CU Boulder is a great school part of an amazing town with many available sights, activities, and student traditions to take part in. During four years as a student, or longer if you’re lucky, there are many opportunities to branch out and experience new things and make great friends along the way. Here are 10 things you have to do at CU Boulder before you graduate that you might regret skipping out on.
1. Spend Time on Farrand Field with Friends
Nearly centered on CU Boulder’s dormitory half of campus is a big, fenced-in grass field named Farrand Field. Located next to Farrand Hall and surrounded by other on-campus dorms, the field is a great place for freshmen and other students to hang out in either between classes or just in their free time. You’ll likely find a group of people passing around a football, frisbee, soccer ball, or maybe even surrounding a Spike Ball net. Occasionally you can find a couple of hammocks set up or maybe a group doing some slake-lining between some trees. Largely, though, you’ll find groups of students hanging out, eating some takeout on-campus food, talking about their classes and enjoying the fresh, Colorado air & great weather. However, sunny days aren’t the only days that students find themselves on Farrand. During the snowy season, you can sometimes find some groups of students playing some snow football, having an intense snowball fight, or peacefully building snowmen. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a real sense of community between you and your fellow Buffs hanging out outside and forgetting your stresses. Head to Farrand Field with a blanket, some food, and a great group of friends and you definitely won’t regret it.
2. Support Your Buffs Sports Teams (Football and Basketball)
CU Boulder’s sports events are spectacles that you would regret to miss out on. Joining together bellowing out the CU Fight Song, subsequently changing out the “buff” in “buff ‘em up” for a slightly harsher word, in a volume that shakes the stadium is unforgettable. Surrounded by your fellow students and sharing the joy of scoring plays as well as the bitter taste of defeat. Whether it be basketball or football games, or a different sport at CU Boulder, the school spirit shines bright and strong and it’s an incredible experience to be a part of it. Even if you’re not the biggest sports fan it can still be fun to be part of the crowd and to cheer on your school’s team with your fellow Buffs.
3. Hike the Flatirons
In 2016, Boulder, Colorado was rated the number one most active city in the United States. The numerous hiking spots and bike trails play a huge part in that ranking. CU Boulder students are lucky to be located next to some beautiful and fun hiking trails such as the Flatirons. It’s consistently raved as a “must-do” hike when visiting Boulder by CU students, Boulder residents, and really anyone who experiences it. Many Flatirons trailheads start from Chautauqua Park and lead up to some incredible views of the Boulder landscape and the Rocky Mountains. The great part of these hikes is that they’re beautiful the entire way, not extremely difficult but still make for a great workout, and are enjoyable no matter how many times you hike them. Be careful when the cold of winter hits as some of the trails can get iced over and become dangerous, but the snowy addition to the trails make for a great winter spectacle. Don’t miss out on some of the most incredible and beautiful hiking trails especially when you’re going to school within walking distance of them!
4. Relax at and/or Tube Down Boulder Creek
The Boulder Creek can be another great spot for CU Boulder students to hang out and enjoy the outside together. You can find a nice spot to sit out with some friends, maybe responsibly enjoy some drinks, and get your tan on. If you find yourself still in Boulder during the summer you should consider tubing down the creek. The beginning of the summer is usually the most water and thus the fastest currents, it will very likely be cold, but the creek will mellow out later in the summer. There’s even a “Tube to Work Day” where Boulder residents will wear their work suits and such and will tube down the creek from Eben G. Fine Park to Boulder’s civic area. Whether it be tubing or just hanging out and enjoying the sun and water, make sure to check out the Boulder creek before graduating.
5. Go Skiing / Snowboarding
Although Boulder doesn’t have any local ski/snowboard mountains it’s located close to some very great ones. Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, and more make up the ski resorts that are only at most a few hours from Boulder. Even if you’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before don’t let that stop you from trying it out. As someone who went for their first couple times while at CU Boulder, even though I did fall a lot, I had a ton of fun and only regretted not going more. Nonetheless, it’s worth going at least one time before you graduate and experiencing exciting and snow-filled fun with your friends. There’s even a ski bus that you can buy tickets for that take you to and from the mountains!
6. Experience the Fiske Planetarium
On the CU Boulder campus, there is something that all students, space-enthusiast or not, should experience. The Fiske Planetarium is a public museum on campus that utilizes projections of space and the sky to educate students and the public on astronomy and astrology. If it’s possible to take an astronomy class that utilizes the planetarium then that is highly recommended! It’s a really cool and fun experience that’s conveniently located on campus and has shows generally cheap or even free to students. If you are one to indulge in the 4/20 herb then that can make for an enhanced, other-worldly experience as well. The planetarium could even make for a fun date spot with a fellow space-enthusiast! The newest exhibit at Fiske showcases findings from the Hubble Space Telescope!
7. Go Shopping at the Pearl Street Mall
For over 40 years Pearl Street has acted as the center of historic downtown Boulder with a constant stream of locals, students, and visitors. There are several great stores of all variety as well as tasty food and some great drinking spots. You’ll also likely find a live-performer or two along your stroll of Pearl Street. There are CU Boulder parades (Pearl Street Stampedes) that happen through Pearl Street to kick-off the celebration for every CU football home football game! Other similar community events, live music, great food, and great shops make the Pearl Street Mall one of Boulder’s prized spots. If you’re a CU Boulder student, grab some friends and check it out!
8. Kiss the Buff at the Pearl Street Pub
One of the many great CU Boulder student traditions is to kiss the buffalo on your 21 birthday. Of course, if you kiss it when it’s not your 21 birthday that’s okay too. But ideally, you’ll be heading around on your bar crawl through Boulder drinking spots and you’ll come across the Pearl Street Pub. There you’ll get your chance to join the countless buffs before you in standing on a chair and kissing the hanging buffalo head while inebriated. Show everyone your school spirit and take a great picture to remember the moment in case you don’t really remember.
9. Go to Denver
Again, this is another fun activity to do that doesn’t exactly take place in Boulder. But while you’re a CU Boulder student you need to take advantage of your great location and close proximity to a city as awesome as Denver. If you don’t have a car or access to one, then the bus ride is only slightly over an hour, depending on traffic, and is free for students with their bus cards. Denver is not only a beautiful city but it has tons of fun things to do such as great drinking spots, Coors Field for Rockies baseball games, Empowe Field at Mile High for Broncos football games, and some great music and theatre venues as well. A city of many opportunities that should be experienced before you graduate CU Boulder!
10. Catch a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
This last experience is a non-negotiable for CU Boulder students if you don’t want to graduate with some regret. Red Rock Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado may be one of the greatest music venues that exist in the entire country. In its entirety, the Red Rocks Park feature over 700 acres of hiking trails and great views. But the amphitheater is arguably the greatest aspect of the entire park. It’s a naturally formed, open-air amphitheater with two huge monoliths acting as the stage for live shows. Not only is it a gorgeous sight but in terms of a music venue — it’s incredible. The rows are perfectly placed apart and given lots of space. If you’re the type of person who loves dancing during live shows then you have the room to do so and are also highly encouraged. You don’t feel cramped next to the strangers beside you but if you want to group up with your friends there’s plenty of room for that also. The sound carries very well no matter how far back you go and the rock formations make for some incredible light shows depending on the performing artist. You can take a “bus to show” service that will bus you from Boulder (or Denver) to Red Rocks and back after the show. As a CU Boulder alumni myself, going to Red Rocks was some of the greatest and most fun memories I have from my college experience. You will absolutely never regret catching a great artist performing at Red Rocks, but you will regret it if you don’t.