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Readers' choice: Blockbuster

Best Combination Romantic Weekend Getaway and Lamaze Class
Hyatt Regency Downtown
1750 Welton St.

There's plenty of heavy breathing during these weekend getaways--but not all of it romantic. For couples who can't seem to make weekly meetings, six times a year Rose Medical Center crams an entire course of childbirth classes into one intensive weekend at the Hyatt Regency.

Best Way to Spend a Long Lunch Hour
Media Play
700 16th St.

Want to get lost? Not a problem at Media Play, the new store in the Denver Dry Building that's both terrifyingly huge and stocked with just about every modern form of escape known to man. The long-awaited megastore opened this May to boffo downtown crowds who crowded the gates for a chance to peruse miles of CDs, videotapes, computer games, books and even comic books and baseball cards. The stock is impressive, if not adventurous, and prices are ever so easy on the entertainment budget. Open Sundays, too, 16th Street Mall-crawlers.

Best Used Computers
Discount Used Computer
2422 S. Colorado Blvd.

The largest, cleanest and best-stocked showroom in the Denver area for pre-owned PCs and Macs, Discount Used Computer proves that reality doesn't always byte. In addition to a vast selection of new and used parts, these guys offer plenty of peripherals: printers, modems, CD-ROMs, sound cards and even new computers at competitive prices.

Best Bulletin Board System
The Pinecliffe BBS
The oldest and largest BBS in the Denver area, the Pinecliffe has it all. Now with eighteen phone lines, sixteen CD-ROMs and more than sixteen gigabytes of programs and information available, it's almost twice as large as other bulletin boards claim to be. As if that weren't enough, the system has satellite linkups that provide its users with E-mail and news feeds. Wimpy? NOT!

Best Free Public Access to the Internet
Nyx, the Spirit of the Night
Computer Science Department
University of Denver

Professor Andrew Burt of DU's computer science department provides the best on-ramp to the Infobahn we've seen. The Nyx system provides no-cost access and a cozy community feel to anyone wanting to surf the Internet. It's an all-volunteer operation--donations are welcome but not required--that proves you don't have to pay big bucks for great service. Drive your modem to 871-3324 to sign on.

Best Local Stop on the Information Superhighway
CARL Corp.
3801 E. Florida Ave.

Since it was founded six years ago to market the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, CARL has spun off into its own corporation and become an international leader in library and information computer systems. Among its creations: UnCover, the world's largest magazine-article database, and the Kid's Catalog, a joint venture between the Denver Public Library and Apple Computers.

Best Alternative School
Colorado's Finest Alternative High School
2323 W. Baker Ave., Englewood

Colorado's Finest Alternative High School lived up to its grandiose title this year when Redbook named it the best high school in the state. Even before it was honored with that national accolade, though, the Englewood district school was winning raves for its ability to not only keep at-risk kids in school but to keep them learning, too. By concentrating on how students perform rather than on their attendance figures and other mainstream minutiae, Colorado's Finest has managed to chalk up a 90 percent graduation rate--and 70 percent of those graduates go on to college.

Best Educational Alternative for Adults
Emily Griffith Opportunity School
1250 Welton St.

For 77 years now, the Emily Griffith Opportunity School has been teaching Denver the value of continuing education. An offshoot of Denver Public Schools, EGOS offers incredibly low-cost classes in everything from flower arranging to deli management to marketing. But its toughest assignment could still lie ahead: The school has contracted to train airport workers in the intricacies of the BAE baggage system. Miss Emily, who always urged students to straighten up and fly right, would be proud.

Best Institution of Really Higher Learning in a Former Motel
Maharishi Vedic University
13650 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora

Ommmmm. When a school bills itself as "the university of consciousness, bringing enlightenment and mastery over Natural Law to everyone," it's easy to transcend such mundane details as the school's surroundings--even surroundings as mundane as the former digs of the Park Inn motel in Aurora, now elevated to the campus of Maharishi Vedic University. The school, which is based on the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced transcendental meditation to the West almost forty years ago, offers short courses in such disciplines as "Good Health Through Prevention" and "Vedic Management: Natural Law-Based Invincible Management." Even more important to potential students, however, are the other amenities: plenty of on-campus housing and lots of free parking.

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