Yes you can still go to Boulder and see a fantastic array of people! I have tons of stories about odd conversations I had with people there (apparently it's good to burry crystals in your back yard and planting garlic will make you feel better?). But it's also one of the only places I've found copies of EOS and other research papers and journals just laying around at coffee shops for customers to peruse.
Now there are many areas of physics and STEM centered in Boulder, but its an extra special place for space physics. Here's just a list of some of the heliophysics labs/companies located in Boulder CO and the surrounding area:
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA
- United States Geological Survey - USGS
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research - UCAR
- High Altitude Observatory - HAO
- Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics - LASP
- South West Research Institute - SWRI
- Space Science Institute
- Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates - ASTRA
So why Boulder? What's so special about this place that seemed to draw all this research? Well the Mountains and hiking definitely don't hurt. The bike trails all around town are quite nice as well. The fact that you can go skiing in the morning, make it down to work by mid morning and still put in a full eight plus hours of work for a good chunk of the year is a big draw. The fact that if you are working at LASP and step out side for lunch this is your view doesn't hurt either.