BOULDER MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART%u2028
1750 13th St., 303-443-2122
Second Place: Dairy Center for the Arts
Third Place: Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery
Fourth Place: Art & Soul
Fifth Place: Art Mart
Contemporary, cutting-edge art tends to be within the purview of the crowded urban world. We think of such art as needing a large population to contain the diverse tastes required to properly support contemporary art and its challenging exhibitions. But the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and our enlightented community have made it possible for such art to thrive right here in our own backyard. BMOCA often discovers new, local and young artists and exhibits them courageously. Examples include Zach Reini’s “Suburban Lawns” exhibit last fall and the borderline grotesque installation of food-based art currently on display and titled “Edible?” by Viviane Le Courtois. Boulder is truly a fortunate place to boast such a fine museum dedicated to expanding our understanding of the world through art.
ELEVATIONS CREDIT UNION
Multiple locations around Boulder County
Second Place: Wells Fargo Bank
Third Place: FirstBank
Fourth Place: Boulder Valley Credit Union
Fifth Place: Chase
You either have money and you need someplace you can trust to hang onto it until you are ready to spend it, or you don’t have any money and you need someplace you can trust to loan you the money you wish you had at a reasonable rate. And even more importantly, you would like all transactions revolving around your having or needing money to be carried out by really nice people who seem to have the time to visit with you even after they find out that the amount of money you have or need isn’t all that much. According to our readers, Elevations Credit Union is the best place around to talk to friendly people about your money, or lack thereof.
TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
500 E. Colorado Ave., Telluride, 303-823- 0848
Second Place: Colorado Music Festival
Third Place: RockyGrass Festival
Fourth Place: Rocky Mt. Folks Festival
Fifth Place: NedFest
Possibly the only place better than Pearl Street to dance like a gypsy, go showerless, drink beer and pass out in a flower bed is a music festival. This year, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival took the crown as the people’s favorite place to get down, proving its worth by selling out months in advance. Even the seven-hour drive is not enough to deter Boulderites from getting their groove on in the natural beauty of Telluride for the festival, which is held on the Summer Solstice. Celebrating its 39th year, this year’s festival will feature Leftover Salmon, Béla Fleck, Sam Bush Band, John Prine and the Yonder Mountain String Band.
2032 14th St., 303-440-7679
Second Place: Century Boulder
Third Place: Boulder Outdoor Cinema
Fourth Place: Boedecker Theater
Fifth Place: Chautauqua Auditorium
Sometimes, going to see a movie in the theater offers an experience you can’t get at home through your Netflix, and the Boulder Theater specializes in those experiences. It’s a setting reminiscent of the days of early cinema — outside, a grandiose front decorated with bright lights and inside, an intimate movie-watching environment. And they get away with comfort-ignorant chairs because if you’re seeing a film at the Boulder Theater, it’s likely you’ll be up and down out of them, refilling your wine glass or standing on your feet to cheer with the crowd. The Boulder Theater plays host to some of the biggest film festivals and debuts in town, annually hosting the screening of the Banff Mountain Film Festival and the Sender Films Reel Rock Film Tour, and it is a key venue of the Boulder International Film Festival. Plus, every now and then, they squeeze in a replay of beloved movies like The Big Lebowski. Runner-up Century Boulder hosts the big blockbusters, in addition to providing a few select independent movies.
RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, 303- 697-4939
Second Place: Boulder Theater
Third Place: Fox Theatre
Fourth Place: Chautauqua Auditorium
Fifth Place: Macky Auditorium Concert Hall
In 2011, Red Rocks Amphitheatre hosted such luminary bands as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Flaming Lips and Widespread Panic, along with major events like the Global Dance Festival and Snowboard on the Rocks. The venue even hosted its first winter concert earlier this year with Atmosphere and Common to show that yeah, we can still get down when it’s cold outside. Often referred to as one of the best music venues in the world, it’s not surprising that Red Rocks would be named the best venue locally. And it wouldn’t be a surprise next year either, as the venue has The Fray, Bon Iver, Wilco, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Norah Jones and a host of other acts coming through this summer. Boulder Theater, a bastion of the community, came in second place thanks to hosting such great events as the Boulder International Film Festival, Warren Miller Films showcases and concerts from every genre of music, from indie bands to well-known mainstream acts.
LAUGHING GOAT COFFEEHOUSE
1709 Pearl St., 303-440-4628
Second Place: Conor O’Neills
Third Place: Catacombs
Fourth Place: Rock N Soul Café
Fifth Place: Waterloo Ice House
If you are one of the many narcissists seeking to show off to other narcissists, then open mic nights are perfect for you! And you might as well go to the best one in town, since what you’ve created is obviously the crème de la crème.
But no, in all seriousness, it’s the only one we’d perform at — if our work weren’t already too good for this town.
OK, OK, really, the Laughing Goat’s “So, You’re a Poet” open mic on Monday nights is full of dazzling wordsmiths that flourish in an encouraging, inviting atmosphere (with a great happy hour, too!). It’s a must-do for Boulderites.
Performing Arts Venue
2032 14th St., 303-786-7030
Second Place: The Dairy Center for the Arts
Third Place: Chautauqua Auditorium
Fourth Place: Boulder’s Dinner Theater
Fifth Place: Macky Auditorium Concert Hall
While the Boulder Theater is mostly known for music, it leads a double life as Boulder’s best performing arts venue. A variety of acts take the stage of the Boulder Theater every night, and whether you’re looking for dance, comedy or even a burlesque show, you won’t be disappointed. From
regional favorites like the Boulder Ballet Company to international headliners like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Boulder Theater has been bringing performing arts to Boulder since 1906. Runner-up The Dairy Center for the Performing Arts also has plenty to choose from, with sketch comedy shows, musicals and the occasional aerial dance performance by the Frequent Flyers.
BOULDER MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
1750 13th St., 303-443-2122
Second Place: Boulder History Museum
Third Place: The National Center for Atmospheric Research
Fourth Place: University of Colorado Museum of Natural History/Leanin’ Tree (tie)
Fifth Place: WOW Children’s Museum
Why is it that most art museums display art made centuries ago? Is the art of today unworthy? Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art doesn’t think so. Hidden in a non-descript brick building on 13th Street, the museum hosts art exhibits that will expand your mind and creativity, and it’s packed with artwork that was created this century. The museum displays regional, national and international exhibitions, and even local student work. It also hosts silent auctions and tours that roll through Boulder and Denver.
Place to Dance
ST JULIEN HOTEL & SPA
900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696
Second Place: Boulder Theater
Third Place: ’Round Midnight
Fourth Place: Fox Theatre
Fifth Place: The Avalon Ballroom
Saying “let’s go dancing” doesn’t mean the same thing today as it did 100 years ago.
Nowadays, dancing usually involves bumping and grinding to loud techno music blasting over a speaker. But the St Julien Hotel & Spa offers something more reminiscent of a classic dancing environment. For those looking to dance, and not dry-hump, grab that special someone and head down to the St Julien to find live music almost every night. And don’t worry about hearing the same music over and over: The St Julien provides an assortment of popular genres like jazz, soul, pop, funk, samba and rock ’n’ roll.
HUMANE SOCIETY OF BOULDER VALLEY
2323 55th St., 303-442-4030
Second Place: Planned Parenthood
Third Place: Eco-Cycle
Fourth Place: Boulder County AIDS Project
Fifth Place: Community Cycles
Once again, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley is the top dog in this category, proving that Boulderites truly love their pets. This should come as no surprise to attendees of HSBV’s “Puttin’ on the Leash,” an annual fundraiser that nets hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
Of course, the open bar and party atmosphere encourage your generosity, as evidenced by the bidding wars that break out during the night’s live auction. What really makes HSBV so doggone awesome is its unparalleled commitment to — and the joy with which it serves — the greater animal community. When the Fourmile Fire ravaged Boulder County in 2010 during another HSBV event, the “Cause for Paws” 5k, volunteers and employees worked overtime to collect and organize donations for affected animals and their humans alike.
COLORADO MUSIC FESTIVAL
900 Baseline Rd., Cottage 100, 303-449- 1397
Second Place: Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Third Place: The Colorado Symphony
Fourth Place: CU Presents
Fifth Place: Boulder Chamber Orchestra
With the constant sounds of dub step, otherwise known as noise, filling our ears, sometimes people need to retreat back hundreds of years to listen to the beautiful sounds of instruments and not computers. For all those classical music aficionados, look no further than the Colorado Music Festival. Its program is filled with classical favorites, global sounds, chamber music and plenty of contemporary music. The concerts draw in more than 22,000 patrons every season and are the perfect way to spend those warm summer nights. But its season only comes around once a year, so if you’re jonesing for the sound of violins or piano sonatas during the rest of the year, then check out runner-up Boulder Philharmonic.
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: Spanish Institute
In the days of yore, long, long ago, when recessions were something that happened to other countries and people could get by with just one full-time job, people went back to school for fun. This was also when fun was possible. These days, continuing education is becoming a necessity as the workforce becomes more and more competitive. Of course, if you’re not the cutthroat career focused type, going back to school doesn’t have to be about job training. It can be about the mountains upon mountains of things you don’t know. For both purposes, University of Colorado Boulder Continuing Education is there, offering both self-paced courses for busy people and term-based courses for people who would never get anything done if the course was self-paced. CU’s classes span calculus to Shakespeare, and the school offers flexibility to allow students to complete a degree they’ve started elsewhere or set aside for a while.
BOULDER FARMERS’ MARKET
1900 13th St., 303-910-2236
Second Place: Boulder Creek Festival
Third Place: Frozen Dead Guy Days
Fourth Place: Boulder International Film Festival
Fifth Place: Colorado Shakespeare Festival
The Boulder Farmers’ Market entices many a Boulderite to wander the aisles, refreshing their supplies of fruit and vegetables with produce from local farms. And we don’t just block off our time for this festive event: we surrender 13th Street between Arapahoe and Canyon to all but basket-bearing foot traffic.
The vibrant scenes of open air produce stands are a natural pick to round out the week or kick off the weekend. Open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April to November, with a bonus Wednesday evening market May through October, the Boulder Farmers’ Market lays claim to having the longest season of any farmers’ market in the state.
Another annual favorite and Memorial Day event, the Boulder Creek Festival, finished as runner-up this year.
Place to Wi-Fi
LAUGHING GOAT COFFEEHOUSE
1709 Pearl St., 303-440-4628
Second Place: Ozo Coffee Co.
Third Place: The Cup Espresso Cafe
Fourth Place: Panera Bread
Fifth Place: Brewing Market Coffee
For the fifth year in a row, the Laughing Goat Coffeehouse is the best place to Wi-Fi in Boulder County. Why, you may ask? Well, along with their excellent free Wi-Fi and the strong signal spread throughout the shop, they have some tasty coffee to go along with your Web surfing and good background music, live or recorded, while you plow through Excel spreadsheets to write a report, visit your guilty pleasure online discussion boards or scroll through your Facebook timeline. And with the shop staying open until 11 p.m., it’s a good choice for some late-night computer perusing.
ALEXANDER DAWSON SCHOOL
10455 Dawson Dr., Lafayette, 303-665- 6679
WATERSHED SCHOOL (tie)
1661 Alpine Ave., 303-440-7520
Second Place: Shining Mountain Waldorf School
Third Place: Friends School
Fourth Place: September High School
Fifth Place: Boulder Country Day School
Remember that time when Serena got a crate of champagne delivered to school and everyone who was anyone snuck in and got drunk by the Olympic-sized pool while wearing Prada sunhats and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses? And then that one kid and that other kid got in a squabble and one of those kids got massive brain damage and almost drowned? And even though she had nothing to do with the fight but everything to do with the party Serena almost got kicked out... again? No? You don’t remember that? Oh wait, because that was at the private school on Gossip Girl, not in Boulder. Boulder private schools actually teach valuable stuff — like how GG is a waste of time. For example, Alexander Dawson (K-12) strives to have each of their students reach their own personal potential; they keep their classes small and they don’t teach to the test, but teach to absorb lessons for life.
Watershed (6-12) leaped to first after a fifth-place rating in last year’s Best of Boulder. Perhaps it’s their philosophy of not limiting learning to inside a conventional classroom that helped move them to the top.
LAZY DOG SPORTS BAR & GRILL
1346 Pearl St., 303-440-3355
Second Place: Harpo’s Sports Grill
Third Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
Fourth Place: West End Tavern
Fifth Place: Walnut Brewery
Pearl Street staple Lazy Dog is known for being the go-to spot for sports fanatics, but regulars don’t head there simply for the games. If you’re lucky enough, you get to talk smack with bar manager Angela, who will give you crap about your love of the Phillies as long as you keep ordering beers from her. On Sundays during football season, you won’t just find Broncos fans, but tables of expats from across the country who gather to watch their home team battle it out on one of the many flatscreens in the two large dining rooms. Lazy Dog is a bar for everyone, featuring a lively rooftop and the Underdog, a basement bar for people whose favorite sport is “drinking Jenga.” If you’re looking for a homer crowd, head over to second-place Harpo’s Sports Grill, where you can find tons of drink specials during games featuring Colorado’s favorite teams.
2850 Mapleton Ave., 303-442-2778
Second Place: CU Science Discovery
Third Place: Colorado Mountain Ranch
Fourth Place: Avid4 Adventure
Fifth Place: School of Rock
The great thing about the YMCA Summer Camps is that not only can you get those darned kids off your lawn, you can ship them off to take advantage of wide and varied options. From camps that explore major sports to skateboarding and cycling camps, plus camps focused on arts, the outdoors and even LEGO robotics, it’s almost guaranteed that kids will find a YMCA camp they’ll want to join. Parents and kids can choose between day and overnight camps, each tailored to the child’s age. The CU Science Discovery camp, with its superb science-focused camps on physics, chemistry and biology for K-12 students, came in second place.
ZIP CODE MAN
Second Place: “Big Head” Todd Park Mohr
Third Place: Hazel Miller
Fourth Place: Jello Biafra
Fifth Place: Hosea Rosenberg
The immortal children’s book Wayside School Is Falling Down relates the tales of students at an elementary school whose lives take a bizare turn due to a checkmark being placed in the “vertical” instead of “horizontal” box. Eventually, a student trips and falls and wakes up in Miss Zarves’ classroom, surrounded by a small, odd group of students who are working on memorizing the dictionary.
The point being that Miss Zarves’ classroom would have been the perfect place to find a.k.a. David Rosdeitcher. This man of memory has somehow completed the Sisyphean task of memorizing somewhere around 50,000 ZIP codes. He’s turned it into a street performance, and if you are on the Pearl Street Mall during the summer, you’ve surely seen him wowing the tourists with his knowledge of their hometowns. Coming in second is Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and local soulful songstress Hazel Miller takes third.
BRET SAUNDERS — KBCO
Second Place: Ginger — KBCO
Third Place: DJ Petey
Fourth Place: Dirtmonkey
Fifth Place: Godlazer
Bret Saunders has been waking up the Front Range for more than a decade. On KBCO, the pioneering Boulder-based adult alternative radio station that moved its operational base to the Denver Tech Center in 2010, Saunders has delighted local audiences with his humor, smarts and music choices on the morning show. Ginger, our runner-up, takes the helm right after Saunders.
Third place goes to DJ Petey, who holds down the fort at Absinthe House Thursday nights, and Dirtmonkey and Godlazer round out the field of winners.
Best Place to Play Pool
1136 Pearl St., 303-449-4987
Second Place: Catacombs
Third Place: The Attic Bar & Bistro
Fourth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
Fifth Place: Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill/Pearl Street Pub and Cellar (tie)
Local dive Sundown Saloon emerges as the best haunt for racking them up. With a prime central location near the intersection of Broadway and Pearl Street, drinking players with pool problems can meet to knock rocks together with sticks on five tables while enjoying plenty of blue ribboned refreshments. Contenders in the damp subterranean saloon can expect the tables to run well with plenty of bounce in the bumpers, and challengers fall in line with the typical fashionable 11 p.m. arrival to “the Downer.” Check local listings for pool leagues to play against organized competition. And let’s not forget some of the other amenities at this billabong. Live music, two dart boards, a foosball table and shuffleboard table complement the five pool tables for more ways to make some memories.
KBCO STUDIO C
4695 S. Monaco, Denver, 303-444-5600
Second Place: Puttin’ on the Leash
Third Place: Buffalo Bicycle Classic
Fourth Place: Chocolate Lover’s Fling
Fifth Place: KGNU Benefit
Boulderites love supporting a good cause, and everyone seems to have their own issues for which their passions run high. There very well might be some kind of fundraiser for everything from conservation to canines every weekend, and that makes winning best fundraising event no small feat. So congratulations to KBCO Studio C, winner of this year’s best fundraising event.
Since 1991, KBCO Studio C has been compiling an annual CD of their best studio tracks of the year. Those CDs are now collectors’ items. While the music is great, what makes purchasing the CD even better is that all the proceeds go to charities, like Boulder County AIDS Project and Food Bank of the Rockies, satisfying the music lover and philanthropist in us all.
Live Dance Group
2590 Walnut St., Ste. 10, 303-443-0028
Second Place: Frequent Flyers Productions
Third Place: Lemon Spongecake Contemporary Ballet
Fourth Place: BreakEFX Crew
Fifth Place: Ballet Nouveau Colorado
Has any garment elicited more undeserved sneers and derision than the tutu? Come on, that’s the first thing you think of when you try to think of a ballet dancer, right? Well, beneath the frilly pink garnishment lies a liv ing, breathing human being, you insensitive prick, one that could probably kick your ass if you ever said a word about what she was wearing. That’s because ballet dancers are chiseled athletes, capable of willing their bodies into incredible combinations of beauty, grace and strength. Boulder Ballet takes the title for best live dance group, and their shows display what ballet does best: showcase the human body as a conduit for art. The aerial dancers of Frequent Flyers Productions, our runner-up, are like ballet dancers who fly. Not to be missed.
Second Place: The Yawpers
Third Place: Face
Fourth Place: Gregory Alan Isakov
Fifth Place: The Magic Beans
For the first time in years, this year’s best local musician/group category was write-in only, and when the tally was complete, we came out with a surprise winner. Hatrick Penry, a young ska band, takes home the title, beating out well-established newcomer The Yawpers and two groups and one singer-songwriter — Face, Gregory Alan Isakov and The Magic Beans — who have been around the block a few times. Hatrick Penry’s motto is “Give me ska or give me death.” While many might agree a better phrasing would be “Give me death before you give me ska,” you gotta love an underdog. Kudos, boys. We’re keeping an eye on you.
Live Jazz Venue
ST JULIEN HOTEL & SPA
900 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-406-9696
Second Place: The Laughing Goat
Third Place: Caffè Sole
Fourth Place: Nissi’s
Legend has it that, as a boy, St. Julian the Hospitaller, patron saint of innkeepers, met a stag in the woods that foretold that Julian would murder his parents. Julian fled his home, thinking he could beat fate. And of course, by tragic plot twist, he ended up killing them anyway. He spent the rest of his life building houses and hospitals until an angel came and forgave him. The end.
It’s tough to say what Julian would think of the St Julien Hotel, which offers live music four or five times a week, ranging from traditional jazz to soul to bluegrass. Hopefully he’s a jazz fan, because according to our readers, there’s no better place in town to see and hear it. Laughing Goat came in a close second. At least it’s not a laughing stag.
Live Theater Group
BOULDER’S DINNER THEATRE%u2028
5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000
Second Place: Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Third Place: CU Theatre & Dance
Fourth Place: Vox Feminista
Fifth Place: Peanut Butter Players
All those jokes about theatre majors growing up to be waitstaff? Well, Boulder’s Dinner Theater is preparing its creative staff for that bright and shining future by asking them to multitask. Go for a night at the theatre, take a seat, and then enjoy the entertainment for your tastebuds brought to you by the people who will also be tickling your funny bone through a presentation of something like the madcap Drowsy Chaperone.