A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Colorado Springs vs. Boulder for Hiking, Families, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Colorado Springs and Boulder can help you decide which place is right for you.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a healthy, welcoming, and friendly mountain town. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Boulder

Boulder is a biker-friendly, outdoorsy, and nature-filled city. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for hiking, shopping, and nightlife.

Colorado Springs and Boulder: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for skiing
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for skiing
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Boulder than Colorado Springs. While Colorado Springs is larger than Boulder, Boulder has more sights and attractions for tourists. Boulder is very popular for its music and shopping, while Colorado Springs attracts visitors for its museums, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Boulder is more touristy than Colorado Springs and is popular for its outdoor sports, biker-friendly downtown, vibrant downtown, and many local breweries. It is also well known for The Flatirons. Colorado Springs is famous for its many outdoor recreation areas, world-class parks, striking red sandstone formations, and beautiful mountain views.

How is Colorado Springs different from Boulder?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Boulder and Colorado Springs. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Skiing?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Both Colorado Springs and Boulder are destinations which offer reasonable snow skiing.

Locals like to visit Colorado Springs to take advantage of their winter sports. The town isn't as accessible to skiing as Denver is, but there are still options, like Breckenridge, within a few hours drive.

Boulder is a fun local destination for snow skiers. The town offers access within an hour or two to several great ski resorts including Eldora Mountain, Vail, and Breckenridge.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Colorado Springs is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Boulder is not known for its sights and museums.

Colorado Springs offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Most people visit this area for the outdoor recreation, not the museums, but in town you'll find the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, the Peterson Air and Space Museum, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The U.S. Olympic Complex Training Center is also a unique place to visit and well worth some time.

Boulder offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most people visit Boulder for the outdoor activities more than the museums and sights. If have the time you can wander around the University of Colorado Boulder campus, visit the Museum of Boulder, or see the Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art.

Is the Food Better in Colorado Springs or Boulder? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Colorado Springs and Boulder.

Colorado Springs offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There's a combination of local restaurants that serve local items such as trout and bison, as well as your standard chain restaurants and more predictable American classics like burgers, pizza, and chicken fingers.

Boulder has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. This is an often overlooked foodie town, with great farmer's markets and restaurants to try. There are many casual places to eat as well as vegetarian and vegan friendly options everywhere.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Nightlife?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

It's hard to distinguish whether Colorado Springs or Boulder has a better nightlife scene.

Colorado Springs has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The town has a number of breweries and a great craft beer selection. There are local bars along Tejon Street, or head through Downtown Colorado Springs for some of the most active nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Boulder has a few options to choose from. The town has breweries, craft beer, and plenty to do in the evening. Live music is popular and many venues are smaller with a more personal atmosphere. Check out The Bitter Bar or License No. 1 for a local vibe.


Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Music?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Boulder is very good for live music. However, Colorado Springs is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Boulder. During the summer months there are often outdoor concerts. Head to Pearl Street for open air stages or see a concert at Boulder Theater.

Colorado Springs is not a live music destination.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Hiking?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Colorado Springs is an unbeatable place for hiking. Also, Boulder is not as popular, but is still a nice city for the nearby hiking options.

Colorado Springs is well-known for its hiking and trekking. There are both world-famous hiking areas, as well as lesser known hikes that the locals often prefer. Some of the more famous places include Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs. For families, check out Seven Bridges Trail or Mount Muscoco Trail. Loud's Cabin is a longer trail that also includes Seven Bridges Trail.

Boulder is a popular spot for hiking. There are many accessible hikes in the area that take you through the mountains, by wildflowers, or up mountain peaks. Popular hikes that are nearby include the Bear Peak Summit Hike, the trails in Eldorado Canyon State Park, and Boulder Falls.

Is the Shopping Better in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Boulder is very good for shopping. However, Colorado Springs is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Boulder is a great destination for shopping. The downtown area has many local retailers where you can shop for clothing, art, or home goods. You can also pick up outdoor gear, camping equipment, and any other items you may need in town. Make sure you wander down the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall.

Colorado Springs is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Families?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Colorado Springs is a great mountain town for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Boulder is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Colorado Springs is very family-friendly. The town is conveniently located near many outdoor adventures that are family-friendly. There are many parks, hiking trails, and wildlife centers in the area that make for a fun outing. Popular activities include the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Dinosaur Resource Center, and Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Boulder is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has parks, playgrounds, a planetarium, and climbing gyms that are fun for kids of all ages. There are plenty places to get outdoors with hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor recreational activities. Eldorado Canyon State Park is a great place to explore as well.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Couples?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Both Colorado Springs and Boulder are nice destinations to visit as a couple.

Colorado Springs is a nice destination for couples. Couples who enjoy hiking and exploring nature together will love visiting this town and the areas nearby. There are many hiking trails in easy reach of the town. Hot air balloon rides are also popular and offer an amazing view over the beautiful landscape.

Boulder makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. This is a great city for couples who love outdoor adventures, hiking, rock climbing, and cycling. You can wander down Pearl Street or go for a bike ride. There are also great restaurants where you can enjoy a meal and then head to Panorama Point to take in the view.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Colorado Springs and Boulder are nice places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Colorado Springs is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. Just outside of town you'll find campgrounds with all of the amenities that you might need. In town, there's also a hostel and several affordable accommodation options.

It's common for backpackers to visit Boulder. There are a number of backcountry areas in the region that are perfect for backpackers. The city also has a young population and several affordable places to stay.


Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Students?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Boulder is a great destination for students. Also, Colorado Springs is still popular, but not quite as popular for its student-friendly activities.

Boulder is very popular with students. With the University of Colorado, Boulder in town, this city is a popular spot for students. It's an outdoor enthusiast's perfect base with many outdoor recreational activities in the area.

It's common for students to visit Colorado Springs. It's a relatively affordable town with easy access to plenty of free activities like hiking, rock climbing, and more.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Boulder is a city with a few options for its public transit. However, Colorado Springs is a mountain town with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Boulder. There are buses that run around town, but you really need a car to fully experience everything that the city has to offer.

Public transit is quite limited in Colorado Springs. While there are buses, many people come to the area to visit Pikes Peak or several of the other nearby parks, all of which require a car.

Is Colorado Springs or Boulder a more walkable city?

Colorado Springs
Boulder

Boulder is very good for its walkability. However, Colorado Springs is a mountain town with minimal options for its high level of walkability.

Boulder is somewhat walkable. The city has some nice walkable areas and it is very bike-friendly.

Colorado Springs is generally not a very walkable mountain town. While the downtown area is walkable, you'll really want to have a car so you can explore the areas outside of town.


For even more information, also check out Is Colorado Springs Worth Visiting? and Is Boulder Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Boulder or Colorado Springs?

How long in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Colorado Springs and Boulder. In our opinion, Boulder has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Boulder than Colorado Springs. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Colorado Springs than Boulder. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Colorado Springs, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Boulder than Colorado Springs. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Boulder that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Boulder than Colorado Springs if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Boulder.


  • How many days in Colorado Springs or Boulder? Ideal Length of Stay
    Colorado Springs 2-3 
    Boulder 2-3

One day in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

In Colorado Springs, you'll find museums and nightlife. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. This mountain town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

You'll find live music and food around the nature-filled destination of Boulder. Hikers are also drawn to this area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

A weekend in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

In Colorado Springs, you'll find nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Colorado Springs has to offer.

You'll find food and shopping around the biker-friendly city of Boulder. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Five days in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Colorado Springs is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Boulder is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


A week in Colorado Springs or Boulder?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Colorado Springs. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Colorado Springs. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Boulder is a great place to explore. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


Which place is cheaper, Boulder or Colorado Springs?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Colorado Springs is $155, while the average daily cost in Boulder is $191. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Colorado Springs and Boulder in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Colorado Springs $81
    Boulder $102
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Colorado Springs $162
    Boulder $204
Compare Hotels in Colorado Springs and Boulder

Looking for a hotel in Colorado Springs or Boulder? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Colorado Springs


Hotels in Boulder


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Colorado Springs Hotel Prices and Boulder Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Colorado Springs $38
    Boulder $51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Colorado Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Colorado Springs:

  • Snowmass/Aspen to Denver Airport DEN - Departure Private Transfer: $296
  • Snowmass/Aspen to Denver Centennial Airport - Departure Transfer: $296
  • Denver Centennial Airport to Snowmass/Aspen - Arrival Transfer: $296
  • Snowmass Ski Resort to BJC Airport - Departure Transfer: $296
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport to Snowmass -Arrival Transfer: $296
  • Denver Centennial Airport to Steamboat - Private Arrival Transfer: $285
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Winter Park - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $263
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan (BJC) to Steamboat-Arrival Transfer: $230
  • Denver Centennial Airport to Vail/Beaver Creek Private Transfer: $219
  • Private Transfer from Beaver Creek Ski Resort to Denver Airport: $219
  • Denver Airport BJC to Winter Park Ski Resort Round Trip Transfer: $186
  • Colorado Springs COS to Pagosa Springs - Round-Trip Transfer: $176

Is it cheaper to fly into Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Prices for flights to both Boulder and Colorado Springs change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Colorado Springs $45
    Boulder $54
Typical Food Prices in Colorado Springs

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Colorado Springs:


  • Cold Stone Ice Cream (family of 4)
    $22
  • Snacks at the Zoo (family of 4)
    $18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Colorado Springs

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Colorado Springs.

  • Classic 3-Hour Food Tour in Colorado Springs: $79
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show - Colorado Springs, CO: $86

Typical Food Prices in Boulder

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Boulder:


  • 2 Coffees
    $8.75
  • Nice Dinner for Two
    $71

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Colorado Springs $34
    Boulder $33

Tours and Activities in Colorado Springs

Here are a few actual costs in Colorado Springs for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Private Walking Tour In Garden Of The Gods: $90
  • Red Rocks Private 2 Hour Walking Tour: $80
  • 1-Hour Broadmoor History Segway Tour: $72
  • 1-Hour Segway Tour of Cheyenne Cañon Art, History and Nature: $72
  • 2 Hour Segway Tour in Cheyenne Cañon and Broadmoor Area: $108
  • 3 Hours Private Ice Climbing Experience in Colorado: $240
  • Astronomy Tour: $41
  • Bike Tour in the Garden of The Gods: $245
  • Broadmoor Hotel History Segway Tour: $78
  • Cheyenne Cañon Art and Nature Segway Tour: $78
  • Cocktails & Tastes Tour in Colorado Springs: $89
  • Colorado Springs - Guided Walking Ghost / History Tour: $28

Tours and Activities in Boulder

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Boulder.

  • Downtown A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Smartphone Driving Tour between Boulder and Vail / Breckenridge: $7.99
  • Boulder Ghost Tour: $20
  • Boulder Walking History Tour: $20
  • Boulder Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Smartphone Scavenger Hunt Tour with Remote Guide: $25
  • Downtown Boulder Mural Walking Tour: $30
  • Boulder Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Amazing Boulder Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $49
  • "Boulder Peaks & Wilderness Tours: Mallory Cave Trail": $65
  • Private Boulder Highlights 2 Hour Walking Tour: $80

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Colorado Springs $24
    Boulder $27

Sample the Local Flavors in Colorado Springs

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Colorado Springs:

  • 2.5-Hour Brewery & Bites Walking Tour: $84
  • Downtown Colorado Springs 2.5-Hour Brewery Tour: $89


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Colorado Springs and Boulder, we can see that Boulder is more expensive. And not only is Colorado Springs much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Colorado Springs would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Colorado Springs and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Boulder would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Boulder than you might in Colorado Springs.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Colorado Springs Expensive? and Is Boulder Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Colorado Springs or Boulder?

Colorado Springs has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Boulder. When comparing the sizes of Colorado Springs and Boulder, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.