It might sound ridiculous. Nearly impossible.
But sometimes, you want to hang out indoors when you’re in Boulder County.
In a community with such breathtaking natural habitats and endless outdoor adventures year-round, it can be hard to imagine any reason to head inside. But on those rare occasions when the weather is too uncomfortable, your grip is too T. rexxed to go rock climbing again or you need a time out from Mother Nature, there’s no shortage of fun under a rooftop in this part of the world.
Here are the 13 best indoor things to do in Boulder.
1. Visit the Planetarium.
The Fiske Planetarium is one of the coolest things to do indoors in Boulder. This magical, entertaining dome shows science and nature shows, as well as laser shows and shows about the stars, art, music and more.
2. Play Games.
Play pinball at Lyons Classic Pinball, one of the most renowned pinball destinations in the state. Also check out the arcade at the Gateway Park Fun Center; Press Play (a bar where you can play pinball, arcades, air hockey, pool and more); and the old-school arcade games in the basement of Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons.
3. Explore the Museums.
Boulder County is a heaven for museum-lovers. For kids, there’s Lafayette’s World of Wonder Museum, where kids can play dress-up, do science experiments, make arts and crafts, play musical instruments and more. Bonus: Check out the seven best indoor things to do with your family here.
The new Museum of Boulder is another hot spot to check out, with exhibits on sports, inventions and more.
If you’re looking for a museum in the area, here’s a full list.
3. Cozy up at the Library.
Boulder’s public library regularly holds special events, like storytimes, live music, art exhibits and more. Inside, you’ll find a theater and healthy restaurant, too.
The George Reynolds branch of the Boulder Public Library is lesser known and a hidden gem in south Boulder.
If you want to snuggle up with a book, consider visiting Boulder’s independent bookstores, too. Two of the most popular ones in downtown are Trident and the Boulder Book Store. There are also smaller ones, like Red Letter Second Hand Used Books and the Lighthouse Bookstore, both on Pearl Street, plus niche stores, like Innisfree (poetry) and Time Warp (comics).
4. Hit up the Rec Centers.
Boulder’s rec centers are more impressive than many towns’ fanciest gyms. They’re all a little different but may offer lazy rivers, rock climbing walls, water slides and group fitness classes.
Likewise, the YMCAs in the area are super fun. The YMCA of Boulder Valley has the standard sports clubs and swimming pools, but it also offers things like meditation classes, Nordic walking, a warm-water therapy pool, a kids’ triathlon, ice hockey, skateboarding camp and more.
5. Go Ice Skating and Skiing. Yes, Indoors.
You don’t have to freeze your mittens off in the snow to go ice skating or skiing in Boulder. Nearby, the Ice Centre in Westminster is open year-round, offering ice-skating classes or drop in skating.
Shredder is an indoor ski and snowboarding school for kids in Boulder. The facility uses synthetic snow, man-built hills and drills and obstacles to teach kids how to ski and board. No ski pass or long lines required.
6. Go Roller Skating.
Skating is big in Boulder. Whether you get amped up watching a roller derby game or try inline hockey for yourself, this retro sport continues to thrive indoors in active BoCo.
7. Embrace the Mile “High.”
While you can’t smoke marijuana in hotel rooms or public places, you can tour a dispensary, go shopping for cannabis, check out glass shops on The Hill and even book a cannabis spa treatment.
8. See a Show.
While Boulder does have some incredible outdoor venues for both live music and theater, the indoor offerings are worth checking out, too. Check the schedule at the Boulder Theater, Fox Theatre, Chautauqua Amphitheater, BDT Stage (the dinner theater), University of Colorado and Dairy Arts Center, to name a few.
Boulder also is home to some reputable tattoo shops and body piercers.
9. Go Rock Climbing.
The Boulder area’s natural climbing “walls” draw rock climbers from around the world, and its indoor climbing offerings are exciting, too. When the weather is too harsh to scale a mountain outside, keep fresh on Boulder’s indoor climbing gyms.
10. Visit NCAR.
As a visitor, it might be easy to overlook somewhere called the National Center for Atmospheric Research. But all the locals know: NCAR is amazing. This center has art galleries, interactive displays and permanent exhibits that let you create a tornado and see how clouds form in the atmosphere, just to name a few. NCAR also holds special events and discussions. It’s a family favorite.
11. Get Zen.
12. Treat Yo’ Self.
Head indoors to a spa or salon. The St Julien hotel has an on-site, full-service spa, complete with an indoor pool with Flatiron views. Or get your nails done at one of the best nail salons in Boulder.
13. Shop, Shop, Shop.
This one’s tricky because both of Boulder’s biggest malls, the Pearl Street Mall and Twenty Ninth Street Mall, are open-air, walking malls. But technically, most stores (other than some small kiosks on the street) are indoors. Check out Travel Boulder’s Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Boulder for the full scoop on where to shop.