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Where Should My Family Stay During CU Parents’ Weekend?


Parent’s Weekend at CU Boulder will be here before you know it–where will YOUR family stay while they’re in town?

It’s never too early to point out to the fam that while yes, you do have a four bedroom house in a great neighborhood, there are three other people living there, and four sets of parents won’t fit on the sofa. Also, you’re in college–housekeeping isn’t included in the rent and your mom might faint at the sight of your kitchen. So when your parents pull out of the driveway after they move you in come August, or they start making noises about how much they’re looking forward to seeing you when Parents Weekend rolls around, be proactive. Send them links to all the cool hotels in Boulder and even the surrounding towns of Broomfield, Louisville, Superior, and Lafayette. Offer to make reservations so they don’t have to worry about it–after you get their credit card info, of course.

Since your parents will be sad that they don’t get to relive their own college experiences by staying with you, suggest they stay a few more days so they can take in some of the great things Boulder has to offer—hiking, kayaking, and other mountainy things for the outdoorsy types, and the trendy galleries, art and science museums, shopping, and dining (don’t forget the craft breweries) will definitely scratch the cultural itch.

Behold The Boutiques

Boulder is a unique city, and the best hotels here are boutiques– the St. Julien and Boulderado–but the chains in Boulder have a distinctly Colorado vibe.

St Julien Hotel and Spa

Check your parents into the St Julien Hotel and Spa, and you might not see them again–the hotel and spa is a short walk from the Pearl Street Mall. The St. Julien also is home to one of Wine Spectators Award of Excellence winners in Jill’s Restaurant.  When you’re expecting the family for a football game Saturday afternoon, they might opt for high tea in the Onyx dining room instead, and then swim off the calories in the hotel’s spa pool. The St. Julien is indeed a special-occasion hotel; average online rates are between $356-400.

Hotel Boulderado

The historic Hotel Boulderado is a luxurious gem of Victorian architecture and a fantastic blend of the old and the new. It’s Historic Hotel of America and a Boulder landmark, but it also features charging stations for electric cars, concierge services, Boca bathrobes, local historical tours, and is pet-friendly. The Boulderado is a bit pricey, $230 is the nightly average for online booking sites.

Colorado Chautauqua

If your parents want to get away from it all during their visit–except for quality time with you, of course–book them at Colorado Chautauqua. This is another Historic Hotel of America, located at the foot of the Flatirons, with easy access to hiking trails, yet close to all the cool stuff in downtown Boulder. All the rooms have kitchenettes and screened porches, and rooms average $120 per night online.

Boulder also has the usual chain hotels–both Marriott and Hilton branded options if you’re collecting hotel points.

There are several bed and breakfasts in the area–the Alps Boulder Canyon Inn near the Flatirons is a charming spot under $200 per night, and the Bradley Boulder Inn downtown has been THE spot for visiting CU parents for years–the sophisticated elegance of the Bradley runs about $300 per night.

One Great Day In Boulder

The great outdoors and all the cool stuff to do in Boulder helped you sell your parents on letting you come to CU, now it’s time to show your stuff. Here’s how to keep them entertained for the whole day, starting with breakfast and going on through to a nightcap.

CBS Sunday Morning calls Boulder the “happiest place in the United States”, so get your happy on at one of our best breakfast or brunch spots. Walk around Pearl and Walnut Streets to find your spot, you can pick from places like the Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill, so you don’t miss a minute of football, to Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant for creative meatless dining, to the famed Jill’s in the St Julien Hotel.

After you’ve sampled the local cuisine, most of it local and organic, it’s time to walk, hike, or kayak off some of those pastries. The Pearl Street area is full of shops and galleries.

There’s the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, which is more than your ordinary art museum. A recent exhibit focused on French cooking and a summer fundraiser on local farm-to-table dining–lots cooler than old paintings of sheep and cows. Check out the museum’s website so you can at least tell your mom that you’ve thought about going to see an exhibit.

Get out. 

It’s okay if your family isn’t up for camping on top of a mountain, there are hiking and biking trails for all fitness and experience levels. The Flatirons are a good starting point; trailheads and trails are marked and you can drive in, or take a bus in and out. There are easy, not quite a mile nature walks, or more demanding mountain hikes that do require some experience and equipment–something for everybody.

Eldorado Canyon State Park is the place to go for more serious outdoorsy types–you can rock climb, hike or mountain bike, and fish in this Boulder County park and your dogs are welcome here.

Come Back In

After your day soaking up culture and vitamin D, come back home for a nap before dinner, or whatever you have planned for the evening. You can take the parents out to the theater or symphony, or join them for some culture. Boulder is a serious foodie town, you might want to have a leisurely evening restaurant or craft brewery hopping. Pearl Street is the spot for any kind of dining, from street casual to fine, and the breweries are scattered about Boulder–catch an Uber for your tours.

What If They Have So Much fun They Want To Live Here?

The trick here is to keep your parents occupied so they forget to drop by your house, but not having such a good time they decide to get their own place here. If they insist, send them over to Boulder Property Management (BPM) and we’ll find your parents the right spot–we manage properties for tenants of all ages and places in life, not just college students.