1. A cafeteria at the University of Colorado is named after Boulder's favorite hometown cannibal, the Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill. The unusual snack hut offers Al’s Lodge Paninis, Greens Salad Bar, and, um, El Canibal Mexican Specialties. Primarily serving a student population who presumably enjoy the dark humor, the restaurant honors a real, legendary cannibal who lived and dined in Gold Rush-era Colorado.
2. One may not actually “own” a pet within the Boulder city limits: technically, the town’s citizen are merely “pet guardians,” and the pets own themselves.
Source: Flickr user neiljaxx
3. In Boulder, you can fish for rainbow trout within the city limits, and take your catch home for dinner. Want some free sides to go with? Foraging options in the city include: basil, grapes, mulberries, pears, raspberries, cherries, peaches, and tomatoes. There’s even a foraging map, made by a local resident, to help you find them.
4. Jessica Biel, actress and wife of Justin Timberlake, grew up in Boulder, where she attended Fairview High School.
Source: Flickr user Maggie
5. The NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock, which sets the official time of the entire United States, is housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder. It is designed to keep absolutely precise time for the next 80 million years, just, you know, in case.
6. Some cities have celebrity or movie-themed tourist buses; Boulder has Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours. The owner designed the vehicle to look like a hillbilly’s shack in the woods, and his tours consist of jokes, ghost stories, and tales of criminals past.
Source: Flickr user Lisa Williams
7. Boulder boasts the most people who walk to work per capita, and is one of only 13 Gold-level Walk Friendly Communities in the United States.
8. The Third Flatiron is an iconic climbing crag located just west of Boulder. At 1,400 feet (that’s just shy of the Sears Tower in Chicago), this rock formation is intimidating to newcomers, but show-offs have chosen to climb it on roller skates, naked, and without the use of their hands.
Source: Flickr user ~ggvic~
9. In 1973, Beat poet and activist Allen Ginsberg founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with poet and academic Anne Waldman in Boulder, Colorado, and the school—a part of the Naropa Institute—is still educating experimental poets to this day.
10. Searching for more opportunities to run naked with a large fruit on your head? Look no further: on Halloween, some Boulder residents participate in a “naked pumpkin run,” which is exactly what it sounds like.
11. Folks in Boulder seem to really like getting naked, actually. In 1974, hundreds of University of Colorado at Boulder students attempted to set a Guinness World Record by streaking their campus, and Boulder hosts an annual naked bike ride (to protest the overuse of fossil fuels, of course).
Source: Flickr user GoToVan
12. Unrelatedly, Boulder is the most educated city in America, according to Forbes.
Source: Flickr user Nick Allen
13. Politeness rules in Boulder: it is legal to challenge a police officer, but you must cease once she or he has asked you to stop.
14. The natural world is also such an integral part of daily life in Boulder that residents tend to use the mountains as a compass: kids grow up learning which way is west, east, north, and south based on the mountain ranges surrounding them.
Source: Flickr user Jon Hurd
15. Bicycling is such a way of life in Boulder that the city can boast an enormous network of bike lanes and paths: 159 centerline miles. If all of the bike lanes in Boulder were laid end to end, they would stretch a greater distance than from Zurich to Milan.
16. “Mork and Mindy,” the ‘70s TV show that launched the career of Robin Williams, was set in Boulder, and many of the exterior shots were filmed in town, including those of the Colorado University campus and the Pearl Street Mall. Most excitingly, of course, is the actual house Mindy lived in. This beautiful gingerbread home will always be best remembered as the site of “Na-Nu Na-Nu” to fans nationwide.
17. It is, ironically, against the law to roll a boulder onto public property in Boulder, Colorado.
Source: Flickr user Brian Birke
18. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park” and “The Book of Mormon,” met at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where they were both enrolled. Stone would go on to graduate, whereas Parker drifted off into a cloud of, um, not studying hard enough. He ended up doing pretty well for himself anyway, it seems.
Source: Flickr user José Ramírez
19. As recently as 1939, Boulder was still receiving its mail by way of mules, not automobiles, and was the last city in the United States to have its post delivered this way.
20. Boulder Creek Stream offers some really strange, adorable windows into the life aquatic: fish windows built into the side of the observatory’s nature preserve. These small, circular windows for observing the wildlife would be a natural in an aquarium or zoo, but the cement and man-made symmetry feels strangely out of place on the Boulder Creek Trail.
21. In Boulder, it is illegal to climb a public building.
22. Every year, Boulder hosts an annual Kinetics Race. Anyone is welcome to participate, so long as you and your team hand-build a human-powered vehicle that can go over land, water, and other obstacles. Oh, and that you wear crazy themed costumes for both you and your floating, riding sculpture. Previous winners have dressed as mad cows, a gigantic shark, and a killer rabbit.
Source: Flickr user Rick
23. The Dushanbe Teahouse, which now resides in the heart of Boulder, was actually a gift from the mayor and people of Dushanbe, Tajikstan, Boulder’s sister city. The teahouse, aside from being an amazing cultural artifact, is also a bustling business that locals love.
24.The Frozen Dead Guy Days celebration may technically occur in nearby Nederland, Colorado, but the event is beloved by Boulderites, many of whom make the 25-minute jaunt to Nederland for the event. A local party is actually themed around, well, a real frozen dead guy: a Norweigan named Bredo Morstoel whose grandson has attempted to cryogenically preserve him in colorado since 1989. A strange theme for a gathering? Yes, the events honor the theme: participants can enjoy a Parade of Hearses, Ice Turkey Bowling, and Coffin Races.
25. Before he was famous, Robert Redford was a janitor at local pizza and burger joint The Sink. Still an institution in downtown Boulder, The Sink is now a 100% wind-powered operation, and President Obama once nibbled a pizza there (his choice, now renamed the POTUS, was pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, black olive, red onion, and mozzarella cheese).
26.Every summer, Boulder residents hold a “Tube to Work Day,” because why walkmor bike when you can put on a suit and float down Boulder Creek in an inner tube?
Source: Flickr user Katina Rogers
27. Boulder has fewer overweight people and more people who exercise than anywhere else in America.
28. And yet, Boulder is home to some of the best craft breweries in the country, including Left Hand Brewery, Oskar Blues, and Avery Brewing.
29. Street performers are a common sight on the downtown Pearl Street Mall, including acrobats, contortionists, concert violinists, and those who both juggle and
swallow fire. It is recommended that you avoid wearing hairspray near these guys.
Source: Flickr user Paul L Dineen
30. Dr. Cydd West is the proud creator of The Junk Art Garden, a constantly rotating solo gallery exhibit that includes a fence decorated with old records, a pyramid of irons, and a tree covered in shoes.
31. It is illegal to allow your llama (or your many llamas, for that matter) to graze on public property.
Source: Flickr user Thomas Quine
32. “Reserved Parking: Alternative Fuel Vehicles Only” signs are as common in Boulder as “Reserved For Expectant Mothers” are in other cities.
33. Boulder is the first city to tax itself for funds dedicated solely to the acquisition and preservation of open space.
34. Independent Business Alliances are common enough throughout the United States now, helping communities develop strong locally-based economies and promoting independent businesses. There are now over 85 IBAs in the United States, but the very first one was in Boulder, Colorado.
Source: Flickr user Lee Coursey
35. Boulder is one of the fastest-growing tech job markets, as it has the highest density of tech start-ups of any city in America.
36. Couches may not legally be placed on porches here, an effort towards refinement that may or may not have backfired (there’s no law against lawn couches).
37. Boulder is home to one of the last Chautauquas, adult education spaces that were very popular in the early 20th century. The Colorado Chautauqua is unique in that it functions year-round.
38. Local artist Michael Grab creates beautiful, precarious, slightly unnerving rock sculptures and balances them throughout Boulder Creek park. These sculptures are made without the use of glue or any other fixative.
Source: Flickr user Loneyvs
39. It is illegal to build a structure larger than four stories in Boulder. The intention is to preserve the city’s uninterrupted view of the mountains.
40. The Celestial Seasonings Tea Company is based here—but more importantly, the corporation has turned its front lawn into a Prairie Dog Preserve. That’s right: the tiny varmints are protected on this land, and there is even a prairie dog-shaped sign that forbids people from chasing them. Because anyone in their right mind immediately starts chasing small rodents when they see them, of course.
Source: Flickr user Strange Ones
41. One may not kill a bird within the Boulder city limits.
42. At least 70% of Boulderites (the correct term for an inhabitant of Boulder—sounds better than Boulderian) owns a bicycle.
Source: Flickr user Bradley Gordon
43. The city is so left-wing that it is regularly—if jokingly—referred to as “The People’s Republic of Boulder.”
44. The Colorado Buffaloes football team is one of only two NCAA Division I teams to complete a 5th down conversion.
Source: Flickr user John Martinez Pavliga
45. The first city in the United States to institute a Green Building Code for residences, Boulder residents are proud of the fact that this same law has now been mandated throughout Colorado.
46. Boulder is the least-married city in Colorado.
Source: Flickr user John Mayer
47. Boulder has been named an important food town by “Forbes,” “USA Today,” “Bon Appetit,” and “Livability.”
48. With 45,000 acres of preserved open space and 60 parks, Boulder has been acknowledged as one of the Best Urban Green Spaces in America.
49. It is illegal to herd pigs in public without prior permission in Boulder, Colorado.
Source: Flickr user Morgan
50. Farmers’ Markets aren’t new, but Boulder made this green event just a little bit greener: in 2005, the Boulder Farmer’s Market became the first regularly scheduled zero-waste event in the United States. They ditched the trash cans in favor of recycling and composting literally all the waste at the market, inspiring the EPA to name Boulder the first “Green Power Community” in Colorado.
What’s your favorite Boulder fun fact? Tell us in the comments below!