2012 Student Guide | Boulder A to Z

A guide to getting to know your new town

Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado


Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill — Wondering if your university has a sense of humor? Order up a juicy roast beef sandwich at the Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill and you’ll have your answer. As far as we know, this is the only eating establishment in the country named for a cannibal. The short version goes like this. Packer and a few other hardy souls headed west in wagons. It snowed. They got stuck in the mountains. Everybody died. Packer managed to put on a few pounds. How’s that sandwich?

Astronauts — If that person you’re talking to seems like a rocket scientist, it’s probably because she is one. CU has produced 17 of the space program’s astronauts.


BUI — So you know not to drink and drive, but did you know that in Boulder, drinking and biking can result in a BUI? Nope, not kidding. You climb behind those handlebars after tossing back a few pints and you’re breaking the law.

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art — It’s always a good idea to visit the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) for a dose of art that will make you think. The museum is located at 1750 13th St.

Boulder International Film Festival — Boulder is also home to the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF). Every February, venues all over town host films and the stars show up to discuss their work. Very cool.



Conference on World Affairs — The Conference on World Affairs is a highlight for the entire Boulder community. The conference features smart famous people discussing creative and important topics with whoever shows up for no charge. It’s a global conversation where everyone, including you, can participate. Students can volunteer or just sit in on the sessions.

Tom Carr — If you are standing next to him, chances are you screwed up. Carr is Boulder’s city attorney and he seems determined to crack down on everything that college students have a tendency to do to excess, including exercising their right to free speech.


Dairy Center for the Arts — If you need an art fix and the thought of seeing another Will Ferrell movie makes you queasy, don’t despair. At the Dairy Center for the Arts (2590 Walnut St.), you’ll find several galleries as well as the Boedecker Theater, which tends to show great films worthy of your investment of time.

Dushanbe Teahouse — For another stimulating outing, think caffeine. The teahouse was a gift from one of Boulder’s sister cities and is an architectural wonder — and a great place to drink tea or eat a fine meal.

DUI — It goes without saying, don’t drink and drive. Many an academic career has been squandered with a DUI. In Colorado, 0.05 is impaired and 0.08 is under the influence. Call a cab.


Eldora Mountain Resort — So two feet of fresh powder fell overnight. What do you do? Find somebody with all-wheel drive and head 21 miles up Boulder Canyon to Eldora Mountain Resort. This is as close to local skiing as it gets. While not big by Colorado standards, it’s a great place to test yourself after a winter storm. Should you fail that test, see below.

Emergency rooms — It’s good to know that Boulder has not one but two emergency rooms, one at Boulder Community Hospital, 1100 Balsam, and the other at Boulder Community Foothills Hospital, 4747 Arapahoe Ave.


4/20 — CU officials tried to dismantle one of the campus’s time-honored traditions (gathering in Norlin Quad at 4:20 on April 20 for a mass ganja protest) last spring by, among other things, spreading nasty-smelling fish fertilizer on the grass. Lighting up is illegal, and apparently speaking up is too. Go figure.

Farmers’ Market — This is where you go after your body begins to rebel against all of the Twinkies, beer and ramen you have poured down your gullet.

Flatirons — You know, those cool rock slabs on the mountain behind you, the ones you shouldn’t attempt to climb if you’ve had too much to drink? Reports of fallen climbers are common around here.


GLBTQIA — Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Intersex and Allied. The acronym may be getting longer each year, but you should get involved in one of the most significant civil rights struggles of our time by checking out the GLBTQ Resource Center on campus.

GPA — Some will become overly stressed about this, but let’s be realistic. Most employers just want to know that you got the degree. They won’t be asking for your GPA.


Heritage Center — At the top of Old Main, this serves as a museum of CU history, featuring moon rocks, Nobel prizes, athletics trophies, alumnus Glenn Miller’s trombone and the like.

History Museum — As in, Boulder History Museum. Learn about your new town with exhibits like the current one on Arapaho Chief Niwot.

Heil & Hall — If you like exploring the outdoors, by mountain bike or by foot, these are a couple of the best parcels of the open space that Boulder County has become famous for. So put down the video game controller.


Involvement Week — Running Sept. 4-8, the week starts with fairs daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the UMC fountain area (not in the fountain itself), featuring volunteer opportunities, student groups, Greek organizations and study abroad.

International Film Series — Established in 1941, this is Boulder’s first art-house film scene. You don’t have to wear a trenchcoat and smoke clove cigarettes to check out celluloid that you won’t see at the local multiplex.


J School — Yes, journalism is alive and well at CU, despite earlier reports of its demise. Apparently it’s simply been stripped of its “school” status and is being revamped for insertion into a new college on campus, so we’re not supposed to call it the “J School” anymore. Oops.

Jam bands — Best enjoyed while dancing freely to that beat that (based on your extremely expressive moves) only you can hear. But don’t forget that unless you are an in-state, card-carrying MMJ patient, you can get busted for enhancing your dance steps.


KBCO — Our formerly local (they moved to south Denver) radio station that, even though it’s corporately owned, does a pretty damn good job of playing a blend of hipster pop/rock/alternative, not to mention the fact that it releases a kickin’ live Studio C compilation disc every December.

KGNU — Our personal favorite, because it’s local and independent like us at Boulder Weekly, providing listener-supported community radio that you should donate some of your parents’ money to.

Kinetic Sculpture Race — OK, so the idea is people get together and build a zany human-powered craft/ sculpture that can travel on both land and water. Then they race these wacky vehicles at Union Reservoir in Longmont every summer.


L-towns — A few months in Boulder will leave you wondering where all the real people live. The answer is simple — the towns beginning with “L” that surround Boulder. Don’t be like your classmates. Venture out to Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville and Lyons.

Left Hand Books — The volunteer-run, not-for-profit bookstore that shelves every book your high school teachers were afraid you might bring up in class. Find your dose of the philosophies and ideologies that cemented Boulder’s hippie rep in the lower level at 1200 Pearl St.

Left Right Tim — CU’s own improv comedy group. Best way to catch up with them is on Facebook.


Medical marijuana — “Medical” is not synonymous with “legal.” And yes, there’s a residency requirement for a card. Seriously, though, you can get busted, and there are consequences.

Microbrews — Once you come of age, you’ll likely mature to more refined perspectives, and that will include drinking beer you’ll enjoy too much to suffer it sharing a cup with a ping pong ball. And for that matter, you’ll drink it from a glass.

MIP — Minor in Possession tickets are given to those busted with alcohol who aren’t 21. How Boulder County handles them varies based on prior MIP tickets. They all involve fees, and even the first ticket requires paying for and attending a class on alcohol awareness. They’ll also involve a call from the CU Office of Student Conduct.


National centers — Boulder is home to some terribly fancy equipment and terribly smart people. Briefly, they are NCAR (the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which studies the atmosphere and related systems), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which does weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring) and NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology, home of the atomic clock the world sets its time by).

Nebraska — The greatest rival CU has ever known and never likely to face again — in any games that count.

NedFest — An annual three-day music fest the last weekend in August that highlights bluegrass, jam bands and jazz music, in addition to art and beer.


OSMP — Open Space and Mountain Parks manages the trails and open space in the area for the city, including running the Voice & Sight tag program for dogs off leash. Their website includes descriptions of area trails.

Old Main — Built in 1876, Old Main was the first building on campus and was home to the university president and his family, a library, classrooms and the start of a museum and science labs.


Pearl Street Mall — Downtown Boulder’s celebrated shopping and dining district, replete with locally owned businesses as well as some corporate big-wigs. Everything you’ll ever want to drool over, then somewhere to eat lunch afterward.

Polar Bear Plunge — Hundreds of people jump into the frigid waters of the Boulder Reservoir on Jan. 1 each year for the annual Polar Bear Plunge, which raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Potters’ Guild — This non-profit artists’ cooperative was founded in 1969 to provide people with an opportunity to work with clay. They offer classes, memberships and pottery sales and coordinate art exhibits throughout the year. Visit www.boulderpottersguild.com for more details.


Queer Initiative — A politically active student group highlighting issues facing the GLBTQIA community.


Jam Rail March 3. Mark it down. That’s when the Campus Rail Jam Tour takes over the Hill, trucking in snow and turning 14th Street into a terrain park.

Ralphie — Just the baddest mascot in the country. CU has a real delicious-looking buffalo running around Folsom Field during home football games. Does Cal have an actual bear? Nope. Does Oregon have a duck? Maybe, roasted in Szechuan sauce. Does Stanford even have a mascot? Well, they have a tree. That’s cool, kind of. Not buffalo-cool, but sort of cool.

Rockpile — Coors Field is a beautiful stadium, and the Rockpile is the cheapest way ($4) to get there for a game. Sure, the players might look like ants, but everyone in Colorado knows the Rockpile has the best atmosphere anywhere in the stadium.

RTD — This company operates the buses that will take you around town if you can’t afford a car. Also, the buses are free with your student ID, so start studying those schedules.


Silver and gold — No, we’re not talking about the faculty/staff newspaper that was sliced out of the budget by vengeful administrators. These are your new school’s colors. Not black and gold. Silver and gold. Like the metals that were mined around here.

Slacklining — Fun fact: Boulder slackliner “Sketchy Andy” Lewis upstaged Madonna at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. Along with ultimate Frisbee, there’s no better way to telegraph to your parents and younger friends, “I’m in college!”


Thursday group bike ride — Every Thursday night, weather permitting, a group of hipsters gather with tricked-out bikes and ride around Boulder making noise and shouting “Happy Thursday!” to everyone in sight. If you ride a fixie, have a neck-beard (or aspire to have one) and like indie rock, you’ll be in good company.

Time Warp Comics — Comics are a comfortable medium between print and cinema, and Time Warp has all the graphic novels, new comics and back issues you’ll ever need.

Tubing — Buy a tube from the gas station at Arapahoe and Broadway and haul it up to Eben G. Fine Park and hop in Boulder Creek. Perfect for a lazy summer day.


UMC — The buzzing central hub on campus, where you’ll do everything from eat to study to hone your nine-ball game and attend concerts.

Underdogs — What the CU football team will be every game of the season. Get used to it.


Valmont Bike Park — For your off-road pedaling needs, Boulder’s 40-acre bike park is your ticket. Valmont Bike Park’s singletrack trail, dirt jumps and more are open from dawn ’til dusk for free.

Visual Arts Center — CU’s Visual Arts Center opened in 2010 and serves painting, sculpting and digital arts students and more. It also houses the CU Art Museum.

Voting — Elections are coming, but if we have to tell you that, why don’t you just skip to W now? It might be more your speed. Hit up www.bouldercounty.org/elections/register to update your address and make sure you’re ready to cast a ballot in November.


Walk of shame — That long walk home when last night’s dress or shoes plainly broadcasts you didn’t plan to sleep outside your own bed. Plan ahead. Bring an iPod with a good playlist. Make sure your phone’s charged and use that time to call your mother. She worries.

Will Vill — Williams Village has its share of stories. We’d like to address what will no doubt be its newest myths. Yes, a bear was found in a tree at Will Vill last year. Yes, that photo of it falling after being tranquilized is real. Yes, it died, later, after it was hit by a car. No, don’t follow its example.


X-factor — That is, what you need to not be in the 20 percent of freshmen who drop out. Just tell yourself the mountains are closed on weekdays and go to class.

X-Games — Every winter, the multi-millionaires give way to the dudes and bros in Aspen, four hours down I-70, for the Winter X-Games.

XXX — Bustop and Pearl Street’s Nitro Club are Boulder’s two “gentlemen’s clubs,” places to drink alcohol and watch women remove their clothes. Now that the Naked Pumpkin Run is dead, these are Boulder’s two remaining outposts of nudity.


Yesterday — When that assignment was due. First of all, let’s clear a few things up. It’s not 1997. Your teacher knows there wasn’t something wrong with your email. Your teacher also knows that you don’t own a printer, but everyone else in your class managed to get it turned in. So that’s not going to fly either. Just tell the instructor, “Hey, sorry this is late. I took an extra day because I wanted it to be good.” They’ll appreciate that. But then it has to be good.


Zeros — Zero waste is good, and a zero on your term paper is bad.