An Eating Guide for the Next Family Weekend

Ah, every college student’s favorite holiday of the year, when they can finally stock up on all the snacks, supplies and Urban Outfitters clothes that they’ve been coveting: Family Weekend. Let’s face it, Family Weekend might be one of the best weekends of the year. Not only are you reunited with the best people in the world (definitely the best people in my life), but you get to escape campus for some meals that are a step up from the dining hall.

Boulder Colorado USA

While Family Weekend may have already passed this year, it’s never too early (trust me, those reservations fill up quickly) to start planning for next year. Now that I’ve experienced my first Family Weekend as a freshman, I feel at least somewhat qualified to give you all the best tips and tricks you’ll need to expertly eat your way through family weekend. 

The most, and I cannot stress this enough, important piece of advice I can give you is to make reservations early. Like, months early. I wish I was kidding. My family and I ran into this problem on Friday afternoon as we attempted to find a place to eat that evening. It felt like we had looked up every single restaurant on Pearl Street, looking for a reservation at a reasonable hour, before eventually realizing that we were going to be eating pretty late. When we sat down for dinner at 9:45 p.m. at Japango, I can confidently tell you that all three of us were already looking up times for next year.

I know it seems kind of crazy and over-the-top. Trust me, my family practically invented making plans on the fly and figuring out the details later. But making these reservations months in advance will not be something you’ll regret, especially when you get to sit down and eat some of the best food in Boulder before returning to dining hall food.

Boulder Downtown

My next piece of advice is to avoid the fan-favorite restaurants for the weekend. I know, this one’s a tough pill to swallow. But trust me, sitting down for breakfast at a reasonable hour will be far more enjoyable than waiting in line at The Buff for two hours.

Peloton West

Family Weekend might seem like the best time to hit up all the classic Boulder spots like Pasta Jay’s, The Sink, or The Buff. I dreamt of being able to return to The Buff with my parents for a stack of delicious pancakes. But there are so many other amazing places to try all over town, and the staples will always be waiting for less busy weekends.

As for my personal recommendations, at the top of my list has to be Japango. If you love sushi as much as I do, then Japango is the place to go for dinner. While it may be a little busy, The Corner is always one of my favorite lunch places, and they always turn out orders quickly. The Corner has something that everyone will love, and there is a special place in my heart for their Asian Chicken Salad. For breakfast, my family and I ended up loving Walnut Cafe. While there was about a 30-minute wait, their blueberry pancakes and homemade biscuits made it worthwhile.


My final piece of advice for Family Weekend is to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy some meals together. At the end of the day, what you’re eating with your family doesn’t matter as long as you are together. Take advantage of that time with your family, and if it’s over a delicious meal, that helps too. 

CU Boulder

I hope my advice can give you some direction for future Family Weekends or weekends when your parents happen to be in town. Happy eating!