Best Denver Park 2023 | Washington Park | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Flickr/Jeffrey Beall

Craving the outdoors, but don't want to drive to the mountains? Get your nature fix at the 160-acre Washington Park. With two lakes and sprawling lawns with pristine trails, the park makes for an ideal outing any time of the year. There are two flower gardens (one a replica of George Washington's) that burst with color in the spring, and come summer, there are multiple recreational options, with tennis and basketball courts, grills for barbecuing, pedal boat rentals and several trails, including a 2.3-mile path circling the park. And don't forget your binoculars: Wash Park is a favorite for bird watching in Denver.

At the Simms Street Recreation Center in Arvada, pickleball enthusiasts have their choice of playing the game indoors or outdoors, with the Marquardt-Miles Outdoor Pickleball Courts outside the rec center, and indoor drop-in games available from November through March. Players will appreciate the low cost and the chance to bring a group of friends to enjoy every dink, swoosh and thwack of the energetic game.

Enjoy the views while you throw your disc at Wondervu Disc Golf Course. The course is just a quick jaunt into the foothills from Denver, providing a variety of holes not often seen at mountain disc golf courses and covering plenty of distance for those looking to escape into a game. Wondervu is making major improvements for the 2023 season, including adding more picnic tables and redesigning holes to make play even better.

136 Camp Eden Road, Coal Creek

The Yetman family — the same crew that started the Horseshoe Market in Denver — made their next dream come true in 2021, when they restored an abandoned farmhouse on four acres in south Lakewood, near the Bear Creek Greenway, in search of a simpler, earthier way of life. Since then, they've created a sustainable farm with a compost pile, animals, a massive cutting-flower garden and a welcoming invitation to visitors for summer camps (2023 is sold out!), pick-your-own-flowers days, a cut-flower CSA program, tours and a fall festival.

2995 South Estes Street, Lakewood

Best Place to Buy Pollinator-Friendly Garden Plants

Finding Nectar Nursery

If you've noticed fewer birds and bees in the backyard than you used to see, a good way to encourage them to come back is to put in a garden of plants that attract them: Pollinators go where the food is. Brad Kuhn's Finding Nectar Nursery makes it easy, because he only grows the pollinator-friendly plants that encourage cooperation among species; the bees, birds and butterflies eat heartily, then fly off to scatter pollen and seeds elsewhere. It's nature's way, and beautiful to look at, too.

15550 CO-72, Arvada

Open since 1987, Nick's is a longtime staple that's much more than just a place to pick up plants, soil and shovels (though it has plenty of those, and much more to offer). In the fall, it's where families flock for freshly roasted green chiles and to pick out pumpkins for Halloween. It even has its own haunted house! In the spring and summer, there's a plentiful selection of fresh produce, and you can often catch live music when you visit. Then, come winter, it's all about Christmas trees and fresh wreaths. This is a store where shopping is more than an errand; it's an experience.

Both indoor and outdoor plant lovers will need to pinch themselves upon entering Plant Garage, because it's simply a dream come true. Fill up on beginner and advanced care indoor plants as well as succulents at this spot, which also carries a wide variety of mulch and soil and even offers landscaping services. If you ever have an issue with a plant, snap a picture and send it to Plant Garage's Instagram (@plantgarage_denver) and you'll receive tips on how to revive it — or just take it to the store for advice. Fair warning: Any time you go in, you're sure to leave with a new plant.

Kim Zimmerman founded this sustainability-focused floral design house and urban micro-farm in 2018. From special-occasion bouquets to weddings to its plant subscription service, Rowdy Poppy excels at making eye-catching creations with a modern, avant-garde aesthetic. While we love Rowdy Poppy's visual appeal, what really makes it stand out is Zimmerman's commitment to using both farmed and foraged local flora whenever possible and her drive to reimagine how the flower industry operates. Whether you're treating yourself or someone else, flowers from this online spot are a sure way to brighten any day.


Onetime science teacher Tiffany Norton found her interests in chemistry and crafting merge when she decided to reproduce the homemade cleaning products and herbal remedies her German grandmother once used. Inspired, Norton put science and old-fashioned wisdom to work, creating a line of sustainable, earth-friendly lotions, soaps, body-care products, cleaning solutions and more, and selling them under the moniker of Juniperseed Mercantile. Since that modest start, the business has expanded to include a brick-and-mortar shop and separate workshop venue where visitors can see her staff at work mixing potions. Juniperseed's products are 100 percent handmade, mostly vegan and/or organic, and bottled using refillable, recyclable containers.

28 East Arapahoe Road, Littleton
5641A South Nevada Street, Littleton
Catie Cheshire

Much as it's a great place to live, Colorado is also a prime place to die. Nearly every burial option is available in this state, including natural organic reduction, also known as body composting. When Colorado  legalized the practice two years ago, the Natural Funeral was ready to go with in-state body composting and a staff that knows how to truly honor a life. Dust to dust.

102 West Chester Street, Lafayette

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