Best Non-Network TV Personality 2015 | Eden Lane | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Since 2009, Eden Lane has been hoofing her heels all over Denver to cover the burgeoning performing-arts and media beats, using a scant crew to grab an interview with new talents and introduce them to the world via her weekly, self-produced In Focus show on Colorado Public Television (Channel 12 to those in Denver). Always professional, effervescent, creative and dressed to kill, Lane's recent openness on living life as a trans woman just might bring her to national eyes as a role model for how journalism should be done.

Best Place to Get a (Men's) Size-12 High Heel

Studio Lites

Sitting quietly on Broadway for nearly four decades, Studio Lites has long been the secret place to grab some "club wear," as the sign advertises on its storefront. But if you're one of Denver's elite drag performers, this store is your refuge from the standard department-store ladies' section: Here a size-12 men's foot can find its Cinderella-slipper match, and a chorus of goddess-like wigs calls you over to play. The expert staff at Studio Lites will gladly guide you through everything you need to transform into a true diva.

Larimer Street stretches from the Auraria campus to the River North area — and all along the way, you'll spot fashionistas scattered among the students, downtown businesspeople, edgy RiNo artists and tourists venturing off the 16th Street Mall. Historic Denver meets the contemporary city along Larimer, and the result is often a stylish mash-up. If you want to focus your fashionista people-watching efforts, you can't beat the 1400 block (Larimer Square), which boasts a mix of trendy restaurants and stores, many featuring local talent. Be sure to look your best if you're headed that way: You never know who you'll run into.

Over the years, Ironwood has settled comfortably onto its foundation, and it now glows with an aura of history that makes its museum-like collection of oddities, treasures and specimens from the natural world seem timeless. And like a museum or a library, Ironwood is also a place where you'll want to bide your time, turning objects over in your hands and leafing through the pages of fascinating and beautiful books. But unlike at a museum, you can buy the pieces so stunningly curated by owners Alyson Two Eagles and Jeff Childress. Drop by and fall in love with the ever-changing stock of butterfly wings, growing plants, antique objects, books and art.

Readers' choice: Fancy Tiger Crafts

Studio Colfax is at least half a family affair, dreamed up by the sister duo of Rebecca and Sarah Tischler, who, with the help of friends Sara Bruce and Marguerite Specht, opened the artisan boutique on Colfax Avenue last summer. And like the eclectic street itself, the shop is a mixed bag of mysteries and delights. Here you'll find original jewelry pieces and gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn silk panties right next to fancy letterpress stationery and comic art by Colfax-lover Karl Christian Krumpholz. In keeping with the rhythm of the avenue outside, prices are affordable and the vibe is relaxed; drop in next door at Cafe Max for an after-shopping cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Readers' choice: Tattered Cover Book Store

I Heart Denver

Samuel Schimek's Colorado-centric I Heart Denver, which began as a temporary project and grew into a thriving downtown business, keeps doing its magic on the second level of the Denver Pavilions, where it caters to tourists and locals alike. But in spite of its stock of Denver-stamped merchandise and T-shirts, it's far from just another cheap curio shop: I Heart Denver also serves as a local-artist incubator by selling one-of-a-kind handmade and small-run items created in Colorado, and rewarding its suppliers with high returns. And here's something to look forward to: Schimek hopes to open a second store later this year as part of Southwest Plaza Mall's big makeover in Littleton.

Readers' choice: Tattered Cover Book Store

These days, when you don't even need paper tickets or boarding passes to get on a plane, having a U.S. Post Office in an airport might seem like a quaint relic of the past. Quaint, until you realize that you forgot to sign that contract you must get in the mail before you head to Japan. Or that you're still carrying around your parents' anniversary card because you didn't have a stamp. That's when this post office will come in very, very handy. And then there are those edibles you forgot to hide in the dirty laundry in your luggage...although you know it's illegal to send marijuana through the mail, don't you?

Readers' choice: Tattered Cover Book Store

Charlotte Elich's well-honed retail formula for her 5 Green Boxes store on South Pearl Street — a lovely blend of repurposed furniture, whimsical housewares, fun and stylish clothing and accessories, and other serendipitous finds — is a perfect fit with the vibe at the renovated Union Station, though Elich has had to rein in her stock for the tiny LoDo space. Still, the shop is tourist-ready with its sophisticated brand of kitsch, and filled with things that are meant to be used and to last. Denver can always use more of the humor and eclecticism that Elich has in store for us.

Whatever part of their paychecks outdoor-loving Denverites still have left after paying for their lift tickets and filling up their Outbacks with gas usually ends up getting spent on Platte Street, where three of Denver's biggest outdoors stores are clustered next to each other. Located in the old Denver Tramway Company building, retail giant REI's flagship store (1416 Platte St., 303-756-3100) is a multi-story emporium of everything from sleeping bags to bikes to GPS units, with meeting rooms for classes on the upper level, a climbing wall, and an in-store Starbucks whose deck looks out over the Platte. Across the street, Wilderness Exchange United (2401 15th St., 303-964-0708) is one of Denver's best spots for new and used climbing gear, skis and apparel. And from its base in the bottom level of the Natural Grocers building, Confluence Kayaks (2373 15th St., 303-433-3676) sells boats and teaches paddling skills in an in-store pool and nearby Confluence Park.

The neighborhood businesses of Old South Pearl Street seem to have a way of handling growing pains while still making the shopping and dining hordes welcome. And that just might be the secret to the business corridor's ongoing success: By catering to the neighborhood's needs and wearing a world-class face, these merchants and restaurant owners not only host a summer farmers' market and other seasonal festivals and sidewalk sales, but they handle changes like pros. Case in point? This year, the district became the first shopping area in Denver to install bike corrals — one in front of Stella's Coffee Haus (1476 S. Pearl St.), and the other at Black Pearl Restaurant (1529 S. Pearl St.) — along the busy street, where parking is at a premium. Each one parks twelve bicycles within a space that's one car wide, allowing at least 24 bodies at a time to leave their cars at home.

Readers' choice: South Broadway

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