Culinary School Social Life: What Culinary Students Do For Fun in Boulder

World-class food, gorgeous scenery, a charming shopping district—there’s no shortage of fun things for culinary students to do in Boulder!

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July 12, 2022 6 min read

Thinking about attending culinary school in Boulder? Be prepared to fall in love with this beautiful college town about 30 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado.

With just over 100,000 residents, this eclectic, outdoorsy city has plenty to do and plenty to eat for the passionate culinary school student! Students can explore the vibrant restaurant scene, trek the nearby mountains, and shop at charming local boutiques.

Here are just a few of the fun things that culinary students enjoy in their social life in Boulder.

Dine Your Way Through Boulder

Boulder boasts some of the best dining in Colorado — an important consideration for culinary students!

The farm-to-table movement is robust in Boulder, with many restaurants highlighting Colorado farms and artisans on their menus. James Beard-winning restaurant Frasca Food and Wine, for example, serves North Italian fare featuring local producers like Buckner Family Farm and Hirakata Farms. They offer traditional indoor dining as well as an “alpenglobe” outdoor dining experience.

The Kitchen is a farm-to-table restaurant with a focus on sustainability. Ingredients come from local farmers, often within driving distance of their Boulder location. The menu has global influences, from Mexican ceviche to Italian burrata to Chinese fried rice.

Just west of Boulder, a short drive up the Flagstaff Mountain, you’ll find Flagstaff House. At an elevation of 6,000 feet, this fine dining restaurant atop a wine cellar looks out over the whole city. The menu is by former Chopped champion Chris Royster, and features Wagyu beef, diver scallops, and foie gras.

For something a bit more accessible in both location and price, try homemade noodles, dim sum, and other Chinese street food from Zoe Ma Ma on Pearl Street. This little shop is regularly listed among the best restaurants in Boulder.

Escoffier baking and pastry student holding baked bread

Fans of the art of charcuterie have to visit Blackbelly Market, led by Chef/Owner Hosea Rosenberg of Top Chef fame. Part butcher shop and part restaurant, Blackbelly sells fresh and cured meats to take home, plus food and cocktails to enjoy on their large outdoor patio. Try dry aged confit duck leg or koji cured pork loin.

Colorado is also a beer lover’s paradise. Famous breweries like Avery and Upslope have local taprooms where you can sample their suds. The same can be said for Oskar Blues, which is just a stone’s throw from Boulder in the charming town of Longmont.

Programs at Escoffier’s Boulder Campus

Get Outside: It’s a Way of Life

Get out of the kitchen and enjoy some fresh air! Boulder sits at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so there are plenty of outdoor activities to partake in and to say folks in this town are active is an understatement! Hiking, biking, and climbing are common pursuits both in the city and in the surrounding hills and mountains.

Mount Sanitas is a popular hiking spot with three different trail options, from an easy cruiser to a challenging ascent. The trailhead is on the west side of town, less than a 15-minute drive from Escoffier’s Boulder campus.

In Chautauqua Park, you can hike the Flatirons on any of the several trails available. The Flatirons are a series of five iconic slab-like peaks just west of the city. This scenic area has plenty of spots for photo ops.

Three people hiking with mountains in the background

The Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado

A bit further outside of town, visit Eldorado Canyon State Park for hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, and snowshoeing in winter. There are over 1,000 technical climbing routes for the rock climbing enthusiast, but there’s also plenty of hiking for those of us who prefer to keep our feet on the ground.

Snow bums can spend a day at Eldora Mountain skiing or snowboarding. With 680 acres of ski slopes, there are runs for both novice and experienced skiers.

Another major attraction is the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. This world-class outdoor concert venue is tucked right into the side of the mountains for a one-of-a-kind live music experience in Morrison, a short drive from Boulder. Experience your favorite acts in a natural, red rock amphitheater with top-notch acoustics, all under a starry sky.

Watch encouragements from commencement speakers at the Escoffier Boulder Campus Graduation Ceremony.

Explore Ample Culture & Shopping Options

Culinary school students have interests outside of cooking, of course, and Boulder offers plenty of ways to foster them.

For shopping and people watching, visit the Pearl Street Mall. The Mall is a charming outdoor shopping strip with a wide range of boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, and street artists. With historic buildings and brick sidewalks, it’s perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee and going for a stroll.

People walking around Pearl Street Mall in Boulder

Pearl Street Mall in Boulder

American car enthusiasts have to visit the Shelby American Collection to see their extensive collection of race memorabilia and classic cars. And fans of live music can take in concerts and comedy at the historic Boulder Theater downtown. This venue has been hosting music and film since it was first opened back in 1906.

Boulder is also home to several museums. The Fiske Planetarium and University of Colorado Boulder Museum of Natural History are hot spots for history buffs, including jaw-dropping exhibits with stunning star displays and artifacts from other eras. The Boulder Modern Art Museum is an art-lover’s dream, featuring rotating exhibits of modern paintings, photographs, lithographs, sculpture, and more.

Come See Beautiful Boulder for Yourself!

Boulder is a vibrant town in a gorgeous setting. It’s small enough to feel intimate but large enough to keep you entertained during your culinary school career and beyond. Many Escoffier Boulder culinary students opt to complete their hands-on industry externships here, and may even stay in the area after graduation because they love the town so much!

To learn more about studying at Escoffier Boulder’s campus, contact our admissions department.

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*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

This article was originally published on October 19, 2020, and has since been updated.

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