Once considered no-man’s land, it’s hard to overstate how much North Boulder has accomplished in a few short decades. One only must look at the northern end of Broadway (aptly called NoBo) to see evidence of this: newer patio homes and townhomes nestled into the foothills in Dakota Ridge, pop-top wonders in Wonderland Lake, and functional and funky live/work loft spaces along north Broadway.
The evolution of NoBo has been driven by the Broadway corridor, inviting new businesses and neighborhoods to develop on what was once grazing land. Anchoring NoBo is the Lucky’s Market Plaza, which includes the famed grocery store, Lucky’s Bakehouse Cafe and Bakery by Jen Messinger. Including fresh and inventive pastries, cakes and ice cream flavors, Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery is filled with one of a kind treats worthy of even a mid-week morning stop. Perfect for breakfast or lunch is the newly renovated Lucky’s Bakehouse Cafe. Known as the local haunt to grab a bite, menu items include everything from huevo rancheros to thick cut artisan avocado toast. In the same location is Cilantro, the perfect go-to for uber authentic tacos, horchata and tamales that will knock your socks off. With over 21 years in their location, Dagabi Cucina is a constant favorite among North Boulder locals offering both tapas and large plates from Chef Antonio plus all day happy hour every Tuesday. A bit further north on Broadway hails long time Italian restaurant Bacco Trattoria, Protos Pizza, and newbie to Boulder the hot Denver restaurant, Bellota. Bellota taps into a shared culture and heritage to bring a menu of lively regional Mexican dishes deeply rooted in tradition such as their venomous bean dip, fried quesadillas, and pork belly mole – and of course Chef Manny Barella’s esquites is quickly building a diehard fandom.
These restaurants give the neighborhood a trendy commercial vibe, balanced with some of the most direct trail access available. Dog parks, community parks and local schools mean you can live a bike ride or walk from everything you need.
Looking for a deal on an attached home? Head east to the 30th Street corridor which may be the best bet for a variety of condos and townhomes in quiet settings surrounded by parks and trails and with easy access to Foothills Parkway. With Sanitas Brewing and Junkyard Social Club growing the attractions at Foothills & Pearl corner, not far away the Valmont Bike Park beckons riders of all ages and skill sets.
Dining pillars of this area are longtime eateries such as Boulder Cork, and My Ramen & Izakaya. Head towards Iris and you will find every benedict under the sun at Tangerine, perfect for a mid-week breakfast meeting – or nosh on Korean beef tacos, fried yucca and salsa samplers (beware the delicious yet deadly mango habanero) at Mojo Taqueria. Head down Valmont to grab wood-oven fare and their famous pizza at Fringe or meet up with friends at Rayback Collective for an array of food trucks daily in addition to a coffee shop and full bar.
As a community, North Boulder has the variety of businesses, nature access and diversity of housing options that many are looking for. Keep watching these amazing neighborhoods develop and don’t miss out on their food scene!
Head northeast out of town on the Diagonal Highway to find the Boulder enclave known as Gunbarrel, a small collection of neighborhoods adjacent to acres of walking trails. Stroll through Heatherwood, an island of ‘60s and ‘70s homes surrounded by open space and self-contained with its own elementary school. Or take a drive through Gunbarrel Green where you can find stately homes on quarter-acre lots, some of which back to the fairways of the Boulder Country Club. Home to many tech and medical company headquarters, Gunbarrel has emerged as a thriving community that has a budding dining scene. Avery Brewing proudly built their home campus in Gunbarrel and thrives as a Taproom & Restaurant scene with some of the best outdoor dining in Boulder County. Closer into the neighborhoods, Aperitivo features global fusion cuisine and Raglin Market serves up farm fresh dishes and wine in a fresh-casual environment – both a perfect meetup destination.
Niwot is a small town that lives big, with a variety of large custom homes on quiet cul-de-sacs and equestrian properties mixed in with some more historic homes in the quaint and charming downtown area. Niwot reminds you of small-town Mayberry, a tight knit community where people truly enjoy bumping into their neighbors on a night out, and on a night out the place to see and be seen is 100% new restaurant Farow. On their glittering patio you’ll truly enjoy the freshest farm-to-table food in Boulder County and the pastry chef will truly make your eyes roll back with every bite, we’re certain you will not walk away disappointed or hungry. Even better, they offer a monthly cocktail or wine class to help teach people in a fun way about how you can bring their tricks of the trade into your own homes. In the same center is also the one and only historic Niwot staple the Garden Gate Cafe. Perfect for breakfast or lunch, there is no doubt that a Niwot resident will wind up here pretty darn often.
Other must-try dining locations in the heart of Niwot are family-owned and operated classic Italian restaurant Cimminis, Niwot Tavern for classic eats and the contemporary restaurant 1914 House, offering an inventive menu of everything from beet tostadas to grilled branzino.
Continuing up Highway 119 you’ll find Longmont stands proudly on its own as the northern stronghold in Boulder County. The burgeoning movement of folks flocking to the area in search of more house for less money has driven real estate to frenzied heights, but the city still maintains its charm and small-town feel, despite being home to almost 100,000 residents.
A glance at real estate listings in Longmont shows an astounding mix of property types. One can easily find attached homes of all shapes and sizes sprinkled throughout the city, or upscale brand-new homes in the southwest neighborhood of Somerset Meadows. Cross over Airport Rd to find smaller-scale ‘90s houses in Clover Creek, or head further east for 2-story estates on half acre lots in Creekside. If you prefer the historic vibe, Longmont’s Old Town features Victorian charmers and quaint bungalows, many on deep lots with added legal ADUs in the back.
The restaurant scene has followed the housing boom – coming alive in the last decade or so. Kicking off the culinary explosion with longtime cult favorite Jefe’s Tacos with their crave worthy chorizo queso and award-winning tacos and margs, The Roost with their addictive bangin’ cauliflower and incredible whiskey selection, and Dicken’s 300 Prime, the 1881 Opera House turned prime steakhouse and private event space. Planning a party or a picnic? The Cheese Importers, a French market vibe locale that offers every type of meat, cheese and spread one can possibly imagine making for the perfect spread. Further down the road, Sugarbeet is the perfect destination for a date night, celebratory dinner or just some delicious modern American fare. Sugarbeet showcases some of the best wines offered in town and is known for their multi-course menus on special occasions.
Newer establishments in the Longmont ‘hood include brunch restaurant & pub Longmont Public House, Swaylo’s Tiki a restaurant and bar with vibrant flavors of the Pacific and boozy drinks to match, and Urban Fields a new pizza & market with a menu full of twists on Grandma’s classic recipes and perfectly baked pizza pies. If you are looking for a wide array of vegan options, head a bit further east to Collision Brewery whose head chef thoughtfully offers a variety of plant-based options for their pub-fare. Trying to balance out all those veggies with some serious meat? Look no further then Georgia Boys BBQ where you can pick between platters of smoked meats and southern sides meant to share or the Korean bbq fries intended as either an appetizer for the table or a solo meal fit for a king.
The historic downtown area still has the feel of a western mining town juxtaposed with breweries, boutiques, and modern marketplaces. Longmont also has a strong agricultural presence and is home to the annual Boulder County Fair, making its triumphant return in 2022.