To all you wide-eyed freshman fresh straight out of the parents' house, and the seniors staring down the "real world" commitments of the near future: Sure classes and GPAs are crucial, but so is making the most out of these four (or five, six, seven, eight) years.
Boulder's chock-full of things you'll only get in this strange town of ours, and I can't have you leaving without making the most of them. So here's your Boulder bucket list, to Instagram/Snapchat/hashtag your way through before graduating.
Hit The Trails
A great thing about living in Boulder is the view. I mean seriously, those Flatirons are so damn sexy — they make our town look good. But what's even better than staring at those delightful curves is getting all up in 'em. You can hike straight to the top of those hills nearly any day of the year. Looking for a quick hike with a hell of a view? Trot your way up the First Flatiron trail and rest on the ledge overlooking the hills. Want buns of steel? The Royal Arch trail is a straight-up natural stairmaster looking to whip you in shape before rewarding you with a glorious view. Over behind NCAR, past the Mallory Cave and Bear Canyon, Bear Peak looms above everything else — a bit of a slog that's worth every step of the way.
I'm not one for physical fitness, and I abhor running. But when it comes to this city's races, I'm all about signing up. There's this 10K, for example, that you may have heard of: The Bolder Boulder? That race where more than 50,000 people come from all over the world to jostle their way across Boulder before crossing the finish line in the heart of Folsom Field? It's as cool as it sounds, and one of the most quintessential Boulder events. Plus, participants are rewarded with beer and snacks and you can walk or run the whole thing in the costume of your choice. (They have the Colder Boulder, too, if you like the idea of trotting around the University of Colorado campus in the snow and freezing wind.)
If beer's your motivator, there are also a number of brewery runs throughout the year. Avery hosts a mad dash for the Fourth of July, and BRU Handbuilt Ales played host to one of the Rocky Mountain Brew runs. Of course, there are also a number of excellent causes to break a sweat for, too, like a jog around the Boulder Reservoir in support for youth suicide prevention. Check in with www.active.com.
Boulder is overflowing with craft beer — some of the most creative, adventurous craft beer along the Front Range. While Avery Brewing pumps out sours that'll have your face permanently puckered, folks at Wild Woods Brewing use surprising spices and fruits to please your taste buds. An admitted beer lover, I made it a point to visit as many breweries as possible and wasn't disappointed by any of them. With a group of your best buds and fellow beer drinkers, plot your course for a craft beer tour all your own. Designate a sober driver, or go by foot or bike (both viable options in this little hamlet of ours). The key, here, is moderation and exploration. Get a flight or two to share with the group, and then move on. Don't go full pint unless you're certain that beer is the one you want from that location. Don't let a flavor or type of beer ("I only drink double IPAs" my ass) stop you from sampling a new release. You never know what your new favorite will be.
You can also go with the guidance of those at Boulder Brew Tours. Walking tours (starting at 3 p.m.) and driving tours (starting at 2 p.m.) take participants through a number of Boulder's craft breweries, all the while explaining the brewing process and what makes those brews unique. Info: boulderbrewtours.com
Don't care for craft beer? Pick three local bars and rent a 16-passenger bar bike that you and your pals can pedal around town. Just head to www.myhandlebar.com and pick a few spots to hit. Then you'll earn your booze as you make your way around town. For just $23 a person, it's a fun way to spice up your weekend pub crawl.
Over at the Pearl Street Pub, there's this giant stuffed buffalo head. Its fuzzy face, in varying states of cleanliness, looks down from the wall of this local watering hole and watches us all get a little too drunk. To its credit, it never judges, but merely takes in the sites of fellow Buffs' drunken debauchery. To pay tribute to this patient and gentle creature, we all take turns puckering up and giving it a quick peck. (Seriously, leave the French style to your boo.) It's like our very own Blarney Stone, except it's not the gift of gab, but the gift of ... uh ... oh hell, just kiss it. Even buffalo heads need love.
Get all Boulder-y
There's all sorts of stereotypes about Boulder. I'm pretty sure most people in Indiana think we all wear hemp clothes, have daisies growing from our dreadlocks because we're too stoned to shower and hold protests every Thursday over quinoa prices. But while I wouldn't go that far, I'd argue this town is a bit quirky. So let's embrace it. Perform the instrument of your choice — be it bagpipes, trumpet or African shell of some sort — along the Pearl Street Mall. Cook an entirely vegan meal or make it through a week-long dietary cleanse. Stop by a dispensary and pick up some legal weed. Spend a day by the Boulder Reservoir doing yoga on a paddleboard. Join a crossfit gym and spend the rest of the week unable to move. It's all part of the Boulder experience.
Sieh pens 'China Monologues' every other Tuesday for the Colorado Daily. Read more: coloradodaily.com/columnists.