Sure, turning 21 feels great — a milestone that gets you a new ID and access to the bar scene. But I assure you, the novelty fades quickly amid hangovers and empty wallets. Now closer to 30 than 20, I long for days when drinking wasn't the go-to for a good time. It's more fun to get creative and find something not fueled by cocktails. So here's a set of fun underage activities:

Cue it up

We all know those clubs on campus airing foreign films or those independent films made by such 'n' such up-and-coming director on a $25.60 budget. And sometimes we alight to the challenge of making sense of these movies. But sometimes we, for better or worse, have had our eye on a new release with that celebrity we pretend to hate. Well CU's Program Council has you covered. Often, they'll be screening the latest films in CHEM 140 on campus, serving up popcorn to munch on as you watch. Oh, did I mention it's free?

But maybe I was too quick in putting down the films from off the beaten path.

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. Info: www.internationalfilmseries.com.

Over at The Dairy Center for the Arts, you can catch screenings of films you definitely won't see at Boulder's Century Theatre. Each week, there's a new collection showing at the Boedecker Theater, with plots that range from current event commentary to some crazy collection of comedian stand-up acts. Info: www.thedairy.org.


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Throughout the summer, the Boulder Outdoor Cinema airs a new film every Saturday just after sunset. And the films, well, they're the classics we all come together and enjoy as one big dysfunctional family. There's live music before each film, and donations are happily and heartily accepted. Do check them out once the parkas are put away for good. Info: www.boulderoutdoorcinema.com.

Strike!

If there's one thing I know, it's that we all like to bowl. Even when you say you don't. There's something about showcasing your lack of skills and still having a blast with fellow failure. In fact, those who can bowl strike after strike are the ones we all grumble about while deciding whether granny bowling is taking things too far. (Hint: It's not. It's awesome.) The Connection at the UMC is Boulder's only bowling alley (and it's on campus!), chock-full of weekly deals. Monday nights, from 6 p.m. to close, it's only $8 per person for 2 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 even hosts karaoke nights, bowling leagues, billiard/video game/poker tournaments, pinball machines, foosball and air hockey tables and HDTVs for sports fans. Info: www.colorado.edu/umc/connection

Get buzzed

Colorado has plenty to boast about besides craft beer and hiking — though let's face it, those are two areas where it excels. But coffee, well, that's not just Seattle's thing. In Boulder alone, plenty of smaller coffee shops are serving up piping-hot mugs of often locally roasted coffee to re-energize your day. 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 every first and third Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m., or by special request, and only cost $30 a person. Info: www.localtabletours.com

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

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, or even open mic nights at others like Conor O'Neill's. You never know when you may discover your next favorite group, or catch a future sensation when they're plugged into a make-shift audio system, trying out new stuff.

History's cool!

It's strange, though, that we can live somewhere and rarely know the history of the place. Well here to help is the Banjo Billy crew. When you hop on the 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. Info: www.banjobilly.com

Sieh pens 'China Monologues' every other Tuesday for the Colorado Daily. Read more: coloradodaily.com/columnists.