The heart and soul of Boulder reside on the four-block stretch of Pearl Street (between 11th and 15th streets) known as the Pearl Street Mall. This immaculately landscaped pedestrian strip is lined with some of the city’s most popular (and mostly independent) restaurants, neatest cafes and most interesting shops. Chains are happily in short supply here. Small children scramble on “the rocks” on the 1200 block and the bronze animals on the 1400 block. In all but the bleakest weather, buskers entertain for tips. In the warm months, Band on the Bricks (Wednesday evenings), Noon Tunes (Friday) and numerous festivals take place on the plaza and lawn in front of the art deco courthouse on the 1300 block. Aggressive panhandling, dogs and bicycles are prohibited. The entire mall is Wi-Fi enabled. Shops and eateries extend several blocks to the east and west, and early-21st century development includes pricey downtown residences.