I grew up in Boulder, and have attended preschool through grad school right here in The People’s Republic. These picks are my own personal picks for 5 best study spots in Boulder, based on much personal experience doing so, as well as seeing what are the most popular and/or award-winning places to do so.
Boulder has been voted Smartest City in the US for several years now, and from several sources. It’s not rocket science to figure out why (or, actually, it kind of is: there’s a lot of rocket and space and other atmospheric science going on here): Boulder is such a college town, it boasts not one, but two universities, not to mention various specialty schools such as the acupuncture school in Gunbarrel. Therefore, Boulder is a pretty studious place to live (as well as a party town by night, natch). Beyond the given places on either campus, or studying within the comforts of your own home, in Boulder there are many stimulating spots to settle into and cram for that test, or draft that research paper.
Here are my favorites; the 5 best places to study in Boulder:
I have been going to The Trident for what I and my friends call Literati Time since I was a teenager. It remains the ideal place for especially writing work, when one needs that moderate bustle in the environment to help focus the brain, but not too noisy or distracting a clientele. It has a splendid tea selection as well as caffeine of the coffee variety. The dark wood everywhere plus the ever-changing art exhibit on the walls makes for excellent study comfort. And in case you need inspiration or research, one of the best-used book stores in town is The Trident’s better half, connected to the coffee shop part.
Speaking of connected, Trident has free wifi of a decent speed. So if your writings are not of the pen and paper type, it’s simple to plugin and also to connect to the Internet without a hitch. Connection inside and out on Trident’s patio is usually pretty equally easy. Plus, once you’re finished with your hard work, the Trident now offers wine and local craft beer. You can toast your study skills and time management when you’re done.
Keeping in the coffee shop vein, The Laughing Goat is a fantastic organic coffee shop at the opposite end of the Pearl Street Mall as Trident Cafe (with another smaller branch down on East Pearl near the post office). It has more of bustle and a wide array of snacks for feeding the ol’ cranium as you work. The downtown location has an excellent patio for people watching (which I like to do while conducting research). But also has a bigger study room in the back with outlets for devices and good art on the walls. Also, live music every evening, almost, for when you’re done with your work and are ready to unwind.
Laughing Goat also has a branch right smack dab in Norlin Library. It has 24/7 service during finals week! Now that’s a welcome bonus, amirite? They’ve won two Boulder Weekly Best of Boulder bronze level awards for best place to wifi and best cup of coffee so you can’t go wrong with that. Boulderites also voted it in the silver level of those awards for best coffeehouse in general. Boulder has spoken…
Boulder Public Library
Is it a cop-out to include a library as a favorite study spot? I don’t think so, as the BPL is unusual as libraries go. It has incredible architecture, a superbly robust children’s department, and now has more brain-stimulating areas, like the new Makerspace! It also has a little coffee shop between the library part and the art gallery part. If caffeination is necessary (as it so often is when studying) and an active performance space on the Canyon side. Boulder Public Library has a myriad of quiet little nooks to settle down in, both inside and along the Boulder Creek, outside, as well. It has a bank of computers for public use, too, though you’ll have to wait in line for them most days.
Boulderites agree with me: the BPL was voted at the gold level in the Best of Boulder awards’ best place to wifi category. Why stay in the campus library, when you can branch out into downtown, with all of the scenery it has to offer?
Speaking of branches, there are two Boulder Public Library smaller branches, too: the Meadows branch down on Baseline. If you’re in the Southern or Eastern area of Boulder, and my own college job, the Reynolds Branch, on Table Mesa and Broadway—it’s a little castle looking building tucked into the trees and the nice residential neighborhood there. It tends to be a bit more of a quiet study spot than the big downtown Main library, most days.
Touted as Boulder’s Backyard, the Rayback Collective has been gaining accolades Boulder-wide since it first renovated the old appliance repair place. Now it’s a hip! Open workspace with multiple banks of comfy seats as well as a myriad of barstools at the several bars found inside the huge hipstery warehouse. Thing is, look below any of the bars. Alongside any of the banks of seats, you’ll find rows of charging stations for all your devices’ power needs. It’s set up outdoors like a big picnic party (it was voted Best of Boulder gold for best place to eat outside), and indoors it’s like a beautiful shared workspace like a WeWork type thing, with big screens and some of the best local coffee and kombucha as well as a fantastic beer selection (making Boulder workers and drinkers vote it at gold level for the Best of Boulder Best Bar category).
Speaking of good places to do things outside…
I mean, really! It’s Boulder! Choose your gorgeous and comfy study spots under any tree, or along any stretch of the Boulder Creek—there’s any number of good places to study outside when the weather is good (as it usually is, here in Boulder where we get at least 300 days of sunshine a year).
Especially if you don’t need to connect to the Internet for your studies, toss your textbook and highlighter into your backpack and take a hike. Literally–so many trailheads very close to town are there for walks of all levels of ability, and what’s better as a quiet spot for reading or solving equations than in the midst of Nature? The Boulder Creek, too, close to or down in town, hides several little spots that are cozy and lovely to settle into for a good read, all along the Boulder Creek Path. Just hopping on a bike and cruising up or down the path, you’ll discover multitudes of little seating areas, trailheads, and more.
My personal favorite outside spots to study in Boulder are up around Chautauqua (both the park and the many trails that begin there), and down around the Bear Creek area of the Boulder Creek Path. But there are many more.
Don’t see your favorite place to study in Boulder, here? Let us know in the comments, and maybe there’ll be a Top 5 Places to Study in Boulder Sequel!