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20 Places to See and be Seen


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It’s time to savor the heat and all that comes with it—whether it’s witnessing the view 14,000 feet above sea level, enjoying breakfast on a patio or discovering beer dinners, farm dinners and mobile dining units. To start off The Hot Issue, we kick it up a notch with a rundown of the places you must see and the crowds you must follow this summer—along with YS’s picks for this season’s hottest fashions.

Also, check out our guide to Colorado’s music festivals, fairs, parades and more; get grilling tips from those in the know; and sip on the YS beer guru’s Top 10 Summer Beers.

Drink it in, BoCo, and don’t think we didn’t warn you: This is hot!

On the prowl: Sequins and sparkles dress up a dark, skinny jean. Ashley is wearing a Statement Sequins Top by Fumbling Foe and Big Star Skinny Dark jeggings with silver bangles by NYC Metals, all from Holiday & Co. Alex sports a 7 Diamond Vertical Horizon khaki shirt, Lucky 181 jeans and a Fossil belt from Starr’s. Background art by Beverly McIver, during her Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition.

10 Places to See:

  1. The Shambhala Mountain Center Great Stupa is one of the most beautiful and surprising finds in the Colorado mountains. Taking 10 years to build, the outside of the gold-accented building is a breathtaking vision, inside it’s a piece of art and a spiritual refuge. Who: Those seeking solace, in need of meditation and in the mood for a glorious summer journey. Where: Up 74E in the foothills of Northern Colorado, near Red Feather Lakes, and along an easy, meandering path, the Great Stupa sits. When: The stupa is open for “business” every day, but it’s best to call to make sure Shambhala is not closed to the public (970.881.2184). Why: First, this mountain retreat is visually spectacular. Whether you are Buddhist, Buddhist-leaning, or simply a soul in need of peace and/or quiet, the Stupa welcomes all. If you like this, try: Sophia Peace Center, Dolores.
  2. Colorado Rapids games—as the team pursues the 2010 MLS Cup in November. Who: Soccer fans, football buffs looking to diversify their sports portfolio, and those who want to continue their World Cup merriment. When: Check out an evening game any time this summer. Where: Commerce City, baby! Well, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which is the largest soccer complex in North America and certainly the coolest part of Commerce City. Why: With soccer stars like Conor Casey and Colin Clarke, the Rapids are set for a brilliant season. And Rapids games are insanely fun—with a nice blend of families and rabid soccer fans. If you like this, try: The Denver Roller Dolls are so hot right now. And they’re just down the street. Check them out at the 1stBank Center.
  3. The famous Flatirons, with extraordinary views that will knock your climbing shoes off. Who: The climberati of Boulder County. When: Any day but a weekend for the easier east-facing routes because they attract thousands of climbers. Also, some parts of the area are closed for falcon nesting (through July 31) and bat nesting (through Aug. 31). Where: Go west for a less crowded climbing spot. Before heading up, check with Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks for tips and info on closures and routes. Why: They are easy to climb and have unparalleled views of Boulder and Denver. If you like this, try: Lumpy Ridge in Estes Park; from the summit, you can see RMNP, so it provides a very alpine feel.

    Bohemian Cool: Pair a blousey top with classic cutoffs and strappy sandals for instant artsy chic. Ashley wears an embroidered chartreuse top by For Joseph, Big Star dark wash jean shorts with a fringed cuff and a silver beaded fringe bracelet by NYC Metals, all from Holiday & Co. Her shoes are copper strappy sandals by Gee Wawa from Two Sole Sisters. Alex wears a grey T-shirt by Alternative, Lucky 181 dark wash jeans, both from Starr’s. He wears a grey hat by Retro 7 from Common Era, Vargas sunglasses by Salt from Wink Optical, and brown leather flip flops by Reef from Brown’s Shoe Fit Co.

  4. Upstairs, where Everything and everyone is sexy and stunning and full of swagger. Who: Pretty people and those who like to be around them. When: Evening. Where: The intimate wine and beer lounge above The Kitchen on the west end of Pearl Street. Why: OK, let’s just be honest, Boulder does entertainment and nightlife very well. Want a night out with a bit of glam and crowds that look chic by trying to not look chic? Upstairs serves up plenty of booze, wine and beer with apps and a side of Boulder’s beautiful crowd. If you like this, try: The Cheeky Monk, The Orchard’s new Belgium beer bar. Ja!
  5. The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicated to presenting the significant art of our time, be it local, national or international in origins, and the museum’s dynamic venue stretches the boundaries of what art can be, including traditional art, installation art and performances in its historic, warehouse-style space. Who: Those looking for broadened horizons. Where: 1750 13th St., Boulder When: The museum’s latest exhibitions open June 11 through September. Why: Art expands your mind, exposes you to different points of view and can be a really impressive date. If you like this, try: The Longmont Museum’s Bicycles! 150 Years of Gears is a great way to get a gearhead interested in a museum.
  6. Long’s Peak, named after Major Stephen Long—yes, another East Coast transplant—is one of the most popular and majestic 14ers in Colorado. Who: Everyone with legs. When: Start early in the morning; afternoon showers are common and you don’t want to get caught in a storm. Plus, this trail gets crowded, so try to do the hike on a weekday. Where: Off of Highway 7 north of Allenspark, a sign will lead you to the trailhead. Why: Because non-climber types want stunning mountain views too. A hike to the summit of Long’s Peak is amazing. You can even look directly over the cliff face of The Diamond down to Chasm Lake. If you like this, try: There are 53 other 14ers in the state, so you really have your pick. Also, try out the Grey Rock hike, which is up the Poudre Canyon.Beachy Brunch: Chunky shoes bring this flirty dress down to earth. Ashley wears a tiered flowered dress by MM Couture from Starr’s and brown strappy wedge heels by Coconuts from Two Sole Sisters. Alex wears a grey T-shirt by Alternative, a blue striped button down by Jachs and linen Chinos, all from Starr’s. His brown leather Reefs are from Brown’s Shoe Fit Co.
  7. Kasbah Moroccan Restaurant What: The hungry masses seeking a different kind of dining experience. When: Sundays are family night, but we suggest taking friends for an uproarious Friday evening or grab your gal for an exotic date. Or simply come when you feel like dancing. Where: Lafayette’s downtown Moroccan hideaway, a beautiful space where diners eat with their hands and learn to belly dance from the pros. Why: Because you’ve eaten at every contemporary American bistro in the region and you’re craving something new. This is it. If you like this, try: Waterloo in Louisville serves up its famous burgers with live music.
  8. There’s something so quintessentially summer about watching a movie outdoors. Maybe it’s the camaraderie of sharing bug spray and marshmallows with your neighbors. Maybe it’s the glow and flicker of the moving pictures in the lingering summer twilight. Maybe it’s just the fact that they’re free. Who: Film buffs, outdoor enthusiasts and families with young kids who haven’t been to a movie theater since their bundle of joy arrived. When: Film on the Rocks at Red Rocks begins June 8; Boulder Outdoor Cinema starts July 11. Other communities in the area, including Erie, start even earlier. Check with your city. Why: Because sometimes your favorite movie is even better when seen in a cool locale. If you like this, try: The 88 Drive-In Theater is a blast to the past. 88drivein.com
  9. The Boulder International Fringe Festival Who: Artists and art-lovers, quirk-seekers, nutty professors, those who color outside the lines and those who prefer the fringe. When: Aug. 18–29. Where: Various locations throughout Boulder. Why: Because you can’t always follow the rules. The Fringe Fest is a place to absorb off-beat, inspiring and invigorating performances of theater, dance, music and more. Local and international performers alike help turn Boulder into a place to discover, laugh, cry and, most importantly, think. If you like this, try: Head up to Fort Collins to check out Bas Bleu Theatre, which takes on some of the most edgy, heady plays around.
  10. Colorado Shakespeare Festival Maybe you knew that one of the top Shakespeare festivals in the country calls Boulder home (and you can call them your neighbors). But now is the time to take advantage of having this theatrical think tank and power house so close. Love a good political drama? King Lear is one of the English language’s most powerful dramas. More of a chick flick sort of person? The Taming of the Shrew is a provocative rom-com about the eternal battle of the sexes. Other shows this season include Measure for Measure, Our Town and The Fantasticks. Who: Theater junkies, drama queens, poetry buffs and romance lovers. When: Tickets are on sale now, with performances running July 1 thru Aug. 8. Why: Even if you think you’re not a Shakespeare fan, Colorado Shakespeare Festival will change your mind. If you like this, try this: The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is putting on a plethora of new and old favorites this summer, including Young Frankenstein, South Pacific and Grease.Art Class: Take a new look at a preppy staple with a blazer and gladiator sandals. Soften the look with jersey instead of a button down.Ashley wears a navy blazer and khaki skirt by Costa Blanca with a white henley by Alternative; all from Starr’s. Double knotted pearls from Common Era. Her Gold Gladiator strappy sandals are from Two Sole Sisters. Alex is in a white T-shirt and grey sweater by Alternative and plaid shorts by Union, all from Starr’s. His brown Reef flip flops are from Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. Background art by Pattie Lee Becker, as seen in her exhibition at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

10 Places to Be Seen:

  1. Greenbriar Inn’s morning brunch with a perfect patio table in their grassy front yard. Who: Sun seekers in need of conversation sustenance, and vitamin D. When: Sunday mornings. Don’t forget to make reservations…you aren’t the only person with this brilliant idea. Where: Along Highway 36 between Boulder and Lyons. Why: Because an all-you-can-eat buffet of breakfast classics, prime rib, Benedicts, oysters and champagne is best consumed in the summer sun. Rub shoulders with the Polo-wearing elite of Boulder County, ladies who lunch and those seeking the best buffet in and out of town. If you like this, try: Centro Latin Kitchen. Talk about heat—enjoy a spicy breakfast with a bloody Mary in your hand and your sunglasses on your nose on Centro’s sunny patio.

  2. Summer community festivals, like the Lafayette Peach Festival, are a must in summer. Who: The stroller set. When: Aug. 21. Where: Downtown Lafayette. Why: Your neighbors have abandoned their gardens to meander through crowds of townsfolk and tourists to lap up sweet, juicy peaches. Better than the array of fruity finds, it’s the comfort of community that makes the Peach Fest so spectacular. You’ll run into your kids’ teachers, co-workers and every other mother in your baby playgroup. Put on some sunscreen, pick up some peach cobbler and say hello. If you like this, try: Longmont’s Rhythm on the River, July 9–10.

  3. Beer Dinners Who: Foodies and beer snobs. Where: Restaurants like Magnolia, Greenbriar Inn, Praha and Terroir have partnered with Boulder Beer, Left Hand Brewing and Twisted Pine Brewing to create multi-course pairings like glazed quail with Flashback India Brown Ale. When: Keep an eye out for them throughout the summer. Why: Because beer dinners are all the rage. The popularity of wine dinners has translated well into this hoppy alternative dimension, and local breweries and restaurants have embraced them happily. There’s no better way to spend an evening than with great food and drink. If you like this, try: The Boulder Brew Bus: Hop on Banjo Billy’s Bus to check out three breweries—Upslope, Twisted Pine and Avery—and then grab some grub at Westend Tavern, which has organized this amazing beer concept.

  4. The Denver Century Ride, the Mile High City’s new 100-mile challenge that pits cyclist against cement through a rigorous course around the Denver area. Who: Gearheads. When: June 20. Where: Starts and ends at Invesco Field (that’s Mile High Stadium to the traditionalists out there). Why: Usually cyclists have to travel elsewhere to find a 100-mile ride, so the inaugural Denver Century Ride is sure to be a gathering place for the who’s who of pedaling. If you like this, try: Venus de Miles, a beloved Boulder County ride with 67-, 51- and 33-mile courses.

  5. The Tasty Weasel, Oskar Blues’ laid-back, uber funky warehouse-turned-tap room. Who: Beer-lovers. When: After work. Where: Up an indescribable staircase on the side of an indescribable warehouse at Sunset and Pike in Longmont. Why: Because after you’ve done your 9 to 5, all you want is a pint of Momma’s Little Yella Pils and a place where everyone knows your name. The Tasty Weasel is just that: packed with tables of like-minded, hardworking, beer-loving folk. It’s like Cheers but with better beer. If you like this, try: Mountain Sun on Pearl Street and Avery Brewing, 5757 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder.

  6. Tubing down Boulder Creek has long been a favorite pastime of hip locals looking for a way to cool off with a little adventure thrown in. In some places, tubing means relaxing on a lazy river; in Boulder Creek, it can be thrilling, fast-paced and almost guaranteed to dunk you at some point. Who: Sweaty, toasty, sweltering adventure seekers. When: Don’t go too early when the water is too cold and too high; wait until the dog days of summer when the water level sinks and the cold will feel refreshing instead of refrigerating. Why: Because you love to get a little wet and wild. If you like this, try: Other places to float include St. Vrain Creek, the water of the Greenway in Longmont and the Golden Ponds, Rogers Grove and Izaak Walton trailheads.

  7. The Kinetics Sculpture Challenge, the risen-from-the-dead race of human-powered vehicles that travel across land and sea. Who: Costume-wearing, sea-faring masters of the craft. When: Aug. 28. Where: Longmont’s Union Reservoir, which is the newest home for the nomadic event. Why: Because you only live once…and can you even call it living if you’ve never shown your mad mechanical skills? Build it, drive it, float it and then you can die a legend. Kinetics is a touchstone in the wacky history of the county, and by joining other kineticists, you become a part of that history. If you like this, try: There’s nothing quite like Kinetics, but there are plenty of madcap events elsewhere. Check out Tour de Fat this September in Denver or Fort Collins for some cycling mayhem.

  8. Farm dinners are super popular with local chefs this year. Chef Brett Smith of Zolo will host a dinner at his favorite, Isabelle Farm in Lafayette, in June. And Black Cat chef Eric Skokan often offers “dirt dinners” with produce harvested fresh from his farm. And Hush, the super exclusive supper club in Denver, is hosting its first Boulder County dinner literally out in a field to benefit Slow Food Boulder. Who: Foodies, locavores, culinarians and the generally hungry. When: Zolo’s farm dinners take place June 14 and Aug. 30. Call Black Cat at 303.444.5500 for information on the dirt dinners. Why: Because food just tastes best when it’s super fresh. If you like this, try: Make your own farm dinner with purchases from the Boulder County Farmer’s Markets in Boulder or Longmont, or visit the Lyons Farmette to learn how to grow and then cook your own bounty.

  9. Louisville street Faire. Let’s face it: Louisville is cooler than all of us put together. It seems like every publication in the country thinks so. And the Louisville Downtown Street Faire is sort of the cream of the crop. It is the place to be seen on a Friday night in Boulder County. Don’t believe me? Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg has chosen it as one of only a handful of inaugural locations for his brand new mobile kitchen called StrEat Chefs. Look for the Airstream, or just follow your nose. Who: The people in your neighborhood—and the people who only wish they were cool enough to live in your neighborhood. When: Every Friday night, June 11 thru Aug. 13. Why: Because we all secretly want to live in Louisville, right? If you like this, try this: Longmont ArtWalk on July 16.

  10. Mobile dining units, aka food trucks. The Boulder area has recently welcomed Comida, serving up Mexican food out of a bright pink truck, and StrEat Chefs, Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg’s newest project, focused on international street foods. Who: Street foodies and diners who prefer the fast-casual experience. When/Where: Follow Comida on Twitter to find out the haps (twitter.com/eatcomida), and StrEat Chefs will be found at the Louisville Street Faire, Chautauqua and other popular locales. Why: Because Austin, NYC and LA have known the true joys of food trucks for a few years now, and it’s just about time for this food trend to hit our humble hometowns. Now, everyone is clamoring for the new way to get food to go. If you like this, try: The pupusa cart on the corner of 95th and South Boulder Road in Louisville.

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Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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