Best View of Denver by the Numbers 2017 | Denver Regional Council of Governments | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

DRCOG's Denver Regional Visual Resources Project, accessible from its website, is more than just another grab bag of obscure statistics and fun facts. It's an online repository of interactive data and infographics that locals can use to look at land-use trends and glean the demographic details of their own neighborhoods; you can even see what rush hour will look like in 2040. Denver is changing rapidly, and this is one of the best tools available for trying to keep up with what's happening down the block or on a regional level.

Anthony Camera

Enjoy the exhibits at the volunteer-staffed visitors' center, then take a short stroll up the hogback to one of the most important dinosaur-track sites in the country. Dinosaur Ridge is a trip back 100 million years in time, to an ancient seaway populated by carnivorous megafauna. But it also offers a stunning view of the metro area's past and future: the remnants of the historic Rooney Ranch in the foreground, burgeoning suburban growth and Green Mountain open space battling for primacy beyond that, the city and the plains in the distance.

Poet Mathias Svalina says that his Dream Delivery Service "allows me to do my three favorite things: write all day; bike around town in the middle of the night, when the streets are empty; and be weird without consequence." But that's only part of the story. Svalina does, indeed, deliver dreams — individually written prose poems with a surreal and dreamlike quality — to the doorstep of a client nightly for a month, for a reasonable fee. Svalina's own dreams aren't usually very interesting, he says, so he takes extra pains with yours. Since last fall, Svalina has been on the road, taking his service to a handful of other cities, but he'll be back in Denver this summer, making your dream of hand-delivered dreams come true.

You think cops live on the wild side? You haven't really seen the seamy underbelly of the city until you've shadowed one of the city's public-health inspectors as they check out whether restaurants, tattoo parlors and swimming pools are meeting required safety standards or investigate the source of a neighborhood noise complaint. You must apply in advance (and pass a background check if you're interested in child-care facilities) and there's no guarantee what kind of inspection you may be in for, but the agency tries to accommodate the curious public. Just be sure to follow the rules, like the one about no free treats from restaurant owners.

The bus starts here! This photo booth comes to you ready to roll, no setup needed. But Photo Bus DNVR has other charms, including the bus itself, a vintage 1971 green Volkswagen named Huey the Hulk, outfitted with fun props, background options and do-it-yourself push-button picture-taking. The bus can park outside or, given accessibility and permission, pull right into your building; there's also an open-air booth option. Part of a fleet of VW Photo Buses operating in ten states, Photo Bus DNVR is portable, social-media-friendly and well-equipped to take and make quality prints. It's the ultimate selfie machine.

Scott Wilson

Scotland raised him, Denver pays him. Scott Wilson's high-flying photos of downtown Denver have propelled him to the top of the Instagramming pack in 2017. Wilson has the advantage of working from one of the highest office buildings in the city, on the 46th floor, and many of his stunning photographs are taken from there. "Very rarely am I shooting once the sun is up," he says. "It's always dusk and dawn." See more work by Wilson at the Denver Photo Art Gallery in the Art District on Santa Fe, where he is a resident artist.


Readers' Choice: @1000thingstodoindenver

The Central branch library's digital-media lab has mics and mixers, keyboards and guitars — and you don't even need a library card to make use of the facilities. Sessions are walk-in and limited to one hour; the studio has become so popular that the library has launched a second recording space in its Community Technology Center. The Corky Gonzales branch library also has a well-equipped studio, suitable for virtual deejaying, beatmaking and podcasting.

Changing Denver is well named. The podcast, helmed by Paul Karolyi, does its best to make sense of the explosive growth currently taking place in the Mile High City by examining its impact through a historical lens. Recent topics include the roots of Lakeside Amusement Park and Denver's Civic Center, the persecution of the homeless community in the Arapahoe Square area, an update on Stoner Hill and an interview with Denver city planner Courtland Hyser. Karolyi sets the tone with a polite but persistent interviewing style that doesn't settle for easy answers. After each episode, listeners will feel smarter even as they learn a little more about the rapidly evolving place where they live.

Readers' Choice: Jon of All Trades

In African-American communities, barber shops and beauty salons have long served as gathering places to discuss issues of importance without fear of censorship — or worse. In Denver, an organization called Shop Talk Live is keeping that tradition alive, holding multiple meetings each month in barber shops and beauty salons around Aurora. The discussions are deep, inclusive and topical; recent examples are "President Trump. Now what?" and "Race and Islamophobia: the Intersection." Two of the monthly meetings are co-ed and moderated by Theo Wilson, who broadcasts them live; another meeting is female-only, allowing for exploration of gender-related issues. All of the gatherings are free and open to all, with an emphasis on respecting people's opinions, no matter what their views.

Best Source for Up-to-Date Traffic Information — City Go Denver

Go Denver

Waze and other phone apps can be absolute lifesavers (or at least time-savers) when it comes to navigating Denver's streets. But a lot of the information from which most of these services draw is collected by city agencies — and why not go straight to the source? Go Denver, from the City of Denver, lets users choose their preferred ways to travel to assorted destinations, compare alternate routes, plan trips to new places, see detailed views of how to get there, and even track commute history to find out if what once seemed like the best approach has gotten worse.

Readers' Choice: Google Maps

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