Help House a Hipster in Hippie Heaven
March 12, 2007 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Where shouldn't I move in Boulder, Colorado?

I'm moving to Boulder, Colorado for graduate school this August, and am planning to fly out in late June or early July to find an apartment over a long weekend. Given that I've never set foot in Boulder, however, this is an intimidating prospect.

I'd ask "where should I move", except that my initial research suggests that Boulder isn't large or dense enough to have a lot of strongly distinct neighborhoods-- more like St. Paul, MN than Chicago, IL. So, where shouldn't I move?

Bonus criteria:

- I'm a city kid, and I'm going to be a terribly busy one. No need for easy access to hiking trails or anything along those lines.
- Making the commute to Arapahoe & 63rd St. (Nalanda Campus, Naropa) not horrible would be a plus. I anticipate spending most of my waking hours there.
- I'm not that enthusiastic about being surrounded by undergraduates, but I could probably cope, if necessary.
- I have a car, but for simple errands or a quick meal I'd prefer to walk.
- Because I won't be there that much, I don't need that much space at home. Will be either getting a cheap one bedroom alone or a medium-priced two bedroom with a friend.
- If it means anything to you, I've been living happily in Wicker Park, Chicago for the last few years. If I'm a hipster I'm the kind that is too busy creating art to hang out at the fashionable bars and have an ironic haircut.

ps. Please feel free to critique my apartment hunting plan, because I don't know jack about the market out there. Beyond what I explained above, the plan is to assault craigslist and local newspaper classifieds in the morning, and then spend the day on the streets viewing apartments and searching neighborhoods for "for rent" signs. Hopefully two or three intense days should be enough.
posted by tsmo to Travel & Transportation around Boulder, CO (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I lived in Boulder 3 years ago - here is my impression:

You're correct that it really isn't big enough to have truly distinct neighborhoods, unless you're looking at "the hill". This is the area surrounding the university which houses all the greek houses and other less affiliated kids. Unless you like couch fires, I'd avoid it.

My best advice is to look in North[east] Boulder. Rent is cheap, it's quieter and very convenient to Naropa. Plus, the Foothills Parkway is right there and allows quick in/out of the city to points north (mountains) and south (Denver).

Second choice would be anywhere between Baseline Rd. and Table Mesa Dr. in south[east] Boulder. This area is a little older and populated by lower income residents, so some areas might be a little rundown. Still cheap and convenient to Naropa, though. When I say "rundown" this is by Boulder standards, not Chicago. Medium single family homes go for around $500,000 in Boulder.

The further west you get (toward the mountains), the more expensive it will be. The oldest and nicest of Boulder's housing is located along Broadway near Pearl Street (the walking mall).
posted by OpinioNate at 10:01 AM on March 12, 2007

My fiance is an ex-Naropite, and she has the following advice:

"hey you could tell that kid on MeFi that Naropa has housing options available to their students; contact the office of student affairs because there are house shares and other stuff that they have info on"

She went as an 'older-than-average' undergrad, so I think she'd share your views on being in close vicinity to noisy young 'uns. Hope this helps.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:05 AM on March 12, 2007

I should add that Boulder has a great bus system with corny yet memorable names like Hop, Skip, Jump, Dash, Stampede, Bolt and Bound. They'll get you wherever you need to go cheaply and efficiently.
posted by OpinioNate at 10:12 AM on March 12, 2007

I'm from Boulder, and if I were you I'd worry less about the commute (everything's about 15 minutes) and more about being in a great spot. It's an outdoorsy town so everyone walks or bikes anyway. Being within walking/biking distance to the Hill or to Pearl St is great, but obviously those are more expensive than living out on the fringes of town. There is a bike path that leads from those cool areas of town out to the Eastern fringes-- maybe ask your real estate agent to focus on places close to the bike path? Also, I remember that there are some nice looking developments going up on far north Broadway, like right before it turns to open space on the way out to Lyons.
posted by np312 at 11:11 AM on March 12, 2007

Best answer: I lived in Boulder for a few years as a single person and found it really hard to find affordable + decent rental housing for just myself. I lived in a crappy apartment complex on Baseline road and paid $700 (plus utilities) to live in a dorm-room sized efficiency apartment. The walls were very thin and I could hear everything my neighbors did. If I had been able to pay a little more for rent or live with a room-mate, I could have lived in a much better place. A lot of my young colleagues shared rented houses with other grad students or young professionals.

If I was moving back to Boulder, I'd want to live within walking distance to Pearl would make going out for coffee/dinner/drinks a lot more convenient in the evenings.

CU has a reputation for being a party school and I found that during the school year, some of the neighborhoods in Boulder tended to be populated with drunk, loud college kids.
posted by pluckysparrow at 11:52 AM on March 12, 2007

Find someone looking for a roommate, anywhere in town. It's expensive to live here alone, but with a roommate (or three), its really not all that bad.

In addition to that, you won't even need a car in this town. The buses are great. The Jump goes right down to Naropa. All the houses out there around 63rd aren't houses, they're shithole condo complexes. You can actually get a house with some character for 300 a person with 3 roommates.

And why move to such an expensive town if you're not going to enjoy the amenities? Get out to the mountains.
posted by jstef at 4:58 PM on March 12, 2007

Response by poster: Don't worry, jstef, I'll get out to the mountains. I like biking, hiking and skiing, but that just isn't what I'll be in Boulder for.

And thank you all so much for your help. The plan has been adjusted to getting a roommate or three and looking for a place in North or Southeast Boulder, preferably North within walking distance of Pearl St. And it seems I should consider selling my car...
posted by tsmo at 8:46 AM on March 13, 2007

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