There really is no other street like in the United States. The Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder, Colorado is an iconic place; and urban planner’s dream come true of walkable, urban shopping and entertainment packed into four glorious blocks between 11th and 15th Streets in the heart of this Front Range metropolis. Where other downtown open air malls have failed and been reopened to motor vehicles, Pearl Street stands the testament of time and success. So much so, that in 2017, it will celebrate its 40th birthday.
Each time I have visited Boulder, I have been drawn to Pearl Street – to shop its eclectic mix of retail offerings – to dine and drink at its watering holes and bistros; to enjoy the fun and spontaneity of its artists, musicians, and street performers; to people watch; and to experience unique events such as the University of Colorado Buffaloes and marching band parading through downtown on a Friday night before a home football game.
Some personal favorites along the Pearl Street Mall include:
- Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery – a delightful artist’s cooperative
- Boulder Nepal
- Nature’s Own – a geology and gemstone shop with its life-size animated baby T-Rex door greeter (see below)
- Rocket Fizz – a store filled with a zany assembly of gifts, candy, colas, and sweets
- West Flanders Brewing Company
- The beautiful art deco-era Boulder County Courthouse (opened in 1933)
- The street sculptures and play areas including a large boulder (how appropriate) that is literally split in half by a narrow path (see below).
The mall is bookended by great shopping and dining in the West End and East End districts and includes my favorite dining spot in the entire city – West End Tavern. Any visit to Boulder (or Denver) must include a trip to luminous Pearl Street. It will definitely light up your day! Namaste.