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  • Best Free Service

    Denver Public Library website

    The Denver Public Library's newly revamped website offers a welcome selection of no-hassle, no-cost online resources for cardholders, from complete car-repair manuals (wiring diagrams included!) to Bradford legal forms and movie, music and book reviews. An astonishing range of periodical databases offer full-text articles from health, business, popular and scholarly publications. And don't get us started on the genealogical tools… More >>
  • Best Free Service for Smokers

    Colorado Quitline/Colorado QuitNet

    Cold sweats, cravings, minor panic attacks. Never mind actually quitting -- these are some sensations experienced by dedicated smokers who simply stop to contemplate a puff-free life. But deep down, even the heaviest huffers know what a wretched, toxic habit smoking is. It's just that giving it up is so damn...hard. Colorado Quitline and QuitNet, free services operated by the… More >>
  • Best Free Service for Gardeners

    CSU Master Gardener website

    Aspiring gardeners who don't know the difference between a weed and a seed pod will find plenty to dig into on Colorado State University's Master Gardener website. So will those looking for specific information on delightfully dirty subjects like composting and mealworms. The site is an exhaustive font of information for both the seasoned and the stupefied, with tips on… More >>
  • Best Downtown Service

    Tabor Center parking garage

    Face it: Parking downtown will always be a pain. But the Tabor Center parking garage is an oasis in a desert of parking meters. It costs twelve bucks to park there all day, but the garage is much more than just an auto warehouse. Different services are available on different levels of the structure: Leave your car on Level E,… More >>
  • Best Way to Reduce Your Parking Fine by 37 Cents

    www.denverpvb.com

    Yeah, parking tickets suck. What makes them even worse is writing a check to cover the cost, tracking down an envelope and a stamp, and remembering to put the hateful package in the mail. While the Denver Parking Violations Bureau's website doesn't entirely take the sting out of the process, it does eliminate some of the additional tasks. By clicking… More >>
  • Best Mall to Shop With a Pug

    Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center

    The Germans took things to the extreme for years, allowing their beloved hounds to eat at the table in public restaurants. And while nobody here is advocating that (at least not openly), there are folks who like to take their favorite pup out for a round of relaxing shopping. If they visit Aspen Grove, they won't be in the doghouse:… More >>
  • Best Urban Funk in a Mall

    Urban Outfitters

    Cherry Creek got a much-needed boost of flava with Urban Outfitters, a welcome outpost of urbanity in the shopping center's rarefied air. The only store in the mall to display its goods in plywood crates, the chain retailer is both outlandish and practical. A pop-up version of the Kama Sutra sits next to a book on how to build an… More >>
  • Best Shopping Center/Mall

    Far East Center

    The Far East Center is more of a vicarious travel experience than a shopping mall -- an exotic otherworld seated at the corner of Federal Boulevard and Alameda Avenue. The double-decker complex boasts a Vietnamese bakery, a couple of hair and nail salons and two well-stocked Asian grocery stores that traffic in fresh, live fish, cookware, tea and spices. At… More >>
  • Best Anti-Mall

    Pod

    Artist Lauri Lynnxe Murphy and collector Barbara Pooler recently changed the location of Pod from a spot within the Andenken Gallery to new digs on Santa Fe Drive, in a space that once housed the ILK Gallery as well as Murphy's own studio. But Pod's purpose remains the same: to support artists by selling the one-of-a-kind things they make. And… More >>
  • Best Store on the 16th Street Mall

    Tattered Cover Book Store

    The Tattered Cover revolves around language. So why is it so hard to find words to adequately praise it? Not content to simply be the region's finest bookstore, the Denver landmark became a symbol of our times in 2000, when owner Joyce Meskis refused to turn over buyer info to police, a move that made her a hero among booksellers… More >>
  • Best Store in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center

    Anthropologie

    Chain-store, shmain-store. Complain all you like, but if you're gonna shop at the mall, you'd better get used to it. Anthropologie -- the frou-frou Parisian-style sister of the trendy, all-American Urban Outfitters across the way -- helps take away the sting of homogeneity. The boutique takes modern retro dressing to the edge by reviving the studied detail of old clothes:… More >>
  • Best Factory Outlet Center

    Colorado Mills

    Opened in October 2001, Colorado Mills has yet to catch the retail fire its developers had hoped for. We don't quite understand why. It's an easy distance outside of town -- the "scenic" route along Colfax provides a bonus driving tour of Lakewood's finest dive bars -- and its ninety shops are a manageable mix of upscale, stylish and practical,… More >>
  • Best Store Anywhere on Colfax Avenue

    Fabric Lab

    Tran Wills loves Colfax, and Colfax loves her. After just five months in business, the 22-year-old's subterranean shop, the Fabric Lab, is already busting at the seams with the confections of twenty local designers. The Colfax T-shirts, featuring a très-hip '70s beatbox, are becoming a cultural icon, but Wills also consigns gorgeous couture pieces as well as bags and simple,… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Walgreens

    Herbs & Arts

    Herbs & Arts operates on the belief that the power to heal comes from within -- the self and the earth -- not from over-the-counter drugs or expensive prescription meds. Smelling of incense and other aromatics, the funky shop on East Colfax peddles tarot decks, books, crystals and ceremonials for use in Wiccan and pagan prayer. There's also an extensive… More >>
  • Best Store on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall

    e'bella

    The art of Andean weaving so inspired Boulder designer Nicole Linton that she left behind a stack of careers as a Spanish teacher, jewelry designer and decorators' liaison to become a decorator herself. The result was Linton's unique line of woven alpaca pillows and rugs, all distinguished by their bold geometric patterns and colors. Later, she opened e'bella on the… More >>
  • Best Store at Colorado Mills

    Super Target

    The Colorado Mills Super Target covers more ground than a few small towns in rural Colorado. You could live comfortably inside the uberstore if you really had to -- subsisting on groceries, watching TV, snuggling up with fancy bedding. It wouldn't be such a bad life. True, Target's a huge-ass chain. But we love it anyway, partly because the company… More >>
  • Best Store at Park Meadows

    Glamour Shots

    Remember those automatic photo booths that used to be fixtures at the mall -- cramped little capsules with thoroughly unflattering light? Sadly, they've vanished from the urban shopscape. But Glamour Shots is still around to fill the shopping-mall-photography void. Park Meadows is home to the studio chain's only metro location; kids and adults come here to get dolled up for… More >>
  • Best Store Anywhere on Broadway

    Foreign Accents

    If your living room is crying out for a hand-carved, hand-painted armoire from India, or maybe a tree-trunk table imported from Pakistan, try Foreign Accents. The gallery-style retailer sells furniture and artifacts from all over the world at wholesale prices, which means you can spice up your home without leaving it. Foreign Accents specializes in dining sets, trunks and cabinetry,… More >>
  • Best Bargains on Broadway

    Big Lots

    It's hard to make a shopping list when you're heading for Big Lots. The inventory changes every week, which means you're likely to find a garden hose where a bag of kitty litter once sat, a can of sardines in place of boxed tea. But as any dedicated bargain hunter knows, the thrill of the hunt is part of the… More >>
  • Best Non-Antique Store on Antique Row

    Pink Zebra

    Designer Kelly Cannon only recently moved from a ten-by-ten-foot retail space in Cherry Creek North to a spacious corner shop on Antique Row, but she's already filling it to the rafters. Pink Zebra spills over with her frothy feather-boa pillows, bed linens and throws that pair rich tapestry fabrics with bead and feather embellishments. In addition to Cannon's own creations,… More >>
  • Best Vintage Toys

    Yankee Trader

    You could spend weeks at Yankee Trader and still not see everything, so you've really got to go there with some idea of what you're going to look at. We chose the Trader's cross-cultural toy gallery. Not only is it impressive from a collector's point of view, but it provides some of the most fascinating and fun looking in town.… More >>
  • Best Vintage Handbags

    Babareeba

    The handbag is an objet d'art at Babareeba, a veritable time capsule of all things stylish from the '40s, '50s and '60s. They've got handbags in crocodile, metal and straw; handbags in pink, black and multi-colored tapestry; handbags big and handbags small. To complete the outfit, Babareeba sells fur-collared grandma coats, cashmere cardigans and shoes, shoes, shoes. All of the… More >>
  • Best Vintage Fridges

    Sweet Potato

    Ancient Frigidaires may look cool, but that doesn't make them practical. They're too small, they need constant defrosting, and they often just don't work at all. Fortunately, it's possible to remain retro without sacrificing modern technology. Sweet Potato is an outlet for Northstar refrigerators, roomy coolers fitted with up-to-the-minute shelving, optional icemakers and energy-saving mechanics. But it's the outsides of… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Really Retro

    She-She

    Everything old is new again at She-She, a great place to get your wardrobe up to date -- or is that back to date? We're not talking bellbottoms and platform shoes here. The store's owner, Crystal Sharp, makes custom Victorian-style dresses and sells vintage handbags, gloves, hats and costume jewelry from smart decades pre-dating the '70s. Think Scarlett O'Hara. Think… More >>
  • Best Used Roller Skates

    Sports Plus

    Remember roller skates -- four wheels on a boot sole, one in each corner, with a sturdy toe bumper? They're scarcer than typewriters these days, but Sports Plus is stocked to get you rollin'. In addition to used roller skates, the South Gaylord consignment shop boasts some of the best prices in town on all kinds of pre-owned sports gear.… More >>
  • Best Second Life for Stinky Sneakers

    City of Boulder Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials

    Mom, we know you want to toss them in the trash, but just hold your horses (and your nose) and listen up: Old sneakers can be recycled into a resurfacing material used at athletic facilities and playgrounds. It doesn't matter what they smell like; ChaRM will pulverize them and turn them into something useful, free of charge. There are some… More >>
  • Best Funky Decor

    Paris Loft

    Loft living is still the rage in Denver, and Paris Loft is keeping all those tony abodes supplied with an abundance of style and romance. When co-owners Kim Burney and Maria Fair opened their brick-walled home store last year, they stocked it with classics both modern and retro, then mashed it all together. The combination gives the place the feel… More >>
  • Best Grand Decor

    Belcour

    Does size matter? When you're trying to furnish a 5,000-square-foot loft with three-story ceilings and still retain some of its drama, we'd have to say it does. Trouble is, there just aren't that many places where you can just pick up a ten-ton marble fireplace surround or a sculpted stone ram the size of an elephant. But at Belcour, you… More >>
  • Best Mid-Century Modern Decor

    Room

    Walk into Room and prepare for a look that's both warm and austere. If mid-century design appeals to you, you'll feel right at home in the corner-bodega-turned-furniture-store, which recently joined other Uptown businesses catering to an influx of new residents. Owner Merlin Parker, who honed his search-and-rescue skills at Larimer Street's huge Architectural Antiques salvage emporium, has put together an… More >>
  • Best Homey Decor

    QuiltMarket

    A gift shop tucked away inside the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, QuiltMarket is anything but trendy. But that's part of its charm: You'll find things here -- old-fashioned, grandma-pleasing, Little House on the Prairie things -- that you won't find anyplace else. Run by, catering to and representing quilters, the market is hung with affordable handmade quilts; also for sale… More >>
  • Best Garden Decor

    The French Flat

    Cathy Kimmal created her own little secret garden in the French Flat, a French-country-style salute that sucks you into a different time and place the minute you amble in the door. It could be the way it smells -- like lavender and pear -- or the quaint tromp l'oeil details painted across the walls and floors by Kimmal's talented daughter,… More >>
  • Best Homegrown Answer to iTunes

    Beatport

    File sharing? Absolutely not, say the creators of Beatport. But this much they promise: They won't sell your e-mail address, and they have a zero-tolerance policy on spam. Beatport also boasts one of the most impressive collections of drum and bass, breaks, trance and hard house on the web. Designed by Denver DJs and launched in January, Beatport offers downloads… More >>
  • Best Staff at a Record Store

    Twist & Shout

    Picture the cover of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band: the Beatles wearing satin uniforms, surrounded by flowers and a bouquet of bright minds, including Aleister Crowley, Marlene Dietrich, Sonny Liston, Lenny Bruce, Carl Jung and Bob Dylan. That's sort of the feel that comes through in group photos of the Twist & Shout staff, a colorful strata of music… More >>
  • Best Vinyl Bargains

    Wax Trax

    Though the 45 isn't the hippest musical format on the market, those seven-inch slabs of plastic are still coveted by collectors across the country. As such, stores catering to this clientele continue to exist in most major cities, with prices for used singles generally starting at several dollars and skyrocketing from there. Wax Trax, however, contains box after box after… More >>
  • Best DVD Rentals

    Juma's DVD/The Bohemian Bean

    If a craving for a shot of Fellini and a mocha frappé strikes at the same time, head to Juma's DVD, which squats in the back of the Bohemian Bean Internet cafe and coffeehouse. Browsable in person or on the web, Juma's rental catalogue includes a bit of everything, from Luis Buñuel to Jack Black, Disney to DeMille. Once you've… More >>
  • Best Old Bookstore in a New Location

    Books Unlimited

    In Books Unlimited's old home on University Boulevard and Evans Avenue, the cozy quarters and musty smell of yellowed pages made you want to curl up with one of the store's good books. Unfortunately, there was no space to curl up in. In its new home on Colorado Boulevard, Books Unlimited has retained its charm and gained ample browsing room… More >>
  • Best Anarchist Bookstore

    Breakdown Book Collective and Community Space

    Besides its broad selection of books, pamphlets and periodicals spanning the whole spectrum of radical and progressive issues, Breakdown really focuses on the "community" part of its name. The volunteer-run, non-profit space offers free classes and workshops, a computer lab and even a lending library, and also plays host to a variety of events such as art openings, discussions with… More >>
  • Best Coffee in a Bookstore

    Ichabod's Books

    Bookish bargain hunters come to browse the new and used titles at Ichabod's Books, but they stick around to drink the coffee. The store's modest cafe counter serves straight java, baked goods and espresso drinks, including a vanilla latte that's pure perfection. On weekend afternoons, readers and loafers alike sip joe and sink into well-worn chairs that line the comfortably… More >>
  • Best Place for Bibliophiles to Score

    Book Buffs Ltd.

    Janis Frame is a pusher. For Denver book collectors, her spacious Book Buffs Ltd. is as addictive as a line of coke. You can almost hear shoppers slapping their veins and muttering, "Just one more, man," as they browse the shelves of fine first editions, limited editions and small-press releases. The store, which recently moved from the Golden Triangle to… More >>
  • Best Cheap Travel

    Capitol Hill Books

    Capitol Hill Books has always been a great place to while away an afternoon. And with the 10 percent-off card for frequent buyers, the 3,000-square-foot bookstore is habit-forming. The new travel section is just making matters worse. Because it's stocked with 4,000 travel guides, armchair travel books, memoirs, dictionaries, language books and books in other languages, there's no better place… More >>
  • Best Cowboy Safety Gear

    Lancaster's Western Wear

    A throwback to Denver's cowtown past, Lancaster's Western Wear caters to the last of the city's real cowboys and ranchers -- especially those who earn money on the rodeo circuit. Lancaster's "Rock-N-Roll Rodeo Gear" department carries all the protective duds -- from helmets and flak jackets to gloves, ropes and more -- that a bucked-up bullrider could want. Looking to… More >>
  • Best Clothes for Aspiring Vatos

    Suavecito's

    Craig Peña and Jay Salas have gone platinum with their line of zoot suits, dressing everyone from Snoop Dogg to David Bowie. Now they're inking deals with retailers and high-profile sports-apparel companies to market their Chingaso Gear line of Latin-inspired fight clothes. Hoodies, tees, boxing robes, prison-orange jumpsuits -- it's all on the cutting edge of the highly coveted Latin… More >>
  • Best Gifts for Chosen People

    Aharon's Books

    Brighten the bar mitzvah, or the table, with a stop at Aharon's Books, where the massive selection includes everything from Kabbalah texts to a Yiddish version of The Cat in the Hat. A stop for cooks as well as readers, Aharon's carries all the accoutrements of a kosher kitchen, including challah covers, matzoh boxes and baking pans marked "parve," "dairy"… More >>
  • Best Gifts for Geeks

    Mile High Comics Megastore

    Mile High Comics' flagship store is home to the usual players in the comic-book universe: Marvel, DC, Dark Horse. But there's so much more to Mile High, a twelve-year-old-boy's wet dream of a store. Rows of glass cases in the 11,000-square-foot space hold Aliens, Iron Maiden and Futurama figurines while the shelves and walls are lined with graphic novels, manga… More >>
  • Best Gifts for Girls With Weird Taste

    Miss Talulah's - CLOSED

    Science may never fully explain why certain women go gaga for the simplest things -- a slender notebook from China, say, or a small, distressed-looking birdhouse. A cornucopia of feminine kitsch, Miss Talulah's is such a woman's treasure trove -- a fun, arty adventure of a store in the burgeoning Ballpark neighborhood. Handmade soaps, folk-art chandeliers, vintage poster art from… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a Flirty Frock

    Agogo Star

    We love supporting local designers, but even better is supporting local designers whose wares are cute enough to make the pages of top fashion magazines. Nicole Beckett started the Agogo Threads line out of her parents' house in Golden, and last spring, she opened her first boutique, Agogo Star, in Boulder. Now Maya, Beyoncé and other celebs are wearing her… More >>
  • Best Place to Get in the Mood

    Sweet Utopia

    Sweet Utopia is an anomaly in the 21st century -- a store dedicated solely to relaxation and romance. Barbara Lynn Trattler's north Denver hole-in-the-wall is a sensual curio, draped and dotted with little luxuries to help heighten the senses. Here you'll find hand-dyed and beaded slip dresses, jingly Egyptian hip scarves, cut-flower stems, treasure boxes and lip-shaped truffles. Trattler also… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Poked

    Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine

    East meets West at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, where students practice the art of sticking it to the public. Every Saturday, the school opens as an acupuncture clinic. Supervised by physicians and others who've completed the school's intensive Chinese-medicine program, the clinics help pupils fine-tune the arts of relieving pain and stress and treating disease by stimulating… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pregnant

    Comfort & Joy Oriental Medicine

    Okay, so nobody actually gets knocked up at Comfort & Joy, but Joy Hewitt-Kind has made helping women conceive the specialty of her acupuncture practice. She'd been treating basic pains, illnesses and stress until a few years ago, when a client came to her after having repeated miscarriages. Kind intervened, and the woman came down with twins. No guarantees (thankfully!)… More >>
  • Best Clothes for New Moms

    Real Baby

    You don't have to set fashion aside just because you're having a baby. Haven't you heard that pregnancy is the new black? Or was that last year? In any case, "It" moms and moms-to-be Reese, Sarah Jessica and Gwyneth have proven that it's possible to set trends even as the belly balloons. Denver moms can do the same at Real… More >>
  • Best Clothes for Cool Babies

    Twist & Shout

    Screw Baby Gap. Real rock-and-roll parents will appreciate the duds coming out of Denver's most venerated house of music. There are no pink bunnies or fluffy booties here; the kid will be clamoring for the skull-emblazoned tanks (size infant and up) and other similarly goth creations. Do it for the children, man.… More >>
  • Best Clothes for Cool Kids

    Studio Bini

    Are there really as many babies out there as there are new shops catering to them? Must be. Such businesses are multiplying like rabbits as baby boomers' kids create a baby boom of their own. And even though one place looks as cute as the next, Studio Bini stands out for a number of reasons, including its location on Tennyson… More >>
  • Best Baby Bags

    The Angel's Nest

    European babes have been snoozing in these things for years, but they're a relatively new idea for naptime over here. The Angel's Nest is really just a sleeping bag for tots, but there's some deep-sleep thinking behind the concept. The bags are safer and more reliable than tangly, loose bedding, and they're soft as a cloud and impossible to shake… More >>
  • Best Baby Sneakers

    Monkey-Toes Shoes

    Babies have the sweetest little feet: You could wrap them in a banana peel and they would still look cute. Fortunately, Castle Rock stay-at-home mom and business-minded entrepreneur Jenny Chism devised a more appropriate foot covering for wee ones when she created Monkey-Toes. The tiny sneakers, hand-painted with ladybug, frog, bee and piggy motifs and tied up tight with squiggly… More >>
  • Best Shoes for Chinese-American Princesses

    Frog Prince Shoes

    Louisville mom Terry Hsu-Gander shipped a little piece of China back home after visiting there and adopting two daughters. While picking up her girls, Hsu-Gander found the stylish children's shoes she now imports and sells under the Frog Prince label. She moves most of the merchandise through her website, with the help of a sister living in Shanghai. With feather-soft… More >>
  • Best Clothes for Chinese-American Princesses

    Meili & Me

    Boulderite Leslie Potter was inspired to create a more durable line of girls' clothing by her adopted Chinese daughter, Meili ("beautiful" in Chinese), who, as a crawler on two hands and two knees, wore out her Chinese silks faster than her mom could button them up. Potter's perky denim-and-print collection blends cultures with style, mating the Mandarin collars and frog… More >>
  • Best Parties for Lil' Girls

    Lil' Cuts

    There comes a time in many girls' lives when they move from playing with Barbie dolls to wanting to look like one. Lil' Cuts can help with the transition. The salon is specifically designed with kids in mind and features a carousel-esque setup lined with individual video monitors to keep the tiniest tots occupied long enough for a trim. The… More >>
  • Best Parties for Big and Little Girls

    Hot Pots!

    Plenty of adults enjoy arts and crafts every bit as much as the younger set. Recognizing this, Hot Pots!, a paint-your-own-pottery studio, has come up with special packages for birthday parties, bridal showers and plain old bonding. Now kids of all ages can indulge their inner Picassos, using cups, saucers, plates, bowls and figurines as their canvas. The staff provides… More >>
  • Best Place to Entertain Yourself After Breaking Your Leg

    Swedish Medical Center

    Medical emergencies aren't known for being fun, since they're often accompanied by blood, exposed bones, scrambled viscera, agonizing pain and more blood. So credit Swedish Medical Center with providing patients and their loved ones with a high-tech way to keep their minds off more unpleasant matters. Stalls in the emergency section of the hospital are outfitted with computers whose oversized… More >>
  • Best Place to Consider Your Karma

    Buddhist/Christian Contemplation Hour

    Are Jesus and Buddha friends? The supporters of St. Paul's Methodist Church's weekly Christian/Buddhist contemplation hour think so. Every Sunday, the Capitol Hill church hosts a low-key, hour-long service that mates Buddhist and Christian philosophy and practice. The interfaith congregants are a reflection of the neighborhood's eclecticism -- expect aspiring monks in robes and housewives in sweats -- and the… More >>
  • Best Salvation With Libations

    Church at the Bar, D Note

    The second and fourth Tuesday of each month, Arvada's D Note welcomes Church at the Bar. Run by the local and open-minded Connected Life church group, it's the only service in town during which attendees can celebrate the Holy Spirit with spirits and good craft beer. Bar-hoppers thirsty for a few shots of spirituality now have no excuse for skipping… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Ceremonial Dagger

    SpiritWays

    The next time you're out shopping for incense, a Balinese tapestry or a dagger to use in magical rituals, try SpiritWays. The East Colfax metaphysical shop has a wicked, double-bladed dagger, or athame, for every price range, starting with a small, economical Egyptian model for $30, complete with scabbard. Check out the Gil Hibben custom design series ($120 to $150)… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Artificial Eyes

    Packrat Antiques

    As much a museum as an antique shop, Packrat Antiques is overflowing with the weird, the odd, the curious and the bizarre. Some of the items for sale, such as vintage Western movie posters, are fairly typical, but they represent only a tiny portion of the store's willfully eccentric collection. Scientific and medical instruments from eras gone by are a… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Sparkly Unicorn Iron-Ons

    Sugar Clothing

    Ever wish you'd kept all those dorky iron-on T-shirts you wore as a kid? If so, get a load of Sugar. Nestled among the vintage shops on Broadway, the year-and-a-half-old boutique has a huge selection of retro-'70s and '80s iron-on transfers -- as well as custom lettering -- that can be applied to the shirt of your choice in minutes.… More >>
  • Best Custom Piñatas

    Dulcería El Pachangón

    In the mood to beat something with a stick? Dulcería El Pachangón has just the thing. The tiny boutique carries a colorful inventory of ready-made piñatas, from Sesame Street and Simpsons characters to star shapes and animals. If you'd prefer something a tad more personal, bring in a photo of your favorite cartoon character -- or, say, your boss or… More >>
  • Best Paper Paradise

    Composition - CLOSED

    We use paper all the time -- to write boring memos and long grocery lists, to cover things, even to blow our noses. Composition takes paper to another level. We don't mean flimsy sheets jammed into the copy machine, but thick, grainy stationery that's perfect for writing eloquent love letters. Tucked into the corner of LoDo's Annex at the Steelbridge… More >>
  • Best Place to Put It on Paper

    Lighthouse Writers Workshop

    Aspiring bards, novelists, journalists, essayists, students and screenwriters come to the Lighthouse Writers Workshop for help getting words on paper -- and maybe even into print. Taught by local pros of the pen, the classes are small, intensive and inexpensive, which means that even those on a poet's budget can afford to delve more deeply into their art. The schedule… More >>
  • Best Polar Bear Art

    The Polar Bear Gallery

    Barbara Stone's polar bears inhabit that peculiar juncture where wildlife art meets whimsy, just sidestepping kitsch. Her watercolors have surfaced in children's books, on kimonos and calendars, at the Smithsonian, and in a TV special dealing with the artist's pilgrimages to the Arctic to observe her subjects. You can find them at her gallery in Longmont, in an old church… More >>
  • Best Hope for Your Canine's Canines

    Suzie's Tartar Liquid, Suzie's Pet Supplies

    Suzie's Tartar Liquid is a painless solution to that rich, ripe dog breath emanating from your pup. A tablespoon of Suzie's odorless, tasteless formula in your pet's drinking water leads to cleaner teeth (and fresher breath) within a matter of weeks. Instead of swearing at their foul-panting pooches, sensitive pet owners swear by Suzie's homegrown concoction.… More >>
  • Best Place to Lose Your Doghood

    Maxfund Wellness Clinic

    The Maxfund Animal Center has long been known for finding abandoned critters good homes. Now it's opened a low-cost spay and neuter clinic to help control the number of animals coming through the shelter's door. Unlike other facilities, Maxfund will do the surgeries -- ranging from $30 to $40 -- for anyone in the community, regardless of income level. Shots… More >>
  • Best Way to Get Around the Staff at the Pound

    www.dogtown.tv

    Lost Fluffy or Fifi? Don't expect the staff at the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter to help. Unlike the rest of the local shelters, DMAS takes no lost reports and makes no calls if a cat matching your description comes in. With limited resources, the best staffers can do is suggest you come check every day and send you off with… More >>
  • Best Hospital for Really Sick Critters

    Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado

    A sick pet can't tell you where it hurts; sometimes it's hard to know whether kitty is entering her ninth life or just suffering from hairballs. The doctors at Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado use pure science to clear up such mysteries of the animal world. At the massive Englewood facility, pets receive better health care than most humans, with… More >>
  • Best Critter Removal

    Lil Rascals Wildlife Control Inc.

    Folks may not worry much about bats in the belfry. Heck, they probably stopped making belfries decades ago. But squirrels in the attic? There's an unwelcome bit of wildlife. Since last June, when Jim Clouse started his Lil Rascals service, fewer of our furry friends have been squatters (or slitherers: he does all wildlife) in homes around the Littleton area.… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pooped On

    African Grey

    African Grey is similar to the Denver Zoo's Bird World -- only you can take the store's feathered friends home with you. In addition to its namesake parrot, the shop also sells cockatoos, cockatiels, parakeets and finches. Though it's hard not to go a little bird-brained from all the squawking in the place, the exotic animals make the racket endurable.… More >>
  • Best Showers -- Near

    20th Street Recreation Center

    So your house is under construction, your slumlord won't fix the bathroom leak -- whatever. You just need a hot shower, but at a certain point, you have to stop bumming showers off your friends. For a mere five bucks a day, the 20th Street Recreation Center -- or any of the other 28 Denver Parks and Recreation gyms --… More >>
  • Best Showers -- Far

    Flying J Truck Stop

    For a slightly more luxurious showering experience, splurge on the Flying J. It can be a little intimidating walking through the truckers -- who are laid over in front of the big-screen TV, IM-ing and eBay-ing on the WiFi stations, or simply chain-smoking in the common areas -- but the lot-lizard feeling will pass, especially once you enter your private… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Steamy

    Lake Steam Baths

    It takes guts to enter the Lake Steam Baths. The 77-year-old Denver institution seems a little, uh, sketchy, squatting on a corner of West Colfax. But the experience is well worth the leap of faith. Ladies come Mondays and Thursdays to steam -- both in a dry hot-rock and eucalyptus sauna -- and whirlpool their tensions away; boys get the… More >>
  • Best Cut-Rate Plumbing Supplies

    Do-It-Ur-Self Plumbing and Heating Supply

    When it comes to plumbing mishaps, don't bust a pipe: Fix it yourself and save a bundle. Whether you're redoing the loo or merely replacing a rusted shower head, the stuff you need is sure to be cheaper at Do-It-Ur-Self, which offers used and surplus plumbing and heating supplies at ridiculously low prices. Oh, they have new stuff, too, but… More >>
  • Best Multimedia Hair Salon

    Hairspray

    Not too many clip joints have their own art gallery, but Cue Perez's Hairspray is outfitted with large-scale work by local artists in various media, including photography, prints, oil and acrylic. The exhibits change every couple of months and complement the hip, industrial feel of the salon. A cut above, Hairspray elevates the art of beauty.… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Mile High Thrift

    Clean, well-organized and spacious, Mile High is a bargain hunter's dream. How about a cashmere turtleneck for $1.99? Or maybe that immaculate leather jacket for six bucks? If you're feeling flush, splurge on a Dooney & Bourke handbag for $14.95. There's even a decent selection of books and crockery. Bring cash and your size chart: There are no fitting rooms,… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for the Really, Really Thrifty

    Goodwill Industries

    The conversion of Goodwill Industries' north Denver store to a 99-cent emporium has been a hit with cash-strapped families, seniors and anyone else trying to stretch a buck. Clothes and housewares that may have been passed over at other stores get renewed attention here. With every item beckoning at the bargain price of $.99, it just makes cents.… More >>
  • Best Consignment Store

    Twice as Haute

    The deals are hot at Twice as Haute, where ladies can pick up stylin' black Banana Republic leather pants for $60, a red DKNY cocktail dress for $68 and a full-length white mink coat for $998 -- plus the Kenneth Cole heels, Gucci purse, velvet fedora and gemstone jewelry to go with them. Located in an old house on 6th… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Armani on the Cheap

    Buffalo Exchange

    It's a misnomer to call the Buffalo Exchange a vintage-clothing or thrift store. Nearly a fourth of its eclectic inventory is brand-new, cherry-picked from debut lines of contemporary streetwear that escape the notice of larger, more corporate, mall-based fashion chains (Denver's Capitol Hill location is one of 24 nationwide). If a new indie line's catching a buzz at the MAGIC… More >>
  • Best Vintage Fabrics

    Boss Unlimited

    Tucked in the back corner of Boss Unlimited, a Kennedy-era vintage store, is an innocuous box stuffed with bolts of fabric. And what a fun box it is -- full of mid-century mod fabrics that look oh-so-fresh in the current season of Jackie O-inspired fashion. The stock is small, but it changes frequently based on what owner Cynthia Wright scouts.… More >>
  • Best Hangout for Knitters

    La Ti Da

    We don't know when, or why, it happened, but knitting is suddenly hot, with knitting groups popping up like crop circles. La Ti Da, at home in a converted Old South Pearl Street cottage, came along at just the right moment. Knitting mavens Kim Allegretti and Rita Marshall knew exactly what they were doing when they opened the combination coffeehouse,… More >>
  • Best Charitable Ladies' Cause

    Knit for the Homeless, Shivering Sheep/Coppélia's Needlepoint

    Here's a good yarn: Shellie Lubowitz of the Shivering Sheep and Coppélia's Needlepoint in Cherry Creek North so wanted to help the homeless that she organized an ongoing Sunday-afternoon knitting circle for that purpose. Participants get to knit, purl and gab while creating warm items -- gloves, scarves, hats and blankets -- for those who are exposed to the elements… More >>
  • Best One-Stop Shopping for Homeless Kids

    Threads clothing program, Denver Public Schools

    It's every teenager's birthright to endure the humiliating rite of passage known as the high school prom. Though formal events are a low priority for school-age youths and families living in shelters, that doesn't mean homeless teens don't want to put on a puffy dress or boutonniere and dance the night away with their peers. That's why the Denver… More >>
  • Best Place to Dress for Success

    Men at Work Suits Closet

    If clothes make the man, Suits Closet can make an employed man. To help male job-seekers obtain interview-appropriate duds, the non-profit job-placement agency DenverWorks recently reopened its clothing bank to underprivileged guys seeking work. Offered by referral to clients in need of the right stuff, the program doesn't seem like much at first. But when you consider that a good… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a Miracle

    Manos Folk Art

    Turning water to wine is a tough, though handy, trick; it's pretty advanced stuff, as far as miracles go. Manos Folk Art can help you enact something slightly less flashy. The colorful import shop specializes in goods from Mexico and Latin America, where the faithful make personal appeals to saints using small, symbolic milagro trinkets. The shop's nice selection of… More >>
  • Best Folk Art for a Cause

    Indigena

    Highland resident Sandra Renteria is so concerned about Haiti, the tiny, war-torn Caribbean nation, that she's become a cheerleader for the place. Dedicated to doing something for the Haitian people, she and her husband formed the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which is based in Jacmel, Haiti, and feeds and clothes children, most of them orphans, while teaching them… More >>
  • Best Edible Community Service

    Marczyk's First Friday cookouts

    Marczyk Fine Foods already corners the market on gourmet goods, so we won't even start with the rundown of what they've got inside. But last year they went a step further and made the place just plain homey. "Come on over," they invited. "Sit a while. We'll cook you up a burger." And so the Friday cookout was born. The… More >>
  • Best New Outdoor Market

    Viaduct Market

    It's as close as we'll get to walking under the boardwalk in Denver. But, hey, strolling under the viaduct ain't bad -- especially when you're shopping in blazing mid-July heat. Weatherproofing is just one of the strategies behind the Viaduct Market, a cousin to the successful Ballpark Market bazaar. If a trial run in December is any indication, treasure hunters… More >>
  • Best Uncrowded Farmers' Market

    Colorado Fresh Market, East High School

    Smaller and less crowded than the market that takes over the Cherry Creek Bed, Bath & Beyond parking lot on Saturdays, the Colorado Fresh Market is held on Sundays from June through October. It's the same zany mix of Colorado honey, Western Slope apples, goat cheese and cinnamon rolls, but at a far less frenetic pace. Here an organic farmer… More >>
  • Best Cultural Market

    Osage Mercado

    After years of deferred dreams and delayed plans, the Osage Mercado debuted last summer as a kind of test, sponsored by the Baker, La Alma/Lincoln Park and Sun Valley neighborhood groups. Apparently, it passed, because the Mercado is here to stay -- at least for one long season. Beginning on Mother's Day, it will continue on the first Sunday of… More >>
  • Best Adventures in Grocery Shopping

    Sunflower Market

    First there were health-food stores and co-ops -- little eclectic-eccentric, tie-dyed, bring-your-own-bag places where hippies shopped for goat yogurt, yams and fresh tofu. But somewhere along the line, the stores got bigger. They supplied bags (even plastic ones), widened the aisles and branched into the gourmet-foods market. Hippies? Even if any were still around, they couldn't afford to shop at… More >>
  • Best Exotic Herbs and Produce

    Asian Supermarket

    Don't know a pho bo from a tom ka? Don't fret. Even though Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese and Thai are now in full fashion, the ingredients lists for many dishes still scare off even the most globally minded gourmet. Fortunately, Asian Supermarket demystifies the herbs, spices and vegetables called for in many Eastern-inspired dishes. Worldly botanicals like galangal, Thai… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Curry Fixin's

    Indus Imports

    The scent is the first thing to hit when you walk into Indus Imports, a nondescript market just off the multicultural South Federal strip. The odors of pungent masalas bouncing off a frenzy of saffron, fenugreek, cayenne, mustard, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, amchoor powder and asafoetida make you want to lie down on the floor like Gandhi and never… More >>
  • Best Grocery Bargains

    Sav-A-Lot Foods

    Sticker shock is common at Sav-A-Lot Foods, a minimalist supermarket where generic and name-brand goods go for pennies. The chain store isn't fancy: There are no free samples, seasonal displays or credit cards accepted. But it's always well stocked with staples, and usually with fine, fresh produce, too. How about ten limes, two pounds of pasta or a boatload of… More >>
  • Best-Looking Wine Store

    Divino Wine and Spirits

    Nearly a year ago, wine retailer Dave Moore opened his South Broadway house of spirits along a rapidly changing Antique Row. Like the other stores on the stretch, the place is a real browser's paradise: Dog-friendly and neat as a pin, Divino features tall, stacked shelves of great little wines, domestic and imported, inexpensive and spendy; each variety is handsomely… More >>
  • Best Beer Bargain, If You Can Find It

    Western Beverage

    One of northeast Denver's most closely guarded secrets, Western Beverage is home to truckloads of beers, malted beverages and wine coolers handled by the Miller Brewing Company, including imports, microbrews and premium domestics. Every Saturday, the surplus is offered to the public at bargain-basement rates, usually as much as 50 percent off retail. A dolly-wielding public shows up at the… More >>
  • Best Liquor in a Superstore

    Super Target

    Jubilation and joy spread through Glendale last fall when a Super Target finally opened on Colorado Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, at a site that had formerly held a plain old Target. But this wasn't just any superstore. In addition to the usual Super Target merch, like appliances (love that Michael Graves stuff), clothing, housewares and groceries, the vast retail outlet… More >>
  • Best Example of Moving the Cheese

    The Cheese Company

    Who moved the cheese? Blame Rich Priest, who a few months ago took over the Cheese Company, a little neighborhood cheese shop, and decided it could be moving a lot more. Not just more cheese -- the store stocks about seventy kinds -- but also gourmet to-go items, including prepared entrees, salads and soups from a menu that changes daily.… More >>
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