A Visitor’s Guide to Boulder, CO
CU TRaIL (Thermochronology Research and Instrumentation Lab, University of Colorado Boulder)
Updated 10/05/22 by BF and JRM
Benson Earth Sciences is located at 2200 Colorado Avenue in Boulder, CO. It is just west of the intersection of Folsom Ave and Colorado Ave, and just south of the CU Football Stadium. In the map below, it is labeled BESC and found at grid position F9.
Getting to Boulder
Boulder sits at the base of the Rocky Mountain Front Range about 30 miles northwest of Denver. Boulder is fortunately easy to get to from both Downtown Denver and the Denver International Airport. Below are links to schedules and more information about various transit options, including RTD, the Denver Regional Transit District, which operates trains and busses in the greater Denver area.
In general, RTD is easy to navigate using their “Next Ride” website. You can enter in your starting and ending addresses or intersections and it will give you directions and times for different available routes.
Getting to Boulder from the Denver International Airport
Both Supershuttle and EightBlack shuttle services runs shuttles regularly between DIA and Boulder. These vary in price, usually about $40-$60.
EightBlack Shuttles : https://eightblackairportshuttle.com/
SuperShuttle : https://www.supershuttle.com/locations/denver-den/
The least expensive way to get from DIA to Boulder is by using RTD. The AB bus runs every hour or so in either direction, and usually is as fast as the more expensive shuttle services. The buses have storage underneath for luggage. A one-way ticket costs $10.50, and you can buy tickets at the station at DIA and Downtown Denver (as well as local grocery stores). Below is a link to the schedule, make sure you have selected the correct day and direction.
When you get to Boulder, you will want to get off at the Broadway and Euclid stop. This is on the west side of campus, and about a 5-10 minute walk to Benson Earth Sciences.
Below are maps that show how to get from the bus stop to Benson, or from Benson to the bus stop. It is about 0.5 miles.
Map showing the route to Benson from the Broadway and Euclid bus stop
Map showing the route to the Broadway and Euclid bus stop from Benson.
Getting to Boulder from Downtown Denver
RTD operates regular bus service between downtown Denver (Union Station) and Boulder. This bus is called the FF1 (Flatiron Flyer 1). Regional service costs $5.25 for a three hour pass, although they also offer day passes at a lower rate. RTD busses do not, as a rule, give change or take credit cards on the bus, although you can purchase tickets at the major stations.
The FF1 runs every 15-25 minutes Monday through Saturday, and ever 30 minutes to 1 hour every Sunday and Holiday. Click below for a link to the schedule, just make sure you are looking at the correct day and direction (Eastbound or Westbound).
When you get to Boulder, you will want to get off at the Broadway and Euclid stop. This is on the west side of campus, and about a 10-15 minute walk to Benson Earth Sciences. See previous page for maps.
Getting to Boulder from Fort Collins
The FLEX bus service runs from Fort Collins to Boulder Monday through Saturday (no service on Sundays or Holidays).
Parking in Boulder
Parking near Benson Earth Sciences is available both in pay lots, and as ruface street parking, within a 15 minute walk of the building. The CU Parking and Transportation Services web page has details and maps of campus that show where to park and discuss different parking rates. Note, parking on days when there are home football games or other events at Folsom Field (including the Bolder Boulder 10K, Buff Classic Bike races, graduation, and concerts) is impossible. The building can still be accessed, but parking is simply not an option.
The closest pay parking to Benson is lot 391, just north of the building, which can be entered from Stadium Drive off of Folsom Ave. The entry is at grid position D-10 in the map above. Other guest parking lots are also noted on the map as yellow boxes labeled “P”. The easiest way to pay for parking is by using the ParkMobile app, the app itself is free and can be used to pay for parking using a credit card. One big advantage of the app is that you can renew your parking remotely if necessary. It is also useful when parking throughout downtown Boulder.
Free on the street parking is often available just north of campus, in the neighborhood west of Folsom and North of Arapahoe Ave, specifically Grove and Goss streets. If you arrive in the mornings, it’s pretty common to find spots on these streets. You then only have a 15-20 minute walk, or a short ride on the HOP RTD bus up to Benson.
DO NOT TRY TO PARK IN ANY OF THE SHOPPING CENTER LOTS. They will ticket and/or tow you.
Staying in Boulder
Visitors to Boulder have a number of options on places to stay near the CU campus. Unfortunately the university does not have any campus owned facilities for visitors.
Hotels close to campus are easiest to find on Hotels.com, Expedia.com, or other booking sites.
This hotel is probably the closest to Benson Earth Sciences, and is conveniently located right near a grocery store, numerous restaurants and coffee shops, and the Boulder Creek bike path.
Boulder University Inn
This hotel is between CU and the Boulder downtown mall, very close to campus, restaurants, and downtown parks.
This is a newer hotel just north of campus. It’s down the hill, but a short 10-15 minute walk from Benson using one of the bridges that crosses Boulder Creek. It’s also close to a few restaurants, the bike path, and downtown Boulder.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder
Another new hotel near campus, about 1 mile from Benson Earth Sciences but on a bus route that goes directly to campus.
Hilton Garden Inn Boulder
Right next to the Embassy Suites hotel, about 1 mile from campus but right on a campus bus route, close to restaurants.
This historic hotel is downtown, pricey, and quite nice. It’s a short bus ride or bike ride to campus, and located near all of the downtown amenities.
Other Housing Options
Many visitors end up using AirBnB or VRBO to find places to stay, there are a lot of homes and apartments near campus that have rooms and other spaces available that, as long as there isn’t a football game that weekend, can be cheaper and closer than most hotels.
Additionally, the Boulder Chautauqua has houses and cottages that can be rented. Chautauqua is located in an amazingly beautiful spot, right at trailheads that take you right up to the flatirons in a tree lined and leafy older neighborhood. This can be a nice option for groups that want to stay together or people who are looking for longer stays. Chautauqua is only a few miles from campus, and there is bus service within a bit of a walk, but it is more difficult to get places without a car.
Getting Around Boulder
Boulder’s bus service is actually quite good for a medium sized city. A simplified transit map of the city can be found here
Additionally, Boulder partners with the Transit App, which allows you to plan trips, get timetables, and see where the closest transit options are on your smartphone.
Boulder is a very bike friendly city, with miles and miles or multi use paths that allow you to bike, walk, or run without any motorized traffic, as well as good bike lanes on many of the major streets. The city of Boulder has partnered with B-cycle, a non-profit bike share organization to offer dozens of bike stations across town, many offering e-bikes to make cycling super simple. You only have to pay for the time you are using a bike, and day passes start at $15.00. There is a station right near Benson Earth Sciences at the intersection of Folsom and Colorado.
Here is a map of bike routes and paths in the city
Places to Eat and Get Coffee near Benson
Places north on Folsom:
If you walk 10-15 minutes down the hill on Folsom, there is a shopping center and a few other stand alone restaurants. There are a lot more places than I have listed here, but these are the one’s I’m most familiar with.
- Rincon Argentino – This is on the NE corner of Arapahoe and Folsom, they do empanadas and other Argentinian food. They have a nice, but small patio as well.
- Folsom Thai – This is on the W side of Folsom, just a few buildings north of Arapahoe.
- Kalita Greek Cafe – This is in the shopping center on the east side of Folsom just south of Arapahoe near the Cold Stone Creamery.
- Tiffin’s Indian Cafe – Also in the shopping center on the east side of Folsom just south of Arapahoe near the Cold Stone Creamery.
- Zodiac Subs – NW corner of Folsom and Arapahoe, no personal experience (they are a new place) but they seem busy
- Backcountry Pizza – This is just west of Folsom on the north side of Arapahoe. They have good pizza, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers, but service can take a long time.
On the Hill:
The Hill is the undergraduate-focused area west of campus, filled with a wide range of restaurants.There are a lot more places than I have listed here, but these are the one’s I’m most familiar with.
- Half Fast Subs – A favorite place right near 13th and Broadway. Enormous selection of subs and salads, including gluten free and vegan options. Nice patio if you want to eat outside.
- Boss Lady Pizza – pizza by the slice, a favorite of the undergrads.
- Illegal Pete’s on the Hill – Burritos and tacos, reasonably priced and large.
You can use https://www.colorado.edu/map/ to help navigate on campus
- WeatherTech Cafe – Probably one of the better on campus options in the C4C building south of Benson. They do hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and made to order personal pizzas. Really nice area to eat outside here.
- Foolish Craig’s Too – This is a small coffee and sandwich place about 5 minutes from Benson in Porter Biosciences. They’ll grill most of their sandwiches, and they can make espresso drinks as well.
- Gravity Cafe – This is in the Engineering building, about 5 minutes east of Benson. They have pre-made sandwiches and will do coffee and espresso drinks.
- UMC – the Student Center has a number of food options, including a central cafeteria style place with a salad bar, grill, and burrito bar, as well as a Subway, Panda Express, and a few other fast food options.