People & Places

  • Best DIA Conspiracy Theory

    Penis Envy

    Denver International Airport has inspired many fine conspiracy theories — that it's a creation of the New World Order, that there are Martians living underground — but none as uplifting as the one exposed on The Colbert Report this fall. According to William Tapley, who calls himself both "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" and "Co-Prophet of the End Times," DIA… More >>
  • Best National Arts Honor


    Only twelve 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards were given out last year, each with a $10,000 grant, and Denver's PlatteForum won one of them. Feted for its artist-student mentoring work, the gallery/workshop on Platte Street was handed its award by Michelle Obama in November. "I always saw the world as gray until PlatteForum opened up my vision,"… More >>
  • Best Colorado Showing at the Grammys

    Ryan Tedder

    With as many hit songs as he's written for his own band, OneRepublic, as well as a slew of other pop stars, including Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Jordan Sparks, Leona Lewis and Gym Class Heroes, it's surprising that Ryan Tedder didn't already have a mantel full of Grammys. But while he's been nominated before, Tedder couldn't claim a Grammy until now,… More >>
  • Best Colorado Showing at the Oscars

    Daniel Junge

    You don't have to live in Hollywood to walk the red carpet. Back in 1997, Donna Dewey took the prize for Best Documentary, Short Subject, with A Story of Healing. And this year, Colorado-based filmmaker Daniel Junge, who focuses on stories of social justice, repeated that feat, winning an Oscar for Saving Face, his documentary about a doctor devoted to… More >>
  • Best Reality-Show Contestant From Colorado

    Mondo Guerra

    Colorado has sent contestants to Survivor, The Bachelor, America's Got Talent; Denver's hosted The Real World. But Mondo Guerra's recent victory on Project Runway All Stars has this city looking very, very good. As a kid growing up here, Mondo would take thrift-store clothing and repurpose it for his own designs with scissors and a glue gun; he got more… More >>
  • Best Place to Symbolize Denver for the Rest of the World

    Wynkoop Brewing Company

    Since the first wave of gold-hunters washed up on the banks of Cherry Creek, Denver has always attracted pioneers. In fact, Governor John Hickenlooper made this state's entrepreneurial spirit the focus of his State of the State speech this January. And no one better exemplifies that spirit than Hickenlooper, an East Coast-educated geologist who moved out to Colorado in the… More >>
  • Ron Zappolo

    Best Hair on a TV Personality — Male

    Ron Zappolo

    Ron Zappolo may have his own People on his Sunday-night talk show, but the Fox 31 anchor's mustache belongs to all of us. From beneath that lip sweater comes the most important news of the day, and that 'stache/silver tousle combo gives big stories the appropriate level of gravity. Zappolo has been a fixture on local TV for decades, delivering… More >>
  • Nina Sparano

    Best Hair on a TV Personality — Female

    Nina Sparano

    Nina Sparano, the technology reporter for Fox 31 and KWGN, has clearly figured out the mechanics of a perfect hairdo. Those brunette locks are downright luxurious, girl.  Readers' Choice: Adele Arakawa… More >>
  • Best TV Weathercaster

    Kathy Sabine

    Kathy Sabine has been on the air at Channel 9 since 1993, back when some of you couldn't get your boots on without help. And she's still the town's best bet for telling you which way the wind is blowing. While Sabine's perkiness may be a little annoying, she manages to sneak in those all-important forecast facts. Even when the… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast

    Channel 2

    An hour-long digest of local news that's on at the right time for anyone who actually works for a living, KWGN's 7 p.m. newscast on Channel 2 provides the right mix of breaking local fare — fires! weather! sports! more fires! — with strong national pieces. In an information-flooded world, this local newscast helps keep Denver's head above water.  Readers' Choice:… More >>
  • Best TV Anchor

    Jeremy Hubbard

    The era of Ron Burgundy is long over. Those ultra-cushy teleprompter-reading gigs that come with hefty clothing allowances are a thing of the past for local talking heads. Which is why anchors like Jeremy Hubbard of Fox 31/KWGN/Channel 2 News are such a welcome sight in these days of shrinking news holes and budgets. Hubbard's a workhorse who's done some… More >>
  • Best Radio Interviews

    Ryan Warner

    Ryan Warner's even tone and talking-over-coffee volume — the loudest he gets is a hearty chuckle — is a daytime treat for cubicle dwellers and anyone within earshot of a radio. On his long-form interview program, Colorado Matters, which airs on Colorado Public Radio stations, Warner offers intelligent discussions of such important issues as juvenile crime, the environment, political corruption… More >>
  • Second-Best News About Denver

    Cheap (Relatively) Gas

    When it comes to gas prices, what goes up is showing no signs of coming down. But Denverites can take heart in the fact that while filling your tank remains a wallet-popping proposition, gas is at least cheaper in this city than it is anywhere else in the country. For now.… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk-Show Host

    Ross Kaminsky

    Ross Kaminsky may be a conservative, but he takes a liberal approach to talk radio, discussing a wide range of subjects with common sense, smarts and humor. A professional derivatives trader for more than twenty years and a senior fellow with the Heartland Institute, he writes about current events on his own, excellently named But he really gets to… More >>
  • Best TV Commercial

    "Least Interesting Man in the World"

    "I always drink beer, and when I do, I prefer good beer," says the bottling-plant employee whose name tag reads "Bob" and who holds up a bottle of Breckenridge brew. The anti-big-beer-company beer commercial, produced by Breckenridge Brewery, managed to not only take stabs at the big boys, but spoof Dos Equis's "Most interesting man in the world" commercial as… More >>
  • Best Comic Strip


    Comic strips might be an endangered species, but "Spinadoodles," Sam Spina's incredibly endearing cartoon, makes the form seem very vibrant. The Xeric Foundation award-winning Denver cartoonist has been dutifully drawing his comic strip every day since April 2009, publishing it on his website as well as in the Colorado Daily. Spina has a knack for turning everyday happenings into sweet… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Legislator

    Amy Stephens

    It's stripey! It's spiky! Her locks show as much spunk as Amy Stephens has as the House Majority Leader. The El Paso Republican may tout her conservative values, but there's nothing conservative about this 'do.… More >>
  • Best Veteran Legislator

    Bill Cadman

    First elected to the Colorado House of Representatives from eastern Colorado Springs in 2000, Bill Cadman moved over to the Senate in 2007 when Ron May resigned. And after another resignation, that of Mike Kopp in 2011, he became the Senate Minority Leader. Although Cadman is a solid Republican, loyal to the core, he recognized that his new role called… More >>
  • Best New Legislator

    Irene Aguilar

    As the mother of three and a practicing physician at Denver Health's Westside Family Health Center for two decades, Irene Aguilar had her hands full. Still, she found the time to run for Senate District 32 in the Colorado Legislature, and, since winning that election in 2010, has kept a dizzying pace both in the Capitol and out among her… More >>
  • Best Pot-Smelling Corner

    W. 6th Ave. at Kalamath St.

    The boom in medical marijuana dispensaries has not only made Denver one of the most medicated places in the United States, but it's also made the Mile High one of the dankest-smelling cities in the nation. On some streets, you'll catch just a faint whiff over the other scents of a bustling urban area; at other corners, you'll wonder whether… More >>
  • Best Beer-Smelling Corner

    22nd and Arapahoe streets

    The LoDo and Ballpark neighborhoods have been fertile soil for breweries, so much so that at Great Divide Brewing, an entire tank farm has sprouted out of the ground, bringing with it the strong and heady aroma of steeping grain and boiling hops. But like bagels, burgers, coffee and cookies, beer smells almost as good as it tastes, making the… More >>
  • Best Bathroom With a View of Denver

    Ale House at Amato's

    A part of the Breckenridge/Wynkoop restaurant empire that opened last spring, Ale House at Amato's has a rooftop patio with one of the best views in all of Denver. But the patio isn't the only place at Amato's that offers a scenic panorama of downtown, the Platte Valley and the mountains. The men's room upstairs has a small window above… More >>
  • Best Bathroom With a View of Denver Art


    Need to see a man about a horse? How about seeing that man about some artwork? You can find paintings by Tracy Weil, co-creator of the River North Arts District, on cultured walls around town. But you'll never find a better reason to linger in a privy than at Fuel, where a pair of pieces by Weil — whose own… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ

    Bret Saunders

    Bret Saunders has earned several Best of Denver nods before, and for good reason. Of the seemingly endless options on the local airwaves in the mornings, he's still the best. Tuning in to Saunders is like checking in with a well-read friend who always proves to be good company. With a smart sense of humor, broad sensibilities and informed opinions,… More >>
  • Best Smarty-Pants Program for High-Schoolers

    Denver Urban Debate League

    When was the last time you heard a tenth-grader talking about nuclear proliferation or deep-space exploration? If your answer is "never," then you haven't been to a Denver Urban Debate League tournament. Launched in 2008, the program aims to bring an intensely intellectual activity usually reserved for affluent suburban high schools to inner-city schools such as Manual, West and Thomas… More >>
  • Best Local Nonprofit

    Project C.U.R.E.

    From its start 25 years ago in the Evergreen garage of James Jackson, a real-estate developer turned philanthropist, Project C.U.R.E. has grown into the world's largest distributor of donated medical supplies and equipment, distributing roughly $50 million of relief every year. Today the organization is run by Douglas Jackson and operates out of a 60,000-square-foot warehouse in Centennial. But C.U.R.E.… More >>
  • Best 18 Things Peyton Manning Should Know About Denver

    Number 18, you're not in Indiana anymore. You may be Denver's most famous newcomer, but you're a newcomer, nonetheless — and there are certain things that every newcomer needs to know about this city if they're going to not just survive, but thrive. If they're going to come to see Denver as the very best possible place to live, as… More >>
  • Best New Building — Downtown

    History Colorado Center

    Though it won't officially open until late April 2012, it's not too early to rate the urbane History Colorado Center a rousing architectural success. The 200,000-square-foot building was designed to house all the functions of the Colorado Historical Society — including offices, event facilities and a replacement for the thirty-year-old museum, whose former spot a block away is now part… More >>
  • Best New Building — Suburbs


    Parker was once a small, rural town — but after the last few building booms, it's been completely subsumed by suburban sprawl that's spread developer housing, strip malls and gas stations across the area. But there's still a remnant of an old downtown on Main Street, and on a nearby ridge that rises above Sulphur Gulch, the town council, using… More >>
  • Best Local Do-Gooder

    Noel Cunningham - CLOSED

    Noel Cunningham had the biggest heart in Denver...a heart so big that he didn't just worry about people in need here in town — where he hosted an annual Mother's Day brunch and numerous fundraisers at Strings, the restaurant he'd founded more than two decades ago — but people around the world. Many of Cunningham's good works were based in… More >>
  • Best New Use for an Old City Facility

    Camp Rollandet

    The Denver Department of Parks and Recreation had seven acres of underutilized, wilderness-like land at the edge of northwest Denver: the former Camp Rollandet, which the city had purchased from the Campfire Girls in 2005. The local branch of Outward Bound, a national organization that got its start in Marble fifty years ago, had long been headquartered in stuffy urban… More >>
  • Best News About Denver

    It's the Coolest City

    Unlike many of those other city-ranking, hit-seeking Internet lists (which have cumulatively described Denver as "the manliest, drunkest city"), last November's accolade from the Brookings Institution had some real science behind it. Demographer William Frey, a senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program, parsed the numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and determined that from 2008 through… More >>
  • Best New Use for an Old Steakhouse

    Northwoods Inn

    For fifty years, the Northwoods Inn served meat to the masses. It was a Colorado institution where it was okay to throw peanut shells on the floor and a ragtime piano player entertained diners while they gnawed steaks and savored the special seasoned cottage cheese. But the restaurant closed abruptly last year, replaced by a business that's another kind of… More >>
  • Best Love Match

    Cranbeary and Lee

    These two polar bears are bonkers for each other. Before Lee came to the Denver Zoo last year, Cranbeary was a ten-year-old widow whose romance with Frosty was short-lived, since the bear had succumbed to liver cancer a month after Cranbeary arrived in Denver. But Lee, a handsome twelve-year-old from Detroit, seems to have filled that gap nicely. The two… More >>
  • Best Colorado Celebrity

    John Elway

    In the very first Best of Denver, published in 1984, John Elway was a rookie quarterback who looked like he might, just might, have a promising career in Denver. But no one could have predicted that Elway's career — and his status as the state's number-one celebrity — would get new life once Number 7 had left the field. After… More >>
  • Best Colorado Celebrity

    John Elway

    In the very first Best of Denver, published in 1984, John Elway was a rookie quarterback who looked like he might, just might, have a promising career in Denver. But no one could have predicted that Elway's career — and his status as the state's number-one celebrity — would get new life once Number 7 had left the field. After… More >>