Boom town

Your guide to a perfect weekend in Boulder County’s eastern hub

Courtesy: Longmont Farmers Market

Longmont continues to boom. The once-sleepy East County town is still as charming as ever, but its population eclipsed the 100,000 mark between the 2010 and 2020 census counts; and if that upward trend is any indication, the total number of residents will likely soon meet or surpass Boulder (if it hasn’t already). The latter is seldom a feasible financial option for many, leading more and more to give Longmont a second look. 

But when it’s time to let loose on the weekend, Boulder or Denver are typically the first options that come to most people’s minds. So it’s time to put some respect on Longmont’s name: Whether you’re looking to go all out, or trying to keep it cheap, there’s something for you in this fast-growing BoCo hotspot. Need help searching? Here’s the perfect two-day itinerary to start you off.

All-out on Main Street

Start your day at Hidden Cafe
829 Main St., Unit 5

Perhaps your Friday or Saturday night was a little longer (and more expensive) than expected. This cozy breakfast nook, quietly tucked away on Main Street, has you covered. Walk in and grab a booth with friends at the family-owned Hidden Cafe — the welcoming atmosphere will calm that hangxiety you may be harboring, and your order will cure it. 

You can’t go wrong with a steaming cup of coffee and any of their menu options, but the Lindy Deluxe might be the winner here: a ginormous biscuit, fried potatoes, bacon, green chili and two eggs, all hanging out together in a gorgeous heap. Polish your plate, pay your (extremely reasonable) bill, leave rejuvenated, and finish your first stop of the day with a deep breath of crisp, foothills-adjacent air. 

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Follow the music at Absolute Vinyl
819 Main St.

If you’re a longtime vinyl collector or a newbie catching the wave, you’ve probably heard of Absolute Vinyl, and the absolute legend who runs it, Doug Gaddy. Enter through the front and take in the nostalgic musk of linoleum-lined shelves before swan diving into a world of music. 

Not so confident in your discovery skills? Allow Gaddy or one of his music wizard employees to be your sonic guide. And don’t be intimidated —  we know record store employees can be pretentious, but the Absolute Vinyl crew is the opposite of that. They might steer you toward the early works of Jethro Tull, or the smooth sounds of Eric Dolphy, or perhaps a left turn you never saw coming. Whether you didn’t find what you were looking for (unlikely), or you’re walking out with an armful of your new favorite LPs, you’ll want to throw Absolute Vinyl a follow on Instagram (new drops are posted all the time) before heading on to your next spot.

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Root for the home team at Pumphouse Brewery
540 Main St.

It’s midday by now, which probably means the Broncos or Buffs are kicking off (depending on when you’re reading this). Last year was a vile offering from both parties — perhaps the worst showing by either team since their inception. But this year fosters unlimited hope, courtesy of two glorious coaching hires: Sean Payton and Deion Sanders. And when you walk through the doors at Pumphouse Brewery, you’ll be greeted by what seems like hundreds of hi-def versions of their faces gazing back approvingly at you — almost as if they’re affirming the halfway mark of your successful day in Longmont.  

Once you’re seated with a menu in hand, you’ll find so much to choose from. But bars like this are for sharing, and if you’re with friends or family, the Asiago-Artichoke Dip is the must-have, featuring one of the dip world’s greatest pairings, and sundried tomatoes for some extra punch. Did your team win? Great! You and your stomach are both happy. Did they lose? Let’s take a walk and blow off some steam.

Ballin’ on a budget

Part of the appeal of leaving “the bubble” is that things are generally more, let’s just say it, affordable. No matter if you’re re-discovering the Longmont of your backyard or need a break from the Boulder bougie, you can find yourself a cute-n-crunchy day on a budget if you know where to look.

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Erase last night’s sins at the Longmont Farmers Market
9595 Nelson Road

Just because you went hard at Copper Sky Distillery last night, there’s no need to sentence yourself to a miserably virtuous day of wellness to cancel out those whiskey shots. Enter a magical place where you don’t have to choose between indulgence and nourishment: the Longmont Farmers Market

Nothing hits harder when your blood sugar and dopamine receptors are gasping for air than the perfect balance of macros in a pupusa from Papusas Familia, which, combined with coffee from the Longmont-crafted FairIsle Coffee, will having you feeling like a locavore market god(dess) in no time. While those familiar with the Boulder Farmers Market will recognize reliable favorites like Amaizing Corn Tamales and Hazel Dell Mushrooms, at the Saturday morning Longmont market you’ll also reap the benefits of being smack-dab in farm country, visiting Longmont-only vendors like Westcliffe Cheese Company (hint: it’s goat cheese) and Left Hand Wool Company, your one-stop shop for grass-fed lamb and home-grown yarn.

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Reflect and collect at Rabbit Mountain Open Space
15140 N. 55th St.

You’ve eaten a lot of great food so far today, so you may be weighed down and, depending on how your favorite team performed, questioning your life choices at-large. Let Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain Open Spaces’ 5,000 acres of silent bliss calm your mind. Depending on when you’re going, it may be green, orange, red or a combination of the three. It’s open from sunup to sundown, and there are numerous short, scenic hikes that’ll be your winding road to inner peace. 

You’re calm and composed, but life’s short, and there are two top-tier destinations awaiting you for the final stop of this perfect day in Longmont. 

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End your day with a dynamic duo: Rosalee’s Pizzeria and Copper Sky Distillery
461 Main St. and 110 Emery St., Suite C

Cap off your all-out Saturday with two homegrown, highly acclaimed spots: one whose specialty is high-quality spirits, and the other square and circle-shaped pies. Stop at Rosalee’s Pizzeria first, and don’t hold back. Their garlic knots are enough to bring a grown man to his knees, but the knockout punch has to be the House Sausage Pie: plum tomato sauce, in-house ground and seasoned Italian sausage, whole milk mozzarella and Pecorino Romano. 

Finally, head over to South Main Station for a neat glass of heaven at Copper Sky Distillery. Go for gold with a couple fingers of their Wheated Whiskey, which won the USA Spirit Ratings Best Whiskey in Show in 2022. And if you don’t drink, don’t fret: Their new tasting room, opened just a year ago, can be your home base to wind down the night with friends over succulent non-alcoholic libations whipped up by Copper Sky mixologists.