Student Guide 2010: Boulder’s scene: Local insight for new students


Boulder can be a scary place as a baby Buff at the University of Colorado. Whether you’re from Boulder, California, the East Coast or Taiwan, a new town and campus are intimidating ideas.

But rest assured that you chose a great place to pursue a higher education: There are so many activities, events and social networks to choose from that you could do something different every day from your first day of class to the day you graduate, if you had the time.

Whether you’re living on or off campus, whether you’re 18, 23, 32 or 56, whether you’re black, white, brown or purple, both the university and the town have something that will appeal to your interests and background. The University Memorial Center (UMC), a centralized student hub on campus, offers a bounty of resources.

You can buy your (overpriced) books and meet potential classmates at the CU Book Store and catch a quick bite at the newly renovated Alferd Packer Grill. The UMC has a variety of student services, like the Women’s Resource Center, the Environmental Center, Program Council and the Cultural Events Board. This facility is a great place to explore your interests, listen to live music at its various venues and go bowling downstairs at The Connection. The Center for Community, which just opened next to Regent Hall, is like a newer version of the UMC, with just as many student services and dining options.

If the CU Book Store at the UMC doesn’t carry the books you’re looking for, head to University Hill and check out the Colorado Bookstore there. After you find your books and supplies, go to Buchanan’s Coffee Pub for an effective cup of Joe and free wireless Internet. Many students contend that Buchanan’s is one of the best places in town to enjoy great coffee and study. Its central location is ideal for those living off campus on the Hill and on campus itself, which is a mere minute away on foot.

While you’re on the Hill, Rush and Half Fast Subs are worth checking out, too. Rush features a Poe’s Hangover Cure smoothie to help alleviate that post-party headache that could have been caused by Half Fast’s renowned and infamous Long Island pitchers. Half Fast is the perfect location to start a night out on Pearl Street, whereas Rush is a good place to be the next morning. You’re bound to meet all sorts of interesting people and potential connections anywhere on the Hill.

Day or night, Pearl Street is an excellent place to see and be seen. Boulder’s bike paths provide easy access to downtown, and the Skip, Dash and Hop bus lines stop at key locations, too. Use your Buff OneCard to your advantage and ride local and regional bus routes almost anywhere in Boulder County: The bus pass is included in your tuition and fees.

Stroll the Pearl Street Mall and enjoy various dining experiences. It is a place the Wall Street Journal has called the “best small city for great meals.” The West End Tavern, The Mediterranean and Foolish Craig’s Café are a few local novelties. Street performers on Pearl and 13th Street are always intriguing to watch — the Zip Code Man may be of particular interest to you out-of-towners who come from a tiny dot on the map.

The Boulder Theater offers a variety of musicians, as does the Fox Theatre on the Hill. Astroland, a casual, warehouselike venue in North Boulder, is a good place to start a band, join a band, listen to a band and meet people.

Not last or least, wander the Boulder Creek Path on foot, bike, blades or board. Boulder’s bike and pedestrian paths are vast and accommodating. It’s said that the bike paths are cleared of snow before the roads during winter because of their popularity.

Student clubs and club sports are also a great way to meet people. Visit or

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