Best Help Going Sustainable 2023 | Juniperseed Mercantile | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

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

While adaptive equipment does exist in some playgrounds, it's usually limited to a few handicapped-accessible swings. But LuBird's Light Playground at Stanley Marketplace is for everyone, with spinners, treehouses and swings that accommodate wheelchairs; rolling slides; musical sensory play equipment, and smooth, easy-to-maneuver surfacing. Under its all-inclusive policy, children of all abilities are welcome to mingle, which is good for everyone, and a lesson in learning how to get along with friends who are different. It's just the kind of fun the Stanley stands by.

Arkins Court is dead, long live Arkins Promenade! Built atop repurposed telephone poles, this new, elevated walkway designed by Tres Birds rises just north of the RiNo ArtPark along the South Platte for a bird's-eye view of industrial-zone nature. At its highest point, the promenade soars to 28 feet high as it zigs and zags for 400 feet on the former roadway, providing elevated webbing to climb. On the ground level, relax at picnic tables or on porch swings and recycled milk-jug benches. Welcome to the new urban jungle.

Between 35th and 38th streets on the former Arkins Court

No matter how much you want to get fit, a public gym is not a fun place to do it, particularly when you happen to be non-binary — but that's just the type of fitness seeker that Vibe Gym serves. Leave your body shame at the door and come inside, try a class or two, meet with a personal trainer, sign up for wellness services, or simply walk in during open gym hours and use the equipment. Vibe even offers child care, which is free with a membership or day pass. Finally, a place just for you.

4045 Pecos State, Suite 160

Since 1983, Way of the Crane has been empowering people to feel safe and in control. The self-defense classes, which range from beginner to personalized and in-depth instruction, focus not only on the physical skills it takes to protect yourself, but also the mental strength needed to keep calm and take charge of even dangerous situations. Students will leave with more confidence not just in their self-defense abilities, but in the rest of their lives, too.

1925 55th Street, Boulder

Romance doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and this mini golf course proves it. After all, it's a classic dating move to cozy up to a partner under the guise of improving their swing. At Aqua Golf, you can rent a bucket of balls and a driver, then aim for the buoys on the liquid driving range or take on the 36-hole mini golf course for hours of fun at a very heartwarming price.

I Heart Denver

How much do we heart the I Heart Denver Store, which has hung around through COVID and the construction project on the 16th Street Mall, continuing to offer great gifts and other keepsakes from over 200 talented Colorado artists and designers (those in the consignment program keep 60 percent of sales) as well as other makers? Started as an artist incubator by Samuel Schimek a dozen years ago, this business has grown to be a must-stop for any tourist...if they can get to the Denver Pavilions.

There's always something cooking at Marczyk's. In April 2002, Marczyk Fine Foods opened the doors of its first market on East 17th Avenue, a place that celebrated quality ingredients and products — and local community. In 2011, the crew behind the store — husband and wife Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane, as well as brother Paul Marczyk — opened a second outpost in an old Safeway on East Colfax, a bigger store that featured all of the same amenities, along with a kitchen to up the ante on prepared foods and a next-door liquor store. Over the years, Marczyk's has added a bakery and an even bigger food-prep facility (with a lineup overseen by chef Jamey Fader), as well as events that draw traffic off of Colfax, but the goal of emphasizing both quality and community remains.

Catie Cheshire

In 2022, Denver welcomed back the Rose Lady, now rebranded as Roselady Co., but with the same classic exterior that's a Colfax landmark. The longtime flower shop is still family-owned; Daniele Riopelle has revamped it in honor of her mother, Debbie Orban-Rosen, who'd run it since 1985. After a three-year pause following Orban-Rosen's death, Riopelle reopened the shop, which is filled with colorful bouquets and other giftable trinkets that will brighten any day.

3921 West Colfax Avenue

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