Best of Boulder 2023 — Arts & Entertainment


Advanced Education

CU Continuing Education
1505 University Ave., 303-492-5148

Silver: Front Range Community College
Bronze: Naropa University

You’re never done learning, and the continuing education program at University of Colorado’s flagship campus is never done connecting you with world-class opportunities to continue the journey. Boulder Weekly readers gave top honors to CU Continuing Education not only for its diverse suite of classes, but for offering unmatched scheduling flexibility that allows you to pursue your higher-learning goals while managing the rigors of day-to-day life. 


Boulder CPA Group
1790 30th St., Unit 418, Boulder, 303-449-3060

Silver: Cahill & Associates
Bronze: Burton & Company

There’s no need to crunch the numbers — Boulder CPA Group is far and away readers’ favorite when it comes to managing your money. With stated core values of collaboration, trust, service and success, the mission of this homegrown firm is to provide accounting and tax solutions while building relationships to serve the diverse needs of businesses and individuals. 

Art Gallery

Dairy Arts Center
2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-7328

Silver: BMoCA
Bronze: Firehouse Art Center

Few spaces in Boulder County serve the visual and performing arts communities quite like the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder. Featuring four thoughtfully curated galleries open to the public for free — the Hand-Rudy, MacMillian Family Lobby, Polly Addison, and the McMahon Gallery — it’s no wonder the visual arts wing of this multidisciplinary cultural hub is near and dear to the hearts of Boulder Weekly readers. 

Bank/Financial Institution

Elevations Credit Union
Multiple Locations

Silver: Chase Bank
Bronze: First Bank

Trust matters when it comes to managing your money — and locals have trusted Elevations Credit Union since 1953, when it was founded to serve the financial needs of CU Boulder staff and faculty. Offering all the perks of the big guys, the member-owned cooperative offers an unmatched community-level commitment that has once again landed top honors from our readers. 

Day Care Center

Boulder Journey School
1919 Yarmouth Ave., Boulder, 303-443-8909

Silver: The Goddard School
Bronze: La Petite Academy

When you can’t be with your little ones, you need to know they’re in good hands. Enter Boulder Journey School, which has served the region’s kiddos for more than 25 years. With “fundamental values based on an image of children as competent and capable, and as valuable citizens with inherent and irrefutable rights,” it’s no wonder readers named it the best day care center in Boulder County.

Festival/event (non-music)

Boulder County Farmers Market 
13th St. and Arapahoe Ave., Boulder | 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont  

Silver: Boulder Creek Festival
Bronze: Bolder Boulder
Write-in: The Spark

Fresh and local is the name of the game at Boulder County Farmers Market. Serving the area with two locations in Boulder and Longmont, this farm-to-table institution has been a community fixture since 1987. The best part? Each purchase supports local farmers and businesses, so your money stays right here in BoCo.

Financial Advisor 

Edward Jones 

Multiple Locations

Silver: Raymond James 
Bronze: Impact Wealth 
Write-in: BSW Wealth Partners

Who doesn’t need a little sound financial advice? For Boulder Weekly readers, that means checking in with the money experts at Edward Jones. That’s who they trust the most when it comes to investing, saving and managing other aspects of their finances — and it’s why they’ve once again bestowed top honors on the 100-year-old firm. 

Live Dance Group

Sue Daniels Photography 2011 Courtesy Boulder Ballet

Boulder Ballet 

2590 Walnut St., Suite 10, Boulder, 303-443-0028

Silver: Streetside Dance
Bronze: Alchemy of Movement

The body in movement is a beautiful thing, as evidenced by the talented artists at Boulder Ballet. Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, this local dance company and school regularly thrills local audiences with dazzling performances and helps build the next generation of leading dancers through world-class instruction. 

Live Jazz Venue 

Hotel Boulderado
2115 13th St., Boulder, 303-442-4344

Silver: Nissi’s 
Bronze: St. Julien

Boulder’s iconic downtown hotel wears lots of different hats as a central and historical hub for lodging, food, drinks and more. But if you ask our readers, it’s all about Friday Night Jazz. That’s when the historic Hotel Boulderado lobby comes alive with music from some of the region’s most exciting artists, each week from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s also a great opportunity to sip on cocktails and enjoy small bites from the happy hour menu.

Live Theater Group

BDT Stage 
5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-449-6000

Silver: Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Bronze: Butterfly Effect Theater Company (BETC)

It’s the end of an era for Boulder’s BDT Stage, which is closing its doors at the end of this season, and what better way to go out than by snagging the top spot for Best Live Theater Group? This dinner-theater institution has been a local fixture since 1977 — we’ll be sad to see it go, and so will our readers. We suggest saying goodbye by grabbing tickets to its final production of The Sound of Music, April 29 through Aug. 19.

Local celebrity

Jared Polis

Silver: Gregory Alan Isakov
Bronze: Zip Code Man

It may seem a little funny to call the governor a “celebrity,” but with his trademark running shoes, polo shirt and blazer, Gov. Jared Polis fits the bill. When the Boulder native was elected to his current position in 2018, he became the first openly gay man to hold the office. And after his landslide reelection last year, we think Boulder Weekly readers will be proud to claim this hometown kid for many Best of Boulder issues to come. 

Local musician/group

String Cheese Incident 

Silver: Gregory Alan Isakov
Bronze: Hazel Miller

It’s no secret that we love to jam here in Boulder County, and few bands do it quite like String Cheese Incident. The legendary jam-fusion act may be from Telluride and Crested Butte, but there’s something distinctly Boulder about their irresistible blend of bluegrass, rock, funk and more that has enthralled audiences in Colorado and around the world since 1993. 

Courtesy Boulder Theater

Movie theater 

Boulder Theater 
2032 14th St., 303-786-7030

Silver: AMC Flatiron Crossing
Bronze: Century Boulder

You know Boulder’s iconic downtown venue as one of the best local spots to see live music, but our readers want you to know that it’s also a great place to catch a flick. And after this year’s “serious upgrade” to the Boulder Theater sound system — including  K3 loudspeakers and a P1 processor from L-Acoustics, along with an Avid S6L audio mixer — it’s also one of the loudest. 



1750 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-2122

Silver: WOW! Children’s Museum 
Bronze: NCAR

Boulder’s flagship contemporary arts institution snags top honors in this category once again, and it’s easy to see why. The museum has been a staple of the local arts scene for more than half a century. Boasting more than a half-dozen galleries throughout the region, BMoCA will also be expanding with a new museum and “creative campus” in North Boulder as early as 2026.

Music festival

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Silver: RockyGrass
Bronze: Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

It doesn’t get any more Colorado than bluegrass in the mountains, and it doesn’t get any better than Telluride Bluegrass Festival. That’s according to Boulder Weekly readers, who once again picked this annual Planet Bluegrass blowout as their favorite music event. Come for the vistas and charming town of Telluride, stay for legendary acts like this year’s headliners Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek.  

Music venue

Boulder Theater
2032 14th St., 303-786-7030

Silver: Chautauqua Auditorium
Bronze: Fox Theatre 
Write-in: Nissi’s

There’s a reason Boulder Theater has been a local linchpin for more than a century, and it’s not just the iconic marquee. The venue has been the beating heart of cultural life here since opening as the Curran Opera House in 1906, and it’s still the reigning go-to spot for live music, comedy, film screenings, community conversations and a whole lot more. Long live the king.


Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains 

2525 Arapahoe Ave., Suite C – 200, Boulder, 303-447-1040

Silver: Humane Society of Boulder 
Bronze: Eco-Cycle

When it comes to reproductive and sexual health care, education and advocacy, our readers turn to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. The organization has served Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Wyoming since 1906, and it continues to be a vital part of community wellness in Boulder County and beyond. And with abortion access and reproductive rights in the crosshairs like never before, now is the perfect time to support our readers’ favorite nonprofit.

Open mic

The Attic Bar & Bistro

949 Walnut St., Suite 200, Boulder, 303-415-1300

Silver: Oskar Blues 
Bronze: Bootstrap Brewing Company

Few traditions are as important to a college town as a good open mic night, and Boulder Weekly readers think you’ll find the best one at The Attic Bar & Bistro. Offering a warm and welcoming environment for local artists, traveling bands, DJs and more, this weekly downtown throw down is a great place to catch the next big thing, or step into the spotlight yourself. 

Place to Dance

Avalon Ballroom 
6185 Arapahoe Road, Boulder, 303-440-8303

Silver: Boulder Theater 
Bronze: Nissi’s

When it comes to first-rate rug-cutting, our readers will tell you there’s no better spot than Avalon Ballroom. From swing to salsa and points in between, this footloose hot spot features nightly dancing and lessons on all manners of movement. And you don’t need experience or a partner to get down at this East Boulder dance hall.

Place to Wi-Fi 

OZO Coffee Co.

Multiple Locations

Silver: Boulder Public Library 
Bronze: Trident Booksellers and Cafe 
Write-in: The Read Queen Bookstore and Cafe 

OZO is a giant in the BoCo coffee game for a reason: exceptional roasts, perfectly poured espresso drinks and sparkling refreshers, to name just a few. But one thing our readers especially love about the local staple is its laid-back atmosphere for getting stuff done. If you’re looking for a steady connection and good jolt, this is the place for you.

Best Private School

Dawson School

10455 Dawson Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-6679

Silver: Friends School
Bronze: Boulder Valley Waldorf

For more than 50 years, this private co-ed day school has served Boulder County by “preparing students, through challenging and relevant learning, to become creative, resilient problem solvers who bring their best to the world.” Originally founded in 1970 as the Colorado Junior Republic, today Dawson School serves
grades K-12.

Public School (K-8)

Bear Creek Elementary 

2500 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, 720-561-3500

Silver: Peak to Peak Charter School
Bronze: Horizons 
Write-in: Community Montessori 

You’ll find our readers’ pick for best public school in the shadow of Bear Mountain, where this National Blue Ribbon School offers top-notch education and breathtaking views. Bear Creek Elementary takes home top honors again this year in part for its interdisciplinary focus on the connections between math, art and science. 

Public School (9-12)

Boulder High School

1604 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder,

Silver: Fairview High School 
Bronze: Niwot High School

High school is where we begin to become the adults we’ll go on to be, and Boulder High School is the big local favorite among Boulder Weekly readers. Since its founding in 1875 as the city’s first high school, BHS has set out to be “a place for everyone” by providing a rigorous education in a welcoming environment, right next door to CU Boulder.

Sports Bar 

World Famous Dark Horse 

2922 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303-442-8162

Silver: Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern 
Bronze: Lazy Dog

When it comes to the perfect game-day vibe, there’s one place that rises above the rest for Boulder Weekly readers. Dark Horse has been a Boulder landmark since 1975, in part because it’s the perfect place to catch the big game while enjoying all your favorite bar food staples like wings, burgers and beer. 

Summer Camp

Colorado Mountain Ranch

10063 Gold Hill Road, Boulder, 303-442-4557

Silver: Avid4 Adventure
Bronze: CU Science Discovery

Looking to get the kids out of the house and into the great outdoors this summer? Colorado Mountain Ranch offers a bevy of summer day camp options, including programs in horseback riding, mountaineering and more. It’s also a great spot for your next corporate retreat, company picnic or team-building getaway.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here