Best Park for Cycling 2012 | Washington Park | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

The Washington Park neighborhood offers one of the best assets to urban cyclists looking for a good workout: a 2.27-mile perimeter around its lush, lake-filled recreation area. The two-lane track, bordered by the picturesque 'hood, works for all skill levels of cyclists, from the extreme amateur looking for an afternoon jaunt on a cruiser to the seasoned veteran looking to increase stamina and endurance. For safety's sake, speed is limited to fifteen miles per hour (although it's often ignored), as the park also packs in walking families, runners and rentable pedal-powered cars. And for those biking in, Wash Park is easily accessible from the Platte River path coming from the south or the Cherry Creek path that runs along Speer Boulevard.

Readers' Choice: Washington Park

It's tough to catch a good fish in the big city. But if you're willing to drive out to the 'burbs, it's as easy as spending the day at the Aurora Reservoir. Home to the $10K Trout Tournament, the reservoir provides 820 acres of water. Bad-ass water, that is. Here's how the city of Aurora describes it: "The best water grows the baddest fish! Aurora's reservoirs have some of the best water around and have grown four state record fish: Tiger muskie, catfish, smallmouth bass and white sucker." According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the reservoir is also tops for rainbow trout, brown trout, walleye, wipers, largemouth bass, yellow perch and crappie. Fishing in the city? Holy crappie!

Readers' Choice: Washington Park

Runners, let's be honest: Running on treadmills is boring, and the scenery never changes. In fact, the only reason we do it is because running up hills makes us feel winded and feeble, while treadmills rarely challenge us with difficult terrain, and they count how many miles we've run, which makes us feel cool. Well, Sloan's Lake Park offers all that and more: The trail around the lake is as flat as a British apartment, and at exactly 2.6 miles from starting point back to starting point, it makes it easy for those of us who predicate our self-worth on how far we can run to chart, you know, how far we're running. Plus, Sloan's Lake is a lovely park, with plenty of shady trees and open spaces and an excellent playground to distract the kids while you sweat out the fear dreams.

Readers' Choice: Washington Park

Best Performance by a General Manager in a Bad Situation

Masai Ujiri

Formerly an international scout, Masai Ujiri, in his first year as a general manager, found out that the best player in franchise history no longer wanted to play for the Nuggets. Rather than panic, Ujiri was patient and swung a good deal for Carmelo Anthony with the New York Knicks — especially considering that everyone knew Anthony wanted to sign in New York as a free agent. Ujiri turned Melo into four contributing players, including a potential star in Danilo Gallinari.

The Nuggets had three nominees for this award, which is two more than any other NBA team. Kenyon Martin went all Kenyon Martin and butted heads with team management before leaving the team early, and J.R. Smith was fined over $1 million — about a third of his salary while there — for missing practices. So Wilson Chandler didn't have the stiffest of competition, but he did have 41 points and 18 rebounds in the final game of the season, ensuring that his Chinese team made the playoffs. He is also the only one of the three who was re-signed by the Nuggets.

They say opposites attract, and who could be more different from the eternally good Tim Tebow that the Wicked Witch of the West? Tebow is out of Denver, and although the musical, Wicked, is coming here, it's also still playing on Broadway in the Big Apple, where the Chosen One will now throw passes for the New York Jets. Broadway star Jackie Burns, who plays the green-skinned Elphaba, is plenty cute and seems like a good fit, especially if she can put a spell on Tebow that makes him throw more accurately.

Readers' Choice: Taylor Swift

Best Place to See a Grownup Cry Over Pac-Man

The 1UP

From life-sized Jenga to an array of video games, all from 1985 or earlier, this vintage arcade/bar is the best place to drink, get to level 254 of Pac-Man, and break down when the ghosts finally get you. The good news is that with over forty vintage arcade games (including BurgerTime and Mortal Kombat) as well as pinball and Skee-Ball, there's not much time to pout over one loss. But as long as you're acting like a kid, order up a burger with a glazed doughnut instead of a bun: One bite and you'll be shedding tears of joy instead.

What do you do when you need to burn off some steam? A lot of us check in at the gym. The idea behind Great Play is that, in an age when we're being bombarded with news about childhood obesity, maybe the kids should be doing the same. That's the whole point of the national franchise operation, which recently made its debut in the Denver area. Unlike other sport facilities for kids (specifically, kids ages six months through elementary-school age), Great Play offers a number of programs under one roof, from age-specific classes to open gym time, when children can just untether after a morning of too much TV. Also — and of great importance to the founders of Great Play, Englewood residents Keith and Jyl Camhi — is the non-competitive bent of the instruction, which encourages children to have fun first, and to learn specific skills (how to throw a ball or swing a bat, for example) in easy increments. It's their way of proving that exercise is good for you and therefore something worth encouraging; the goal of the Great Play method is to make it a natural part of kids' lives as they grow. The Colorado Boulevard gym is the first of several planned in the state (another will be opening in Highlands Ranch soon). In gymnastics vernacular, Great Play sticks it!

Flickr/Bureau of Lane Management

Slaves to the snow report found themselves salivating over the stats from Silverton Mountain this season, where forty-inch dumps were dropping while the rest of the state's resorts sat high and dry. Silverton is a seven-hour drive from Denver even when it's not snowing, so if you're making the trek, go ahead and book at least one ride in the helicopter while you're at it: The Silverton Guides' Heli Ski/Heli Board adventures start at $159 per run on top of the cost of a daily lift ticket, but it'll be the best money you've ever spent if you've been dreaming of carving big-mountain lines and taking face shots in shoulder-deep powder.

Former Bronco Alfred "Big Al" Williams and co-host Darren "D-Mac" McKee each have their own shtick on The Drive — and it works. In fact, Big Al's buffoonish, Madden-esque approach belies a deep knowledge of Denver sports and keeps D-Mac's sharp opinions and bluster in check. The two have an excellent rapport with one another, they refrain from shouting, and, yes, they stick to sports. Although their show lost former Bronco and ESPN personality Mark Schlereth when 104.3 lost the rights to ESPN broadcasts, Big Al and D-Mac have kept it going and kept fans informed, and intrigued, in a sports-crazy town.

Readers' Choice: The Drive

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