Twist & Shout
Ken Hamblin III

If you live in Denver, chances are good that you've spent time at Twist & Shout, an institution in this city. If you have a turntable, you've definitely found your way there to peruse the shop's treasures. And if you're a collector who's after rare vinyl, you absolutely depend on Twist & Shout for original recordings, rare imprints and limited releases. Inventory changes constantly, so a spin through the bins on any given day might yield an unexpected delight. If you're ready to part ways with some collector-edition records, Twist & Shout is a good place to sell, too.

Wax Trax Records

Just over four decades ago, Duane Davis and Jim Stidman took over Wax Trax from Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, who moved on to Chicago to open another record store and eventually launch the Wax Trax! Records indie label. Thanks to Stidman and Davis's adventurous and eclectic tastes, Wax Trax remains as relevant as ever, a required stop for obsessive collectors as well as casual fans looking to broaden their musical repertoire. While you're bound to find rarities on CD or cassette tapes, Wax Trax also prides itself on a broad and vast vinyl collection. What goes around comes around....

Readers' Choice: Twist & Shout

Whether you're hunting for something that came out last year that you've been meaning to pick up, or just looking for whatever catches your eye — like that fantasy novel you read partway through back in junior high school and have never forgotten — you'll find it, and more, at these old-school stores. Fahrenheit's Bookstore specializes in vintage paperbacks but boasts an eclectic selection of fiction, philosophy, sci-fi, metaphysics and more. Broadway Book Mall redefines "eclectic," which means you'll never know what you're going to find to pick up and page through as you sit on the couch and breathe in the intoxicating scent of old books. Either store is worth a trip, but together they make this corner the best damn place in Denver to paint the town read.

Readers' Choice: Mutiny Information Cafe

Second Star to the Right traded its home of five years in Berkeley for new digs on South Pearl Street earlier this year, but it didn't lose the whimsy, fun gifts or great reading selection that made it such a star at its original location. Owned by former teachers Dea and Marc Lavoie, this colorful bookstore aimed at kids and young adults has helpful staffers who can guide young readers on their first literary journey, and also offers free themed book readings weekly: storytime with drag queens and kings; celebrations for beloved characters such as Pete the Cat; and events geared toward authors such as Dr. Seuss, often with special craft activities to match. Second Star shines bright.

When your kids come home with tiny houses covered in candy and glitter and then recite the tale of Hansel and Gretel, you know they've had fun. Add "free" to the list of benefits at Woodbury Library's ever-changing arts-and-crafts program, and you know why you're going to want to drop your progeny off there at 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Past projects have included making magnetic slime, paper LEGO figures and 3-D spiders, all ideas created by the Woodbury staff. While other Denver Public Library branches offer their own kids' programming, this one wrote the book on child's play.

At this local mini-chain founded by brothers Paul, Bill and Rob O'Brien in 2001, staffers treat your children like grownups. They get to sit in a real barber chair (no plastic race cars or animals) and chat with the stylist about superheroes, school goals, summer plans and other important things, including how they want their hair to look. The walls at Floyd's are covered with pictures of rock-and-roll and pop icons, so there's plenty to distract parents while their kids get clipped. And with cuts coming in at about $20, those parents won't get clipped in the bargain. Pricing includes all the lollipops a young client can handle.

floydsbarbershop.com

Above Ground
Teague Bohlen

Five Points mover and shaker Musa Bailey and queer hair stylist extraordinaire Ashe Bowen created Above Ground not just as a spot that cuts and styles hair, but also as an egalitarian safe place where everyone, regardless of gender, color or taste, can express themselves through hair design that respects diversity. That's the bailiwick of Bowen and staff, while Bailey has equipped the shop with a DJ deck and rotating displays of fresh urban art, going for a flavor that reflects the surrounding neighborhood.

Having a baby is never easy, and for first-time moms (and dads), it's a life-changing experience. That's why Hygge Birth and Baby was born. The owners of this new birth center, Miki Tynan and Tara Duncan, are moms themselves, and they thought long and hard about what kind of birth experience they would have wanted when they created this charming, streamlined spot. Hygge Birth and Baby promotes the idea of hygge, the Scandinavian concept of feeling warm, comfortable and cozy. In addition to providing surroundings that fill that bill, Tynan and Duncan offer support groups, midwives, doulas, birthing classes, yoga, massage and other things that can help moms-to-be and new moms alike feel supported and safe.

Awakening
Jessica Christie Photography

Whether you're looking for a body-safe vibrator or nipple clamps, or simply seeking a safe space to talk with others about your hunt for such items, Awakening is sure to provide a positive experience. Owned by best friends and Colorado natives Tory Johnson and Rose Kalasz, the two Awakening locations offer locally made lingerie, art, apparel, safe-pleasure products and other goods, as well as educational seminars. The owners also pop up in other places, passing on information about sexuality and sexual health in inclusive environments. Don't fear the dildo: Embrace it at Awakening.

Local designer and seamstress Haley Mariah demonstrates rare talent and an uproarious sense of dark humor with her private line, Brazen Threads, which comprises a collection of velvety clutches, retro aprons and floozy tote bags. The crowd favorite? Plush sleep masks emblazoned with a "Fuck Off," for the discerning wearer who really means it.

brazenthreads.com

instagram.com/brazen_threads

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