While North Boulder is less than two miles away from downtown, it feels much further. Quiet residential streets give it a distinct neighborhood feeling, and yet a growing retail and restaurant scene make NoBo (as it’s called by those in the know) one of the best places in Boulder to be right now. There’s everything here from organic grocers to paved trails and parks-a-plenty.
- History: North Boulder, as a neighborhood, dates back to the years following WWII. Large tracts of land were procured with the hopes of selling them to returning soldiers. The North Boulder development was originally part of Tyler Farm and with the establishment of the neighborhood, one of the city’s first shopping centers came into existence as well, North Broadway.
- Housing: There has been an explosion of growth in NoBo in recent decades. One of the newest and most celebrated developments, the Holiday Neighborhood, features a community designed with sustainability and affordability in mind. With a high density of Affordable Housing units, Holiday gives families a walkable neighborhood, public parks and many different types of residential units. Also in North Boulder, a new home community called Springleaf is almost sold out. There are six townhomes and six single-family detached homes in the development, all stressing green design and many with views of the Flatirons.
- Restaurants & Shopping: Some of the city’s best ethnic food can be found in the expansive restaurant scene of NoBo. From the authentic Salvadorian cuisine dished up at Pupusas to the always delicious Chinese at China Gourmet, there are options aplenty to be found in the north. And, unlike dining in other parts of town, when in NoBo you don’t have to worry about parking or battling tourists for a table. That’s a good feeling. Thirsty? Both 4580 and Dagabi serve up excellent happy hours and Tangerine is getting a reputation for its brunch. North Boulder is also home to another independent grocer, Lucky’s Market, proving that you don’t have to shop at Whole Foods if you live here. And as any good road rider knows, the Amante in North Boulder is the spot to be seen in spandex. Many a cyclist will meet at this coffee shop to caffeinate before a ride or share a pastry afterwards. Keep your eyes open while there. You never know which famously shaved legs you might see.
- Family & Fitness: What isn’t there to do in NoBo? The North Boulder community rec center has an indoor pool, extensive gym facilities and a full-blown gymnastics program. North Boulder park offers cross-country skiers a place to get a few laps in during the winter while Foothills community park, nestled up against the foothills, provides hang-gliders with a place to land during the summer months. The Wonderland Lake trail is a 1.5 mile loop around the lake that provides a flat and easy hike. It’s great for families with a trail wide enough to accommodate strollers and a playground. You can connect this trail to others in the area for a longer trek and the grasses surrounding the lake are perfect for summer picnics.
- Schools: Crest View Elementary, Centennial Middle, Boulder High
- Quirks: The north end of town sought to incorporate as a separate and distinct community from the city of Boulder in the 1960’s. Even though the neighborhood eventually lost the case in the Colorado Supreme court, North Boulderites still consider themselves a special breed. Fortunately, NoBo is conveniently located on one of RTD’s main bus routes, the Skip line, meaning that downtown Boulder is just a quick bus ride away.
- Major street boundaries: North of Iris, West of 28th
NoBo still feels like a Boulder secret. It’s part of the scene while still holding fast to the neighborhood feeling and individualistic roots that has always defined the area. With new restaurants and retail opening all over NoBo, this is one part of town that is just starting to take off.
Top Photo Credit: Jerry W. Lewis via Flickr.