Aspen Grove

Lo, the eternal question in a snowy state as to whether shoppers like outdoor merchants or enclosed malls. Part of the answer can perhaps be found at Aspen Grove, which has been successfully running with its open-air atmosphere for more than a decade. The center includes a diverse selection of shops in a sprawling space directly across from the light rail's final southern stop. Whether you're a sexy lady looking for killer duds at Hot Mama or a healthy type in search of protein powder at GNC, the Grove has you covered. The recent addition of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has upped Aspen Grove's attractiveness, giving us all the more reason to hit up the outdoor complex on a Friday night.

After more than thirty years, it was a blow to both the young and the young at heart when Kazoo & Company finally closed its doors in Cherry Creek. But the store's legacy lives on both online, where you can still buy hundreds of toys that are both entertaining and educational, and at Denver International Airport, where an offshoot of the original is going strong. Although the selection at DIA isn't as vast as what you'll find on the website, this Kazoo is still packed with games, gizmos and gimcracks — more than enough to ensure that you'll find the perfect toy for the kids back home. And if you're traveling with your family, Kazoo & Company is a great place to eat up time during that unanticipated flight delay.

Elway's DIA

Forget to grab a gift for your big or little sports fan? Stop by Elway's, the fourth outpost of the popular steakhouse, which opened last year on the B Concourse at DIA, and your spirits will soar: The restaurant sells hats and shirts, not to mention steak seasoning, all adorned with the Elway's logo and guaranteed to send the forgotten one back home into 7 heaven. He'll never suspect that you picked up his present at the airport.

Safe manicures in a posh but inviting joint are Base Coat's specialty. This modern take on the classic nail salon is unique for many reasons, but its big draw is an emphasis on safe, healthy alternatives to conventional manicure products. Base Coat uses all-natural cuticle oil, lotions and scrubs made by local eco-conscious beauty company R.L. Linden; acrylic nails and gel manicures are a no-no, and all polishes used are free of the ultra-toxic "big 5" — formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP and camphor. But Base Coat is also an art gallery; owner Tran Wills incorporates Denver-connected artists into each venture she oversees.

Denver has seen many sex shops come and go, but one of the mainstays of the kink and leather scene has been the Crypt. Once you're past the bondage gear, though, you'll discover a treasure trove of sex toys, lubes, condoms and safer sex gear for the wild — or mild — side.

Herbs & Arts
Kyle Harris

Expert and novice witches, nondenominational spiritual types and folks just looking to load up on incense and essential oils can count on Herbs & Arts for the best selection of otherworldly tools and supplies, as well as the guidance of a staff dedicated to the many realms of ritual. Established in 1993, Herbs & Arts presents a welcoming environment and is stocked with reasonably priced crystals, how-to books, healing herbs and more — as well as the hands-on knowledge of tarot readers and magical beings skilled at deciphering the most complex of astrological charts.

There's something magical in the air in the Golden Triangle, ever since Matt Jaramillo, aka magician Max Mago, and artist/collector Kristine Hipps opened Mago's Magic Shoppe. For one thing, locals no longer have to ask themselves, "Where can I find myself a magic wand, trick deck and no-tear toilet paper in this town?" Check, check and check. Mago's also offers one-of-a-kind curiosities, vintage magic posters and comic-book novelties.

Whether your thumb is as green as the Emerald City or you want to learn how to plant your first seed, take a trip to City Floral, Denver's oldest working greenhouse. Other greenhouses smell like Monsanto; when you walk into City Floral, you breathe sweet, fertile air perfumed by a jungle of indoor and outdoor plants nourished by the sun beaming in through the greenhouse roof. Walk over to the seed racks and pick out a few of the hundreds of varieties. Browse the impressive array of potters, indoor and outdoor plants, gardening tools, chicken feed, organic fertilizers, wind chimes, hydroponic supplies and more. Questions? City Floral's knowledgeable and energetic staffers are always happy to chat about your plants.

Argonaut Wine & Liquor

It's big, it's bold, and for nearly fifty years, this family owned establishment has been both a neighborhood staple and a regional destination for anyone and everyone, from the guys looking for the cheapest fifth available or a 24-pack of party beers, to party planners who need five cases of reasonably priced cabernet, to wine, spirits and beer geeks seeking the latest hot bottle or offering from the newest Colorado craft brewers or distillers. In 2008, Argonaut Wine & Liquor decided to expand dramatically, but it stayed in the same gritty location, helping to revitalize the block around it while adding to its already massive selection. The store also hosts frequent charity drives and off-site tastings that benefit local nonprofits. And that is something to toast.

Argonaut Wine & Liquor

On your way to a blow-out bash? Dinner soiree? Wedding? Funeral? Tupperware party? There's a liquor store — sometimes dozens — in every neighborhood to fill your box or brown paper bag with spirits, suds or syrah. But for a liquor store that delivers superior service, deep knowledge, fair price points and a wonderfully curated selection, the deceptively small Little's Wine & Spirits knocks it out of the park. If you're on the hunt for an obscure bottle of juice from a boutique vineyard, an impossible-to-find-elsewhere six-pack of terrific beers or a thoughtful recommendation on whiskey, vodka or gin, this shop's ambassadors should have the answer — and if they don't, they'll go the extra mile to find whatever you're in the market for. The beer "cave" is a thing of pure beauty, and the informally educational — and free — beer and wine tastings, which take place every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and again on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m., ensure that you won't leave without a bottle or six to add to your home stash.

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