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Things to Do in Boulder in Winter

A "Top 10 Winter Town" by National Geographic

The next time someone asks you "What are you doing this weekend?" have an answer that you can get excited about. Plan a quick winter getaway to Boulder!

Winter in Boulder is surprising. There typically isn't much snow on the ground, and outdoor activities abound. On warm days, bike rides and hikes are the norm, as are lunches on restaurant patios. On snowy days, coffee shops and breweries are the perfect refuge. Come play in our winter wonderland!

1. Opt Outside

Hiking in Boulder is great any day of the year, including all through winter (especially on these 5 great winter trails). You likely won't even need snowshoes — just a pair of boots. The city offers free, guided nature hikes where you can discover winter birds, snowflakes and animal tracks in the snow. Most of the trails are located no more than five minutes from downtown.

Winter Hiking at Chautauqua

Wander Wisely

Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared for quickly changing conditions. You'll need sunscreen (yep, even in winter), plenty of water, snacks and a few extra layers of clothing.

2. Fuel Up With an Unforgettable Meal

You don't get to play host city to "Top Chef" and earn the title of America's Foodiest Town (Bon Appétit) without having some of the country's best chefs turning out incredible dishes, starring flavorful local ingredients. Come indulge at dozens of acclaimed restaurants

Family cheers on Pearl Street Patio in winter
3. Ski Like a Local

An easy, 30-minute drive from downtown Boulder, Eldora Mountain Resort offers snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Eldora has a laid-back local vibe with enough skiing and riding for skiers and boarders of all levels. (Read about it in the LA Times!) Both Ski and Skiing magazines are based in Boulder, as is Warren Miller's famed ski film production company. So yes, we love to ski!

Eldora Mountain Resort

4. Have a Hearty Brew

Boulder has been a craft brewing capital for decades. Cozy up to some hearty winter fare, paired with the perfect brew, at Boulder's breweries.

Avery Brewing Tap Room

5. Indulge with a Sweet Treat

Handmade chocolates at Lift Chocolate, cupcakes at Kim and Jakes, sipping chocolate and truffles at Piece Love and Chocolate, a wide selection of chocolate goods at Peppercorn and baked goods at Spruce Confections — Boulderites love to reward themselves with gourmet confections. Indulge your sweet tooth, too.

Peppercorn Chocolate Display

6. Discover a Cheery Winter Event

Visit our full, searchable event calendar for more ideas.

Pearl Street Holiday Shopping

Winterlong Events

Snow Much Fun Light Displays
November 20, 2022-January 31, 2023
Explore holiday lights both real and virtual in downtown Boulder this season. Check out holiday lights near the library and take a self-guided, augmented-reality tour throughout the district. Meet a snowman, an orca, polar bears and more as you scan QR codes and journey from the East End, the Pearl Street Mall, and the West End all the way to the Civic Area and library. Take selfies and use Instagram filters as you follow this winter wonderland trail. Free!

Snow Much Fun

CU Men's Basketball and CU Women's Basketball (Through March)
Watch the Buffs stampede the court at the Coors Events Center on CU's campus.


Warren Miller Film Premiere
Nov. 10-12, 2022
Each year, Warren Miller kicks off winter with a new, groundbreaking ski film in Boulder. 

CU Buffs Football Season
September 2-November 19, 2022
Watch the Pac-12 CU Buffs compete on beautiful Folsom Field.

CU Homecoming
September 2-November 19, 2022
In-person events will include the annual Alumni Awards ceremony, Spirit Days on the Quad, Buffs on Tap, the 50-Year Reunion for the class of 1971 and the Ralphie’s Corral tailgate.

Switch on the Holidays
November 20, 2022
Come see the lighting of downtown in holiday lights and an appearance by Santa Claus, too.

St. Nick on the Bricks
November 25-December 24, 2022
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.

Fresh Air Friday
November 25, 2022
Free access to all 41 Colorado state parks on Fresh Air Friday, including Eldorado Canyon State Park, just 15 minutes from Boulder.

Small Business Saturday
November 26, 2022
Shop great deals at small businesses throughout Boulder.


St. Nick on the Bricks
November 25-December 24, 2022
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free.

Freezie Fest
Dec. 10, 2022
A fun snowman extravaganza with kiddie train rides, visits with Santa and Freezie the Snowman, carolers and games downtown. Plus, spot small, hidden stuffed snowman in participating stores to enter to win a gift card.

CU Presents Holiday Festival
December 2-4, 2022
The decades-old celebration brings together student choirs, bands and orchestras — along with world-class faculty performers — for a concert of holiday favorites and new surprises.

Lights of December Parade
December 3, 2022
Marching bands, floats, fire engines, holiday carolers and more. The grand finale includes an appearance by Santa Claus himself.

WinterFest at Colorado Chautauqua
December 9-11, 2022
Each year, at the foot of the Flatirons, the Colorado Chautauqua hosts a classic winter celebration. Enjoy carriage rides, Santa's cottage, historic cottage tours, a family holiday concert with Jeff and Paige, a guided caroling hike and much more.

Freezie Fest
December 10, 2022
Hunt for little stuffed snowmen hidden inside participating shops and you could win big prizes! Plus, enjoy visits with Santa, train rides on the Snowflake Express and loads of holiday crafts and activities along the Pearl Street Mall.

Find Freezie

Stories on Stage, "Making Merry"
December 17, 18 & 22, 2022
A holiday version of Stories on Stage, which presents great works of literature, performed on stage by professional actors.

New Year’s Eve Party at License No. 1
December 31, 2022
Ring in the New Year at Hotel Boulderado's speakeasy-style bar starting at 8pm. Dress to impress and enjoy live music, champagne toast and late-night bites.

New Year's Eve Party at St. Julien Hotel
December 31, 2022
Live music, balloon drops, champagne toast, dessert station, cocktail bars and more!


First Day Hikes
January 1, 2023
Start the year off right with a fresh-air hike.

Winter Hiker with Sunshine

February and March

Winter Craft Beer Festival
February 25, 2023
A great beer-tasting event at Balch Fieldhouse at Folsom Field, right when you need it: mid-winter! 

Boulder International Film Festival
March 2-5, 2023
Films and filmmakers from around the world come to Boulder for a four-day celebration of the art of cinema.

Après Street Fest 
March 12, 2023
Enjoy a cozy mountain town ambiance, reminiscent of a quaint French "après-ski," on Pearl Street's West End. This free event is open to the public and includes live music, fire pits, outdoor picnic-style seating, games and hot cocoa.

Theater and Classical Music Season
Boulder's theater and orchestra seasons are in full swing in winter. Check out the performing arts listings here.