Best Movie Theater — Art House 2023 | The Mayan | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Where else? The Mayan has everything you'd want in an art-house cinema: landmark status, a rich local history, a surviving original design, a neon marquee and the smell of nearly a century's worth of buttered popcorn. All of this legacy plus three screens of DLP digital projection and sound sits smack on Broadway in the center of Denver. The Mayan screens some of the finest little-movies-that-could, many of which too often get lost in the shadows of Hollywood blockbusters. Everything in us loves the Mayan: our eyes, our hearts, our minds. Long live all the Landmark theaters — but especially the Mayan.

Named for the cryogenically frozen Grandpa Bredo, who was discovered in his grandson's Tuff Shed in Nederland, this festival is wholly unique, just like Colorado. Although there was a brief period last year when Frozen Dead Guy Days seemed to be going the way of its namesake, it was revived, thank heavens, by Stanley Hotel owner John Cullen, who bought the festival after its former co-owners announced it was canceled. Although FDGD had to move to Estes Park and for the first time included fees (admission has always been free), we had only good things to say about the new iteration — though the lines remained as long as ever. Coffin races were still a major draw, but there was also a stellar lineup of music with quality Colorado acts, including the Kyle Hollingsworth Band and Break Science. Grandpa Bredo may still be in Nederland, but there were enough people dressed like him (as usual) that his presence was thoroughly felt.

First it was Denver Comic Con, and then after San Diego Comic Con trademarked that name, it became Denver Pop Culture Con. But only for one year: FAN EXPO HQ bought the convention in 2021. No matter the name, the four-day summer event has remained a favorite for geeks in Colorado and beyond. Whether you're into comic books, Lord of the Rings, superheroes, Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons & Dragons, cosplaying or all of the above, FAN EXPO is the convention of the year. In 2022, the con returned fully in person for the first time since 2019, and guests included all the hobbit heroes from LOTR (Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin and Dominic Monaghan) and a spectacular set of Star Wars stars (Anthony Daniels, Ming-Na Wen, Katee Sackhoff).

Need an unforgettable game to blow away your guests at your next event? Frick Frack Blackjack is a no-cash, no-limits, barter-style blackjack game in which all the dealers perform as comedic, paisley-clad carny characters who pull you into an epic, imaginative world where everything — except money — goes. Bring your weirdest, wackiest items to bet at this funfest, where you can win anything from an original Battleship game to a human tooth, and if you run out of items, not to worry: You can always bet your soul on the Willy Wonka-esque contract the dealers provide. While the game is constantly traveling around the country to music festivals, you can still find it at many events around Denver. Be sure to follow the Frick Frack Blackjack Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated about game nights near you.
Selene Arca

After a fabulous renovation by Lonnie Hanzon, the intimate cabaret venue beneath the Daniels & Fisher clocktower on the 16th Street Mall celebrated its sweet sixteen last year with a bang. The space is perfect for a date night or a hang-out with friends, with lush velvet curtains in reds, purples, blues and gold covering the walls and minimalist dainty wooden tables. An escapist retreat, Clocktower Cabaret hosts music, burlesque, comedy, drag and dance shows, plus much more. Consider it Denver's very own Moulin Rouge.

Without Felony Misdemeanor, we would not have the Denver drag scene we know and love today. Not only has she been setting the standard for Colorado drag for decades, but she's birthed a whole new generation of drag performers as the mother of the House of Misdemeanor. Every fourth Saturday of the month at 10:30 p.m. at X Bar, Felony hosts Cellblock M, where you're likely to find your favorite Misdemeanors kicking and bucking alongside some of Colorado's best up-and-coming talent (after all, Felony did give RuPaul's Drag Race superstar Yvie Oddly her first-ever booking). DJ Blaque Gurl, who was recently named Best DJ at the 2023 DIVAs, keeps the party going between performances with hip-hop and R&B hits. Bring extra dollars for tipping, because the cast brings it every time.

For more than thirty years, Comedy Works has been highlighting local and national comedians. Every Tuesday at its New Talent Night, the original downtown club gives nascent local comedians the opportunity to showcase their work; the evenings have included guest drop-ins from the likes of Josh Blue, Ron White and even Dave Chappelle, who has done several spur-of-the-moment secret acts at the spot, as have comedians Wanda Sykes and Dave Attell. And throughout March, Comedy Works hosts a March Madness-style tournament with newer comedians in Denver. Join the club for free through its website to receive texts and emails with the most up-to-date info about special events and secret shows.

Best Instagram Account for Denver Street Art


Affiliated with the nonprofit Colorado Street Art, which works to support Colorado muralists, the account @coloradostart began posting photos of art and graffiti around the state back in 2011. See works from Denver graffiti greats such as Tuke and Emit, as well as murals by the likes of Gamma Gallery, Sepia and Jeremy Burns. Get acquainted with some of the Mile High City's longstanding artists who were painting the town before this account was even created. And if you see street art that moves you, be sure to post it with the hashtag #coloradostreetart so that @coloradostart can highlight it, too.

One look at Aaron Tuleja's account and you'll be training to hike one of Colorado's fourteeners. Tuleja takes stunning photos as well as drone footage from around the Rocky Mountains, giving us looks at the sun rising over the peaks of the San Juans, a luminescent blue Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park, and sweeping panoramas of the Continental Divide. In every post, Tuleja shows the natural wonders of the state, inspiring his followers to get outside and experience the beauty around them. Follow him when you're ready to start planning your next adventure in the Rockies.

Best Instagram Account for Denver Nostalgia


One thing we hear constantly is that people miss "Old Denver" — whether before the swath of transplants or when the Denver skyline consisted of only a smattering of skyscrapers. The account @olddenver shares vintage photos of now-closed Denver spots, such as the Breakfast King or the 20th Street Cafe, as well as ones that have stood the test of time, like Lucero's or Dandy Dan's. Perhaps our favorite post is a carousel of images of Dandy Dan's revolving signage with sage sentiments such as "Your wife calls it a problem. We call it a solution!"

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