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 well as a package deal for those who'd like to keep the little ones busy beading at home -- Bead It delivers the goods. You just have to string them along.

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 trip down the Yellow Brick Road, a wander through Eccentricals unearths all manner of campy treasures: tiger portraits, an old set of Heller anodized aluminum pitcher and glasses, etched flamingo mirrors and trays, black leopard lamps, Dior lipsticks and gallon bottles of Chanel No. 5 -- you name it. There are amazing handbags: Hand-painted wooden ones decorated with cardinals or roses, Lucite totes and shimmery silk purses, beaded bags and even Kristin Easthope's lunchboxes hand-painted with tropical babes and devil women. But the crowning glory of the place is the jewelry, both old and new: stunning rhinestone collars that drip across the bust like Christmas lights, dice necklaces, jangly charm bracelets, art-deco treasures, Indian silver and much more, all judiciously arranged in glass cases that snake around the store, which is draped with burnout velvet Buddha scarves and the like.
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 past, including deco-style kitchen clocks, vases, pillows and lamps -- everything you need to dress up your home. Venturing into the back of the store -- with its assortment of vintage faux fur-collared coats, snap-shut purses and white gloves -- is like visiting grandma's closest, but Decade stocks plenty of hip, new attire too. The store's inventory changes frequently -- giving you a good excuse to go there often.

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 even forget you're next to acres of free parking.
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 CDs on the Centennial State. Most impressive, though, is the store's collection of Colorado-brand foods, which include buffalo summer sausage, Santa Fe Trail Soup Mix, Buffalo Bill's Tortilla Chips, Tommyknocker sodas and rock candy, to name a few. With the selection of goodies at this store and on its Web site, you're sure to find something for everyone on your list.

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 on Barnum and Bailey circus posters, classic horror movie posters, and the granddaddy of French poster art, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Ooh-la-la!
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 the botánica in 1989, his shop has become the Wal-Mart of the spiritual fringe, specializing in exotic items used in Santería, voodoo, wicca and curanderismo. There are other botánicas in Denver, including one owned by his sister, but Martín's is by far the biggest and most diverse. "We're a spiritual drugstore, is what it comes down to," he says. "If you believe in this stuff, sooner or later you're going to end up here."
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 carved wooden doors, to the plain, with simple drapery closures; they start at $3,000 and go up -- way up. AA has sold a handful of booths over the past year, primarily to loft owners looking for a conversation piece to brighten their LoDo digs. Or maybe they just felt pressed to confess.

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 a reputation for quality that goes back to the Kennedy era, who needs to?

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 Gems' huge selection of goodies and personable, knowledgeable staff more than make up for its semi-industrial location.

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