Five Boulder Attractions You Can Enjoy for Free

 Boulder, Colorado vacations in the summer provide a wide mix of things to do, many of which center on the outdoors. With weather at its best in the summer months, you can spend much of your time exploring this beautiful community and the nature that surrounds it, all without paying a single cent. And, on the occasional rainy day, you will find some free museums and indoor attractions to keep you busy.
CU Natural History Museum
CU has a natural history museum with collections of botany, entomology, and other exhibits, like this one by Kim Abeles, called “The Invisible Connectedness of Things.”

Popular Free Attractions in Boulder

As you are planning to visit Boulder, Colorado, you can keep your budget in line by visiting these locations.

University of Colorado Natural History Museum

The University of Colorado has a natural history museum on its main university campus. While the museum is not that large, it houses collections of botany, anthropology, entomology, paleontology and zoology, and is always free to the public, although they do appreciate a small suggested donation.

Graduate students regularly work with the museum and its collections, so they are often changing to share new exhibits with their visitors. This location provides a great place to cool off on a particularly hot day or to kill time during a rainy afternoon.

Boulder Public Library Concert Series
Check the Boulder Public Library’s schedule to find out who’s playing their concert series during your visit.

Boulder Public Library Concert Series

If you happen to be visiting Boulder on a day when the public library is hosting a concert, you are in for a treat. They have a few concerts every month held in their auditorium, so weather is not an issue. There are no tickets required, but you might want to arrive a bit early to ensure you get a seat. Make sure to check their schedule to find out if there’s an upcoming  performance you want to attend.

Boulder Falls

Boulder Falls is accessed via a short, less than a half-mile hike just off of the highway. The impressive sixty-six foot waterfall is an excellent location to take pictures and enjoy the beauty of Colorado. Even though the hike is short, it is still far enough away from the freeway to give you relative solitude. The falls are 11 miles west of Boulder on the north side of Boulder Canyon Drive. The area is sometimes called the Yosemite of Boulder Canyon, so you can expect to find great photo opportunities.

Chautauqua Entrance Sign
The Chautauqua National Historic Landmark offers nearby trails, picnic areas, and regular events.

Chautauqua National Historic Landmark

The Chautauqua National Historic Landmark sits on the western edge of the city in the foothills. The area also has a nearby park with trails of all lengths and ability levels, so it is perfect for the traveler who loves to hike. There is also a picnic area for guests to use.

Keep in mind that, although visiting the park is free, you will have to buy tickets if you wish to participate in any of the concerts, films, dance performances, or other events often held here. Don’t wait until the last minute, either, as many shows tend to sell out.

National Center for Atmospheric Research

The National Center for Atmospheric Research sits in the mountains above Boulder and has a hands-on museum and outdoor nature walk area that is completely free to the public. This is a working lab, so you may want to call before you visit to ensure there are not other events going on.

NCAR Boulder
Explore the hands-on museum and outdoor area at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

If You Go

If you have decided that Boulder, Colorado travel is in your future, be sure to visit to learn more about the city and what there is to see and do. Because Boulder is in the mountains, the summer temperatures may not arrive until June, so plan your visit accordingly.

University of Colorado Natural History Museum
1416 Broadway

Boulder Public Library Concert Series
1001 Arapahoe Ave.

Chautauqua National Historic Landmark
900 Baseline Road

National Center for Atmospheric Research
1850 Table Mesa Drive

Special thanks to the Boulder Public Library Concert Series, Colorado Chautauqua Association, and the University of Colorado Natural History Museum for providing the photos featured in this article!
Photo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research by Flickr user trickofthelight.