The bar scene can be really fun in Boulder, but I used to say that only one in 10 nights I went out was actually worth it — both in terms of the amount of fun I had as well as the way I felt the next day. Luckily, there are endless opportunities to go out in Boulder without drinking or needing an ID. You'll probably find you meet more interesting people and spend way less money, too.

Here are just a couple of ideas beyond the obvious hiking, climbing, hunting, fishing and skiing options.

Lights, camera, action

Brayden Coleman bowls at The Connection in the University Memorial Center.
Brayden Coleman bowls at The Connection in the University Memorial Center. (Colorado Daily file photo)

Netflix is great and everything, especially when "chillin'" is involved, but it won't polish your social skills and I bet you've already seen every episode of The Office, Black Mirror and Stranger Things a thousand times. Instead, go check out the latest films in CHEM 140 on campus. Not only is it free, courtesy of Program Council, but it also come with popcorn to munch on as you watch.

If you're into more artistic films, CU's own International Film Series runs during the school year and screens various movies from mainstream flicks to arthouse cinema. Most screenings take place at Muenzinger Auditorium or at the VAC, both on campus. Check out the schedule at InternationalFilmSeries.com.


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You can also catch screenings at The Dairy Center for the Arts, where they play a new collection of movies each week at the Boedecker Theater, with plots that range from current-event commentary to some crazy collection of comedian stand-up acts. Get the details at TheDairy.org.

Strike!

The Connection at the UMC has Boulder's only bowling alley, and it just so happens to be on campus. While it's not free, there are great deals. From 6 p.m. to close Monday nights, it's only $8 per person for two hours of unlimited bowling — shoes and a fountain drink included. Or you can get extreme on Friday and Saturday nights, bowling under black lights with colored lanes and pins from 7 p.m. to close. There's even a bowling league for those of us who actually know how to bowl. And to shake things up, The Connection hosts karaoke and trivia nights, and billiards, video game and poker tournaments, as well as pinball machines, foosball, air hockey tables and HDTVs for sports fans. Find out more at colorado.edu/umc/connection.

Get buzzed

Boulder has plenty of small coffee shops that serve up the best non-alcoholic beverage around: piping-hot mugs of often locally roasted coffee. Thanks to the folks with Local Table Tours, you can get a guided tour of these shops and their best brews. Pair that with chocolate and locally baked pastries, and you've got a fine Saturday planned out. Tours run at 10:30 a.m. every first and third Saturday of the month or by special request, and they cost $30 per person. Go to localtabletours.com.

Rock out with your ... uh ... just rock out

Scott Morrison, left, plays Jake Liebow in a Super Smash Bros. video game tournament at The Connection inside the University Memorial Center.
Scott Morrison, left, plays Jake Liebow in a Super Smash Bros. video game tournament at The Connection inside the University Memorial Center. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

I'll leave it to our music experts to guide your musical journey across Boulder. But half the fun of the Front Range is the never-ending stream of great music popping up at venues across town. The Fox and Boulder Theater bring in big-name acts. But then there's spots like the Pearl Street Pub and Cellar or The Laughing Goat with local musicians. You never know when you may discover your next favorite group or catch a future sensation when they're plugged into a makeshift audio system and trying out new stuff.

History's cool!

Have you ever wanted to watch a true crime documentary based in Boulder? Well the Banjo Billy crew is here to help. When you hop on this eccentric tour bus, you're in for a ride through the town's colorful past. The hosts know all the ghost tales, crime stories and history. Listen from a couch, recliner or saddle (all on the bus) as you watch the town fly by. See times and ticket prices at banjobilly.com.

John Spina: twitter.com/jsspina24