre, too). This year, you can see “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “Richard III.”
June 10: The Ironman Boulder race storms the city. This competition brings about 2,000 of the most elite athletes to town to compete in a grueling race.
June 14-17: The annual Hanuman Festival takes over downtown mid-June. This is Boulder’s biggest yoga event, drawing yogis and famous instructors from around the world. Live music, vendors, family activities and other community-centric workshops round out a healthy and positive event.
June 16: Ever wanted to be involved with creating an opera? Wonder what goes into the production of a big theatrical performance? The CU New Opera Workshop provides a unique opportunity to participate in the process of creating an opera; then watch the final product hit the stage.
June 16-18: The Boulder International Festival turns the Pearl Street Mall into one big dance floor. Dancers from around the world perform in different styles. It’s all free and really livens up the mall.
The Fourth of July is done big in Boulder, and this is how the city will kick off July this year. The biggest fireworks display and party to be at is Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. Other neighboring cities have their own celebrations and fireworks displays, too.
A great option is in the small town of Erie. This impressive fireworks display is always surrounded by a fun kids’ play area with jumpy castles, plus food vendors to make it a full event.
The party at the TinkerMill in Longmont is also unique, with perfect views of Longmont’s fireworks display.
This year, as something different, it’s also the Colorado Chautauqua’s 120th anniversary. Head to the popular Chautauqua lawn for live music and festivities before the sun sets. Then, the park will close down and you can settle in for a show in the sky.
Also in July:
July 11: Only in Boulder is there an official Tube to Work Day. This is when locals take inflatable tubes down Boulder Creek, theoretically to commute to work. Surely, some kind of working happens. Eventually. After a ton of partying and splashing and laughing.
July 14: Dead and Co. returns to Boulder for the third year. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. at Folsom Field, on the CU campus. This show is always wildly popular.
July 21-22: The Pearl Street Arts Fest is a weekend event that’s all about art. All kinds of art, locally and beyond. Get inspired, talk to local artists and make some art yourself.
July 29: The SummerFest is late July. This family-friendly event centers around nature and outdoor culture. It’s the capstone of the Boulder Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.
July 30 (through Aug. 3): The annual Aerial Dance Festival, organized by Frequent Flyers Productions, is a huge deal in Boulder and beyond. This is one of the most famous aerial dance events in the world. You can learn how to fly from famous dancers, or if you don’t want to try the trapeze yourself, you can just watch a once-in-a-lifetime show. The ADF performances are only done in Boulder; you can never see this show anywhere else. If you watch one show this summer, make it this one.
Leave it to Boulder to not settle for one Ironman race in town per summer. With barely enough time to recover from the full Ironman earlier in the summer, August marks the Ironman 70.3, a half Ironman. This race, on Aug. 4, is centered around the Boulder Reservoir. Even if you don’t qualify for an Ironman, or a half Ironman, these races are entertaining to watch. Prepare to be amazed by the athleticism. And also be prepared for heavy traffic.
The Boulder Ironman course is scenic, with Flatiron views, but with the hype comes road closures and traffic congestion. Hey, you gotta have your priorities, and for Boulder, that’s sweat, muscles and hard work.
Also in August:
Aug. 15-26: Mid-August marks the annual Boulder International Fringe Festival, a fun festival all about art and creativity. You will find Fringe Fest events throughout town in all artistic mediums, such as theater, music and dance.
Aug. 18: Boulder has a beer festival for every occasion and season, so it’s no surprise to find a beer festival in August. The summer beer fest in North Boulder Park highlights more than 25 craft breweries. Sip while you listen to live tunes and munch on food, so you can try more beer.
Aug. 24: The 20th-annual NedFest Music and Arts Festival transforms small and quirky Nederland into a thrilling outdoor music festival.
Wrap up summer with the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival. Summer in Boulder officially kicks off with the Boulder Creek Festival, and the Hometown Festival is the closing bookend. Both are located downtown in the Central Park area, both have live music, beer, food and more. The Hometown Fest also features a car show. It marks Labor Day weekend every year and works as a signal to start winding down the summer excitement for the fall.