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.
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 kids at a modest birthday party should find a few tricks up the Reinke sleeves, too. They do party and event planning, too. If you're looking for magic, a call to Reinke Brothers should do the trick.

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 that first round, you have a personalized game that contains fun facts and stories about the whole family. Add photos and memorabilia to create a treasured family heirloom that's bound to hold its value longer than that vintage Trivial Pursuit game.

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?"; and our personal favorite, "Denver: Who Fuckin' Planned This City Anyway?" The signs were created by comic Jeff Chesler and sell for $3 each. No word yet on whether Chesler's ready to make an "I Brake for Funny Signs" sign.
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, but a genuine letter lasts a lot longer.
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 staff, on call seven days a week; the handy parking (just don't think about parking in the lot for more than fifteen minutes, as John Elway once did: They're serious about towing); the array of postal paraphernalia that make good gifts when you're crunched for time. No, the problem is that the station happens to reside in one of the largest development sites still available in LoDo, a circa-1960 building designed by architect Temple Buell that could be sold for up to $15 million -- and turned into a development worth ten times that. Given the Postal Service's current financial situation and its inclination to close a deal on the property, it's clear we'll soon be kissing the Terminal Annex goodbye. In the meantime, mark your calendar for 11:55 p.m. on April 16, the last time you may get to watch one of the town's best free shows as frantic filers deliver their tax returns into the hands of understanding Terminal Annex employees.
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 these shops across the country, but when you step into any one of them, in any city, you always feel like you've just made a major find. Each shop is loaded with dazzling trinkets that include reproductions of real artwork from around the world and throughout history. It's like browsing through a piece of the Met -- without the crowds, and with plenty of souvenirs for purchase.
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 person (can you say "shmatte"?), other Coldwater Creek mainstays move to the head of the class. The jewelry can be a real deal, and if you can't find a gift here for everyone on your Christmas list, you're not really trying.
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 a truck if you find something you simply must have -- say, a beautiful vanity (they just don't make 'em like this anymore) or an old four-poster bed. The store's owners are flexible and will arrange to be there during off-hours so you can pick up your purchase at your convenience. And since it's on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park, you can drive up to hear the elk bugle, outfit your living room, and still be home in time for dinner.

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 items for those who are redoing an entire house: century-old wood doors, mantlepieces and stained and leaded-glass windows.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of