2032 14th St., 303-786-7030
Second Place: AMC Flatiron Crossing 14
Third Place: Century Boulder
Fourth Place: Boedecker Theater
Fifth Place: Chautauqua
Movies aren’t known for being a full-body experience. Though immersive, if you’re caught at home, cheering along to a movie, you get the “Have you gone crazy?” look. We know that’s no fun. Which is why it’s great to catch a film at the Boulder Theater. Because instead of looking at you like you’re crazy for randomly applauding a name in the credits or the appearance of some local athlete, the people around you are more likely to also be applauding — and looking around to see if that local filmmaker/climber/mountaineer/ cyclist/slackliner is present. They often are. Boulder Theater not only provides a key venue for the Boulder International Film Festival, the city’s biggest film event of the year, and sporadic screenings of classic films that pop up throughout the year, it’s also been the home for the Adventure Film Festival and the stop for your annual dose of ski films, like those from Warren Miller, and the Banff film tour. Go and get sucked in to a full-body experience — people cheer, and, often, Timmy O’Neill gets up to emcee, cracks some jokes, and people go home with free gear. That’s way better than just going home with popcorn grease on your jeans.
BOULDER MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
1750 13th St., 303-443-2122
Second Place: University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
Third Place: Boulder History Museum
Fourth Place: National Center for Atmospheric Research
Fifth Place: WOW Children’s Museum
You don’t have to travel to New York, Los Angeles or Chicago to see inspiring, world-class art: check out an eclectic mix of contemporary art from regional, national and global artists at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum goes all-in for art, commissioning original installations to make use of the space in its main galleries. They’ve also crafted exhibitions to provide a forum to niche artists not often heard from, such as technology-centric art from women artists. In response to the floods in September 2013, the museum coordinated a series of public art projects to involve the community in conversations about the flood’s effects and how to heal. The museum partnered with the Denver Botanic Gardens to pioneer Community Supported Art Colorado, in which the community supported agriculture model is brought to artists and their art is brought into homes. BMoCA also features dance, poetry, an outdoor summer cinema series and other events throughout the year.
THE LAUGHING GOAT COFFEEHOUSE
1709 Pearl St., 303-440- 4628
Second Place: Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant
Third Place: Catacombs Bar (reopening in 2014 as License No. 1)
Fourth Place: Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe
Fifth Place: Boulder Outlook Hotel
We don’t have to tell you how awesome The Laughing Goat is. You already know they’ve repeatedly won Boulder’s “Best Open Mic” location since 2008. You know if you want to grab a glass of wine, have a tasty nosh and top it all off with a frothy cappuccino, all while soaking in some sweet local poetry, drama or music, The Goat is where you need to be. Not only is the microphone open to musicians, once a week the stage is made available to poets for the “So, You’re a Poet” open mic night. You know all this, enlightened reader, which is why The Laughing Goat keeps taking home the gold in this Best of Boulder category, year after year.
DAIRY CENTER FOR THE ARTS
2590 Walnut St., 303-440-7826
Second Place: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Third Place: Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery
Fourth Place: Art Soul
Fifth Place: Rembrandt Yard
The Dairy Center for the Arts is all art of every kind all the time in an arts center that is also home to dance and theater performances, independent film and open rehearsals for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. But no trip to this multipurpose space would be complete without a stop into the art galleries, which provide a space for artists from near and far to display their works. A community favorite is the annual bicycle art exhibit, devoted entirely to artwork that features and sometimes is made from bicycles and their various components.
BOULDER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
2590 Walnut St., 303-449-1343
Second Place: Boulder Symphony
Third Place: Colorado Music Festival
Fourth Place: Colorado Symphony
Fifth Place: CU Presents
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, now in its 57th season, employs 72 of the region’s top musicians and performs for nine months out of the year. The orchestra produces a concert series, which is broadcast across the state on Colorado Public Radio, that features well-known and emerging artists, as well as masterpieces and promising new works. Special events, such as the annual co-production of The Nutcracker with the Boulder Ballet are a community favorite.
Boulder Philharmonic is also responsible for introducing next-generation musicians to orchestral music through its Discovery Concerts, a year-long collaboration with participating elementary schools in three counties.
Live Jazz Venue
ST JULIEN HOTEL & SPA
900 Walnut St., 877-303-0900
Second Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse
Third Place: Caffè Sole
Fourth Place: Nissi’s
Fifth Place: Oskar Blues Brewery
Though the music plays year round at the St Julien Hotel, it’s particularly easy to get drawn in during the summer months. Music and dancers spill out on to the patio in a Gatsby-esque setting that’s positively enchanting. Stop in almost any night of the week for live music that often follows closely on the heels of their happy hours.
Live Dance Group
2590 Walnut St., Suite 10, 303-443-0028
Second Place: Frequent Flyers Productions, Inc.
Third Place: Streetside Studios
Fourth Place: Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet
Fifth Place: Break EFX Crew
Boulder is a hot spot for dance, in that there’s a decent probability you could see people dancing on a median as part of a master’s thesis or performance art about the plight of the manatee that might not be clearly explained as you speed by them on the freeway. The field from which Boulder Ballet emerges as top live dance group is every bit as diverse — the runner-up, Frequent Flyers Productions, Inc., takes live dance to new heights with amazing aerial-dance performances. Boulder Ballet has been lauded for the stunning live shows that deliver on theatrics and impressive choreography. Their recent productions include Carmen, Cinderella and, of course, an annual Nutcracker holiday show.
Performance Arts Venue
2032 14th St., 303-786-7030
Second Place: Dairy Center for the Arts
Third Place: Chautauqua Auditorium
Fourth Place: Macky Auditorium
Fifth Place: Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
In one form or another, the Boulder Theater has long been an entertainment hot spot.
In the early 1900s, it featured opera. In the 1920s, it saw the transition from silent films to talkies. In the 1980s, Bonnie Raitt, and Plasmatics played there. Today, some 250 events a year are featured at the theater, from the Boulder International Film Festival to rising-star comedians to musical legends like Stephen Stills. The Boulder Theater is a consistent local favorite and a guarantee for fun.
ZIP CODE MAN
Located at a Zip code near you
Second Place: Jessica Biel
Third Place: Rep. Jared Polis
Fourth Place: Big Head Todd
Fifth Place: Hazel Miller
Jessica Biel might be hot in the international papers, but in Boulder, she’s second fiddle to David Rosdeitcher, aka ZIP Code Man, Boulder’s local celebrity of 2014. If you haven’t seen him in action entertaining people on the Pearl Street Mall, here’s what he does: He remembers the heck out of ZIP codes. Throw one at him and he’ll not only tell you where it is, but he’ll tell you a bit about it. And make it a toughie: 90210 doesn’t count.
Second Place: Gregory Alan Isakov
Third Place: Big Head Todd
Fourth Place: Elephant Revival
Fifth Place: 3OH3!
Face! No, we’re not trying to psyche you out, we’re expressing our enthusiasm for one of Boulder’s best musical acts, Face. The six-part harmonies and a capella dance beats are smooth’n’sexy, perfect to get your heart thumping and your booty shaking. The band has appeared on America’s Got Talent, played with Jon Bon Jovi, and has peformed for two U.S. presidents. Now they can add winners of Best of Boulder to their resume.
Live Theater Group
BOULDER’S DINNER THEATRE
5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000
Second Place: Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Third Place: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Fourth Place: CU Theatre and Dance
Fifth Place: The Catamounts
For over 35 years, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre has brought live, Broadway-quality musical theatre and a fine dining experience to the Front Range region. The theatre offers a mix of shows for the whole family, with productions of classics like Fiddler on the Roof and contemporary musicals like Shrek. Enjoy a shrimp cocktail, a glass of wine and a prime rib, some of which may be served by costumed cast members. With a venue that’s intimate enough to see the sweat on the actor’s brows but big enough to deliver a potent performance, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre is great for the theatre buff and newbie alike.
THE LAZY DOG SPORTS BAR & GRILL
1346 Pearl St., 303- 440-3355
Second Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
Third Place: Harpo’s Sports Grill
Fourth Place: West End Tavern
Fifth Place: Walnut Brewery
Here’s a Pro Tip: sitting at home screaming at the television is weird; doing it in public with a group of equally motivated folks in matching shirts and in the company of flowing beer taps and tasty appetizers is where it’s at. Don’t believe us? Head down to The Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill for the next big game and join in the shouting at the multiple largescreen TVs. Feel the team spirit coursing through your veins. Witness the total lack of weird looks from your disapproving family and neighbors. Taste the glory of the nachos. Once you do, you’ll never look back.
Second Place: Colorado Music Festival
Third Place: RockyGrass Festival
Fourth Place: Folks Festival
Fifth Place: Nedfest
In it’s fourth decade, Telluride Bluegrass is how die-hard “festivarians” welcome the start of summer. The location for the event is perfect. Picture the grand and awesome San Juan Mountains surrounding an Old West Victorian town that has all the modern amenities, including a 9,400-foot free commuter gondola to Mountain Village resort. While the hiking, panoramas and fresh air are, no doubt, alluring, it’s the music that brings crowds back year after year. Performers are firing up the tunes all day on the main stage, amid songwriting contests and workshops. It’s no surprise that jam sessions go into the night, making this event an interactive one that lures out the musical side in everyone.
Place to Dance
ST JULIEN HOTEL & SPA
900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696
Second Place: Boulder Theater
Third Place: Avalon Ballroom
Fourth Place: Tahona Tequila Bistro
Fifth Place: Fox Theatre
Best Place to Dance isn’t the only award that St Julien Hotel & Spa took home in this year’s Best of Boulder competition, it also got voted Best Jazz Venue. Put those together and what do you get? Best Place for Jazz Hands (which isn’t actually a category, but we’re making it into an honorary category because of the obvious subtext provided by our readers). All kidding aside, the St Julien is a great place to dance. The outdoor stage and terrace make it the area’s premier summer spot to get moving under the stars. If you hit it at the right time of day, you’ll find yourself swaying to one of the region’s top bands at the same time the sun is turning the clouds above your head amazing colors. Now that’s dancing. Dress is whatever makes you happy.
COLORADO MOUNTAIN RANCH
10063 Gold Hill Road, 303-442-4557%u2028
Second Place: YMCA Summer Camp’s
Third Place: Avid4 Adventure
Fourth Place: University of Colorado Science Discovery
Fifth Place: Camp Muddy Paws
Unplug your kids from their phones, computers, televisions, game consoles, Interwebs, Facespaces and other things that run on kilowatts instead of marshmallows and graham crackers, and plug them into an experience of the outdoors — that’s the philosophy in play at the summer camps at the Colorado Mountain Ranch. Their day camps, for kids 7 to 16 years old, provide outdoor summer activities with an emphasis on giving them opportunities to develop emotionally and physically — in a place, they note, where there are no televisions or computers available. Instead, kids are given access to horseback riding, archery, gymnastics, Frisbee tag, mountainboarding and kayaking, among other activities. If that doesn’t spark out of the screen thinking for your kids, we don’t know what will.
Place to Wi-Fi
OZO COFFEE CO.
1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885 5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233 1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302
Second Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse
Third Place: The Cup Espresso Cafe
Fourth Place: Amante Coffee
Fifth Place: Panera Bread
What makes a location the best place to get your Wi-Fi on?
Well, in our humble opinion, you need a dependable Internet connection, good coffee, available (and tasty) snack options, some space to call your own and maybe even a little open mic poetry/music/drama to take the edge off all that work. So if you find yourself bogged down with work but unable to stand the sight of your office or home for another minute, head down to Ozo Coffee Co. and make it your office for the day. Ozo was named best coffee house, best coffee roaster, best latte/ mocha and best cup of coffee this year, so seriously, grab something to drink and get to work.
ALEXANDER DAWSON SCHOOL
10455 Dawson Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-6679
Second Place: Watershed School
Third Place: Boulder Country Day School
Fourth Place: Shining Mountain Waldorf School
Fifth Place: Friend’s School
The Alexander Dawson School spans 107 picturesque acres in Lafayette. There, you’ll find 11 academic buildings, an Arts Center with a full theater, six soccer and lacrosse fields, tennis courts, two full gyms, a weight room, rock climbing wall, outdoor swimming pool and a studentto-teacher ratio of seven to one.
Foreign languages are encouraged at Alexander Dawson — French, Spanish and Mandarin, with the option for 10th- to 12th-grade students to take immersion programs in France, Spain and China. The list of accomplishments at this school is long and impressive. For instance, the Speech and Debate Club has won several state championships while Odyssey of the Mind teams have captured national attention.
RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 720-865-2494
Second Place: Boulder Theater
Third Place: Chautauqua Auditorium
Fourth Place: Fox Theatre
Fifth Place: Planet Bluegrass
Red Rocks Ampitheatre isn’t just a great place to see a show, it’s a geological treasure that stands out as much on the world stage as it does on the local. While Boulder’s other music venues have their own great histories and are even architectural treasures in their own right, it’s tough to match a venue created over thousands of years by wind and water (with a little help at the end from human hands for the benches) and includes in its lighting arsenal the moon and the city lights. That’s all not to mention, of course, the top-notch acts who grace the stage.
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER CONTINUING EDUCATION
1505 University Ave., 303-492-5148
Second Place: Naropa University Extended Studies
Third Place: Front Range Community College
Fourth Place: Boulder Digital Arts
Fifth Place: Homeopathy School of Colorado
Just because your grade school years are behind you doesn’t mean you can’t still learn something. Or you might just get a start on that degree you’ve always wanted. That’s essentially the mission of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Continuing Education program. As CU so eloquently puts it, the idea is to “provide quality, innovative lifelong learning opportunities to a diverse student population by extending the educational resources” of the university. You can, for instance, take courses for credit or simply brush up on your computer, business or tech skills with some classes. You can do weekends, evenings, independent learning — the options abound and are more than welcomed by Coloradans mired in the rush-rush of a hectic economy that never stops.
BOULDER COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKETS
Multiple locations, 303-910-2236
Second Place: Boulder Creek Festival
Third Place: Frozen Dead Guy Days
Fourth Place: Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Fifth Place: Conference on World Affairs
The votes here were as broad as the category, but, as it turns out, the stomach rules the mind in Boulder. Or maybe the farmers’ market has an advantage because it is, after all, a weekly event — and an institution in the city for decades now. The nonprofit Boulder County Farmers’ Markets are brimming with life, featuring an array of producers at loca tions around the city. The markets are not just a place for locally grown vegetables and fruits, but also gathering places where food vendors bring goodies to feed the masses breakfast and lunch. At the downtown Boulder location, market-goers can take in the atmosphere around Boulder Creek, including The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse and kids’ chalk drawings on the steps of the nearby contemporary art museum.
ELEVATIONS CREDIT UNION
2960 Diagonal Highway, 303-443-4672 (and numerous other locations around the county)
Second Place: Wells Fargo
Third Place: Boulder Valley Credit Union
Fourth Place: Chase Bank
Fifth Place: FirstBank
In an era of big banks going the way of a Gossip Girl episode, it’s nice to bank somewhere you know you can count on good service, good customer support and a little financial advice. When it comes to dramafree banking, Elevations Credit Union is about as stable as they come. We’ll put it this way — if this bank were a Sex and the City character, it would be Miranda: sensible, smart, and able to rise to the occasion when it’s time to buy a home or start a family.
HUMANE SOCIETY OF BOULDER VALLEY
2323 55th St., 303-442-4030
Second Place: Eco-Cycle
Third Place: Planned Parenthood
Fourth Place: Community Cycles
Fifth Place: Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center
Pets are magic. That’s right, magic. Behold, their miraculous powers for transformation: Bad hair day? No worries. Your cat has scattered hair ties around the floor in every room for your convenience. Work has you so run down you think you can’t move off the couch? The dog (who, by the way, was even happier to see you come home than you were to get there) has other things in mind, and suddenly you find yourself, leash in hand, headed out for a long W-A-L-K. See, magic.
And the Humane Society of Boulder Valley doesn’t just pass out the magic. That could be dangerous. They teach you how to use your magic. Just like in wizarding school, their training and behavioral classes teach you how to use your magic for good instead of evil. Want to make sure your magic stays strong and healthy? Better take it in for regular check-ups. They’ll help you out with that, too.
Place to Play Pool
1136 Pearl St., 303- 449-4987
Second Place: Catacombs (reopening in 2014 as License No. 1)
Third Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
Fourth Place: The Attic Bar and Bistro
Fifth Place: Outback Saloon
Beneath the glamorous store fronts of the Pearl Street Mall hides a treasure of dive bar-style shenanigans and a row of pool tables long enough to almost always offer you a chance at a game. That’s right, we’re talking about the Sundown Saloon, the grittier face of Pearl, a real bar for the real pool players. Brave enough to come swim with the sharks? Dive in.