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Best Of 2005


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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Store in a New Location

Indigena Gallery has really come into its own since moving to a charming little house on Tennyson Street last year. Once constrained in a smaller, darker, harder-to-find space, Sandra Renteria's Haiti-centric, Fair-Trade marketplace and gallery has stretched out physically and psychically to fill the sunny, brightly painted rooms. The merchandise is always changing, but regular staples are whimsical Haitian folk-art paintings, sequined vodou flags and metal sculptures hammered out of drum lids. In April, Renteria will load up on beads and handmade textiles from all over the globe, as well as functional Moroccan cookware known as tagines. Later this year, she'll refocus with a show of paintings by respected Haitian artist Turgo Bastien.

846 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, 80204
Best Free Service

You're at a hot concert, but you're running out of cash for cold beer. Bummer, dude. But wait -- it's the Fabulous Free ATMobile to the rescue! Last summer, Compass Bank rolled out a customized mobile van that visits fairs, festivals, concerts and sporting events (it made its debut at the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival in Castle Rock), dispensing fee-free cash from two NCR machines. There's no such thing as a totally free lunch, of course: While the service is free no matter where you bank, you'll have to work hard to avoid all the Compass marketing materials touting other services.

Best Free Parking in Cherry Creek

Parking in Cherry Creek is a nightmare -- no two ways about it. Oblivious pedestrians stream through the streets, giant-ass SUVs block sight lines, and the few parking garages are so narrow that using them requires a death wish. Hopping the bus to the swanky district doesn't have the cache of arriving in, say, a new Mini Cooper or a Crossfire -- but a bike, well, there's a certain charm to two wheels. And the Cherry Creek Bike Rack is there to care for your speedster. Tucked between the Janus building and Hapa Sushi, the tiny shop functions much like a coat check: Employees lock your bike up tight and give you a claim ticket so you can return in a few hours, at the end of the day -- or even the next, if you down a few too many at the Cherry Cricket. Best of all, the service is free, thanks to the feds. The boys in Washington gave a grant to Denver-based Transportation Solutions, which advocates for better -- you guessed it -- transportation solutions. The public-private partnership then teamed up with Campus Cycles to set up the Bike Rack. Happy trails.

Best Parking in Cherry Creek

Yes, we all know that parking in Cherry Creek is terrible. There's never enough space, the meter rates are murder, and valet? Forget it. No one wants some nose-picking dweeb in a rented blazer getting his goat stink all over the leather of the new Lexus. But here's a secret: Just north of the intersection of Third Avenue and Columbine Street is a stretch of road where parking is not only available, but free. It's not the most convenient location in all of Cherry Creek, but during the six o'clock dinner rush when every spot within six blocks has been taken, there always seems to be room for one more. And you know what they say: Beggars can't be choosers.

Best Parking in LoDo

The construction of Wewatta Street in the Platte Valley from 15th Street to Park Avenue West is finally complete, making it the best parking in LoDo. The hordes have yet to find this convenient oasis, which, at the moment, remains meter- and pay-kiosk-free. Just pull over, step out, walk across the Union Station light-rail platform and hop the 16th Street Mall shuttle to your drinking destination. Or you can enjoy the evening while strolling along 16th Street: Wewatta is just one block from Wynkoop Street. The strip between 16th and 19th streets has a two-hour-parking restriction until 10 p.m., but local nightlife doesn't get started until after 10, anyway. And there's no street sweeping after 2 a.m., so if your night is a little too eventful, feel free to leave your car and take a cab.

Best Ride When You Really Need One

Have pocket bike, will travel. Boulder-based NightRiders has been caring for Pearl Street Mall drunks for nearly five years, and last September the company finally brought its for-hire designated drivers to the LoDo-reveling throngs. The best part is, they drive you home in your own vehicle -- returning on their collapsible scooters -- so you never have to bum a ride back to your car the next morning. Just dial them up, and they're on their way. Cheers!


Best Store in a New Location: Indigena Gallery


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