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  • Best Travel Advice for Scary Places

    International Travel Clinic

    There are any number of travel agencies and Web sites out there willing to explain the joys of hacking through some fetid South American rainforest. When you need the real dope, though, head to the Jefferson County Health Department's International Health Clinic. There, Janet Ballantyne, the take-no-microbes registered nurse who runs the joint, will give you the lowdown on --… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Away Without Facing Scary Microbes

    Window to the World Museum

    Tired of viewing old pot shards and ethnic weaving products in tasteful displays behind glass? Time to pay a call on Window to the World Museum, a private museum-in-a-mall that holds a globe-girdling collection of memorabilia and souvenirs from its owner/curator's adventures. Sue Koenig taught in Jefferson County schools for twenty years, traveling on her summers off. But in 1984… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Happy Houseplants

    The Violet Showcase

    Doug and Barbara Crispin managed to grow African violets in the tundra. That should tell you something about the crop at their shop in Englewood, the Violet Showcase, the only store of its kind in the country. The Violet Showcase is packed with new and unusual varieties of the world's most popular houseplant, African violets in pink, purple, white,… More >>
  • Best Toys

    Timbuk Toys

    Located in the new, improved University Hills complex, Timbuk Toys still manages to exude the feel of a neighborhood store. Featuring an attentive staff that obviously enjoys children, it offers a versatile selection and wide price range for a relatively small space. Mostly, though, it's just fun to go to, fully lacking the plasticized overkill of a big-box toy store.… More >>
  • Best Reupholstering

    Yesterday's Child

    If it's getting more and more difficult to call great-aunt Edna's Morris chair an "heirloom," perhaps its time for a touchup. Be kind to your mold-crusted chair. Or throw it away and start from scratch. Little more than a hole-in-the-wall with eclectic collectibles on South Pearl Street, Yesterday's Child, which stands by the motto of "My Chair or Yours," applies… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Stocking Stuffers Year-Round

    H. R. Meininger

    Artists must celebrate the coolest Christmases around. If they don't, they're not buying their paint at the right place. Meininger's, long known as one of the city's best-equipped art-supply stores, also carries compelling little items that make opening up old socks a tradition worth keeping. Although the inventory changes frequently, shoppers can glom onto such marvels as Elvis magnets, pens… More >>
  • Best Holiday Craft Fair

    Gifts for Yule

    Organized annually by the eclectica palace on South Pearl Street, Manorisms and Blackbird of Evergreen, this craft fair is a rarity of the holiday season. Of a manageable size and offering handmades and gifts -- vintage linens, fragrant pots of paperwhites, one-of-a-kind children's clothing, sensuously scented candles, folk art, imports and more, all chosen thoughtfully with the overall show's… More >>
  • Best Window Displays (Yule and Otherwise)

    Five Green Boxes

    Since moving down the street from an isolated corner to more compact and socialized digs, this shop has added a singular and eccentric brand of color to South Pearl Street's already charming retail community. Bold hues of green or pink (or whatever color best defines the season at hand) command the corner storefront's picture windows: For instance, orange brooms, green… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy and Then Smoke Exotic Cigarettes

    Paris on the Platte

    Paris on the Platte is Denver's best approximation of a European-style cafe, the kind of place people go to eat baguettes, drink strong coffee, read, write -- and smoke heartily. Like the city it's named after (where travelers are free to light up immediately after stepping off a plane), Paris on the Platte is one of those increasingly rare places… More >>
  • Best New-CD Store -- Underground-Music Variety

    Wax Trax

    If you're looking for something out of the ordinary or want to pick the brain of someone who eats, drinks and breathes music, Wax Trax is still the bee's knees. The store's stock czars make sure that just about every new, intriguing, indescribable or curious release is on hand, be it imported or independently released, and the rest of the… More >>
  • Best Used-CD Store

    Wax Trax

    Of course, locals know that Wax Trax isn't a single store, but a several-headed music hydra -- and the branch dedicated to used product shouldn't be overlooked. The space is crammed with oodles of previously owned treasures: CDs and LPs from a wide range of eras, as well as stacks upon stacks of 45s available on the cheap. A great… More >>
  • Best New-Vinyl Store

    Twist & Shout Underground

    An annex to the original Twist & Shout (recently named Retailer of the Year by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers), conveniently located on the other side of the street, Underground stocks a potpourri of musical accessories, including new and used stereo equipment, cartridges, and clothing intended to bring out your inner raver. But it's built around two rooms filled… More >>
  • Best Place for Used Vinyl and Knowledgeable Grouches

    Jerry's Record Exchange

    Don't ask for the time at Jerry's. There's a big clock on the back wall, buddy, and it ticks for thee. Musical questions, however, are permissible, as long as they don't waste time and aren't stoopid. Otherwise, browse to your heart's content in the tiny catacombs of vinylus obscurus and used CDs. There's everything from Biota to Bertolt Brecht, opera… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Mexican Pots

    Jackalope

    Remember that Anne Geddes photo of her signature babies planted in acres upon acres of terra-cotta pots? Now imagine the picture without any babies. That's what Jackalope looks like -- a vast expanse of planters and pots in all shapes and sizes, stretching almost as far as the eye can see. The second outlet of a Santa Fe-based store, this… More >>
  • Best Place for Vintage-Vinyl Fiends to Score a Fix

    Don's Discs

    Forget CDs. Don Radke, proprietor of Don's Discs, has more used records than he has time to clean, sort and stock. He stopped keeping count years ago, but Radke figures that more than a million separate slabs of vinyl inhabit his increasingly cluttered space in Thornton. While many a local has bought and sold his record collection here since the… More >>
  • Best Record Store for Hip-Hop Hopefuls

    Sunshine Records

    Local rappers and DJs who want to be sure that their recordings are well represented head to Sunshine Records, the revered East Colfax institution that's served and showcased local hip-hop heads for years. Alongside the latest records from E-40 and Jay-Z, releases from area MCs like Don Blas and Nyke Loc also line the shelves; Park Hill's A-1 Sick and… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Store

    Hip Hop One Stop

    In a small but sparely modern shop across the street from East High School sits the aptly named Hip Hop One Stop, where under one roof you can find magazines and CDs that will put you in the hip-hop mood, plus a small but high-quality collection of jeans, jackets, shirts and shoes that'll make you look the part.… More >>
  • Best Courtesy Phones

    Tattered Cover Book Store

    Half the population of Denver seems to know about the courtesy phones installed at the Tattered Cover Book Stores in Cherry Creek and LoDo. Discreet signage informs patrons getting ready to "ride the light" to limit calls to three-minute locals. But a bit of persistent eavesdropping reveals the full scope of the phones' functions: People with memorized resumés use them… More >>
  • Best Free Service

    Video/Audio Rentals

    All you really need to get a Denver library card is a pulse. From the day of your birth forward, you are eligible to rent materials, free of charge, as long as you bring them back on time. But while books are the primary draw at the library's Central Branch, smart card carriers know to make an additional stop in… More >>
  • Best Independent Video Store -- First-Run

    Video One

    With big chains getting bigger, it's harder for the little guy to survive. The answer for video rental stores is niche marketing, carrying films that don't make it past the bean-counters at the big box: DVDs, classics, catalogue movies -- anything and everything consumers can't find elsewhere. Video One just might have what you're looking for.… More >>
  • Best Independent Video Store -- Avant-Garde

    Video Station

    Niche marketing is nothing new in the world of videos; Boulder's Video Station has been doing it for twenty years now. Yes, this is the place to find classics like Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door, but a huge part of the store's 66,000-title inventory is made up of foreign, independent and avant-garde films. There's also… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Roy Rogers Chenille Bedspreads Online

    Cowboy Classics

    Folks with a hankering for Western kitsch -- authentic cowboy clocks, wagon-wheel couch sets and tepee-shaped cookie jars -- once had to drive to Longmont in order to check out the new arrivals at Cowboy Classics, one of the area's best sources of Western memorabilia. But now the Wild West comes to you via the store's Web site, which offers… More >>
  • Best Mobile Service

    Sewing Plus Traveling Seamstress

    Have needle, will travel. A certified nursing assistant by training, Millie Ferguson charges $25 an hour to keep you in stitches. She'll bring her rolling sewing machine to your home or office to make alterations, mend, hem or replace buttons. And Ferguson's not reluctant to tackle big jobs, either, like making banners for corporate shindigs or creating outfits for those… More >>
  • Best Mobile Service -- Professional Division

    Rolling Stone Mobile Knife Sharpening

    Man does not live by bread alone -- he also needs a knife to cut it. That's where Rolling Stone Mobile Knife Sharpening comes in. Your doctor won't make house calls, but Daryl Hoffman will -- if you happen to be a chef at one of Colorado's finer restaurants or country clubs, that is. Hoffman keeps all the tools of… More >>
  • Best Place to Fill Up on Falafel While Filling Up

    Haji Babba

    Fuel and falafel may seem like an odd pairing, but the owners of this gas station/convenience store/Middle Eastern restaurant may be on to something. Although patrons get the usual potato chips with their petroleum, they also have the option of fueling up on a decent meal. The dining side of Haji Babba serves pitas stuffed with falafel, baba ghanouj, tabouli,… More >>
  • Best Urban Car Wash

    Sharper Cars

    Magnesium chloride may be great on snowy streets, but it's hell to get off your car; touch-free just doesn't cut it. For an honest-to-God hands-on wash and polish, cruise on over to Sharper Cars, that purple building with the turquoise trim on the edge of downtown. With a complete line of detail services and a basic Po-Boy wash for only… More >>
  • Best Amenities at a Car Wash

    Waterworks Car Wash

    As long as you're washing your car, why not clean up some messy spots in your personal life? Waterworks Car Wash stocks the usual deodorizers, tapes, atlases and car accessories -- which do in a pinch as a quick gift for that forgotten birthday or anniversary. More important, Waterworks also stocks an impressive array of greeting cards that rise to… More >>
  • Best Do-It-Yourself Car Wash

    Hi-Performance Car Wash

    We know: The most entertaining do-it-yourself car wash, and certainly the cheapest, is in one of Denver's city parks, where you can pull up to the side of the road and pretend to polish the chrome while you're really watching all those hard bodies run by. But if the pressure's on for a fast cleanup, point your dirty car in… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Flat Tire Fixed

    Discount Tire

    A friend in need, as they say. Discount Tire usually fixes flats for free, even if it's somebody else's tire or you picked up your puncture on the other side of town. (Particularly tricky jobs might cost $5.) Of course, you don't want to ride around on a patched tire forever, so when you decide to buy a new one,… More >>
  • Best Place to Park for Traffic Court

    Denver Police Department/Denver City Jail

    It's bad enough that you have to go to court, but it adds insult to injury when you discover there's no reasonably priced place -- or any place at all -- to park within a mile of the Denver City and County Building. Often overlooked, however, is a small parking lot directly in front of Denver Police headquarters on… More >>
  • Best Free Service for Casino Workers

    IRS Tax Preparation Workshops

    Here's a tip: Declare those tips! Through the first three months of this year, the IRS has been holding free workshops in Colorado's mountain gaming towns to help casino employees fill out their 1040s, properly accounting for all those fabulous cash gratuities bestowed upon by them by happy winners. The self-employed and those just starting a business have also benefited… More >>
  • Best New Consumer Service

    Colorado Consumer Line

    A joint venture of the Colorado Attorney General's Office and Better Business Bureaus of Colorado, the Colorado Consumer Line is designed to provide a quick response to consumer concerns. Callers have their choice of listening to recorded tips or live employees, who answer questions and take complaints in both English and Spanish. Talking to a real person has another benefit:… More >>
  • Best Online Watchdog

    Privacy Foundation

    You're surfing the net at 3 a.m. Do you know where your cookies are? Richard Smith does, and he wants everybody to know how to lock their cupboards. As chief technology officer of the Privacy Foundation, it's Smith's job to uncover threats to online privacy and inform citizens of those threats; he's already made both Microsoft and RealNetworks rework software… More >>
  • Best Place When You're Feeling Pink, Career-wise

    Pink Slip Parties
    LH3, Inc.

    If you've just had your third dot-com shot out from under you, there's a place you can go where everyone understands. Really. Everybody at a Pink Slip Party is looking for work, except for the companies and headhunters who are on hand to network with the recently axed of the high-tech world. This relaxed alternative to the cattle-call job fair… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a Nerd Career

    JustTechJobs.com

    While you're waiting for the next Pink Slip Party, post your resumé on JustTechJobs.com, a Boulder-based job site that specializes in tech types. The site charges a fee for employers to post jobs, but job-seekers pay nothing. There are usually about 52,000 resumés posted on the site, and they remain active for sixty days -- more than you can say… More >>
  • Best Eco-Friendly Internet Service

    The EcoISP

    If you're paying for a service, why not use one that supports your views? What Working Assets did for long-distance and progressive causes, The EcoISP does for Internet access and environmental issues. Each month, 50 percent of a subscriber's net revenue is donated to the environmental cause of his choice -- and in case he has trouble picking an appropriately… More >>
  • Best Online Auction Site

    Fatty Tuna

    This Boulder-based reverse-auction Web site lets buyers tell the world what they want, when they want it and how much they are willing to pay for it. When the bidding's done, the buyer receives contact information for the three lowest bids; the vendor with the lowest bid receives the buyer's information...and then let the negotiations begin. The brainwave of CU… More >>
  • Best Swap Meet

    Mountain Miser Gear Swap

    You've been to the Mount Everest base camp and survived. But now you find yourself with a yak harness you no longer need, along with some miscellaneous sporting equipment. Or maybe you're planning to summit the world's highest peak and are curious about yak-related paraphernalia. Never fear: The Mountain Miser store in Englewood will get you together with… More >>
  • Best Recycling Service

    The Stuff Exchange

    When your stuff is too old to use but too good to trash, call the Stuff Exchange. The volunteers manning the hotline and Web site will see that your gently used items get a good home, either with a school, nonprofit organization or individual in need. If you're with one of those good causes that needs old computers, furniture or… More >>
  • Best Computer Recycling Service

    Computers for Community

    Do you really think that old 386 in the basement is good for anything other than a boat anchor? Compute again, Intel-head, then contact Computers for Community. This nonprofit collects, refurbishes and distributes used computers to schools and nonprofits in the metro area. And they'll accept any computer equipment, working or not. But a $1 donation is requested for each… More >>
  • Best Place to Equip Yourself Like Erik Estrada

    Colorado State Patrol Specialty Store

    Admit it: You have a thing for cops. You've memorized every episode of CHiPs and frequently fantasize that you're cruising alongside Erik Estrada on your motorcycle. For real vroom service, accelerate over to an old house at the corner of First and Wadsworth in Lakewood, where the Colorado State Patrol Specialty Store is open for business five days a week.… More >>
  • Best Construction Recycling Service

    Resource 2000

    All salvage, all the time, donated by builders and contractors who would rather give it away than dump it in a landfill. By reclaiming used building materials and selling them to consumers at bargain prices -- $70 for a picture window, for example -- Resource 2000 aims to reduce the amount of construction waste winding up in landfills. Overseen by… More >>
  • Best Big Thrift Shop

    Goodwill Store

    You pays your money, you takes your choice. And with the size of the newest Goodwill store -- a robust 11,300 square feet -- you have to be alert to the good things Goodwill will sometimes have coming and going. Skis? Sure. Snowboards? Once in a while. The best way to check it out is to check it out. While… More >>
  • Best Upscale Thrift Shop

    La Cache

    Since 1982, Lenore Stoddard and her band of loyal volunteers have staffed this fundraising venture for Children's Hospital. And what funds they've raised! La Cache has generated more than $1 million for the hospital to date, even while giving consignors two-thirds of the purchase price. Shoppers will find a treasure trove of high-quality and rare sterling, china, jewelry, linens… More >>
  • Best Thrift Shop With a Cause

    Treasure Trunk

    Not long ago, there was a mink coat on sale at the Treasure Trunk. Although it was priced to move at $65, some shrewd -- but not necessarily PC -- fashion-hound snapped it up on a half-price day. Clean and well-organized, both the big, new shop on Colfax and the original in Wheat Ridge benefit Family Tree shelters, programs for… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop in a Church

    Riverside Baptist Church

    When an organization runs dozens of programs and ministries that do everything from counseling unwed pregnant women to running a crisis shelter, it needs to dig deeper than just the collection plate, even if the 4,000-member flock is generous. That's why Riverside Baptist Church has been blessed with abundance at its heavenly gift shop. Riverside sets out its offerings inside… More >>
  • Best Children's Shop in a Museum

    Shop Skip and a Jump

    Taking kids to the Shop Skip and a Jump store at the Children's Museum is like taking a group of chocoholics to the Hershey factory. You'll find some of the hippest gear for both learning and playing here: dinos, twirlers, books, games and other gizmos, all at your (sticky) fingertips. Cash proceeds benefit the museum, and the creative stuff benefits… More >>
  • Best Western Store in a Restaurant

    Denver Buffalo Company Trading Post

    Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight? There are times when we hunger to dig into a big hunk of beast, be it beef or buffalo, grilled a perfect medium rare. But just as often, we have a hankering to see the critter put to another use -- as a great Western belt, bag or jacket. Preferably one about to… More >>
  • Best Cafe in a Furniture Store

    American Furniture Warehouse Superstore

    You know how cranky you can become after a day of shopping, comparing prices on sofas and testing fabrics on divans. Take a break and get refreshed at Jake Jabs's huge American Furniture Warehouse emporium on the north side of town. A cup of joe, a light snack, and you're back on the showroom floor in no time. The new… More >>
  • Best Designer Furniture at a Discount

    The Furniture Room

    Real quality furniture at affordable prices -- there's a concept! It's the one Brian Frenkel and Jason Reimer put to work at the Furniture Room, which carries cream-of-the-crop designer lines of retro and contemporary furniture, from chairs and sofas to mattresses and bedframes. How much you save depends on your taste: You can get what you see on the floor… More >>
  • Best Stash of Stuff in a Furniture Store

    Brandon

    Although the floor is a little less dusty since this store moved from an ancient LoDo warehouse to a new space on Santa Fe, Brandon's basic business concept remains unchanged: Jam as much stuff as possible into the building and see what goes out the door. On any given day, the jam could include large sofas covered with fake leopard… More >>
  • Best Porn Store in a Historic Building

    Diamond Lil's

    The building that started life in 1899 as Kopper's Hotel and Saloon today houses Diamond Lil's, believed to be the only adult bookstore in a nationally recognized historic building (it made the National Register of Historic Places in 1999); perhaps more important, it's also the last porn shop in downtown Denver. Lil's keeps the tradition of "beautiful ladies behind glass"… More >>
  • Best Little Luxuries Beyond a Rubber Duckie

    Details: Embellishments for the Body, Bath and Bungalow

    Anyone whose idea of a fabulous evening involves a hot bath filled with something that smells wonderful while surrounded by glowing candles that smell more wonderful, followed by a lotion that smells even more wonderful, can stock up for a month of luxuriating at this inviting shop. In addition to bath and body products, Details sells an assortment of gift… More >>
  • Best Way to Celebrate the New Baby

    Rose Medical Center's gourmet meal

    Few moments in life are as treasured as those following the birth of a child. Mom and Dad stare at their little creation with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. What better way to complement that time than with an undercooked burger, a leftover energy bar or a tiny cup of hospital-issued juice. Yeah, right. The people… More >>
  • Best Networking for Overstressed Moms

    Matching Moms

    Experience is what inspired local stay-at-home mom Julia White to start Matching Moms. Faced with a feeling of isolation as a new mother in a neighborhood where she knew no other mothers with children, she realized how important it is to hook up with someone nearby for a combination of adult support and children's play opportunities. The resulting free Web… More >>
  • Best Supply Store for the Disabled

    Pathways HomeCare Center

    Developmental Pathways of Aurora, a nonprofit that provides services to the disabled, has taken its mission of fulfilling special needs to the next level by opening this 12,000-square-foot store. Pathways offers a full line of wheelchairs, walkers and other durable medical goods, and the profits are used to underwrite the organization's service programs. … More >>
  • Best Way to Give the Gift of Life

    The Colorado Donor Registry

    You can't use them where you're going, but back here, your organs could save the lives of others. Now is the time to sign up for the Colorado Donor Registry, created by the Colorado Legislature in 2000 and officially up and running as an electronic database on November 19, 2000. Those who marked the appropriate spot on their driver's licenses… More >>
  • Best Free Medical Advice

    Community Health Resource Center

    Searching the Web for information about a medical condition is convenient -- if you have a computer hooked up to the Internet. But you have to wonder how accurate some of that information is, and where it's coming from. Enter the Platte Valley Medical Center and the Adams County Library, which spent years preparing the fully staffed, regularly updated Community… More >>
  • Best Custom Wigs

    Hana Designs

    Bad hair is something folks obsess, mess and confess over. But of much more concern is a lack of hair -- particularly when that lack results from a medical condition. Hana Designs helps men, women and children who have lost their locks feel better about themselves by outfitting them with natural-hair wigs (faux follicles are used when necessary) for all… More >>
  • Best Underwear for Newlyweds

    SoL Bride

    What would you want to be caught dead in on your wedding night? Frederick's of Hollywood? Maybe not: It seems the trousseau is making a comeback, starting with the perfect foundation for holding everything in place during the ceremony and ending with...well, ending with whatever your imagination allows -- within the high-couture limitations of good taste, of course. So toss… More >>
  • Best Way to Thine Own Scent Be True

    Eleuria

    I stink, therefore I am. You've survived your kid's CSAP and your own Pap smear; you've tested out on thespark.com and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. But can you pass the smell test? Eleuria makes custom scents designed for your unique personality, as ascertained by a questionnaire on the company's Web site that asks such intimate questions as: Do you prefer… More >>
  • Best Fabric Store

    Denver Fabrics

    Once you've figured out that Denver Fabrics isn't in Denver, you know where to go to find the largest selection of fabrics in the area. The showroom is mammoth, filled to bursting with a greater variety of fabric colors, styles and textures than most of us can imagine, plus a wide range of buttons, patterns and any notion your sewing… More >>
  • Best Lithuanian Sweaters

    Lele

    For those of us unfortunate enough not to have industrious Lithuanian aunts and grandmothers, there's Lele. Local businesswoman Debra Belk imports sweaters, mittens, scarves and and assorted other items for women and children from Lithuania. The yarns, a blend of cotton and linen, are custom-dyed and then knit, crocheted or loomed by hand by a network of Lithuanian women supervised… More >>
  • Best Gift Bags

    MacFrugal's Bargain Close-out

    Maybe you're really bad at wrapping gifts. Maybe you hate to make the effort when most gift wrap goes straight into the trash. Or maybe you're just tired of having your storage closet overrun by rolls of half-used paper and shiny curlicue ribbons that you paid too much for in the first place. What you need is a trip to… More >>
  • Best Australian Hats

    Wallaroo Hat Company

    When you need an industrial-strength sun hat, go where the UV is the strongest: Australia. The Wallaroo Hat Company did just that, and it now imports fun and fashionable wide-brimmed chapeaux made of sun-resistant materials. In fact, these babies are rated by the Australian Radiation Laboratory (yes, there is one) to block 97 percent of UV rays. In women's and… More >>
  • Best Dog Buffet

    Bubba & Ebonee's Dog Bakery and Cafe

    Before you go out for Sunday brunch, treat your canine companion to a Saturday buffet. Bubba & Ebonee's serves an all-you-can-snarf buffet for dogs every Saturday for $4.95. The handmade dog biscuits are baked fresh each day, and some dishes are certified organic. Cats can get a doggie bag of treats to go.… More >>
  • Best Mexican Cooking Lessons

    Charlotte Saenz's Mexican cooking classes

    Once upon a time, if you wanted tortillas, there was only one place to get them: Grandma's kitchen. But now mass-produced tortillas line the grocery-store shelves, and Grandma has hung up her apron. Enter Charlotte Saenz. With a griddle in one hand and arolling pin in the other, she's teaching a new generation how to shake, rattle and roll. In… More >>
  • Best Self-Service Dog Wash

    Stinky Dog No More

    Does your dog cower and hide when you pull out the old tin washtub? Are you tired of having to hose down the walls after treating Fido to a shampoo in your bathroom? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, hustle your pooch on down to Stinky Dog No More, a self-service, indoor dog laundry that features… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn English

    Emily Griffith Opportunity School

    Since 1916, people wanting to learn English as a second language have flocked to the big brick building at 13th and Welton downtown. Emily Griffith's philosophy of welcoming "all who wish to learn" lives on in more than 350 vocational and technical courses, including a dozen different English classes. How popular is this adult education arm of Denver Public Schools?… More >>
  • Best Online Baby Clothes

    Grow

    The joint venture of a Denver designer and a Chicago marketing strategist, Grow's greatest appeal is its wonderful simplicity -- the colorful, comfortable all-cotton daywear is durable, cute and easy to care for. Though the clothing, gently emblazoned with Verity Freebern's graphics, is available in Denver and Boulder at Applause and Rocky Mountain Kids and nationally in catalogues, Grow can… More >>
  • Best Kids' Boutique -- Downscale

    Gumballs: A Kids' Outlet

    Don't be frightened: When you first walk into Gumballs after picking your way through a jungle of plastic trikes, wagons and other yard toys parked in front, it's a little bit frightening, like entering the remains of a trailer park ravaged by spring tornadoes. But step lightly over the shoes piled up in the aisles, and be brave: The stuff's… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Trophy (or Huge Gavel) for Scoring Well

    Colorado Badge and Trophy

    Happen to be, say, an organizer of a stock show in need of official-looking "Participant" ribbons? Or need to impress a suddenly retiring Supreme Court justice with an engraved gavel bigger than his ego? Try Colorado Badge and Trophy, which since 1906 has been supplying the hardware that makes all those meaningful and inspirational moments in life last. From the… More >>
  • Best Theater Workshop

    Wilbur James Gould Voice Center

    A division of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Voice Center is the only voice research laboratory in the world associated with a major performing arts organization. But the staff works with people throughout the community, not just professional actors. In addition to conducting research into everything speech-related, assisting Parkinson's patients and helping injured voices recover, the center… More >>
  • Best Bookbinder

    Denver Bookbinding Company

    This family-owned company in the Highland neighborhood has brought new life to old books since 1929. Not only will Denver Bookbinding recover old volumes and bind new manuscripts, but it can also create custom-designed journals and blank books. Since 1972, the shop has been run by the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of founder Axel Erslund; no doubt the family has… More >>
  • Best Bookstore Wall of Ephemera

    Capitol Hill Books

    When you buy used books, you never know what you're going to find. The staff at Capitol Hill Books has been finding things tucked away in used books for at least two decades, and the store's Ephemera Wall of Fame is an entertaining, sometimes poignant display of long-forgotten news clippings, ticket stubs, prayer cards, photos, postcards, pressed flowers and the… More >>
  • Best Party Product -- Professional Division

    Party Mitt

    It's tough to shmooze and booze with a buffet plate in your hand. The Party Mitt lets you hold drinks and snacks in one hand while grinnin' and grippin' with the other. Made of disposable plastic with a thumb-shaped recess that works for lefties or righties, the Mitt is the answer to a hungry partyer's prayers. Sadly, so far it's… More >>
  • Best Retail Block Revitalization

    West City Perk/Deli/Loganberry's

    Good things come in small packages. For a real taste of Denver's changing scene, visit a tiny enclave just north of St. Joseph's Hospital. Spearheaded by West City Perk, a combination coffee joint and garage-sale-cum-antique-boutique, this row of shops is still home to less trendy businesses as well, including an old-fashioned barber shop where the neighborhood folks continue… More >>
  • Best Store Near Park Meadows

    Bead It

    Want to tie up your kids for a couple of hours? Bead It is a real pearl, an entertaining oasis in the suburban wasteland of expensive, pre-packaged fun. The array of artistic beading possibilities is so intriguing, in fact, that adults are likely to take on their own projects, too. With a private room available for birthday parties -- as… More >>
  • Best Store Anywhere on Colfax Avenue

    Eccentricals

    Self-confessed compulsive collector Judy White says she ran out of room for all the objets and jewelry she'd amassed in her own quarters, so she decided to share the wealth: The result is Eccentricals, an antiques emporium flaunting "the best of all decades" and doing so with an unfettered lack of reserve that's totally refreshing. Part jungle safari and part… More >>
  • Best Store Anywhere on Broadway

    Decade

    This small, stylish retro boutique is a welcome alternative to the pricey stores farther down Broadway on Antique Row. Decade always has a reasonably priced selection of antique armoires, vanities, couches and chairs; you may also find 1950s- and '60s-era dinette sets. And that's just the furniture stocked at Decade. The store also has authentic and reproduction homeware from decades… More >>
  • Best Thing About FlatIron Crossing That Doesn't Involve Shopping

    Waterfall and gardens

    If shopping isn't your thing and you find yourself forced to spend the day here, take solace in FlatIron's lovely waterfall and adjacent garden. Intended to replicate a mountain meadow, this area on the mall's north side is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or soak up some sun. The waterfall is so large and soothingly noisy, you may… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Gifts Made in Colorado

    Made in Colorado

    When you've run out of gift ideas for out-of-state friends or relatives who wish they could live in the Rockies, too, Made in Colorado is a godsend. The store sells an abundance of homegrown items: gold-plated aspen-leaf jewelry, stained-glass nightlights in the shape of columbines, gold-panning kits, ski hats bearing the image of the Colorado flag, and numerous books and… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vintage Advertising Posters

    Gallerie Rouge

    A visit to Gallerie Rouge is a little slice of heaven for advertising aficionados. This store stocks original and reproduction American, French and German posters advertising films, skiing, car racing, travel and champagne. Patrons can spend hours researching the mostly 1920s through 1940s vintage posters that are in vogue now as artwork; the store has a small library of books… More >>
  • Best Spiritual Drugstore and Hex Removal

    Botánica y Yerbería Caridad del Cobre

    Need dried bat wings, voodoo dolls, herbal teas or just to have a simple hex removed? Botánica y Yerbería Caridad del Cobre has thousands of lotions, potions, tonics, candles and talismans that can cure almost whatever ails you. Proprietor Martín Ramirez is a semi-retired curandero who has helped cure everything from hemorrhoids to hangovers to broken hearts. Since he opened… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Confessional

    Architectural Antiques

    We're not making judgments here, but some people -- and you know who you are -- could benefit from a trip to the confessional booth. Architectural Antiques may be the answer to your prayers. This salvage shop specializes in religious articles -- velvet deacon's seats, stained glass, pews, statuary and, yes, confessionals. The old booths range from the fancy, with… More >>
  • Best Old-Style Tailor

    Duman's Custom Tailor and Uniforms

    For forty years, Maurice Duman and now his son Steve have created custom suits for Denver's snappy dressers. Over the past two decades, the company has also grown to be the city's largest independent uniform distributor, dressing waitstaffs at some of the finest restaurants and caterering companies. The staff of nine includes no salespeople, and Duman's doesn't advertise. With… More >>
  • Best Place to Launch a Career in Jewelry Design

    Desert Gems

    If you're a pirate at heart, here's the buried treasure. This gem of a store is filled to the brim with beautiful beads and charms made from semi-precious stones and metals: tiny jasper stars, wee garnet spheres, dainty silver tubes. You can browse for hours, filling a plastic tray with everything you'll need to create your wearable masterpiece. And Desert… More >>
  • Best Local Purse Designer

    Brandi Shigley

    Move over, Monica Lewinsky, there's a new purse designer in the biz. Denver's own Brandi Shigley is selling her "funky fresh handbags" at local stores like Decade and Miss Talulah's, as well as on her very own Web site. The twenty-something Kate Spade wannabe started her career back in the second grade; while she was supposed to be reading The… More >>
  • Best Boxers for Rugged Terrain

    Silk Trails

    Renee Zacher Himel took one look at a silk scarf printed with a map of Vail Mountain and got an idea. Wouldn't it look much better draped over some rugged terrain -- say, a man's nether regions? From that modest start emerged Silk Trails, a company that makes silk boxer shorts that also serve as trail maps for many of… More >>
  • Best Fashion Advice

    "Style Matters"
    Rocky Mountain News

    You're not going to wear that, are you? What would Judie Schwartz and Evelinda Urman say? Plenty, probably: The two have been shopping buddies for years, and it shows in their sassy "Style Matters," a point-counterpoint column in the Mile HighStyle section of the Rocky Mountain News. No stylistic topic is too ticklish for these gabbing gals: They've touched on… More >>
  • Best Deal on Roses

    House of Rose

    If there's ever a Denver war of the roses, Buddy Rose will win, thorns down. At his House of Rose, you can pick up a bunch of 25 roses for just $12 -- a bloomin' miracle. These flowers were grown in Colorado, so they're not perfect, Buddy cautions, and they're hybridized, so you might not catch much of a scent.… More >>
  • Best Yarn Store

    Showers of Flowers Yarn Shop

    Sheep, take heart. Sure, you've had a bit of a nasty run lately with all this hoof-and-mouth hubbub. But you've been giving us the wool off your backs at such a rate that you've stocked the 11,000-square-foot Showers of Flowers, the largest yarn store in Colorado. Yarns from all over the world aren't the only reason this is one baaaaaaad… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive Dry Cleaners

    Continental Cleaners

    Think all cleaners are the same? You might think again if you manage to maneuver your car through the Leetsdale traffic and onto the tiny wedge of parking in front of Continental Cleaners. At Continental, you'll be rewarded with quality service and a quick turnaround on even the largest dry-cleaning orders. Best of all, the place is cheap. You'll have… More >>
  • Best Asian Chatchkes

    Truong An

    A wild and untamed space overrun with stuff everywhere, Truong An supports a healthy video trade for its Asian-language constituency. But you don't have to speak Vietnamese to appreciate the place, where you can browse racks filled with satiny silk or rayon Chinese pajamas, poofy chiffon party dresses for children and dragon-lady frocks for women. The store also stocks haphazardly arranged… More >>
  • Best Politically Correct Gift Wrap

    The Artisan Center

    Looking for a gift for that friend of yours who celebrates a mishmash of Kwanzaa, Ramadan and winter solstice? You're sure to stumble upon the perfect present, whether it's a papier-mâché fairy or a pyramid-shaped candle, by combing through the potpourri of handmade treasures at the Artisan Center -- and the ever-helpful sales staff will wrap your find in trappings… More >>
  • Best Pie Plates

    Mudworks Pottery

    Here's a gift for bakers that takes all the guesswork out of making a pie: Littleton-based Mudworks makes colorful, hand-painted, dishwasher- and oven-safe earthenware pie dishes with recipes indelibly glazed into the edges. A wide range of available recipes includes a 1998 best-of-show-winning berry-and-rhubarb tart from the annual National Pie Baking Championships in Boulder and the Perfect Flaky & Tender… More >>
  • Best Free Pet Service

    Behavior Help Line

    One of the leading reasons cats and dogs become guests of animal shelters is "bad behavior," or at least behavior their companion people can't deal with. To help owners solve pet problems before they require the final solution, the Dumb Friends League, with funding from several national organizations, operates this 24-hour automated help line. Perplexed humans can leave a message… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store for the Handyman-Impaired

    Ace Hardware Neighborhood Solutions

    This is not your father's hardware store. One of only two such stores in the country, the new Ace Hardware in Highlands Ranch is targeted squarely at women and young adults. The emphasis here is on hands-on, in-store instruction on home repair and improvement and the little, everyday things you need to take care of a house. A coffee kiosk,… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Muttsterpiece

    Jack Atkinson

    Now your mutt can look as classy as any of those kennel-club types. All it takes is the talented brushwork of Jack Atkinson, pet portrait artist extraordinare. From your photos, Jack can create a masterpiece in color ($125) or a black-and-white drawing ($75) that captures the special spirit of your best friend. … More >>
  • Best Kids' Outerwear

    Little Mountain Outdoor Gear for Kids

    Born in Boulder in 1995, the family-owned Little Mountain is what's known in the retail world as a super-specialty store, in this case specializing in miniature camping, outdoor and sports gear, from child carriers and joggers to hiking boots and skiwear. And without even thinking about it, you know it has immediate appeal for outdoorsy Boulderites with disposable incomes and… More >>
  • Best Kids' Boutique -- Upscale

    Hollyhocks

    It's no secret: This is where the rich kids -- or at least their discriminating parents -- shop, from the day the kids are born and ready to be swaddled in heirloom-quality crocheted blankets, linen and lace. And as they grow older, they can continue to wrap themselves in luxury courtesy of Hollyhocks: The little girls will be adorned in… More >>
  • Best Theater Bookstore

    Scene to Screen

    Scene to Screen is the only bookstore in Denver that specializes in theater and film and caters to students and performers alike. The shop carries more than 5,000 scripts, but if you still can't find what you're looking for, owners Jacque and Joe Riala are more than happy to order it for you. Open six days a week, except during… More >>
  • Best Place to Discover Musical Gifts

    The Music Stand

    The Music Stand is enough to make any music lover burst into song. Although the store's tucked away in Longmont, it also has a catalogue. In person or online, you're bound to find the perfect music-related gift item, from miniature instrument keepsakes to keyboard-embroidered socks, a handcrafted music cabinet or that collection of Broadway show tunes you know they've been… More >>
  • Best Bookstore Wall of Fame

    Tattered Cover Book Store

    Author! Author! Every time a writer comes to read at the Tattered Cover, Denver photographer Gary Isaacs snaps a portrait -- and his collected works create an impressive wall of fame at the original store.… More >>
  • Best Party Tricks

    Reinke Brothers, Inc.

    Don't plan your next bash without talking to the "Entertainment & Promotion Specialists." If you've got a theme, Reinke Brothers can make it happen, down to the last little detail -- costumes, sets, props, decorations, noisemakers and all the trimmings. From this fabulously stocked, 17,000-square-foot shop of effects, Reinke has supplied more than one Hollywood gala; parents worried over amusing… More >>
  • Best Make-It-Yourself Game

    "The (Your Surname) Family Tree Trivia Game"

    You know you've always wanted to be the answer to a trivia question. Now you can be, in "The (Your Surname) Family Tree Trivia Game," available for $39.95 from Heart's Corner of Golden. As you play the game with your nearest and dearest, you create permanent trivia cards about yourself based on the questions on the board; once you've finished… More >>
  • Best Funny Signs of the Times

    Road-Rage Comedy Road Signs

    Proudly display your true feelings to other drivers by placing a road-rage sign in your car window -- and then keeping your hands on the wheel. Your choice of various degrees of viciousness include: "Hang Up the Damn Phone and Just Drive, OK?"; "Caution: Horn Broken, Watch for Finger Signal"; "What Part of Use Your Turn Signal Don't You Understand?";… More >>
  • Best Store at Park Meadows

    Papyrus

    Papyrus has the write stuff: everything you need to send out the classiest, most creative correspondence this side of County Line Road. So what if they don't actually stock papyrus? There are plenty of 100 percent cotton and wood-pulp goodies here. And if you want something that says Colorado, Papyrus offers paper with Aspen leaves printed on it. E-mail's quicker,… More >>
  • Best Downtown Store

    Terminal Annex Post Office

    What price progress? After slavish service to tardy Denverites for decades, the Terminal Annex Post Office is going the way of the dinosaur. The problem isn't a lack of customers: Although the U.S. Postal Service opened a fancy new downtown branch on 20th Street years ago, the Terminal Annex still has many faithful fans. Customers rely on the familiar, friendly… More >>
  • Best Store at Cherry Creek Shopping Center

    Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop

    The beauty, and the bane, of shopping malls is that they're pretty much full of the same stores. (Exception: No Nordstrom at Cherry Creek. Sigh.) This fact of life means that while you know what to expect, you'll rarely encounter anything unexpected. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Shop is the exception that proves the rule. There are several of… More >>
  • Best Store at FlatIron Crossing

    Coldwater Creek

    For years we'd scrutinized the Coldwater Creek catalogue, checking out the colorful apparel and intriguing jewelry while trying desperately to avoid the treacly copy that described each item. And then Coldwater Creek opened its first Colorado store in FlatIron Crossing, doing Denver shoppers a great service in the process. While some of the clothes look, well, a tad matronly in… More >>
  • Best Mountain-Town Antique Store

    Ralston Bros. Antiques

    Mountain towns have some of the nicest antique stores, with Victorian furniture you can imagine once gracing the homes of mining operators and oil barons. The problem is getting that lovely velvet 1800s settee back to Denver. But Ralston Bros. Antiques in Lyons is close enough to Longmont, Boulder, Denver and parts in between that you can easily return with… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Pieces of Denver History

    Architectural Salvage, Inc.

    The first stop before restoring an old Denver home -- or adding vintage touches to a new house -- should be Architectural Salvage. The smallest but often hardest-to-find details for a home renovation project are stocked here: skeleton locks and keys, antique glass doorknobs and bronze door hinges, and numerous pieces of restoration hardware. And there are bigger, more expensive… More >>
  • Best New-Style Drugstore

    Clearspring Pharmacy

    Long before drugs became, well, a topic for roundtable discussions, cultures were busy nibbling on bark, boiling leaves and trying to figure out why the human ape did what it did. Although some primitives may have bitten off more than they wanted, they also assembled a healthy dose of remedies. And while Western medicine is good, there's nothing that says… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Replacements for Old Light Fixtures

    Specialty Architectural Products

    For people who hate anachronisms, Specialty Architectural Products is the place for historical accuracy. If you have an old light fixture that's missing a globe or a switch, don't fret. You don't have to substitute it with an old-looking new part -- or worse, a new-looking new part. Take it to the good folks at Specialty Architectural Products, who will… More >>
  • Best Quirky New Boutique

    Miss Talulah's - CLOSED

    Miss Talulah's, a new LoDo boutique, caters to eclectic tastes that can't get no satisfaction in the chain stores choking the city. The shop is a little nook of delightful finds, from beaded lampshades and velvet baby booties to Eiffel Tower jewelry and chinoiserie. Not only does the store peddle plenty with which to decorate the house and body; it… More >>
  • Best Local Carpetbaggers

    Borsellino Bags

    Denver-based Borsellino Bags supplies tapestry bags to the stars (actress Juliana Margulies is reported to be a customer), but they'll also gladly supply them for you. And considering that tapestry bags are all the rage, these are particularly nice, coming in swingy, easy styles with rich brocaded fabrics, beaded or ribbon details, tassels or feather-boa trim. Just the kind of… More >>
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