There aren't many reasons to brave T-Rex, but Crate&Barrel in Park Meadows is one. The huge homeware store has everything a grown-up needs to play house, from inexpensive flower pots to professional-quality pans. Long known for its extensive selection of glass and barware, Crate&Barrel is sure to have that funky element you need for your next tiki or martini party. Yeah, it's a chain store, but in the land of chain stores, this one deserves a little love.

Readers¹ choice: Nordstrom


There's a truth that's known to all dedicated bargain shoppers: Once you've snagged your first pair of, say, alligator slingbacks, for the cost of a self-service car wash, it's damn near impossible to go back to paying full price for anything. But when it comes to couture, there's a difference between inexpensive and cheap, and the wares at Nordstrom Rack definitely fall into the former category. Offerings from major makers and design houses are crammed into the large FlatIrons store along with toiletries, housewares and shoes, shoes, shoes. A repository for the huge retailer's overstock, Nordstrom Rack is a gift to astute shophounds who know how to filter through the castoffs to redeem that special, marked-down prize.
It was a familiar story last year: When Colorado Mills opened just in time for the holiday shopping season, it was a like a pilgrimage site. Denizens of the metro area faced west, and some actually even made it there to shop -- often with hungry children and bored dads draped around their necks, weighing them down like a string of freshly killed albatrosses. Who you gonna call? The store with the giant LEGO Hagrid in the window, of course, with package upon package of Harry Potter, Star Wars and Mickey Mouse kits just waiting to tempt old and young alike with their infinite possibilities. Which is what LEGOs are all about, after all. Build it, and they will come.


While it may not tout the best bargains or the frilliest frocks for kids in all of Colorado Mills, Hanna Andersson has a surplus of rugged, smart, sweet and comfy quality going for it -- something aficionados of the company's mail-order catalogue have known for years. Made from natural fabrics designed to last, in enduring European styles that also withstand the test of time, "Hannas," as they're called, are worth every penny, as good-looking as they are long-lasting. Don't miss the standard striped long johns for all ages in the back of the store: The family that shops for Hannas together, lounges together, it seems. And that's just what you'll all feel like doing after a hard trek to the mall.


Hells Angels have become heaven's angels at this church formed by born-again biker Gary Davis. After Davis had a religious awakening thirty years ago, he dropped out of a hardcore motorcycle club and devoted his life to Jesus. Davis went on to operate motorcycle missions for several years, before forming Church in the Wind in 1996. Every Friday night since then, former black sheep have been flocking to the biker ministry at Riverside Baptist Church. Rev up with the Rev.


Just about every Monday and Thursday night, skater kids come to this huge indoor skatepark in Warehouse 180 at Meadows that's leased by Foothills Community Church, and they have a divine time. While their grunge-wear and dyed hair would make them a perfect fit on the 16th Street Mall, they find a welcome from the Foothills congregation at SK8church. So between grinds and handplants, these kids manage to squeeze in some God time. All on board for saving grace.


Years ago, the three o'clock hour was a time when Christians united to pray. Alan Wostenberg hasn't forgotten that, and he's using technology to remind others of this time to pray. The idea started when he and his wife promised to pray for one another every day. He continued to forget, and programmed his computer to give him a daily reminder. The idea eventually grew, and Wostenberg established Psalm Weaver, a company that sends out psalms of the day to customers' cell phones and pagers reminding them to pray at the holy hour of three o'clock. For $19.95 per year and a $4 setup fee, the faithful can receive a psalm each day in abbreviated form.


Short of going to confession, a trip to the Catholic Store may be all that's needed to ease a heavy heart. This huge store carries rosaries of every shape and shade, vials of holy water, large statues of saints for the front lawn and tiny statuettes for the household shrine. Or shop on line at www.catholicstore.com. The devout will also find Bibles, communion veils and crucifixes. Hail Mary!


Lourdes almighty! The Church of St. Vincent de Paul is awash in holy water from the site in southern France where a peasant girl --later known as St. Bernadette -- reported seeing repeated apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1858. The mother of Jesus told the child to dig a grotto, and a spring sprang forth. Believers note that it flows to this day. Now, for a mere $2.50 donation, you can get a 2.5-ounce bottle of the special water.


In his previous existence, Bruce Moen was an engineer for Coors Brewing Co.; now he spends a great deal of time exploring the afterlife and helping "newgoners" to get on with their journeys to higher planes of consciousness. He regularly plumbs the depths of the place he says we go in death and dreams, bringing back enough experiences and insights to fill four books and justify a Web site. This summer, he will be holding a six-day retreat at an undisclosed location in the Rocky Mountains. Attendees will get to test Moen's contention that knowledge of the afterlife is available to anyone -- and if they're lucky, they'll get explore another plane of existence with their buddies. Everyone hold hands now.

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