The Ten Best Stores on Colfax Avenue

Oh, Colfax. It's hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to this avenue's spotty history, but one thing is certain: The street is home to some of Denver's best restaurants, bars, venues and retailers. To survive and thrive along the longest main street in the country takes not just a great idea, but true grit. Here are our favorite stores on Colfax Avenue (yes, they all happen to be along the central section of the strip in Denver) — offered up in alphabetical order, with the exception of the 2015 Best of Denver winner, which holds our number-one spot and a place in our hearts. 

10. Angelo's CDs & More
3220 East Colfax Avenue

A wild mishmash of merchandise, Angelo's CDs & More's inventory puts the emphasis on more. Along with new and used vinyl and CDs, the shop carries DVDs and Blu-Ray, collectable toys, apparel, posters, stickers, books, jewelry and more, more, more. A throwback to a time when many record stores functioned as part-time head shops, Angelo's also sells pipes and other smoking accessories. Angelo's is a local venture that's been going strong for more than twenty years; it opened this spot conveniently located next to the Ogden Theatre in 2013.
9. Capitol Hill Books
300 East Colfax
Capitol Hill Books is a retail time capsule, a space crammed with great used books that are looked after by a knowledgable staff. Embracing the eclectic culture of Colfax, this shop's windows are plastered with posters and pop-culture ephemera (including a Humphrey Bogart cut-out) beckoning to passersby. Its trademark "red carts" of discounted books regularly sit outside the store; a portion of those markdown sales go to various local nonprofits. Operating with a true community spirit, Capitol Hill Books welcomes teachers with a 10 percent discount, and its "Bibliomaniac" program gives frequent book buyers a 10 percent discount on used books for a whole year, once you make $100 in purchases. 
8. Colfax Guitar Shop
3220 East Colfax Avenue

Opened in 1998 by world-class luthier Scott Baxendale, since 2010 the Colfax Guitar Shop has been carried on in the trusted hands of owner Dave Dougherty, aided by fellow luthier Christian Phillips. This down-to-earth repair shop and guitar store offers expert vintage instrument rehabilitation and full-service care of broken equipment. The workshop's small sales floor carries beautiful guitars of all styles as well as strings, capos and other necessities. Centrally located among many of the city's music venues, Colfax Guitar Shop is a go-to for touring musicians needing emergency repairs, local bands looking for expert handiwork, and players of all levels desiring the kind of skilled service and craftsmanship this place provides.

7. Herbs & Arts
2015 East Colfax

Hippies, fairies, witches and healers know: Herbs & Arts is the place to go for all your metaphysical needs. The average Joan can find hand-blended teas and tinctures for ailments, ceremonial candles, astrology guidebooks and crystals here, too. The staffers at Herbs & Arts make many of the products carried in the shop, including bath salts and incense, which are carefully infused with some of the more than 100 essential oils stocked here and then blessed before hitting the shelves. The nurturing, spiritual retail environment is also home to various classes and events, inviting community members to come in and learn more about themselves and the world around them through such subjects as reading tarot and cultivating Qi. 

6. Mod Livin'
5327 East Colfax
Not your mother's funky, retro furniture shop, Mod Livin' blends the vintage with the brand-new, and is one of the best home-decor retailers in the city. The 10,000-square-foot showroom puts an emphasis on mid-century-modern styles while offering an extensive collection of innovative brands like Blu Dot, Nuevo Living and Gus Modern. This place has something special for every room in the house, from the bathroom to the bedroom, kitchen to office, as well as light fixtures and decorative objects. Unlike the throwaway items you'll find at other home-goods stores, Mod Livin's pieces are comfortable, stylish and timeless, chosen to weather both heavy use and changing tastes.

Keep reading for five more stores on East Colfax Avenue.

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies