There are very few places in Boulder as iconic as the Pearl Street Mall. Officially dedicated on August 6, 1977, the Mall is home to some of the most colorful characters in Boulder.
It’s a great place to just grab a coffee and a bench people watch for a while. I’m fairly certain you’ll see at least one of these types of folks walk by.
Overly Caffeinated Guy
Speaking of coffee, with a raft of coffee shops both on and surrounding the Pearl Street Mall and given the fact that about 50% of all business meetings take place in coffee shops, there’s at least a handful of guys or gals walking around Pearl Street with caffeine sweats, looking like their heart might beat out of their chest and their eyes might never close for sleep again.
Not Very Good at Percussion Instruments Guy
Fact: At any given time, there are about three drum circles happening around the Mall.
Fact: Only one of them is any good. For some reason, the guy rocking the bongos doesn’t seem to have any natural rhythm. Or if he does, it’s marching to a completely different beat than every other person in the drum circle, or the Mall for that matter.
With so many startup companies and coworking spaces located in Downtown Boulder, it’s safe to assume that 84% of the people you see walking around on Pearl Street are involved in some way with either a freelancing business (design, writing, programming or marketing) or a “lean” startup. You can usually pick them out of the crowd because they’re on their phone switching between calls, texting and emailing while walking with another entrepreneur discussing business (they tend to flock together).
Worried Parents of a College Student
They’ve seen the beautiful campus and toured CU facilities. They were informed of the prevalence and near legality of marijuana. Now their children are taking them for a tour of downtown. You can see the fear in their eyes grow with each bar they pass. Their eyes widen as they realize the actual cost of having a child attend CU Boulder: Gourmet eateries, boutique thread and upscale coffee houses. Sometimes you can almost tell that they’re trying to calculate the cost of a second mortgage on their house.
Incredibly Talented Street Performer
Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall has been host to many extremely talented buskers over the years (and some untalented ones. See also: Not Very Good at Percussion Instruments Guy), and some have gained local celebrity with their performances. “Zip Code Guy” performed downtown for years and never stopped amazing people. There was a Jamaican contortionist who could fit into tiny little boxes. Not to mention the wealth of musicians who seem just way too good not to already have found world fame and fortune.
Business Casual Dreadlocks
The epitome of everything that is Boulder: Organic, cruelty-free vegan party up top and high-octane business leader on the bottom. This person has a purposeful, perfectly manicured mane of dreaded locks, but dresses to the nines in designer styles that have been tailored to fit their body to a T. On occasion, the outfit will have just a little bit of climbing chalk stuck to the outside of the pants pockets. It is the most confounding duality you might ever encounter and it’s something hard to find outside of Boulder.
This is really what Boulder is all about. It takes the rustic beauty of the Rocky Mountain majesty that lies on its doorstep and pairs it with a bustling, young city full of brainiacs and full force entrepreneurs and the outcome is like no other city in the US, which is why we are all happy to call Boulder home.