Boulder, Colorado

The People's Republic Of Boulder

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What's it like to live in Boulder?

What is it like to live in Boulder, CO?

We have a saying in CO that if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes. Boulder tends to be like that. When you listen for a weather prediction, you can only trust the ones that are one or two days out. The 5-day forecasts are worthless.

Summer starts in June, and goes through August or September. Temperatures tend to be in the lower to upper 90s for most of it, with some days in the upper 80s, and we tend to have clear blue skies. Afternoon thunderstorms are a welcome relief from the heat. Spring (April through May) and fall (October through November) tend to be in the 50s and 60s, with occasional 70-degree weather, and some in the 40s. Sometimes they're pretty wet, with frequent overcast skies and rain. Winter starts in November or December, and lasts through March. Typically, we have a couple cold snaps during the winter where temperatures get into the single digits or below zero for a couple weeks each, during December through February.

The scenery, and architectural and natural ambiance in some places is very attractive. I saw some other answers citing how educated we are. I'd say that's true in some instances. I've met many in Boulder who like to think they're educated, but I'd say they "know enough to be dangerous." Still, it's nicer here as a result than some other parts of the country where I've lived.

You need at least a front-wheel drive if you want to use a vehicle here, though all-wheel drive (AWD) is recommended. CO eats rear-wheel drive vehicles for lunch during the winter… I know somebody who used to drive a rear-wheel drive muscle car. He tried using it during the winters here, got himself stranded, and had to get rides from other people. It was sad.

It is pedestrian-friendly. I live in an area where I can walk a few blocks to a small grocery store, which is in a small strip mall. Some local planners and politicians here fantasize about having a "walkable city," where people will be able to live, work, and shop all within a 15-minute walk of where they live. It's not going to happen anytime soon. They can achieve part of that, but not all of it. For one thing, the economy here isn't going to support everyone working within a 15-minute walk of where they live. Many commute in and out of town to work, and that's just the way it's going to be. People who live here know about the traffic jam they see every day on Foothills Parkway that stretches for a mile, of people trying to get into and out of town during the morning and afternoon rush hour. That's a function of economic reality that some in Boulder simply refuse to acknowledge.

Whole Foods practically owns the natural foods business in town. It's a long story, but Whole Foods bought a couple other stores/chains that were based here, and now they're Whole Foods stores as well.

What is it like to live in Boulder, CO?

Boulder is a beautiful place to live, without question, and I feel very lucky that this is my home. The city is located against the Flatirons, one of the most idyllic rock formations in the western United States. The weather is near-perfect all year round — we get a good amount of snow in the winter but it melts pretty quick. The winters are mild, the skiing is fantastic (no ski resorts in Boulder proper, but most of the ski areas are within driving distance so you can go for a day trip). It’s definitely for those who are outdoorsy-types: if you aren’t into skiing, hiking trails are abundant. It’s also very dry here: I have a water bottle near me at all times and a humidifier in my bedroom at night.

It’s also a wonderful place to raise children. It’s safe, quiet and clean and the population is very educated and liberal. The public schools are also very good (I believe they are the best in Colorado but I’m certain I’ll be corrected if this isn’t the case).

Two things worth pointing that are not fantastic about Boulder: 1) there is very little diversity and 2) high cost of living

We are thinking of starting a new life in Boulder, Colorado, with our two toddlers (both under 3), moving from Texas. I'd love to hear from current and ex-residents, if possible. What are the pros and cons of living in Boulder?

I moved to Boulder in 1984, and my son was born there in 1990.


Great public schools. He took Calc 2/3 and AP Physics 2 at Fairview HS

Good after school programs - he ran XC and track

Great hiking, biking, climbing, running, skiing

Named smartest city in the US, foodiest city, and more

Courses at CU available to HS students, free to audit if over 55; many concerts, etc., at CU

Some mentioned lack of diversity. Here’s my son at the senior prom. His date is the Taiwanese girl 2nd from right.

My son’s nickname was “Most Asian white guy”. In his Calc 2/3, he was the only non-Asian student, and in another class, he was one of only two white boys. His best friend is Native American.

NARF ( Native American Rights Fund) is on the main drag in Boulder. One of my friends ( Native American) , that I worked with, works as a lawyer for NARF). There may not be as many blacks in Boulder, but you’ll find plenty to people of Asian , Indian, and Native American descent.

If you are interested in science, or your kids want to study science, we have NIST, NCAR, and NOAA. NREL is down the street in Golden. Students can listen to lectures here - we went to one by Wieman, discoverer of the BOSE condensate. (About the Bose-Einstein Condensate)

The Fiske planetarium on campus offers programs for the public: Fiske Planetarium


Housing is expensive

Traffic has gotten worse as so many move here.

what's it like living in Boulder?

I’m from the east coast and have lived in CO for many years, Boulder for about the last decade. It’s culturally very different from NYC/NJ. Slower pace, more outdoorsy, more casual dress.

Things I notice when I go back home: people yell at you in the airport back east. They don’t do that here. Much better and more diverse food back east.

It’s not Midwestern-nice here but it is more chill. I like the mail in voting, the outdoorsiness and the views. Don’t like the winter because it’s long, but there are sunny days.

It’s a college town and it’s small enough to notice, so that can be annoying in some ways. But I also enjoy the college - concerts, theater.

People complain about obnoxious people a lot but I haven’t had any issues.

I don’t have a trust fund and I do have a house. I’m just a regular person. We are here.

I don’t love the amount of bike theft.

I don’t know if I will stay in CO forever but it’s really nice in a lot of ways and I don’t have any desire to move back east.

Top 10 Pros and Cons about Boulder, Colorado (Moving to Colorado) - Traveling Cloud