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Welcome Back, Buffs!

Category: Boulder Blog

Picture of Chip the buffalo

Summer (for the students) is slowly coming to an end. With all things back to school in full swing, I am here to give the perfect guide to getting ready for the upcoming school year! 

This year, I will be a senior at CU Boulder. While I am not quite ready to wrap up my time here, I am so excited to make the most of my final year in this amazing place that I have grown to know and love. Whether you are a seasoned veteran at CU or an incoming freshman (or a nervous CU parent) this guide has got you covered with all the insider tips, back to school specials and events you simply can’t miss! 

For CU students, downtown is the perfect off-campus escape to grab a bite to eat, hang with friends, study, shop and so much more. I have been exploring downtown ever since my freshman year, so here are all my favorite spots for you to check out. 

My favorite lunch spot downtown would have to be Organic Sandwich Company! The Prosciutto Caprese is a must-try! With gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or kid-friendly options- they have a sandwich for all tastes. They also offer a wide selection of sweets including vegan chocolate chip cookies, gluten-free and paleo bites and sweet breads.

For coffee, I love going to OZO Coffee Co. With locations on the East End and the West End, it is so convenient to stroll downtown and grab a coffee. I also love staying for a few hours to get some work done before or after class. For all the incoming freshmen, getting out of your dorm to study will be so helpful and downtown has endless places for you to try! Check out Downtown Boulder’s Coffee Trail for a guide to downtown’s coffee scene and study spots. 

For a dinner out on the town, my personal favorites include Rosetta Hall and Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar. Rosetta has eight restaurants in one hall with delicious food and gorgeous views of the flatirons on their patio. Hapa has some of the best sushi you can find in Boulder and a killer late-night special on Friday and Saturdays. With a DJ and college-budget friendly prices on sushi and drinks, this happy hour is a must-try. 

And for all the students over 21, you’ll find the college-aged crowd at The Attic Bar & Bistro, Sundown Saloon, The Spotted James and Press Play

Now it’s time for shopping! Our local retailers have been waiting all summer for their highly-anticipated back to school sales and specials. From new outfits to school supplies, downtown has what you need to make this year a great one 

Am I the only one who loves a cute first day of class outfit? During the month of August, Apocalypse will have 25% and 50% off on select items. Apocalypse is a stylish second-hand store with a big mission to make shopping more sustainable in Boulder. Check them out! 

Need a new notebook, journal or writing supplies for class? Head over to Two Hands Paperie! They have a huge selection of calendars, planners, creative supplies, stationery and so much more to fill your backpack. 

Shoefly is offering an awesome back-to-school sale with 20% off all Vans in the month of August! With a wide range of different styles, colors and sizes in Vans, you do not want to miss out on getting the perfect shoe for everyday wear. 

Beatrice the Divine is offering 80% off storewide for the month of August. This high fashion boutique has the perfect outfits for elevated style. It is a great place to check out if you need something a bit more formal for a presentation, internship or job fair!

If you’re in need of a new bag for class, head over to Sherpani for 20% off all backpacks, totes and laptop bags from August 24-27. 

Looking for some CU game day attire or just new merch to wear around campus? Check out Jackalope & Co. International, BoCo Life, Savvy on Pearl, Charlie’s T Shirts and Where the Buffalo Roam

Start back to school in style at Starfish Jewelry with their 20% off all jewelry from August 25-27! Starfish Jewelry is a locally-owned jewelry store and boutique featuring work from Colorado designers and artisans all over the world. 

To deck out your dorm room or new apartment, head over to PosterScene and Art Source International for awesome posters and prints. 

For more killer deals, be sure to check out our Shopping Specials page, a comprehensive guide to downtown’s shopping specials that comes out each month! 

That’s not all! Downtown Boulder has a packed schedule full of fun events for the community to come and spend time downtown. For our full list of downtown happenings, check out our event calendar. For now, let me fill you in on some upcoming events! 

Every Wednesday evening from 4 - 8 pm and Saturday morning from 8 am - 2 pm, stock up on fresh produce from local vendors at the Boulder County Farmers Market. With live music, fresh food and unique handmade products, the market is a great activity for a midweek pick-me-up or a day spent downtown with friends! 

Be sure to join us downtown for the Melanin Funk Festival on August 25! This will be a vibrant celebration of Black culture and community in the heart of downtown Boulder. All are welcome to enjoy an evening of fun on 13th Street, featuring renowned artists/local groups, food, drinks and a performance by The Reminders. 

On September 8, head downtown to support the Buffs at a CU Athletics Meet & Greet. This will be a fun way to get involved with the Buff community! Another great way to join in on the fun is by attending the Pearl Street Stampede, a downtown tradition for over a decade! Before each home game, hundreds of Buffs line the Pearl Street Mall to watch the “Golden Buffalo” Marching Band and cheer on the CU football team. 

I hope you enjoyed my back-to-school guide and feel more prepared for the year ahead. Soak up the rest of the summer, Buffs! I can’t wait to see you around in downtown Boulder this year! 


Got any questions? I’d be happy to help. Feel free to reach out to me, Rebecca, at! 

Mentioned in this Post: Apocalypse, Art Source International Inc., The Attic Bar & Bistro, Beatrice the Divine, BoCo Life, Boulder County Farmers Markets, Charlie's T-Shirts, Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar, Jackalope & Co. International, Organic Sandwich Company, OZO Coffee Co. (East Pearl), OZO Coffee Co. (West Pearl), PosterScene, Press Play, Rosetta Hall, Savvy on Pearl, ShoeFly, The Spotted James, Starfish Jewelry, Sundown Saloon, Two Hands Paperie, Where the Buffalo Roam

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