Curious if Boulder, Colorado is safe? We asked Amber from Amber Everywhere to cover this topic in depth.
Located about 40 minutes from the capital city of Denver, Boulder is more like a mountain town than a major metropolitan city.
The locals in Boulder are known for being well educated, outdoorsy, and a little eccentric. Boulder is a popular destination for visitors in the summer, when Pearl Street, the central pedestrian mall, is bustling with activity.
If you are planning a trip and wondering if Boulder, Colorado is a safe place to visit, then this crime and safety guide will give you all of the information you’ll need to decide if Boulder is the right choice for your next trip.
Is Boulder, Colorado Safe For Travel?
Yes, Boulder, Colorado is safe for travel. This small city is safer than most other places in Colorado, with friendly locals who are typically happy to help if you have an issue.
Although no city is completely safe from crime, the risks are lower in Boulder than many other Colorado cities like Denver or Colorado Springs.
You can avoid most crime in Boulder by taking standard precautions. Remain aware of your surroundings, avoid secluded areas at night, and be sure to lock your doors.
Bicycle theft is particularly common in Boulder, so never leave your bike unlocked and consider storing it inside.
Is Boulder, Colorado a safe city at night?
Yes, Boulder is generally a safe city at night. Take normal precautions when traveling at night to avoid any issues. Stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and watch your drinks when consuming alcohol at bars in the area.
The other danger you might face in Boulder is threats from wildlife, mainly bears and mountain lions.
Animal attacks are rare, but you’ll want to avoid walking or hiking solo in the mountainous areas around dawn or dusk. If you must walk during these times, make some noise so that animals will hear you coming and fight back if you are attacked.
Is Boulder Safe To Live?
With generally low levels of crime, Boulder, Colorado is a safe place to live. The biggest risk to local safety is animal activity, as there are both bears and mountain lions active in the area.
Bear proof trash cans and dumpsters help to mitigate the threat of bear encounters, but it’s always a good idea to make plenty of noise when going outside at dusk or dawn.
Also, there are transient populations that move through the city during the summer months. With this influx of people each summer, it’s best to ensure your bikes are locked up and to keep any doors locked at night.
Is Boulder a good place to live?
Boulder is a great place to live, with plenty of things to do throughout the year. The public schools are high quality, the area is safe, and locals are quite friendly. Unlike nearby Denver, there’s a distinct feeling of community in Boulder.
Winter in Boulder, Colorado is surprisingly pleasant, mostly because the locals love to spend time outdoors and there’s plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
If you enjoy winter sports you’re in luck as they’re just a short drive away from the downtown area.
Is Boulder a friendly city?
Yes, Boulder is a very friendly city! The locals are warm and slightly eccentric (in a good way!).
The best place to meet locals is along Pearl Street and at the Boulder Farmers Market every Saturday in the summer. You’ll also see plenty of locals at restaurants like Foolish Craig’s, the Trident Cafe, and Mountain Sun.
Boulder is also a very dog friendly place, so you’ll see lots of pups on the sidewalks throughout the city. Many restaurants also have seating areas for dogs or allow them to stay with you on the patio.
Which is better: Boulder or Denver?
When comparing Boulder vs Denver, there’s no obvious winner. Denver is more metropolitan, with a bustling downtown area and neighborhoods that sprawl in all directions.
By contrast, Boulder is more like a large town with a central pedestrian mall and plenty of walkable spaces.
Between the two, Boulder is definitely the safer destination. Denver’s crime rate is significantly higher, and there are several neighborhoods that see both violent and non-violent crime.
While all of Boulder is safe to visit, there are definitely parts of Denver that should be avoided.
Safest Places In Boulder: Must Sees
Boulder, Colorado is a fun and safe place to visit, and here are some of the spots you simply must see.
Pearl Street is the main pedestrian mall in Boulder and is definitely a must see when in the city. This area is full of shops, restaurants, breweries, and cafes, and you can easily spend a few hours exploring.
There are also street performers along Pearl Street who delight crowds with their daring and/or unique acts, so bring some cash to leave a tip.
📍Chautauqua State Park
The quintessential view of Boulder, Colorado is the Flatirons, and Chautauqua is the park at their base. The trails in Chautauqua are mostly gentle, with great views of the Flatirons and residential Boulder. If you have time, stop for a coffee or lunch at the Chautauqua Dining Hall, located on the eastern side of the park.
📍Boulder Creek (during the day)
During the day, you’ll definitely want to spend some time exploring Boulder Creek. In summertime you can even buy a tube from a local shop and float down the creek in spots where it’s calm.
There are walking trails along Boulder Creek, from the canyon east through the city. There’s a small park along the western part of the creek that you can visit with kids, and you’ll often see parents and children fishing in the small pond.
If you’d like to continue on the path into the foothills, you can do so by following it westbound.
Places We Recommend Avoiding In Boulder
Although Boulder is considered to be a safe place, there are some area that are best to be avoided. Crime in Boulder is most likely to take place late in the evenings in secluded areas, like the Boulder Creek, or on the Hill.
❌ Boulder Creek at Night
Boulder Creek is perfectly safe and beautiful during the day, but you’ll want to avoid visiting at night. This is especially true of the far eastern and western portions of the Creek, where there can sometimes be encampments set up.
To be safe, stick to these areas during the daylight hours and remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.
❌ Hiking Trails at Dawn and Dusk
Although there is a slight risk of crime on Boulder hiking trails at dawn and dusk, the real threat hiking in Colorado is mountain lions. You might see mountain lions anytime of the day, but they’re known to be most active during these times.
If you must hike at dawn or dusk, try to make noise to scare off any animals who might be interested in you.
❌ The Hill at Night
The area directly west of the University of Colorado Boulder’s campus is called “the Hill”, and it’s known as the student area of the city. While it’s safe during the day, it can be a little dodgy later at night.
Avoid wandering through on foot or parking your car in this area at night if you can, as it’s more prone to burglaries and petty crime.
Tips For Staying Safe In Colorado
✅ If you’re traveling to Boulder, choose a hotel near Pearl Street or in another central area.
✅ Be prepared for winter weather, especially if you’ll be driving in the mountains. The weather can change rapidly, often with little warning. But don’t worry, winter is gorgeous in this area and there are some incredible winter hikes in Colorado.
✅ Petty theft is fairly common, so take care to lock your car, hide possessions in your car, and lock your doors.
✅ Bike theft is very common in Boulder. Always take care to secure your bike and keep it indoors, if possible.
✅ When hiking in the mountains in summer, ensure that you complete your ascent before the afternoon storms roll in.
✅ Always tell someone where you’re planning to hike and when you anticipate being back.
Conclusion: Is Boulder, Colorado Safe?
Boulder, Colorado is a safe destination for travel and there are many beautiful places to visit throughout the year. As with any other destination, you’ll want to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.
You can prevent most petty property crimes by simply locking your doors, moving valuables out of sight, and keeping an eye on your belongings while you’re out.