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The enviable lifestyle of north central Colorado is set up by the region’s geography and climate. Where else does a string of sophisticated yet laid-back cities parallel a mountain chain that offers such a plethora of outdoor activities? Boulder is the region in a nutshell. Every conceivable trend in food, alternative health care, education, and personal style has come through town, and yet, with its commitment to preserving open space and wilderness, the city abuts so many nonurbanized zones that you can be on a trail to a mountain peak in no time.

Boulder Sights

Boulder and Fort Collins are the two most prominent and characteristic cities of north central Colorado. Between these two energetic university towns, you’ll find the sprawling cities of Loveland and Longmont and a few former coal mining towns with homey, small-town character like Marshall, Louisville, Lafayette, and Erie. To the west are the proud, independent mountain hamlets of Lyons, Nederland, Ward, and Jamestown. Beyond the high peaks are broad valleys dotted with unpretentious ranching communities like Granby and Kremmling, and right in the middle of it all is the area’s crown jewel, Rocky Mountain National Park, and its resorts, Grand Lake and Estes Park. Despite their proximity, each town in the region has its own milieu—a distinct character and a unique history—as though hundreds of miles separated them. Throughout the region are never-ending vistas of green pastures and fields of grain, snowcapped granite peaks, pine- and aspen-forested valleys, raging rivers and meandering streams, deep canyons, and manicured greenbelts—all shared by wildlife and humans.

Boulder Reviews

Thanks to the influx of people from around the world, and their willingness and means to pay for quality food, diners here have curious and educated palates. Restaurants in north central Colorado run the gamut from simple diners with tasty, homey basics to elegant establishments with wine lists numbering hundreds of wines. Increasingly, eateries are featuring organic ingredients and several serve exclusively organic meals and locally produced foods. Even places catering to college students know that their existence depends on good meals made and priced honestly. Some restaurants take reservations, but many, particularly in the middle range, seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

Boulder Reviews

Bed-and-breakfasts and small inns in north central Colorado vary from old-fashioned fluffy cottages to modern, sleek buildings with an understated lodge theme. Ever-popular guest ranches and spas are places to escape and be pampered after having fun outdoors. In the high-country resorts, the elevation keeps the climate cool, and you’ll have a tough time finding air-conditioned lodging. The region is also full of franchise motels and hotels, often at the access points to cities.

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