Casa Bonita's not the only game left in the near-ghost town that was once the JCRS Shopping Center — now renamed the Lamar Station Plaza by the strip mall's new owners. Businesses are moving in quickly, including the Gallery of Everything, a longtime Lakewood consignment gallery and gift shop that also shelters a couple of other businesses under its wing in its new location: Kristen and Bob Autobee's highly selective Red Herring Art Supply, which focuses on hard-to-find items, and Sandy Nyland's Wings Aloft, an outlet for her clever handmade bird shelters. In the spirit of the 40 West Arts District — of which this aggregate is a member — the venue is by, for and all about artists and art-making (and providing housing for our feathered friends).

6719 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood
303-232-0086/720-427-5339
gallery-of-everything.com
redherringart.com
Curating The Cool
Curating the Cool Facebook

We gave Curating the Cool an award for the Best Highbrow Junk and Eclectica in 2014 for good reason: The place is a veritable paradise for junkyard pack rats and all lovers of one-of-a-kind furniture and plain old stuff — really good stuff — with a constant turnover of new/old merchandise that keeps things fresh no matter how often you visit. But it just so happens that late last year, the purveyor of antiques and curiosities had a little extra space to fill. Grooves & Games took up the challenge, bringing in its own handpicked stock of vintage vinyl, retro video games and toys galore as a pop-culture counterpoint to Curating the Cool's more decorative focus. Come in and play!

The Art brings a modern beat to Denver that fits right in with the spirit and architecture of the Museum District. Designed to blend in with Daniel Libeskind's Hamilton wing of the Denver Art Museum and neighboring Museum Residences, it puts on a welcoming face for Broadway, where traffic used to pass by a blank parking-lot wall. But the best treasures are saved for those who get to walk in: A collection of artwork curated with a sharp eye by former DAM modern-art czarina Dianne Vanderlip adorns the interior, with works by artists both internationally known and locally revered. The beautifully envisioned and ultra-comfy rooms also sport art from the collections, and each floor has a theme specific to an artist. The fourth-floor, open-to-the-public restaurant is aptly named Fire; a huge firepit on the open-air terrace just outside the glass-walled eatery beckons those looking for an urban experience, with some of the best views of Broadway and beyond — not to mention creative and well-presented food. Want to really get to meet the cultural spirit of a town when you visit? The Art is a great place to start, for out-of-towners and curious locals alike.

If your vision of hostels comprises those bare-bones spots you backpacked to when you were traveling through Europe — when you were so broke you had to debate whether to pay extra for the luxury of a hot shower — Hostel Fish will come as a surprise. The upscale hostel, which opened last year in the renovated Airedale building, right above Ophelia's, has everything a young business traveler (or a social older business traveler) could want: a great setting right at the edge of LoDo, tech-savvy services, and accommodations that range from solitary to communal. Get in the swim at Hostel Fish.

hostelfish.com

Most "lifelong learning" programs seem cobbled together, a way of occupying professors' free time while providing a little extra "enrichment" to their institution. But the University of Denver's popular and varied offerings range from art- and music-appreciation courses to writing workshops and cooking classes, culture-soaked trips abroad, lectures on current events and more. The instructors include some faculty but also quite a few professionals in various fields, immersed in the topics they're presenting. Think of these sessions as booster shots for the mind and spirit, without the tedium and hefty tuition bills of full-time higher education.

The cops just shut down your DIY gallery opening because you were charging for beer. A website just lifted your image without permission. What's an artist to do? Contact Colorado Attorneys for the Arts, a new program offered by the thirty-year-old Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, which recognized that the demise of Colorado Lawyers for the Arts left a major hole in services available for local artists. Through CAFTA, the CBCA will connect qualifying artists and creative organizations with volunteer attorneys who'll help them through the legal thicket so that they can concentrate on what they do best: make art.

303-282-5135
cbca.org

Tap into your creative side with a craft class at Craftsman and Apprentice. Whether you're interested in baking, wood carving, knot tying or hand lettering, this creative factory has you covered. Craftsman and Apprentice opened in late 2014, and its classes — offered for kids and adults in a very hands-on teaching style — quickly started selling out. It's a great place to acquire a new skill or just have fun with friends. Either way, it's never too late to learn.

craftsmanandapprentice.com

Best Block for Shopping and a History Lesson

Larimer Square

Larimer Square

Reborn at a time when Denver had demolition on the brain, the 1400 block of Larimer Street was dubbed Larimer Square fifty years ago and soon after named the city's first historic district. The turn-of-the-last-century buildings that were saved along this one-block strip of downtown have continued to survive all of Denver's booms and busts, and today Larimer Square is a must-visit destination for tourists and Denver residents alike. With international stores such as John Fluevog, as well as hometown retailers like Cry Baby Ranch, Larimer Square offers an eclectic mix for the discriminating shopper. The food options are equally diverse, with The Market serving up coffee and pastries at an old-school sidewalk cafe while chef-driven restaurants like Rioja and Bistro Vendôme offer an elevated dining experience. In Denver, nothing compares to Larimer Square — where the Old West meets the modern world.

What better way to improve your capabilities as a nature photographer than to spend a little time outdoors with John Fielder, the state's renowned chronicler of epic landscapes, hidden meadows and delicate wildflowers? Fielder's workshops last from one to three days and involve classroom sessions and field shoots in places such as Telluride (nice for fall foliage) and the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness, with the aim of bringing the skills of "practiced beginners" or intermediate shutterbugs into sharper focus.

Opened last year on the West Colfax strip in Lakewood by the mother-daughter team of Rose Whitlock and Alisha Mullins, Lost Love is a salute to mid-century kitsch and simpler times, when most kids wanted to be cowboys and cowgirls, and circle skirts and Bakelite jewelry were in vogue. You'll also find retro fashions here, from open-toed shoes and '60s shifts to rockabilly duds and Mexican resort wear, as well as wacky lamps and collectible figurines. Your favorite anachronisms are alive and well at Lost Love.

9797 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood
303-862-4685
facebook.com/Lost-Love-697187857084317

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