kristy holland

This week's rain is a wet reminder about the year's progress: Spring is officially here. Crocuses are blooming, birds are chirping, it's almost tank-top-and hot-pants season -- there's more and more romance in the air everyday. You just have to get your love interest outside to smell the flowers for herself.

Doing so doesn't require an all-out outdoorsy commitment or a rough-and-tumble adventure. You can opt out of your comfort-zone dates in dark, dingy dive bars without taking an all-out leap into a muddy puddle. Take advantage of the start of Boulder's best season with these semi-urban date ideas that provide a perfect opportunity to enjoy the budding season and all it brings to Boulder.

A summertime date staple is finally starting up again; this Saturday is opening day for Boulder County's Farmer's Market (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; on 13th Street, between Arapahoe and Canyon). Cool temps mean that fresh crops are still relatively sparse compared to summer's bounty, but many of the market's 80-plus regular vendors will be in attendance with hot meals -- try the pupusas -- or picnic-ready products, like Haystack goat cheese and Breadworks' fresh baked goods. Plan a mid-morning meet-up and allow for a pre-market wander alongside Boulder Creek before cruising 13th Street for lunch. For an extra dose of romance, follow your daytime date with a fresh, herbal, cucumber-laden Cannonball cocktail at the Bitter Bar's outdoor patio (835 Walnut St.


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Start a more active Saturday date with a visit to Community Cycles (noon to 6 p.m.; 2805 Wilderness Place, Suite 1000; communitycycles.org) to peruse their collection of refurbished cruisers and commuter bikes. If you end up buying a new bike bell or even a new ride -- don't scoff, their bargain prices and freshly-tuned setups are hard to refuse -- spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the network of bike paths through the flats east of town. Want an easy cruise? Pedal over to Avery's Tap Room (5763 Arapahoe Ave.; averybrewing.com) by 2 p.m. and you'll be just in time to join the brewery tour and get a beer and pint glass for just $2. Feeling more ambitious? The all-organic Asher Brewery (4699 Nautilus Court, Suite 104; asherbrewing.com) is a rolling five-mile ride from Community Cycles, but it's worth it for a refreshing, frothy pour of their Green Bullet I.P.A.

If the quaint, freshness of the farmer's market appeals, but a biking adventure is too outdoorsy for your gal, go all out by buying your lady a meal at one of Boulder's best farm-to-table meals. The Kitchen's (1039 Pearl St.; thekitchencommunity.com) seasonal menu is a splurge, but the atmosphere is at once casual and classy. It's perfect for impressing a lady-friend and making a memory before the end of the school year. Cheers to spring!

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.