Shopping & Services

  • Best place to turn Jagged Little Pillinto a five-dollar bill

    Cheapo Discs

    Everyone has musical skeletons in their closet: an embarrassing Euro-trash obsession, a long-outgrown affinity for death metal, an Alanis Morissette disc purchased during a particularly weak moment. Don't fret. The curiously friendly counter crew at Cheapo Discs has seen it all, and they pass bills instead of judgment. Here, old, unwanted CDs turn into money -- which one can pocket… More >>
  • Best spa for Gen-X'ers

    The Blue Door

    Now you can get one leg tattooed while the other one is being waxed! No, seriously: The Blue Door does offer tattooing services, along with related applications of permanent cosmetics and henna body painting. But you can also indulge in every bit of new-age massage media, from Reiki to aromatherapy, all provided by experienced women practitioners. Kick back. Take the… More >>
  • Best place to get tattooed, pierced before you get a haircut

    Twisted Sol

    One day earlier this year, a young woman arrived in Capitol Hill to get her hair done. Since her regular hairdresser was still snipping the locks of another customer, the woman wandered two doors down, walked into Twisted Sol and got her genitalia pierced. There are many ways to kill time while waiting to get a haircut -- reading a… More >>
  • Best use for old tires

    Jaitire Industries

    Imagine Baco-Bits made of yesterday's Firestones, and you're on your way to envisioning Crown Three, a nifty lawn-care product from a company called Jaitire. Sprinkle it on heavily trafficked areas of turf grass -- dog runs, the mailman's shortcut, the path your kids beat to the swingset -- and this tiny rubber carpet will protect the crown of the grass… More >>
  • Best recycled utopia

    Can Land Recycling Center

    Taking its design inspiration from the board game Candy Land, the folks at Can Land Recycling do their damnedest to put the fun back into recycling. Nestled among the modular-home dealerships of north Federal, the entrance to Can Land is marked by candy-cane-striped poles and a huge, festive sculpture of suspended wooden barrels with massive grins and outstretched arms. That… More >>
  • Best place to lighten your load

    Family Tree Foundation

    These good people know all about lifting life's little burdens. Aside from being a thrift store, the nonprofit Family Tree Foundation is dedicated to improving the self-esteem of people needing to overcome family crises, violence and homelessness. The funding comes from donations by the materially overwhelmed, and the folks here run their store with the same care that they run… More >>
  • Best alley scavenging

    Fourth to Seventh avenues between Downing St. and University Blvd.

    When it comes to dumpster-diving, the best advice you can follow is this: Look before you leap. Peruse, peruse, peruse. And wear comfortable shoes. But here's where the looking's easy on your eyes: You'll find quality and abundance in these well-heeled alleys and, at the same time, get a unique insight into how the other half lives. … More >>
  • Best incentive to get the kids to clean the house

    BFI Landfill

    It's been said that life's only truly worthwhile pursuit is tidying the house. Sadly, it's nearly impossible to convince children to participate in the joy without having to reward them with some costly bauble that only adds to the clutter. Never again. Family rooms, backyards and garages will sparkle if kids are promised a trip to the dump at labor's… More >>
  • Best place to score marijuana in a pinch

    The lawn between City Hall and the State Capitol

    So you want to stick it to the Man? What better place than the lawn between Denver's formidable City Hall and its gilded State Capitol? The best time to score is in the middle of the afternoon: Foot traffic is relatively heavy, and all you'll need is maybe $15 for an eighth of an ounce of pot. The quality's not… More >>
  • Best new narcotics anonymous meeting

    Ray of Light

    You don't have to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered to attend the Ray of Light Narcotics Anonymous group at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Gay and Lesbian Services Center; all of those gals in the busload from the treatment center certainly aren't, nor is that biker guy. The important thing is that they all feel welcome… More >>
  • Best realtors for gays and lesbians

    Rosnik & Associates

    Ivonne and Bob Rosnik gave up their real-estate business in May, but over the past fifteen years, the statuesque Swiss matron and her soft-spoken lawyer husband helped more than 150 gay and lesbian couples and individuals buy into the American dream. "For us it was just natural, business-wise, to be involved with the gay community, because we have so many… More >>
  • Best condom-storage gadget

    Crazy Condom Keypers, Planned Parenthood

    Still stuffing that condom into the dark crevices of your crammed wallet until the latex sheath decays? Make it a problem of the past by shopping at the Planned Parenthood gift shop, which boasts a slick storage method for your rubber buddy: The Crazy Condom Keyper, a key chain with an opening for the condom. Keypers cost $2.40 and come… More >>
  • Best wedding invitations

    Paper Talk

    Weddings are hell to plan -- so much work for a mere lifetime of bliss. But the invitation you send out is a symbol of what you want yours to be like, so pick the perfect one -- right down to the flourishes on the typeface -- with the help of someone who knows what she's doing. Deborah Bodian has… More >>
  • Best place to get a haircut after you get tattooed, pierced

    Urban Renewal

    Once you have your new body art properly in place, make sure you get back to Urban Renewal. Three hair stylists cut and snip the snazziest 'dos for hipsters of all ages. A women's cut goes for $30, a men's is $20, and every customer receives a "stress-relieving scalp massage." Mmmmmm. Scalp massage. Try to arrive too early, though, because… More >>
  • Best romantic Web site

    According to Don Rose, "The reason people sweat is so they don't catch fire when they make love." Now, who could find something more romantic than Don's great explanation for perspiration? Rose's poetic wisdom is just one factor that helps reach the pinnacle of romance. Deborah Wiig, a Web zine publisher and freelance editor, launched the site on Valentine's… More >>
  • Best job applications

    Denver Gov Online Job Application and Resume Management System

    Tired of sticking your foot in the door time and time again without getting anything but a sore foot? Let your fingers do the crashing: After you search for city job openings, you can apply right then and there and maintain an online resumé that you can update as needed. Simply click on the "citizens" icon for employment information,… More >>
  • Best last-minute schedule checks

    RTD's Online Bus Schedules

    Anyone who relies on the bus to get around knows how important it is to be able to fine-tune your journeys, especially when you're trying out different routes. Now you can find out if your bus is running late, by clicking on "routes and schedules" at RTD's nifty informational Web site. If your bus is delayed by over five minutes,… More >>
  • Best tonic for your soles

    Dardano's Shoes and Repair Web site

    You could walk the planet five times over just looking for a pair of comfortable shoes. You could, but you don't have to: Dardano's, a family-run business that's been cobbling around town for sixty years, now hawks some of the comfiest footwear around -- such as Birkenstock, ECCO and Josef Seibel -- out in cyberspace. The site also gives… More >>
  • Best Jills of all trades

    2nd String Moms

    Where can you find a spot nanny who can also run errands, house-sit, walk dogs and curry the pony, all in one fell swoop? 2nd String Moms, a force of 25 started by a pair of recent DU graduates, are exactly what they say they are. They do it all -- or at least most of it: The only thing… More >>
  • Best way to leave a hint

    Wish Registry, Paper Pleasures

    We all need something to write on; some of us like it to be on something pretty, and we're not talking floral-patterned napkins here. But paper is one of those things gift-buyers can overlook, so the next time you're actually asked what you'd like for a present, you'll be ready: Fill out a wish card at Paper Pleasures, which stocks… More >>
  • Best wedding photographer

    Moses Street

    Choosing a wedding photographer is probably the most important decision a bride and groom will make. Even if the food is terrible or old Aunt Betty slips and falls into the cake, nothing's a bigger disaster than bad pictures --after all, long after old Aunt Betty's gone, you'll still be looking at your wedding photos. Moses Street knows this. Not… More >>
  • Best kids' photographer

    Black & White by Krista

    When you want to remember your kids as they were, do you really need ruffles and bubble pants, a goofy smile and Taz spinning around in the background? We didn't think so. Krista's black-and-white portraits are simple and real without the silly props, and they reflect a child's true spirit using natural poses and fun situations. She'll set up in… More >>
  • Best personalized nostalgia

    Photographs and Memories

    Photographs and Memories proffers all the services related to photo restoration: oil tinting, damage repair, archival enlargements, retouching and so on. But here's their pièce de résistance: They'll make a montage for you out of personal items and photos and then photograph the whole thing in black and white or oil-tinted hues to create a keepsake or memorial ready to… More >>
  • Best place to pamper your poodle

    Shylo Country Club for Dogs

    It's tough to leave Rover behind for a fun-filled vacation when he's staring at you through the window with those sad, puppy-dog eyes. Avoid the guilt by leaving him at Shylo Country Club for Dogs. Your doggie won't even miss you; he'll be too busy frolicking with other dogs in one of seven outdoor play yards (large dogs on one… More >>
  • Best haircuts for little screamers

    Tortoise and the Hare

    First haircuts are often traumatic, with heads turning this way and that, tears flying and scissors snipping frantically in uneven, ragged lines. The folks at Tortoise and the Hare know this well, and they've figured out how to avoid exacerbating the situation. Aside from experience and patience, it helps to have a TV and a little cart to sit in… More >>
  • Best place to worship your cat

    The Cat Hospital of Wheat Ridge

    Talk about false idols. This six-foot cement statue of a calico cat playing with a giant ball of pink yarn outside the Cat Hospital of Wheat Ridge will remind cat owners just who's the boss. Then again, from the expression on this cat's face, she looks like she just got her shots. Dr. Douglas Ikeler, who owns five cat hospitals… More >>
  • Best service pets

    Alliance of Best Friends

    It's good to have a friend, but when that friend has a wet nose and a waggy tail, well, that's the ultimate in unconditional love. Plenty of studies have shown that pet visitation programs work: When pets visit seniors, convalescents or kids in hospitals, everyone seems to perk up. The nonprofit/volunteer Alliance of Best Friends screens and trains people and… More >>
  • Best service for pets

    Anesthesia-free teeth-cleaning clincs, Pet World

    You've heard the grisly tales about pets who died while having their teeth cleaned, victims of anesthesia. And then there are the ones who fall ill because they didn't have their teeth cleaned. It's an ugly bind, especially if your best friend is getting on in years, but Pet World tenders a happy medium by offering monthly sans-gas dental clinics… More >>
  • Best 24-hour service

    Walgreen's 24-hour pharmacy

    It's 3 a.m., the neighbor's obnoxious Chihuahua won't stop barking, there's a party going on down the street, and you can't stop thinking about your job presentation tomorrow. At times like these, only one thing will help: Walgreen's 24-hour pharmacy. Not every Walgreen's has one, but if you need your sleeping pills badly enough, or any other drugs you happen… More >>
  • Best emergency service

    Urban Wildlife Rescue

    Seven out of every ten sick, injured and orphaned critters that limp into Jack and Penny Murphy's nonprofit animal-rescue center walk out again. As a result, this husband-and-wife team -- also known as Coon Papa and Bat Lady -- are sought out by veterinarians, animal-control officers, police and homeowners statewide. For the past ten years, they've rescued and rehabilitated everything… More >>
  • Best free service

    The Denver Water Department's Xeriscape seminars, info and demonstration garden

    Ever wonder why it's so hard to keep grass green in Denver? Erratic weather, freezing winters, burning summers, high winds, bad soil and a miniscule amount of rainfall may have something to do with it. Enter Xeriscape, a word that was invented and trademarked by the Denver Water Department in 1981 to help frustrated Denver gardeners save water and keep… More >>
  • Best Xeriscape handbooks

    Denver Water Department

    Once you graduate from the Denver Water Department's free seminars, how about its Xeriscape handbooks? These will set you back a few bucks, but the series gives all the skinny -- rootstock and barrel -- on how to conserve water and still have a beautiful yard. Four books -- Xeriscape Plant Guide, Xeriscape Color Guide, Xeriscape Handbook and Waterwise Landscaping… More >>
  • Best general garden center

    Echter's Greenhouse and Gardens

    You always want to try new places, but Echter's is the place you keep coming back to, and here's why: There are acres of merchandise, from birdhouses and gifty gewgaws on one end to an endless selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, landscaping materials and more on the other end. And in between, they've got every kind of tool or gardening… More >>
  • Best neighborhood greenhouse

    Groundcovers Greenhouse and Nursery

    Groundcovers Greenhouse is relatively small, tidy and well-stocked -- the perfect place to pick up a few broccoli seedlings or yellow pear tomato plants or a quick packet of regionally friendly vegetable seeds. Offering a good selection of annuals and perennials, and with at least one knowledgeable staff member always roaming to answer questions, Groundcovers also sports a particularly serendipitous… More >>
  • Best neighborhood garden nook

    The Potted Garden

    Tiny and uncompromisingly lovely on the corner of Gaylord and Tennessee (where it hangs out engagingly like a private backyard retreat), the Potted Garden is the place to pick up elegant baskets of bleeding hearts to hang from your eaves, or large, well-established container-grown tomatoes, or a four-pack of snapdragons, or even a $200 designer birdhouse, the kind of splurge… More >>
  • Best place downtown to hail a cab late at night

    The Brown Palace Hotel

    There are usually a couple of cabs lingering in front of this Denver landmark, but if not, the Brown Palace hotel doorman will almost always help you get one if you're stuck downtown. Just don't be rude: Doormen can get a little ornery when an obnoxious drunk who isn't a hotel guest starts demanding service. The nice thing is that… More >>
  • Best garden pagodas

    Barong Collection

    An immediate lull falls over you as you walk into the Barong Collection; perhaps it's the gamelan music that wafts, trancelike, through the room. But it most certainly has something to do with the peaceful profusion of limestone and lavastone pagodas from Bali, ranging in size from shin-high and delicate to massive and striking. Regardless of size, they're all in… More >>
  • Best high-altitude cultivars

    Pleasant Avenue Nursery

    The Pleasant Avenue Nursery in Buena Vista has been specializing in the growing and testing of native and apt species for high-altitude gardening since 1972, changing its focus over the years from mined-land reclamation projects to the lighter-hearted realm of mountain gardening and landscaping. But Pleasant Avenue has became even more of a growth industry this year, starting off the… More >>
  • Best class for snowbound gardeners

    Make Your Own Tabletop Fountain at Wildflowers

    Now you can hear the sound of falling water (a popular reverberation these days because of its calmative powers) all year long, because this class is offered all year long. Everything's provided except the bowl and pump, which you have to buy separately -- but Wildflowers has those, too. And if you're so inclined, once you've brushed up on your… More >>
  • Best herbs

    Lily's Herbery

    There's a reason humans have been taking advantage of the curative -- and sensual -- powers of herbs throughout the ages. Apparently, they do work, deadening pain and soothing jittery nerves the natural way. Come to Lily's and you're certain to leave a believer, at any rate: The tiny shop seems hell-bent on providing comfort, or at least a momentary… More >>
  • Best Zen shopping

    Now & Zen

    You're the kind of shopper who needs products to match your philosophy -- products that bring peace, harmony and love into your life. Or maybe you're just sick of being jarred out of bed by that screeching alarm. Whatever your reasons, Boulder-based Now & Zen can bring you spirituality and help you to maintain a tranquil state. Founded by Steve… More >>
  • Best introduction to capitalism

    Glendale Public Library

    Glendale's collection of Russian-language newspapers, books and aids to becoming an American entrepreneur are outstanding, reflecting the Glendale Public Library's commitment to serving a growing immigrant community in the land of singles apartments and strip bars. Pass the English-Russian Business Dictionary, will you, comrade?… More >>
  • Best store at Cherry Creek Shopping Center


    Making a pilgrimage is a sacred time for worship and self-reflection. There's the Ganges River for Hindus, the Vatican for Catholics and Mecca for Muslims. Locally, there's even a place for candle-worshipers: Illuminations. As you enter the serene establishment, a sweet, inviting scent drifts into your nose, the sound of upbeat music and trickling water floats into your ears, and… More >>
  • Best store at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Jr.

    The Children's Place

    Kids grow like mutant weeds, wear rips in the knees like trophies and possess mud-seeking radar. After window-shopping the high-priced boutiques at Cherry Creek, it's a relief to stagger into the Children's Place. The store (which has three other metro-area locations) features stylish, bright colors, comfortable fabrics and accessories to the moon -- all exceedingly cute, and without the acute… More >>
  • Best store at Park Meadows

    Lauren Brooks

    After fearing that you'll smack into the kajillion-dollar Jaguar speeding through the parking lot and then bumping into hundreds of cropped-pants-clad shoppers, a visit to the mall can seem pretty stressful. But the Lauren Brooks furniture and accessories store in Park Meadows makes the fear and frustration worth it. Kathy Imes, a local designer who first opened the store in… More >>
  • Best shop at DIA

    U.S. Post Office, Rocky Mountain Station

    Don't lose the phone number, because it's easier to find hard drives loaded with Los Alamos's nuclear secrets than it is to get a direct line to Rocky Mountain Station, the post office on the sixth floor of the main terminal at Denver International Airport. The irony is, once you find this unbelievably clean spot, you'll be enveloped by some… More >>
  • Best parking-lot attendant

    Rose Peterson, 15th and Delgany streets

    Rose Peterson makes sitting in a glass booth all day seem like the best job in the world. Though her customers come fresh -- or, more accurately, soured -- from their morning commutes, Rose, who's been working Central Parking Systems' lot at 15th and Delgany streets for the last year and a half (after stints at the McNichols Arena and… More >>
  • Best flight out of DIA

    Frontier Flight 771 at 9:35 a.m. to Las Vegas

    To say this flight has something for everyone would be a gross understatement. Flight 771 has, at the very least, two somethings for everyone. The show begins at the ticket gate, where travelers will want to marvel at the speed of the boarding operation; the seasoned flight crew will have passengers buckled into their seats and watching the safety demonstration… More >>
  • Best store anywhere on Colfax Avenue

    Temple of Being/Bound by Design

    Colfax Avenue is a five-lane study in contradiction. At points, stately Victorian mansions sit just a cobblestone sidewalk away from folks who call the bus stop home; elsewhere, business folks and city legislators mingle with the drunk, the down-on-their-luck, the intermittent desolation of this particular row. The schizo, serpentine street is a fitting location, then, for Temple of Being/ Bound… More >>
  • Best place to find high-altitude balls


    Need a new titanium racket or just some tennis lessons? How 'bout a new ball machine, to rent or own? Well, then, log off Anna Kournikova's Web site and head down to Game-Set-Match, near the Park Meadows Mall, for tennis-knowledgeable staff -- they'll even keep track of the tension at which you set your strings -- and high-end merchandise you… More >>
  • Best used sporting goods store

    Sports Plus

    Looking for in-line skates at a price that's not out of line? How about a perfectly good mountain bike that won't set you back the cost of a used car? The folks at Sports Plus, on fashionable South Gaylord Street near Washington Park, can help burn calories without burning salaries. You can even pick up a lacrosse stick -- or… More >>
  • Best place to buy coins and estate jewelry

    Tebo Coins

    Coins are Tebo's primary business -- they carry everything from ancient Greek and Roman coins to an admirable selection of U.S. coins and proof sets. The store's friendly staff will answer any question, or at least try to find the answer on the rare occasion that they don't already know it. In addition, Tebo Coins carries a small but wonderful… More >>
  • Best place to sober up in a hurry

    REI Denver Flagship Store

    Oh, sure, it's sobering to think what a massive effort was involved in turning the crumbling Forney Museum building -- officially known as the 1901 Denver Tramway Power House -- into the incredibly hip new REI store, complete with indoor climbing mountain, indoor/outdoor Starbucks and outdoor kayaking course. Focusing on the numbers alone will defog the brain: over $400,000 in… More >>
  • Best place to chill out

    Tattered Cover LoDo

    We could write a book on the many reasons we love the Tattered Cover's LoDo store, among them the old, creaky floors; the chipper, non-creaky staffers; the huge selection of newspapers and magazines; the overstuffed chairs that are just the place to read those newspapers and magazines (or take a nap); the auditorium that frequently offers lectures and book signings;… More >>
  • Best tilemaker

    Mosaico Mexican Tile Manufacturing

    Natavidad Avila arrived here from Guadalajara forty years ago, and he's been making custom cement floor tiles ever since. He specializes in traditional Mexican and Aztec motifs and translucent, out-of-this-world colors that he carefully pours into intricate patterns copied faithfully from any sample. What makes Avila's craft especially difficult is its form and mechanics: To re-create designs, he must apply… More >>
  • Best banister

    Native American Trading Company

    Herpetophobes, beware: The cast-iron lizard that snakes its way up a stairway at the Native American Trading Company, a venerable old gallery of Indian and Southwestern art and artifacts, is hard to miss. Herpetophiles, on the other hand, won't be able to handle it enough. The beautiful house-designed and hand-forged rail is a work of art for the ages, and… More >>
  • Best stone

    Colorado Stone Company

    Next time you need a rock around your clock -- or even a bunch of small, random ones to line your garden path -- head to Longmont, where Colorado Stone stocks more colors and varieties of slate, granite, sandstone and other fancy finishes than you could possibly want or need in a lifetime at, well, rock-bottom prices. In addition to… More >>
  • Best lock on a parking spot

    CashKey, Denver Department of Public Works

    How to thwart those pesky, persistent meter people: Get yourself a CashKey. The handy card key, electronically programmed and available from the City and County of Denver's Department of Public Works in replenishable amounts of $10 to $100, fits on your key chain and is debited a quarter each time you insert it in the meter. You also pay an… More >>
  • Best new looks for old fireplaces

    Victorian Treasures

    Almost anyone who's bought an old decorative has had to ponder this question: Why in the heck did they wreck that beautiful fireplace? We've all seen our share of painted-over, stripped-down, once-magnificent hearths in ruin. Too bad the owners didn't pay a visit to Victorian Treasures, a shop located in a little old house that lives up to its name.… More >>
  • Best furniture imports

    Foreign Accents International Furnishings

    We're a stay-at-home generation -- Internet shoppers and TV watchers. But we can still travel, or at least have a sense of travel in our homes, by shopping for furnishings at places like Foreign Accents International Furnishings, where exotic looks are everyday fare. Stock up here on kilim chairs and pillows, Moroccan oil jars, Oriental carpets, prayer benches, rustic painted… More >>
  • Best lampshade salesperson

    Lynda Ferris, Lampshade Gallery

    The best life is one in which you never have to worry about a lampshade. Ideally, your lampshade blends unobtrusively into the atmosphere, invisible in its pure functionality. That is, until one too many moves leaves it hanging from its frame, held together by Scotch tape, or a particularly acrobatic cat makes its indelible mark on what had heretofore been… More >>
  • Best Mickey Mouse bathrooms

    Bath & Kitchen Design Center

    Undoubtedly, you've seen them -- glazed-eyed zombies wandering the bath-fixtures aisles at Home Depot or walking stiffly, loaded down with catalogues on "tile row," hoping for a miracle. Forget it, home renovators -- cast your fates to the wind. Enter the high-end idea center at the Bath & Kitchen Design Center, which shows off anything from sleek, minimal modern toilets… More >>
  • Best video store

    Video Station

    Perhaps there's something that interests you in the amused, ironic Czech sensibility, and you want to track it in film, from Jiri Menzel's 1966 Closely Watched Trains through Jan Svankmajer's surreal Alice (1988) and Faust (1994) and culminating in 1996's Oscar-winning Kolya, by Jan Sverak. You could go further and rent all of expatriot Milos Forman's movies to see how… More >>
  • Best new-CD store

    Wax Trax

    Late last year, this Denver tradition celebrated its 21st year under current ownership -- but it came of age long ago. Wax Trax continues to offer the finest mix of best-sellers and hard-to-find independent or import obscurities of any business of its kind. As an added bonus, stores featuring used recordings, vinyl and videos are mere steps away. Why not… More >>
  • Best used-cd store

    Twist & Shout

    Sure, there's a great selection of used discs and vinyl at Twist & Shout, but what lifts it to the top of the heap is its music-loving atmosphere. The joint's support of the local music scene is well-known, and lately it's been staging loads of in-store appearances by touring acts such as Patti Smith. Just walking through the door will… More >>
  • Best used-vinyl store

    Don's Discs

    Although it's located in Thornton, a community not exactly renowned for its trendiness, this store has a national rep among vinyl aficionados, and for good reason: Platters that may cost big bucks in New York City can often be found at Don's Discs for a fraction of that price. Add to that a sprawling library of seven-inch singles, and you've… More >>
  • Best anti-theft device at a record store

    Jerry's Record Exchange

    For nineteen years, Jerry's Record Exchange has stocked some of the most obscure folk, classical and jazz selections in town. But a few years ago, when acid jazz peaked its way into the club scene, the store became a target for DJs who were too cheap to buy. Instead of loading up on security bells, whistles and armed guards, though,… More >>
  • Best anti-ticket service

    First Call Communications

    In their quests to make the world a better place, Mahatma Gandhi promoted peace, Mother Teresa nurtured the impoverished, and Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality. Following these precedents, one Denver man is making his contribution to humanity by committing to protect his neighbors from parking tickets. Last summer, Phil Gage noticed how often people were getting ticketed for… More >>
  • Best used books

    The Book Stack, Mary Reed Building on the DU campus

    Bookworms are always looking for a new place to gnaw, and the Book Stack, run by DU's Women's Library Association for the benefit of that school's venerable Penrose Library, is a great place to dig in. It's a repository of cheap, cast-off books: hardbacks, paperbacks, children's books, collectibles and more, some of which have already been dog-eared, and others that… More >>
  • Best kids' bookstore

    The Bookies

    Sue Lubeck's store's been around the block. But now, thankfully, it's actually beginning to wrap itself around the block. A recent expansion will allow Lubeck to better accommodate educators who meet at Bookies without compromising her already crowded retail space, which spills over with wonderful things for and about kids, providing hours of browsing of the most excellent kind. Whether… More >>
  • Best eclectica

    5 Green Boxes

    This is a place you either love -- or you just don't get. But be forewarned: Don't come in here without a healthy imagination and a love for the beautiful and unusual. Five Green Boxes changes its whole look with every season, segueing as grandly and organically as nature herself, dressing in new hues and unfolding with unexpected whimsies. But… More >>
  • Best Judaica

    Boulder Arts & Crafts Cooperative

    There's more to Judaica than a nine-armed candelabra and a six-pointed star. With that in mind, the Boulder Arts & Crafts Cooperative has a sharp eye for artful things Jewish: seder plates, Shabbat candles, dreidels, tallitim, mezuzahs, menorahs and more, all sporting the human touch of an artisan. Hand-forged metals, stoneware and clay are only a few of the mediums… More >>
  • Best cultural collision


    The signs decorating the warehousey building on the corner of West 38th Avenue and Osage Street in northwest Denver bilingually advertise everything from 14k gold jewelry, pagers and stereos to ropa and the joyería inside. But more than anything, it's the business's name -- against a logo bearing the colors of the Mexican flag -- that says it all: This… More >>
  • Best place to buy an Irish sweater

    Thistle & Shamrock

    Remember the Saturday Night Live skit with Mike Myers wearing a kilt while screaming at customers "If it's not Scottish, it's crap"? Well, Frank and Sheryl Campbell, the owners of Thistle & Shamrock, which carries Scottish and Irish goods, don't greet customers with quite the same hostility, but they are passionate about their merchandise -- from souvenir-type gifts like plaid… More >>
  • Best T-shirts


    Ivy Morgan is a traveler, and her little Sixth Avenue nook is a telling repository. Stuffed to the rafters with trinkets and clothing from such exotic climes as Nepal, Indonesia and Thailand, Cargo has wonderful novelties: Chinese Feng Shui compasses, temple candles, singing bowls and thangka prints and tapestries used by traveling monks to teach Buddhist stories. But for mass… More >>
  • Best handbags

    Alice's Tapestries

    Alice Monroney works out of an ordinary storefront, but what goes on inside is extraordinary. Her lush tapestry travel and passport bags, backpacks, flap bags, totes and cosmetic bags are made of fabrics adorned with everything from flora and fauna to the sun, moon and stars. Monroney finishes them herself with unique, handcrafted buttons, saucy tassels, moiré lining and braided… More >>
  • Best hole-in-the-wall kids' boutique

    Beez Kneez

    Kris and Lewis Butler know kids. Take note of the typical, screaming two-year-old behind the counter and you'll have no question about that. But they also know parents, and the evidence of that is in the snappy inventory of new and used children's clothes they carry in their narrow Gaylord Street shop. At Beez Kneez, you'll find pricey new duds,… More >>
  • Best kids' resale emporium

    Once Upon a Child

    The store policy says it all: Once Upon a Child will buy back your purchases when your kids outgrow them, a touch that makes a trip to Fort Collins worth the drive. Bargain-hunters will find everything they need here: slightly used V-Tech toys, cute stuffed animals, strollers, cribs, bassinets, bath toys, new overstuffed rocking chairs and a huge inventory of… More >>
  • Best car wash


    Unlike most gas-station car washes, Puddle actually gets cars clean. Pull up and select the basic wash, or "water works," which includes a car wash, vacuum, dashboard dusting and window-cleaning for $9.99. Then watch, through windows inside the store, as your car rides through the automatic process before being hand-dried. And if it's not to your liking, they'll send it… More >>
  • Best handmade frocks and overalls

    LaDonna's House of Design

    Local seamstress Marcel Antoinette has been sewing for 25 years, but started her handmade children's line eight years ago when she had a daughter. One thing led to another: She'd dress the little one in clothes she'd made, people would ask, and soon she was in business. Antoinette works and sells the clothes -- simple, well-sewn garments of patchworked African… More >>
  • Best handmade toys

    Sweet Lily's Toy Company

    Janet Banks hated her job as a graphic designer and longed for something simpler. One day, she opened up a book about wooden toys and hasn't been the same since. Though she remembered her grandfather making such toys when she was little, Banks had no woodworking experience, so she taught herself and recently quit her hated job to concentrate on… More >>
  • Best toques for tykes

    Sur la Table, Cherry Creek Shopping Center

    Things are cooking at Sur la Table, and not just for you. This kitchenware, cookbook and gadget place caters to kids by carrying mini cooking and baking sets that look just like the grownup versions, dinosaur cookie cutters, clever rookie chopsticks, Mickey Mouse cookbooks, froggy aprons and tiny double-breasted chef's coats for gourmets-in-training. The crowning touch? A classic chef's chapeau,… More >>
  • Best great big beautiful dolls

    The Doll Shop

    Dolls, with their staring eyes and stiff, painted-on features, have a creepy reputation with almost everyone except kids and collectors. But one way to get over it is to make one yourself. Next time you need a nice eyeball, drop by the Doll House. Doll lady Rose Rismanchi stocks everything you need to build a cutie three-foot-two with eyes of… More >>
  • Best sock dolls

    Marcia's Kids

    Adorable and little enough to fit in your hand, this human take on the sock monkey (now overtaken by a whole cottage industry of sock moose and hippos and God-knows-whats) harks back to the days when toys were simpler and sweeter. No one's going to gasp in awe when they see one of Marcia's Kids, but they're something anyone --… More >>
  • Best flower fairies

    Konvalinka Porcelain Doll Art

    Mountain-dweller Susan Lee Danaher makes her five-inch sweeties, named Konvalinka after the Slovak word for lily of the valley, from scratch: The tiny, delicate fairies are hand-poured and -painted before being festooned with ribbons, flowers, lace and angels and, sometimes, Danaher admits, tiny tattoos. They come in hues inspired by the colors of wildflowers and other garden denizens. … More >>
  • Best mini flower fairies

    The Tended Thicket

    These tiny felt dolls, which come in a rainbow of pastel shades, are barely there, but they're perfect to tie on a bouquet or poke into a basket. You can buy the entire ensemble at the Tended Thicket, an agreeable flower and gift shop that starts in a nook and turns into a cranny and specializes in magnificent floral arrangements.… More >>
  • Best alien collection


    They're he-e-e-e-re.… More >>
  • Best alien mugs

    The Clayhouse

    A tiny South Broadway storefront with a unique idea, Clayhouse is both a handmade-pottery collective and a purveyor of antiques and collectibles. So you can buy a Tiffany-lamp reproduction or a fat, orange-scented candle embedded with potpourri. But what's really out of this world are co-owner Lisa Neeper's little green mugs and flying-saucer teapots. They're positively extraterrestrial. … More >>
  • Best Hello Kitty collection

    Hello Kitty World at Min Min

    Hello Kitty may just be another one of Japan's attempts to take over the world, but don't be quick to catalogue it next to Panasonic, Toyota or Pokémon. The cutesy kitty remains mysteriously Japanese and -- we admit -- utterly inane, but it still manages to capture our fancies, as well as that of collector Ashley Chang, who's allowed her… More >>
  • Best license plate design

    Designer plates

    Colorado began its first major plate replacement since the late 1970s this year, and by December 31, 2003, all 4.5 million plates should have the new designs. Although most people will get the standard white plate with green numbers and letters (which takes the place of green plates with white letters), there are actually 74 different kinds of plates, almost… More >>