Travel to Boulder, Colorado: Best Family-Friendly Things To Do

One of the things we love when we travel to Boulder, Colorado, is that no matter where you go, you can see the flatirons. Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and just north of Denver, Boulder offers visitors the best of outdoor adventure and city amenities. A trip to Boulder is perfect for hiking, biking, and dining. We’re highlighted our top kid-friendly Boulder attractions and destinations.

Things to do in downtown Boulder

Downtown Boulder is family-friendly and fun all year round. There are so many things to do, but we think you’ll especially love the three following activities!

Walk Pearl Street Mall

Pearl Street Mall
image courtesy of Downtown Boulder Partnership

The Pearl Street district is a great place to explore and experience Boulder as a family. There are lots of specialty shops and a ton of great restaurants—many of which are kid friendly. When BabyQuip Quality Provider Amy Mahan is on Pearl Street, her favorite place to eat is West Flanders Brewing Co. They have a great kids menu, games, and a bin of Legos for the littles to play with. 

Pearl Street is a great place to see street performers during the warmer months. And the unique play structures located about every block are just begging to be climbed on. Kids can practice their bouldering skills on one of the large animal statues or boulders. During the summer months, be sure to splash in the pop-jet fountain on Pearl and 14th Street.

Best kid-friendly shops on Pearl Street

family painting pottery
Image courtesy of Color Me Mine

Kids will love the kite and toy shop Into the Wind. Whether you’re looking for a simple beginner kite, a stunt kite, or supplies to build your own kite, Into the Wind has it all. They also have a huge selection of toys—a great souvenir idea! The curated toy selection includes STEM toys, books, and games.

If you have an hour or two to spare, stop by Color Me Mine and create your ceramic masterpiece—drop-ins are welcome! Staff can help you select a technique—we think kids will love using shaving cream to create a unique design. Pieces are then finished and fired by staff and ready for you in about a week. If you’re from out of town, your finished piece can be shipped to your home. This family-friendly art project is best for littles two and older.

Explore the Museum of Natural History at CU Boulder

children at the Museum of Natural History at CU Boulder
Photo by Glenn Asakawa/CU Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado

The Museum of Natural History on the University of Colorado Boulder campus is located just one mile south of Pearl Street. The museum is open seven days a week (closed holidays) and admission is free. There are numerous kid-friendly programs including Mornings at the Museum for littles 2–5 years old. Don’t miss the Discovery Corner exhibit, located on the lower level, where the youngest museum visitors can explore in a hands-on activity space. Visiting with older kids? Check out the Family Days schedule of events. 

When you’re done learning about natural and human history at the museum, take a walk over to the Fiske Planetarium. The exhibit space is open daily with public planetarium show times Thursday through Sunday.

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Best outdoor activities for kids in Boulder

There is definitely no lack of outdoor activities when you travel to Boulder, Colorado. With miles of hiking trails, water activities and parks galore, it’s almost impossible to not stay active during your entire visit!

Go for a kid-friendly hike at Chautauqua Park

Chautauqua park in boulder colorado
image courtesy of City of Boulder

The history of Chautauqua Park dates back to 1898 when residents of Boulder approved a bond to preserve wild lands for public use. Today, visitors can explore the miles of trails in Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. Parking at Chautauqua Park is free but can be a challenge during good weather and busy seasons, so arrive early. We recommend visiting the Ranger Cottage where you can pick up a free Nature Discovery Pack. Rangers can also help recommend a hike that’s perfect for your family.

Go for a swim at Boulder Reservoir

boulder resevoir
image courtesy of City of Boulder

When you travel to Boulder, Colorado, it can get HOT during the summer months. After you work up a sweat hiking one of the area trails, cool off at the sandy beach at Boulder Reservoir. Located just north of Boulder, the swimming beach is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you’re looking to get out on the water, boat rentals are available. For lunch or dinner, we recommend the nearby Avery Brewing Co. Request a table on the patio and let your kids run around the adjacent field while you sip on a beer.

Go for a bike ride at Valmont Bike Park

Valmont bike park in boulder colorado
image courtesy of City of Boulder

The 42-acre, natural surface cycling terrain park, Valmont Bike Park, is a must-visit destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. Park in the lot on Airport Road and let your little explore life on two wheels in the Tot Track. When they get tired of riding, check out the adjacent playground. Rent a bike from University Bicycles (for humans at least four feet tall). Bring your own balance bike or tricycle.

Indoor adventures in Boulder

Don’t fret if the rain or cold impacts your outdoor plans. Boulder is home to some one-of-a-kind indoor gyms for kids of all ages.

Learn how to climb at ABC Kids Climbing

ABC Kids Climbing Gym
Image courtesy of ABC Kids Climbing Gym

Travel to Boulder, Colorado isn’t complete without a little rock climbing or bouldering. Introduce your kids to climbing at ABC Kids Climbing, a 7,200 square foot climbing gym built to help kids develop mental and physical climbing muscles. You can pop in during open gym hours on Tuesday, Saturday, or Sunday. This activity to best for littles two and older.

Burn off some steam at CATS Gym when you travel to Boulder, Colorado.

CATS gym in boulder colorado
image courtesy of CATS Gym

You and your little ones will have a blast jumping on the trampoline, scaling the climbing wall, and somersaulting on the spring floor at CATS Gym. There are a number of open gym options for all ages. 

For kiddos under five, check out the Wednesday and Friday Tumbling Tots Open Play—your first visit it free! Open gym on Saturdays is for the six and up crowd. And for an interesting date night excursion, there’s an adults-only open gym, Monday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Summary—Visiting Boulder with kids.

image courtesy of Downtown Boulder Partnership
  • Explore Pearl Street Mall, check out the local shops, and eat at West Flanders Brewing Co.
  • Visit the Museum of Natural History and Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.
  • Get outside at Chautauqua Park, Boulder Reservoir, and Valmont Bike Park.
  • Check out these indoor gyms: ABC Kids Climbing and CATS Gym.


  1. Gigi Singh

    January 23, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Such a nice Post!

  2. Lori

    December 31, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Looks like tons of family fun to be had in all of these spots! If we make it out that way I’ll have to be sure to come back to this list.

  3. Crystal Steinberg

    December 18, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Definitely on my bucket list! Love that the museum provides programs for ages 2-5! It can be tough to engage toddlers in museum visits, so I love that they are appealing to our littles!

    1. Kathy Dittrich

      December 19, 2019 at 1:48 pm

      I love it when museums have exhibits geared towards babies and toddlers. Even if we only visit for an hour or so, it’s a great way to introduce little ones to museums.

  4. Jennifer Clark

    December 18, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I have never been to Boulder, always go to Colorado Springs via Denver. It is such a wonderful outdoorsy state. Have seen some beautiful things but now I am interested in checking out Boulder!

    1. Kathy Dittrich

      December 19, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Boulder definitely has a different vibe than Colorado Springs, check it out the next time you fly into Denver:-)

  5. Rebecca Ruelas

    December 18, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Colorado, and particularly Boulder, have been on my travel list my whole life! I’m from flat Illinois, so I would love all the hiking and outdoor activities that this area has to offer. And the Boulder Reservoir looks amazing!

    1. Kathy Dittrich

      December 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      I’m from the midwest too, and I agree—there’s just something stunning about the mountains.

  6. Folabo

    December 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve never been to Colorado but after reading this blog I’m looking forward to and will share information with families looking for places to visit.
    I especially love that the museum is open 7 days a week except on holidays and it’s free. This is a great place to take kids for sightseeing and to learn about the area.

    1. Kathy Dittrich

      December 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Colorado is a great family destination. And who doesn’t love a free museum?

  7. Sarah Huff

    December 13, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Colorado is definitely on my bucket list-especially with the kids!

    1. Kathy Dittrich

      December 19, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Agree, it’s such a family friendly state!

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