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Best Of 2006

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

BEST TOYS FOR GROWNUPS -- LIVING ROOM
Plastic Chapel

The Peter Pan syndrome has been in full force in Denver since last fall, when Dea Webb and David Wendt opened Plastic Chapel, their closet-sized toy store for adults. Come in for the urban vinyl figures normally found by collectors at Kidrobot stores, and stay for the always-changing inventory of knife-wielding, smoking, scowling skateboard-art aliens; Dalek's must-have Space Monkeys and Fire Cats; and Frank Kozik's nasty, butt-chewing Smorkin' Labbits. Prices range from under ten dollars to sky-high, but what's a few bucks when a new Gorillaz or In Crowd figure hits the shelves? Think of it as a 3-D resurrection of the long-lost comic-book collection your mom threw out years ago.

3109 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206
MAP
303-722-0715
BEST EXCUSE TO PLAY HOOKY
Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative

One February day, would-be customers of the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative encountered this sign on the entrance: "We will be closed Tuesday, 2/21, for Feng Shui adjustments." Where there's a will, there's a shui.

1421 Pearl St., Boulder, 80302
MAP
303-443-3683
BEST FREE SERVICE
Easter Sunrise at Red Rocks

If you only go to a church service once a year, make it the Colorado Council of Churches' Easter Sunrise at Red Rocks. For 58 years, Denverites have been hauling their blankets, parkas, umbrellas and Thermoses up a huge sandstone hill to find religion in the world's most beautiful amphitheatre. Choirs, gospel singers, preachers, drummers, dancers and string players have all taken the stage to welcome spring and let the Spirit move them. But it's hard to beat the opening act of the sun rising over the plains, illuminating the park's giant red-rock flanks.

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 80465
MAP
720-865-2494
BEST FREE SERVICE -- SECULAR

There's nothing worse than lugging around RTD bus schedules: The right one is never at hand, and when you do find it, hiding at the bottom of a bag, it's crumpled and expired by months. Time to go paperless with RTD's wireless services. At rtd-denver.com, you can download the schedule viewer onto any PDA, then synch regularly to keep data current and find out exactly when the next bus or light-rail train will arrive, or locate the best route to get somewhere. Now, that's door-to-door service.

BEST FREE SERVICE -- UNOFFICIAL

The combination of high-density apartment buildings in Capitol Hill and the high number of homeless, indigent and cracked-out folks who roam the corridors around East Colfax Avenue creates at least one harmonious, if accidental, civic service: free trash pickup. The City of Denver restricts depositing large items in alley dumpsters, but Colfax crackheads are happy to retrieve old mattresses, broken bikes, busted fishing poles, spent refrigerators and unwanted Nagel prints -- usually within five minutes of the item's being set out on a sidewalk or in an alley. Like ants cleaning a discarded chicken carcass, the Colfax trash brigade sweeps the city clean.

BEST FREE RESOURCE

In addition to its once-a-year, door-to-door hazardous-waste pickup service, Denver also has a drop-off facility, the Household Hazardous Waste Swap Shop, where you can take up to 125 pounds of oil-based or latex paint, moth balls, solvents, hobby supplies, fluorescent tubes, car batteries -- whatever eligible toxic materials you have lying around the garage -- for free recycling and/or disposal, by appointment only. And while you're there, go ahead and peruse other people's discarded paint pots and aerosol cans for any stuff you want. Ultimately, Denver's waste-management program wants residents to reduce the hazardous materials they use, but as long as they're still here, the pickin's are free.

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BEST TOYS FOR GROWNUPS -- LIVING ROOM: Plastic Chapel

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