Whether you seek an escape from reality or long for a “big city” feel in a smaller town, Boulder has you covered. With a population that hovers around 100,000 (including 30,000 University of Colorado students), Boulder is an effortlessly walkable, accessible city with plenty of small-town quirks (Tube to Work Day, anyone?) and stunning vistas everywhere you turn.
Tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about 30 miles northeast of Denver, Boulder is an active pet owner’s paradise. The city sees over 300 sunny days a year, has 43,000 acres of open space, and boasts a walk/bike path that runs directly through town. If you’re not as interested in hitting the trails with your pup, Boulder’s art, food, and beer scene is nothing to sniff at either. Dubbed “America’s Foodiest Town” by Bon Appétit, Boulder is filled with critically-acclaimed restaurants, over 20 craft breweries, and more than 30 art galleries.
Well-behaved pups also reap some serious benefits of living in Boulder with the city’s one-of-a-kind Voice and Sight tag program, where registered dogs can frolic off leash in certain city parks and local trails.
If you’re ready to explore one of America’s best small cities with your dog in tow, check out where to eat, drink, hike, and care for your dog, below.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars in Boulder
Lined with restaurants, shops, and A+ people watching, Pearl Street is known as the heart and soul of Boulder. After taking in the sights, check out The Kitchen American Bistro or Next Door American Eatery for an outdoor meal with your dog. And if you’re ready to leave downtown, head to Avery Brewing in the Gunbarrel neighborhood, directly across the street from Twin Lakes off leash area.
Best Dog Groomers in Boulder
Being a dog is a dirty business (that grass won’t roll in itself, you know), but fortunately, there are a number of places in Boulder to get your pup groomed. For a shopping and grooming experience, head to Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming for a bath, de-shedding treatment, and all the pet supplies you need. Or if you need a place to leave your dog for the day, Camp Bow Wow offers grooming and daycare services.
Vet Services in Boulder
Though Boulder is on the smaller side (it’s cousin to the east is about seven times its size), the city is teeming with best-in-class veterinary hospitals, including those that provide holistic treatments and emergency care. Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital offers treatments such as acupuncture, canine massage, and herbal medicine in addition to traditional care, while Alpenglow Veterinary Specialty + Emergency Center is open 24 hours every day of the year.
Animal Shelters and Rescues in Boulder
Thousands of animals require care and support in the Boulder area each year, and the Humane Society of Boulder Valley offers a safe space, training, and rehabilitation for each animal it receives. If you’re not looking to adopt, the shelter relies on additional support from the community via donations and volunteers. And if you’re willing to open your home to a senior pet, Brighter Days Dog Rescue focuses on giving elderly or sick dogs hospice homes.
The Best Dog Parks in Boulder
Known as “the city nestled between the mountains and reality,” Boulder is the perfect place to get outside and bond with your dog surrounded by snow-capped mountains and dramatic sandstone formations. For a big park within the city, head to Valmont Dog Park and enjoy three acres of dedicated dog space. North of downtown, you’ll want to visit Wonderland Lake Park's quintessential Colorado views and several hiking trails. If your dog is an ace off-leash, consider getting a Voice and Sight tag to give them some off-leash freedom.