Boulder is a large mountain city located about 25 miles northwest of Denver. With approximately 91,000 people (according to 2006 estimates) spread over just 26 square miles, Boulder has one of the largest population densities in the state. Located in the Boulder Valley, the area where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains, the city boasts some of the most stunning geography nationwide. The Flatirons, a line of massive flat rock formations, are located just west of the city.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
During the 1800s and early 1900s, mining was a staple of the local economy. Nowadays, technology and industry prevail. Boulder's top employment sectors include the government; professional, scientific, and technical services; the retail trade; health care; and information services. Its diverse economy has allowed Boulder to maintain a low unemployment rate, despite the severe economic downturn in 2008. There are several major employers in Boulder:
- University of Colorado at Boulder
- National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
- Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions
- Boulder Publishing
- Array BioPharma
- Celestial Seasonings
The Boulder Chamber of Commerce offers resources to local business owners, both large and small. The Chamber offers networking opportunities and works with the local city council on behalf of entrepreneurs. The Chamber even has a "Green Zone" program to encourage its members to use sustainable energy sources and materials.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city of Boulder generally has an artsy, urban feel. The median home value in the area is quite high compared with that of the nation as a whole. The cost of living here is significantly higher than the national average, but the median household income is also much higher when compared with the rest of the United States. There are a variety of distinct regions within the city of Boulder:
- Ara: Located adjacent to the Boulder Municipal Airport, this is a funky yet upscale area of urban sophisticates. Many of the residents here rent units in apartment complexes. The median home value here is comparatively low, while rental rates are very high.
- Broadway Street/Kalmia Avenue: This upscale area is home to wealthy, highly educated young professionals. The median home value in this area is high for the region, the state, and the nation. However, this area is quiet, pedestrian-friendly, and sophisticated yet artsy.
- City Center: Just north of the University of Colorado at Boulder lies this pedestrian-friendly urban district. There are many highly educated executives living here, although many of them choose to rent.
- Eldorado Springs: This large suburban area is located on the south side of town. A quiet area, it is home to wealthy residents in executive and managerial positions.
- Paragon Estates: This district is located on the east side of town, and there are many wealthy, highly educated executives living here. There are mostly medium (three and four bedrooms) and large (four or more bedrooms) single-family homes here. The cost of homes in this suburban neighborhood is very high.
- Valmont/Liggett: Located in the eastern section of the city, this neighborhood has many suburban homes and farms. It is mostly a quiet area, with a mix of homeowners and renters.
The city maintains a number of parks, golf courses, community centers, and pools for its residents to enjoy. There are several multipurpose ball parks as well. Some of the recreation centers offer classes, such as dance lessons. Politically, Boulder has some of the most liberal residents in all of Colorado.
- University of Colorado at Boulder (four-year public school)
- Front Range Community College (two-year public school)
- Naropa University (four-year school with a Buddhist-inspired education philosophy)
- Culinary School of the Rockies
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy
- Rivendell College (private four-year faith-based school)
- Ruseto College (school of traditional Chinese medicine)
- Southwest Acupuncture College
- Downtown Boulder: Boulder's large urban downtown district is a thriving hub with restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Public parking is available so residents and visitors can park and enjoy a nice stroll around the area.
- Hot Air Balloon Rides: Visitors can take a ride in a hot air balloon to view the majestic mountains from the air. Trips usually take place in the morning and late afternoon.
- Skiing and Snowboarding: The nearby mountains offer a variety of snow activities for all ages. There are numerous ski equipment shops around town, and many of the nearby resorts offer lessons.
- Boulder Creek Winery: This winery has a tasting room in which visitors can sample the winery's different selections.
- Fiske Planetarium and Science Center: Located at the University of Colorado, this planetarium gives visitors a glimpse of the skies. Show times and programs vary.
- Hiking: Anyone who loves the outdoors will love Boulder-the city has a multitude of walking trails, hiking trails, rock climbing walls, and lookout points.
Boulder hosts a variety of events each year, including:
- Boulder International Film Festival (February)
- Downtown Boulder Tulip Fairy & Elf Parade (April)
- BolderBOULDER 10K Road Race (Memorial Day)
- Boulder Creek Festival (Memorial Day weekend)
- Boulder Kinetics human-powered sculpture race (June)