New year, more adventures.
Boulder, Colorado, has something exciting going on every month of 2018. Some highlights to look forward to are annual events. Others are special one-time sensations.
Big news for Boulder this year is the newly opened Central Park at Boulder’s Civic Area. This new outdoor space along the Boulder Creek in downtown will be the home of some fun community events. Many of the specifics are still in the works, but you can look for a new Green Free Concert Series in August (with free music, plus food and local breweries) and The Green Free Film Series September through October, a film series under the stars, in the new park.
Here’s a look at some of the most exciting happenings in Boulder for 2018.
Jan. 12-14: Hot Rize is performing for three nights at the Boulder Theater. Unfortunately, if you haven’t scored tickets, these shows are already all sold out.
But there’s plenty of other action at the Boulder Theater, as well as two of Boulder’s other main concert venues, the Fox Theatre on University Hill and Chautauqua Auditorium at the base of the mountain, says Darlene D’Agostino Beck, spokesperson.
“Basking in the afterglow of the Fox 25th, the Fox Theatre remains a favorite club of bands and fans alike,” she says, referring to the theater’s 25th anniversary in 2017.
National acts coming through this year include Chris Robinson, Hippie Sabotage, Margo Price, LP, Lucius, Chris Lake, Wuki and more to be announced.
Chautauqua also expects some national names for its summer season, but performers have not yet been announced.
In addition, the Fox and Boulder theaters will both get new lights this year.
Jan. 22-26 (and Feb. 5-7): The University of Colorado-Boulder presents Recreate Your Roots, which brings together American roots musicians (like banjos playerxc s and fiddlers) for concerts, talks, workshops and gatherings. The event is sponsored by the American Music Research Center.
Feb. 17: CU Presents Ailey II, a renowned dance troupe named after the choreographer Alvin Ailey. These touring dancers are performing at the Macky Auditorium on the CU campus.
Feb. 22-25: One of the most anticipated events in Boulder is the Boulder International Film Festival, an annual film event that draws more than 25,000 people. The fest screens films, presents music and offers special events like food and film pairings.
March 3: Boulder loves beer, and the city will pay tribute to local brewers at its annual Winter Craft Beer Festival for one night only at the Twenty Ninth Street mall. This year, the festival expects about 50 breweries, which will collectively offer more than 150 types of craft beer.
March 3: CU Presents: Lila Downs, a jazz/blues/world music performer. Downs will perform music inspired by ancient cultures and her Mexican-American heritage at CU’s Macky Auditorium.
March 13: The Boulder public libraries have several exciting events for 2018, including the Frankenstein Bicentennial Celebration on March 13.
Other library highlights include an exhibit and talk called A Century of Views of Colorado: 1820-1920, which will highlight photos and maps from that period at Benson’s Earth Sciences and Map Library; and a Celebration of CU’s Favorite Poems on April 18. In June, the library will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the CU Boulder Archives, but no specific dates and details have been announced yet.
March 15: The Boulder Bach Festival has many events throughout the year, but a highlight for 2018 will be its “Eternal Spirit” concert, featuring a full orchestra, chorus and soloists. The musicians will perform four pieces by composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The festival calls this one-night-only event the “main course” of its concert series. Don’t miss the lecture before the show.
March 16-18: Watch “Sweeney Todd” the musical for the first time ever at CU. This show, brought by CU Presents, will take the stage of the Macky auditorium for two nights in March.
March 24-28: The American College Dance Association’s regional conference is in late March. It includes a dance concert by RubberbanDance at Macky Auditorium on March 24.
March 30 (through April 7): The end of March kicks off Boulder Arts Week, an annual celebration of Boulder artists. You can find workshops, shows, music, exhibitions and a wide spectrum of artsy activities around town for the fifth-annual event.
March 9-11: Early March is for one of the weirdest events in Boulder County (and let’s face it, the world). It’s Frozen Dead Guy Days, a festival in Nederlands that features dozens of live bands and odd events like coffin races and frozen T-shirt contests. The event was inspired by a man who asked to be frozen in a Tuff Shed on dry ice near Nederland before he died.
April 1: The Boulder Farmers Market opens April 1. This huge exciting outdoor market was named the No. 1 farmers market in the nation by USA Today readers. It’s been a Boulder staple since 1987 and features tons of great food, shopping, live music and more.
April 4: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the graduation of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, the first African American graduate of CU. In honor of her memory, CU will hold a lecture by Polly McLean on Buchanan. Time and place TBD.
April 8: Boulder welcomes springtime with its annual Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival on the Pearl Street Mall. Hundreds of kids dress up like fairies and elves, and the “tulip fairy” celebrates the 15,000 colorful tulips annually planted along the mall.
April 9-13: The weeklong Conference on World Affairs is a highly anticipated educational event on the CU Campus. The public is welcome to pop in on about 200 different panels, events and concerts for free, which feature world-famous thinkers, teachers, leaders and innovators. Even more exciting: This year marks the conference’s 70th anniversary.
April 13-22: The musical “Hair” comes to Boulder’s University Theatre in April. This show, brought by CU Presents, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, making it an especially exciting time to catch the Broadway-produced production.
April 29: Foodies and artists, this one’s for you. The Taste of Pearl takes over the Pearl Street Mall and downtown Boulder every spring. Local restaurants, art galleries and wineries come together to bring this interactive, walking tour of Boulder’s creative and delicious side. Participants stroll through different shops and galleries, taste food paired with beverages and learn more about Boulder’s makers.
May 26-28: The Boulder Creek Festival is one of Boulder’s biggest community events, centered along the banks of Boulder Creek. For more than 30 years, the free fest has featured food, entertainment, vendors and family fun. This year, expect more than 500 vendors, nine event areas, three stages and carnival rides.
May 28: It’s the BolderBoulder’s 40th anniversary. This 10K is one of the biggest, most famous races in the world, and this year will be “epic,” according to the race’s website, as it celebrates its fourth decade. The BolderBoulder claims its event also includes the nation’s biggest Memorial Day celebration; a ceremony that honors service people is the grand finale of the race.
June 6 (through Aug. 8): Downtown Boulder’s annual Bands on the Bricks outdoor summer concert series starts June 6. Listen to live music, dance if you want and sip on beer from the beer garden. The heart of Bands on the Bricks is in the 1300 block of Pearl. This year marks the 21st anniversary of this free, 10-week tradition that runs from 6-9 p.m. on every Wednesday throughout the summer.
June 8 (through Aug. 12): Early June kicks off Boulder’s annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival, where you can watch Shakespeare plays outside in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre (and indoors at University Theatre, too). This year, highlights include “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “Richard III.”
June 10: In true Boulder style, one of the biggest events of the summer is the Ironman Boulder race, the biggest Ironman competition in the world. More than 2,000 athletes compete for the esteemed title.
June 14-17: The biggest yoga event in Boulder and one of the best in the state comes to Boulder every summer. The annual Hanuman Festival brings famous yoga teachers to town, plus live music and other workshops.
June 16: The CU New Opera Workshop is an interactive event where you can watch the process of creating an opera and share your ideas with the composers. See “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” June 16 at the Atlas Black Box Theater.
June 16-18: Dance is the star of the Boulder International Festival, which turns the Pearl Street Mall into a giant dance floor. Also browse arts and crafts vendors while you watch free dancers from around the world.
July 4: The biggest Fourth of July party in Boulder County is Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast in the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. See an impressive fireworks display and celebrate the nation’s independence.
July 21-22: Art, art, art is the heart of the Pearl Street Arts Fest. This weekend event honors all mediums of art in Boulder and beyond. See artists from around the nation and find plenty of ways to participate yourself, too.
July 29: Festivals are everywhere in the summer. July 29 is the family-focused SummerFest, all about outdoor culture and nature and celebrating the end of the Boulder Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.
July 30 (through Aug. 3): The annual Aerial Dance Festival, organized by Frequent Flyers Productions, is one of the most esteemed aerial dance events in the world. It brings aerial dancers to Boulder, from whom the community can learn skills like trapeze and aerial silks. The fest also includes jaw-dropping performances that you can only see in Boulder.
July TBD: Dead and Co. returns to Boulder for the third year. The date has not yet been set, but this performance at Folsom Field has been wildly popular.
July TBD: Tube to Work Day is when locals take a tube down Boulder Creek, theoretically to commute to work, although the internationally recognized event (sponsored by the City of Boulder) is more of a party than a serious meeting.
Aug. 4: Because one Ironman isn’t enough for Boulder. The Ironman 70.3 (a half Ironman) centers around Boulder Reservoir. This is a popular event to participate in as well as watch.
Aug. 15-26: The Boulder International Fringe Festival is about independent art and pushing creative boundaries, presented in unexpected places around town. The Fringe Festival features theater, dance, music and more.
Aug. 18: There’s a winter beer fest, and there’s a summer beer fest. This is Boulder’s summer tribute to craft brew. In North Boulder Park, this annual event features more than 25 craft breweries, live tunes and food.
Aug. 24: Nederland isn’t just for frozen dead guys. It’s about music, too. The 20th-annual NedFest Music and Arts Festival turns this small mountain town into a hoppin’ outdoor music festival every summer.
Sept. 2-4: The Boulder Creek Festival starts summer in Boulder and the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival ends summer. This event, located in Central Park, includes live music, a race, a car show, beer, food and more over Labor Day weekend every year.
Sept. 14-16: In case you missed the Boulder Creek Hometown Fest, or just want a second festival in September, there’s also the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest. This event (celebrating its 31st year) also features food, beer and music (see a trend?). But it’s downtown. And has carnival rides for kiddos. And the Firefly Handmade Market for shopping.
Oct 6-8: The annual Adventure Film Festival brings new hand-picked films to Boulder, where they are debuted before heading off on a world tour. The topics here: rock climbing, outdoor adventures, extreme sports and activism.
Oct. 31: Boulder celebrates Halloween with its annual Munchkin Masquerade. The Pearl Street Mall is flooded with kids in costume and they trick-or-treat the downtown businesses, which always decorate big for the occasion.
Nov. 10-18: First Bite, Boulder County Restaurant Week, is a great time to try Boulder’s best food on the cheap (well, for Boulder). For this one week, 40 restaurants offer special three-course menus for a discounted rate.
Dec. 1: Boulder starts the holiday season with its 31st-annual Lights of December Parade in downtown Boulder. This parade has beautiful floats, music, singers and, of course, Santa.