Keychains and kitschy T-shirts may have cut it as souvenirs from past vacations, but an epic trip to Boulder warrants bringing back some equally epic souvenirs.
Here’s where you can elevate your souvenir shopping along the Pearl Street Mall, finding uniquely Colorado goods of the non-cheesy variety.
Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl St.
The Boulder Book Store has more than 100,000 selections. But if you’re looking to bring one home as a souvenir, head straight to the store’s staircase. There you can find autographed books from local authors and guest speakers, as well as some arty Boulder T-shirts. Or, for other books with a local connection, make a left as soon as you enter the store from Pearl Street. You’ll be greeted by shelves of books that are recommended by the book store’s staff, as well as Boulder best sellers. The staff prides itself on picking books you won’t find on aggregated lists elsewhere. Among the current recommendations? “Orphans of the Carnival” by Carol Birch, which the staffer described as a heartbreaking tale of a talented 19th-century circus performer who was feared because of her “freakish” look and “My Beer Year” by Lucy Burningham, a funny memoir about a woman’s journey to become a Certified Cicerone.
Spinster Sisters Co., 1102 Pearl St.
Imagine if Etsy were a real-life pop-up shop. Now picture the majority of sellers being Coloradan artisans. That’s exactly what this newly opened artisan market along the Pearl Street Mall is like. The market, which opened in September 2017, is occupying the space of a former pizzeria and bar, Old Chicago. Spinster Sisters Co. has other locations in Cherry Creek North and Golden, and its latest Boulder location will remain open through the holidays, possibly stretching into June.
Take a peek inside and you’ll find bath mixes — like Sitz bath salts and face steaming teas — that you can buy by the ounce. As for T-shirts, you can find a rack of “Make America Hippy Again” T-shirts made by Colorado apparel makers, Be Hippy. Other goods include “fourteener” posters featuring Colorado’s famed peaks 14,000 feet above sea level or higher, jams made with Colorado fruits and local jewelry.
Peppercorn, 1235 Pearl St.
If you’re shopping for a home cook, be sure to stop by Peppercorn, a kitchen and home decor emporium where you can find everything from cute dishes to specialty barbecue sauces. While the store doesn’t carry as many “local” gifts, you can find some Boulder-centric cookbooks like “Denver & Boulder Chef’s Table,” by Ruth Tobias. You can also find dish towels with artistic maps of Colorado or the University of Colorado campus printed on them.
Into the Wind, 1408 Pearl St.
Have kids visiting Boulder and who were dazzled by the street performers staging magic tricks, acrobatics and other stunts along the Pearl Street Mall? This toy shop — which is best known for its kites and wind spinners — also has an entire section of props for street theater. You’ll find everything from juggling balls to magic light-up gloves to funky juggling sticks in this toy store which sells both old and new toys.
Jackalope & Co. International, 1126 Pearl St.
Set on bringing home a T-shirt, hat or sweatshirt from Boulder? Swing by Jackalope, which has souvenirs paying tribute to the University of Colorado, Boulder and Colorado. No tacky ware here, though. The apparel feels fresh, with more contemporary designs (read: no howling wolves or comic sans font).
And in addition to finding shot glasses, you can also score engraved copper mugs for Moscow Mules and “Real Leaf” jewelry, with gold-plated leaf necklaces holding real Aspen leaves.
Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery, 1421 Pearl St.
This collective gallery makes it feel as if Boulder is holding a year-round art fair. You can shop original art from Boulder County-area artists, as well as others throughout the state and country. (While shopping, you’ll see displays that show where the artists are from.)
The gallery stays stocked with more than 20,000 items including paintings, prints, photos, jewelry pieces, woodwork, stained and blown glass and sculptures. Some standouts from local artists include handmade birdhouses, wool oven mitts and clocks that have been built on top of recycled clock parts.