entertainment and culture

Laughing Goat employees Lauren Champa and Xander Rizzello
Susan France

Movie House/Theater 


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.



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.

Open Mic 


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.

Art Gallery 


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.

Classical Music 


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 


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.

Local Celebrity 


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.

Local Musician/Group 



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 


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.

Sports Bar 


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.

Music Festival 


Telluride, 800-624-2422 

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 


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.

Summer Camp 


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 


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.

Private 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.

Music Venue 


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.

Advanced 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.

Festival/Event (non-music) 


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.



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.

Non-Profit/Charity Organization 


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.

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