Best of Boulder East County 2021—Entertainment & Culture

Cathy Faughnan is an artist and instructor at pARTiculars in Lafayette

401 S. Public Road, Unit 1, Lafayette, 720-890-7888
Longmont Winner: Firehouse Art Center
Louisville Winner: Creative Framing Art Gallery
Lyons Winner: Red Canyon Art
Much more than a gallery, pARTiculars is a place for community. As a co-operative, artists featured in the pARTiculars gallery are also invested in running the organization, fostering creativity and forming a vision for the future together. Here, everyone can tap into their inner artist through classes and workshops with a welcoming and supportive environment. Plus, when you purchase a piece of art from pARTiculars, you’re directly supporting artists in your community—and what’s not to love about that? 

Elevations Credit Union
Multiple locations
Runner-Up: Chase Bank
Second Runner-Up: FirstBank
There’s nothing better than feeling a part of something bigger than yourself. AtElevations Credit Union, opening an Elevations Membership Savings Account not only gives you the ability to apply for a checking account, credit card, loans, and more, but your investment also gives you a lifetime share in the credit union, which offers services we’ve all come to expect from traditional banks. But unlike others, its profits are reinvested back into our Boulder County neighbors and local businesses. As Elevations says, “It matters where you bank.” We couldn’t have said it better.

Primrose School
411 Homestead St., Lafayette, 303-665-4769
Longmont Winner: Bright Horizons
Louisville Winner: The Goddard School 

Write-In Winner:My Second Home
Primrose Schools across the country adhere to the “Balanced Learning” approach to education, focusing on creativity, compassion and resourcefulness. That’s because research shows that introducing a skill when a child is truly ready leads to mastery instead of frustration. Primrose School in Lafayette offers children opportunities to run and play, make music, interact with nature, and learn a second language, integrating science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) throughout the day to make learning fun. But perhaps most importantly, educators at Primrose foster meaningful relationships with families and the community to help optimize each child’s learning and growth. That’s why our readers say it’s their favorite day care center. 

Louisville Downtown Street Faire
Steinbaugh Pavilion, 824 Front Street, Louisville
Longmont Winner: Longmont Farmers Market
Lafayette Winner: Lafayette Peach Festival
Lyons Winner: Rockygrass
When summer rolls around, we’re all kids again, staying up a little later, soaking up rays, looking for adventures. And in East County, our readers know there’s nowhere better to enjoy summer than the Louisville Downtown Street Faire. Every Friday for two months of the summer, downtown Louisville becomes a mecca for music, food, dancing, shopping, games, and general camaraderie. Babies don’t cry, dogs don’t bark, and wise elders feel 18 again. 

Edward Jones
Multiple locations, Longmont
Lafayette Winner: Mountain Flower Investments
Louisville Winner: Varra Financial Associates
Getting the most out of life means managing your money smartly. You want to have enough for your retirement, for short-term savings, for your children’s college funds. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about how best to invest your hard-earned money, our readers say you can turn to the experts at Edward Jones. The financial planners at Edward Jones are interested in more than just helping you pick stocks and bonds, they’re interested in your goals. So whether you want to travel the world, pay off your student loan debt or create wealth for future generations, Edward Jones has you covered. 

Rocky Mountain Insurance Center
1361 Forest Park Circle, Suite 105, Lafayette, 720-335-6872
Louisville Winner: Bolder Insurance
Longmont Winner: 1st American Insurance Agency
Life takes unexpected turns, which is why you need insurance—at an affordable rate. Our readers turn to Rocky Mountain Insurance Center because this local agency offers a broad range of insurance products for a variety of personal and business needs. Give them a call to set up a free insurance quote or consultation, or to ask questions about innovative insurance policies. Because Rocky Mountain Insurance Center works with multiple insurance carriers, it’s able to meet all of your insurance coverage requirements at the best possible price. 

The Speakeasy
301 Main St., Longmont, 720-684-4728
Lafayette Winner: Muse Performance Space
Louisville Winner: Bittersweet Cafe & Confections
While Prohibition is (thankfully) a thing of the past, we still delight in the speakeasy aesthetic and the magic of jazz. When our readers want to re-create the best thrills of the Roaring Twenties, they head to The Speakeasy. Located in the basement of one of Longmont’s most well-known historic buildings, The Imperial Hotel, The Speakeasy makes patrons feel like they’ve stepped back in time when hits such as “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Dinah” and “Bye Bye Blackbird” were all the rage. No wonder our readers say it’s their favorite place to take in some live jazz.

Longmont Museum and Cultural Center
400 Quail Road, Longmont, 303-651-8374
Lafayette Winner: WOW! Children’s Museum
Louisville Winner: Louisville Historical Museum
Our readers know they’re lucky to have access to the wealth of cultural offerings at the Longmont Museum. No matter your age, this museum offers opportunities to explore history, experience art, and discover new ideas through lectures, historical photos, walking tours, movies at Stewart Auditorium, cultural celebrations, Thursday night talks, concert series, kids’ camps, and adult classes. But we don’t have to tell you that—you already said it’s your favorite museum in East County. 

817 Main Street, Louisville, 303-993-2094
Longmont Winner: Dickens Opera House
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Lafayette Winner: Muse Performance Space
Write-In: Wibby BrewingLive music is one of life’s simple pleasures. Every music lover’s got a story about catching an up-and-coming band at some intimate venue. Waterloo offers a neighborhood gathering place atmosphere with great food, drinks and, best of all, live music. In fact, it’s our readers’ favorite place to catch live music in East County. Makes sense, as the name and logo were inspired by Waterloo Records, an independent record store in Austin founded by owner Josh Karp’s father.  You can dance to tunes in the main room, or take a break from the music up on the patio. 

Sister Carmen Community Center
655 Aspen Ridge Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-4342
Longmont Winner: Longmont Humane Society
Louisville Winner: CenterStage Theatre Company
Life can get tough; the loss of a job, an unexpected illness, and divorce can all turn a stable life upside down. But Sister Carmen Community Center is there, providing critical assistance to residents of East Boulder County for more than 40 years. As a Family Resource Center, Sister Carmen serves the underemployed, newly unemployed, seniors, people with disabilities, young adults, families, and children. Each year, the center distributes over 1.2 million pounds of food to more than 2,000 families, teaches around 70 new parents, and offers around $1 million in mortgage and rent relief. 

Bootstrap Brewing
142 Pratt St., Longmont, 720-438-8488
6778 N. 79th St., Niwot, 720-438-8488
Lafayette Winner: Cannon Mine Coffee
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
The man behind Bootstrap Brewing Company’s open mic is the delightful Denny Driscoll. He helped found the brewery in Niwot with Leslie and Steve Kaczeus, and when the Kaczeuses decided to open a second brewery in Longmont, Denny went too, taking over a bigger stage and transforming Bootstrap into BW readers’ favorite open mic in East County. So if you’ve got a song or two you want to sing, this is the place to go. 

The Speakeasy
301 Main St., Longmont, 720-684-4728
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Part of what makes The Speakeasy so beloved is the rich history of the building. This has been a gathering spot in Longmont since it was built in 1880. Rumor has it that there may have once been interconnected tunnels running between buildings in the area during Prohibition—and it may have even been a brothel once! But these days it’s where our readers go to shake a leg, to boogie, to cut a rug. You can feel the beat pulse through you in “The Shotgun Room,” where the stage and dance floor are. With a hand-crafted cocktail in hand, The Speakeasy is one fantastic spot to strut your stuff. 

Ziggi’s Coffee
Multiple locations, Longmont
Lafayette Winner: Brewing Market Coffee & Tea
Louisville Winner: Bittersweet Cafe & Confections
Write-In Winner: The Read Queen
If you’re going to Wi-Fi, then Ziggi’s Coffee House is the place to be in East County. The tables are large enough to spread out all your things, the connection is strong and fast, the coffee is as dark and bitter or as sweet and creamy as you want, and the staff is nice. You can sit here as long as you like, Wi-Fi-ing to your heart’s content. 

Dawson School
10455 Dawson Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-6679
Niwot Winner: Boulder Valley Waldorf School
Louisville Winner: St. Louis Catholic School
There are a lot of reasons why our readers say Dawson School is the best private school in East Boulder County. For starters, the staff is dedicated to excellence of mind, body and character. Teachers prepare students to be creative, resilient problem-solvers. Dawson provides opportunities for each student to specialize and to reach their individual potential while also developing skills to meet the challenges of a complex world, including collaboration, creativity, critical-thinking, and communication. 

Louisville Elementary
400 Hutchinson St., Louisville, 720-561-7200
Longmont Winner: Flagstaff Academy
Lafayette Winner: Peak to Peak Charter School
The years kids spend in elementary and middle school help mold the adults they will eventually become. Picking up social skills, overcoming challenges, learning the fundamentals of a variety of topics . . . it’s important that kids have quality teachers, administrators, coaches and counselors to guide them on this journey. Our readers say the best place in East County for kids in grades K-8 is Louisville Elementary School, which offers comprehensive education, health and wellness support and some engaging extracurriculars, like running club, science fair and choir.

Centaurus High School
10300 S. Boulder Road, Lafayette, 720-561-7500
Louisville Winner: Monarch High School
Longmont Winner: Longmont High School
The mission at Centaurus High School is to “foster educated, engaged, empowered, and compassionate participants in a global society.” Sounds like a good mission to us, and more importantly to our readers. Students are taught to demonstrate HEART: Honor, Empathy, Achievement, Respect, and Triumph. Faculty and staff provide an enriching progressive, viable curriculum, and safe environment that equitably meets diverse student needs. And parents and the community are encouraged to engage in and support the learning process, because it takes a village. 

Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern
585 E. South Boulder Road, Louisville, 720-890-7900
Longmont Winner: Pumphouse Brewery
Erie Winner: Lazy Dog Bar & Grill
A sports bar’s gotta have TVs, and Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern has 32 high-definition TVs so you and your squad can go and watchall the big games on a Saturday afternoon. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m., so you can do your pre-gaming on the cheap, and there’s a whole menu of pub foods, from wings to burgers to salads, to satisfy any craving. 

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