Long known for its outrageous liberalism, the university town of Boulder has a yuppie crunch attitude and a mad crush on the outdoors. The main roads are always packed with cyclists, and the endless city parks bustle with hikers and dogs. The pedestrian-only Pearl St Mall, bursting with shops, sidewalk cafés and street performers, is perfect for strolling. At night, head up to the Hill, home of the 30, 000-student University of Colorado, a legendary American party school.
In many ways it is Boulder, not Denver, establishing itself as the region’s tourist hub. The city is about the same distance from Denver International Airport, plus staying in Boulder puts you 45 minutes closer to the big ski resorts west on I-70 and Rocky Mountain National Park.