9 Reasons Why We’d Move to Boulder (and 1 Reason Why We Won’t)

Boulder after a snowstorm

Boulder, Colorado

We went to Colorado to see if maybe we want to move to Boulder someday. The idea came about because everyone who knows us, upon hearing that we sort of, maybe thinking about it, told us, “You’ll love it there!” I think some of them have actually been to Colorado before.

Regardless, they were correct.

We found many reasons to fall in love with Boulder:

The mountains

View of the mountain range next to Boulder
View of the mountain range next to Boulder

If you drive on Canyon Road from downtown Boulder, you’ll be deep in the mountains less than 5 minutes. Boulder is that close to the mountains.

There are roads criss crossing the mountain range that offer beautiful views. You know how much I love road trips.

Where to go: a drive through Boulder Canyon, and the peak-to-peak highway from Nederland to Estes Park.

Boulder has a climbing culture

Reason #3 to move to Boulder - Movement Gym
Movement Gym, Boulder, CO

Boulder has always been known as the place to be among climbing circles. With hundreds of routes in Rocky Mountain, Eldorado Canyon State Park, and the Flatirons so close by it’s easy to see why.

We like to climb so living in a place that has a climbing culture is important to us.

Where to go: the places mentioned above (outdoors), Movement Climbing Gym.

The skiing

Eldora Mountain Resort is 20 miles away from Boulder and there’s even a public shuttle. I can’t imagine living so close to a ski resort.

And if that’s not enough, there are 21 other ski resorts all within driving distance of Boulder.

Rocky Mountain National Park

by Billy Hathorn

Living in Boulder means living far from Yosemite – our favorite place on Earth. But Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour away and we should be able to get our hiking and camping fix there.

Boulder’s Open Spaces

Looking over Boulder from Sunrise Canyon, Boulder, CO
Looking over Boulder from Sunrise Canyon

Back in the 70’s Boulder decided to tax itself in order to buy up land surrounding their city to contain urban sprawl. As a result, Boulder is now surrounded by these open lands for its residents to hike, to walk their dogs, and just to enjoy nature.

Where to go: Chautuga Open Space, Sunrise Canyon Open Space

The people

Boulder is filled with beautiful people. Not sticky figure, model-like beautiful – but glowing, rosy cheeked people who look like they’ve just finished a half marathon.

(With this being Boulder, they might as well could have.)

But not only that, Boulder has the highest percentage of people with an advanced degree in the country. I like to think that being around smart people would make me smarter too.

There’s nothing like being surrounded by healthy and smart people to make me feel sorry about my life motivated to be just like them.

Where to people watch in Boulder: Pearl St. Mall


Pumpkin + Ricotta Ravioli with Truffle Brown Butter at Oak, Boulder
Pumpkin + Ricotta Ravioli with Truffle Brown Butter – Oak

Boulder has plenty of great restaurants and quite a lively foodie scene. As of a matter of fact, Bonappetit named Boulder ‘Foodiest Town’ in 2010. Boulderites take their food and where it comes from seriously.

Where to eat: Oak on Pearl Street, Southside Walnut Cafe, Dushanbe Tea House, The Kitchen, and Foolish Craig’s (among others).


Beglian Tripple from Mountain Sun Pub, Boulder, CO

I rarely drink beer at home. But there are certain cases when I do crave beer: usually after coming back from a long climb or a hike.

Luckily, Boulder comes equipped with local breweries that serve delicious craft beers.

Where to drink in Boulder: Our favorite breweries in Boulder: Mountain Sun. There’s also Avery and Tasty Weasels (no food).

The Mile-High state

Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana usage in the last election. Seriously, it’s making California looking old and square.

But Boulder is without its problem

Boulder is not very diverse

It took us 10 min on Boulder’s main street, Pearl St to notice that Boulder’s population is not very ethnically diverse.

Then again, compared to San Francisco, most US cities might seem homogeneous by comparison. It doesn’t bother me much right now because I take living in a multi-ethnic environment for granted. I’m afraid I won’t know what I miss until it’s not there anymore.

Despite it being such a whitey town, we really like Boulder and we can see ourselves moving to Boulder someday. Even if it means I’d be the token Asian chick.

However, it doesn’t mean we’re packing our things up and moving tomorrow. The thing is San Francisco is just too much fun for now and we’re still enjoying everything it has to offer.

Is there a place that you can see yourselves moving to in the future?

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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19 Replies to “9 Reasons Why We’d Move to Boulder (and 1 Reason Why We Won’t)”

  1. I wrote off Boulder when looking for our next place to land in the west because of the COST. Lots of great mountain towns out there, and even what we ended up choosing (less mountain town more foothill town, Boise). However, the ethnic makeup there is about the same as Boulder. : (

  2. My partner and I are considering moving from Miami shores to Boulder
    We are a gay couple in our 50’s 1 Anglo and 1 Cuban
    Wonder if anyone can suggest a part of town?

  3. My take?… I have lived in Boulder since 1999. I loved it for about 10 years- but have since developed a ‘love/hate’ relationship with the area. Love: the weather, the amenities (shops, restaurants, dog stores, trails, etc.). It was easy for me to make friends here when I arrived (as long as you are into outdoor activities and are very active- both physically and socially). Hate: the traffic has become ridiculous for the size of the town – also the college students now pretty much drive me crazy. Housing – well, if you are a trustafarian or have access to family money you can buy something here, but other than that, good luck. The housing market is literally insane (this is along the whole front range area- not just Boulder proper) and you have to competitively bid and if you are lucky (*lucky*) you can find an actual house for maybeeeee $400-500K that is basically a piece of crap unless you choose to live at around 20-30+ minutes outside of Boulder given traffic. Look up http://www.coloradoproperties.com and see for yourself. People here do care about the environment and the community is progressive (both which I like), however, the feel of Boulder has changed since I moved here…it is becoming a Santa Barbara look-alike with all the SUVs containing the license plates “Respect Life” – hard to do when you are averaging 15 miles a gallon. There will be another major influx of people (1,500) in 2016 when Google opens a campus here which will just add to the ridiculous housing shortage and high prices that already exist. And yes, everyone here is white (unless you are a blue collar service worker…then you are latino/a)….minus the large College of Engineering Indian student population (from India)… hope that helps to give you a more realistic picture. It is not cheap to live here – but once you have made good friends, it is harder to leave.

  4. My husband is considering relocating back to CO since he enjoys the active lifestyle it offers, Boulder in particular. I, on the other hand, is a little hesitant. I could live in Boston, NYC, Seattle (used to live there), SF, but haven’t have my heart set in Boulder. I loved it when visited. And, like many posts previously mentioned, it’s too homogeneous. My husband is Caucasian and I am Chinese American, we are expecting our first child. We currently live in Houston – although not the ideal city for many (us included), we enjoy the diversity it offers. There is a Mandarin emersion school in the middle of the city! I want to raise our children in a well-rounded and diverse environment. Boulder seems to lack that element. Anyone has any recommendation regarding a more diverse area? Maybe Denver?

  5. I live in Denver Colorado. Boulder Colorado is more like a middle class neighborhood were the majority of the people living there are Caucasian. I don’t live over there, and I have heard that some people in Boulder have an issue about the whole gay thing. My uncle is gay and knew a few gay people that lived in Boulder. He said they were quiet about being gay because it was an issue up there. I think there are minorities living in Boulder, but I have no clue how many non- caucasians live up there. I personally wouldn’t live up there myself,. There are other areas in Denver like Colorado springs Colorado, Golden Colorado, and Evergreen Colorado. They are middle class neighborhoods and there are alot of town homes and houses around there. Colorado is the Rocky Mountain state. So you can take short trips to the mountains and visit certain areas.

  6. Boulder actually has ethnic diversity but just doesn’t pay tribute to it enough. The culture is certainly predominantly white, but it’s the mindset of the culture which is the problem, and which seems to be changing slightly toward the better. This mindset is one that fears something different and shoves all “unordinary” into a tight box. This is a global paradigm that is shifting, but slowly.

  7. As a colombian american living in Miami I understand perfectly well your concern, because I experienced the discomfort when living in Wake forest, NC for two years where there isn't much ethnic diversity. Im also considering moving to Boulder, but I doubt Id feel the same discomfort I did in NC. The way I see it, the reason the white-iness got to me in NC was because there really wasnt anything to do – at least not in my area – so, my entertainment revolved around the regular, mundane activities of southern american life. I have to say, the regular mundane activities of latin american life is much more entertaining. It might be a bit much for some, but anyone who has visited or lived in Miami will understand what Im talking about. Anyway, I think itll be different in Boulder (at least for me) because I think the bulk of entertainment and comfort will lie in the passion for outdoor activities that will be shared with a good portion of the people surrounding me. But thats just me speculating, of course, I could be wrong. I guess ill just have to find out in about 3 years when I finally move, and hopefully I wont be running back to Miami.

  8. The food does look pretty good though, those Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli with Truffle Brown Butter must have been very tasty, are you sure you aren't moving there? Just kidding, I understand perfectly. We've been traveling for over 6 months now and left our home, countries and everything we owned to explore what the world has to offer which mean we aren't ready to stop & settle down somewhere as yet. We still have to find a place where we'd move in the future. Any suggestions?

  9. I moved to Maine a few years ago (home of Portland, Bon Appetit's Foodiest Small Town 2009) and immediately noticed the lack of ethnic diversity, and I do miss it. But Portland, like Boulder is a fantastic sea town with great food, a fantastic tech and design community, and a heritage outdoors culture.

    On a side note, my brother and sister-in-law lived in Colorado Springs and recently moved to Denver, but Boulder is their ideal place to live.

  10. Oh we'd take you up on your offer. Honestly, like I mentioned, the lack of diversity isn't a dealbreaker – I was just more surprised at the fact that we noticed it at all. It's never something we deliberately look for, you know? 'Boulder Bubble' – I can so see that. Even physically it's like a bubble, surrounded by all of those mountains and open spaces.

  11. How nice to see a travel post on my hometown! I, like most people I guess, couldn't stay in the place I was raised. One of the main reasons I left is for lack of diversity! I fit all to well into that white bread sandwich of a town.

    If you move there, you'll also learn about the 'Boulder Bubble' phenomenon. Something we say is that Boulder is 40 square miles surrounded by reality. Sometimes it really does feel like a granola island!

    I would recommend living there for a while if you're looking for a change from the frenzy of San Fran. If you want some local knowledge, hit me up! I can recommend some of the best mountain spots to see (outside of Rocky Mountain NP).

  12. My wife (who is from the States) feels the same way you do. Anywhere that is too homogenous is not to her taste.

    She has commented more than once that she likes the Black culture in the States that adds so much to life.

  13. I well understand your feelings. There's just something about living amid a sea of homogeneous vanilla that makes me uncomfortable (and I'm as white as any!) I once lived on a beautiful island off the coast of Seattle, but left in part, 'cuz is was so waspy. Interestingly, I just returned from a near month in Australia, and – save for Sydney, felt the same discomfort.

    I too lived in Boulder for a few months once, but I don't recall feeling the 'whitey" – perhaps 'cuz it was such a short stay.

    Of course now I live in Vietnam where white faces are rare indeed! 😉

  14. Looks like plenty of reasons to move to Boulder. I went to school there many years ago and loved it! It's truly a great city even though like you mention, a little homogenous.

  15. I understand what you mean about the lack of diversity. After living in New York for many years, the lack of diversity in many parts of the states is really noticeable.

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