The Fox Theatre on The Hill. Courtesy photo

The Best of the Hill


When you’re in Boulder, the Rockies are all around and the Flatirons are your backyard. With so much altitude surrounding you, why on earth would you want to visit a place called “The Hill?” The answer’s simple. Food. Drinks. Entertainment.

We love The Hill and you will, too.

Ultimate Guide to Boulder’s Neighborhoods

This article is part of a larger series. To see all the articles in this Ultimate Guide, click here.

But before we get to all the reasons The Hill is great, you should probably understand what it is.

University Hill, referred to as just “The Hill” by locals, is the district of Boulder directly west of the University of Colorado, along Broadway Avenue. It has a vibrant mix of students, businesses and family homes. Yes, it can get a little crazy on the weekends. No, it’s not a giant frat party all the time. Whatever you enjoy, there’s something for everyone on the Hill.


Dot’s Diner

A local favorite for more than 30 years, Dot’s serves a typical diner menu. Biscuits and Gravy. Eggs. Pancakes. Their green chili is amazing. Their house-baked pastries are to die for. But Dot’s isn’t just a breakfast joint. It’s also known for its Nepali food, made by Nepali cooks. The authentic chai tea is a great way to get your feet wet if you’re not sure about trying something more adventurous than bacon.

The Sink Burger
The Sink sells more than 60,000 hamburgers a year and for good reason. Courtesy photo
The Sink

Serving Boulder for more than 90 years, the Sink is a must visit for anyone in Boulder. Even some of Boulder’s most high-profile visitors have stopped at The Sink, including Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri and former President Obama. Serving American favorites such as pizza and burgers, there’s something the whole family can enjoy. And there’s plenty to keep you entertained while you devour that delicious burger; the walls are covered in cartoon paintings, and you can even sign the ceiling.

Café Aion
Tapas for days at Café Aion. Courtesy photo
Café Aion

Café Aion is a Spanish restaurant with a farm-to-table menu. From the tapas to the paella, everything is fresh and delicious. And it’s no wonder. The owner and chef, Dakota Soifer, was the champion of “Cutthroat Kitchen,” a Food Network cooking competition. His knowledge and expertise, mixed with the hip yet intimate feeling, make this restaurant perfect for date night or a family outing.


Half Fast Subs
Half Fast Subs. Courtesy photo
Half Fast Subs

You may not think a sub shop is great place to get a drink, but don’t be fooled. Half Fast has some of the tastiest Long Islands in town and they’re strong, too. So strong that this shop limits each guest to two drinks or one pitcher. Yeah, you can get a pitcher of Long Islands. Which we strongly suggest.

The interior of the No Name bar
The interior of the No Name bar. Courtesy Photo.
No Name Bar

This hole-in-the-wall bar is called No Name for good reason. If you don’t know it’s there, you’d never find it. With no signage and an entrance that just looks like a door in the wall, this really is a local secret. But once you get inside, it’s well worth it. The house-made infusions are fantastic; the apple pie bourbon is our personal favorite.

Hookah House

Going out for drinks is always fun, but sometimes you want a more relaxed atmosphere. Hookah lounges are a great way to socialize in a chill way, and Hookah House is among the best. With a variety of flavors of both in house and retail smokables, as well as coffee and tea, you can enjoy a night at the hookah house whether you’re a smoker or not.


The Fox Theatre
Dopapod Dead and Company after party at the Fox Theatre. Photo by Sam Berenson
Fox Theatre

No visit to Boulder would be complete without a trip to the Fox Theatre. Rolling Stone recently named the Fox the fourth best music venue in the country. With an intimate capacity of just over 600 and a variety of performers, including both big name stars and local favorites, the Fox Theatre experience truly is one of a kind.

Owsley’s Golden Road
Live Dead Music with the Schwag at Owsley’s Golden Road. Courtesy photo
Owsley’s Golden Road

Owsley’s Golden Road is one of the coolest places in town. The bar has a Grateful Dead theme, which perfectly sets the mood for its live music. Pair this with the great food and drinks and you could easily both start and end your night at Owsley’s Golden Road.

Boulder History Museum

If you’re taking your family to The Hill and want to avoid the bar scene, the Boulder History Museum is a great family-friendly place to stop and learn all about the history of the Boulder area. It also puts on programs and events, so be sure to check the calendar.

Other Must-Visits

Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Café

As one of only three exclusively poetry bookstores in the United States, Innisfree is definitely worth checking out. Even if you don’t like reading poetry, it often has readings, so you can hear the poetry from the author, as it was meant to be heard. Innisfree is also a great place to grab a coffee and a pastry or pull out your laptop if you need to get some work done.

Albums on the Hill

If you’re into music, Albums on the Hill is for you. With vinyl and CDs, as well as movies, T-shirts, posters and other music-oriented merch, Albums is a great place to spend a casual afternoon. As a Boulder business for more than 30 years and a strong supporter of charities, you can feel good about the money you’ll inevitably spend here.

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