Entertainment & Culture 2016

Boulder theater employees, from left to right: Ben Reynolds, Char DeStefano, Chris Peck, Andrew Gill, Cheryl Liguori, Erica Zimmerman, Becca Yenney, Karen Shaviv and David Weingarden

Music Venue


18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 720-865-2494

Second Place: Boulder Theater

Third Place: Chautauqua Auditorium

Fourth Place: Fox Theatre

Fifth Place: eTown Hall

It’s not just our readers who think that Red Rocks is the best music venue around. Musicians from all over the world go out of their way, literally, for a chance to perform in this 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheater that has been melded with the sandstone cliffs to form a spectacular venue with amazing sound qualities. The red rocks are so visually stunning that many bands including U2, Neil Young, Dave Matthews Band and Phish have shot videos of their live performances here. There is simply no other venue like it in the world.

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: Pumphouse Brewery & Red Zone

Like most folks, Steven Ross came to Boulder once and fell madly in love. Ross has stated that on his drive back to New York from Boulder, he and his buddy decided that opening a sports bar in the People’s Republic would be a great way to move to that little hippie Mecca they couldn’t stop thinking about. And one day Ross made that dream come true by opening The Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill. True to their name, The Lazy Dog sponsors dozens of local sports teams and clubs. They have also donated to just as many charities throughout Colorado, so you can feel good about grabbing a beer and some grub and kicking up your feet at a place that makes life better for the community it serves.

Place to Play Pool


1136 Pearl St., 303-449-4987

Second Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Third Place: The Attic Bar and Bistro

Fourth Place: The Lazy Dog

Sports Bar & Grill

Fifth Place: Pearl St. Pub & Cellar

The Sundown Saloon is old school Boulder. Long-time residents have been racking them up at The Downer for what seems like forever. The Downer fought against the smoking ban. It stood firm as the rest of downtown gave way to overly cool clothing stores and overpriced restaurants. You can’t light one up anymore, but this place is still an island of what Boulder was in a sea of what Boulder became. Thank goodness for The Downer. And did we mention that it’s still the best place to shoot pool, have a beer and mind your own business? Well, it is.

Art gallery

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

1750 13th St., 303-443-2122

Second Place: The Dairy Arts Center

Third Place: Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery

Fourth Place: Art + Soul Gallery

Fifth Place: Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) has been on a mission to serve as “a catalyst for creative experiences through the exploration of significant art of our time” since 1972. Founded by a group of local artists, BMoCA has maintained its commitment to fostering art through innovative exhibitions and engaging programming for all ages. In 2016, the museum launched BMoCA InsideOut, a new exhibition platform for “temporary artistic intervention and public discourse.” The program features rotating commissions from local and international artists who push the boundaries of public art. Each Saturday during the Boulder Farmers’ Market, BMoCA hosts Art Stop, a free, hands-on art making station for families, held outside on the front porch of the museum. So whether you consider yourself an art aficionado or a complete novice, BMoCA is a place for everyone.

Nonprofit/Charity Organization


2323 55th St., 303-442-4030

Second Place: Planned Parenthood

Third Place: Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center

Fourth Place: Bridge House

Fifth Place: eTown Hall

Donating to charity can be a tough decision. There are so many worthy causes out there and so many organizations that spread some much-needed goodness in the world. Let the readers of Boulder Weekly make the choice easy for you by donating to the number one voted non-profit, Humane Society of Boulder Valley. The Humane Society does so much good work in the community with man’s best friend — no, not just dogs, but with a variety of animals. With over a century of service under its belt, the Humane Society has helped make the world a better place, one paw at a time.



1750 13th St., 303-443-2122

Second Place: University of Colorado Museum of Natural History

Third Place: Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art

Fourth Place: WOW! Children’s Museum

Fifth Place: National Center for Atmospheric Research

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) is your local source for a heaping helping of arts and culture. With traveling exhibits, performances, music, visual art and programs for people of all ages, BMoCA is a contemporary museum for a contemporary community. If science is what you crave, check out the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History for their collections of more than 4 million artifacts in anthropology/archaeology, botany, entomology, paleontology, vertebrates and invertebrates. There’s no shortage of culture in Boulder County, with museums that cater to all age groups and interests.   



2960 Diagonal Highway, 303-443-4672

4760 W. Baseline Road, 303-443-4672

611 Broadway, 303-443-4672

(and other locations in Boulder County)

Second Place: Wells Fargo

Third Place: Chase Bank

Fourth Place: FirstBank

Fifth Place: Premier Members Credit Union

Elevations Credit Union has legions of fans ready to fight tooth and nail to prove they are el banco numero uno in Boulder County. With online banking, an accommodating staff, several locations and more, Elevations has everything to meet your banking needs — quickly and easily. Elevations has loans and money management services to help money-owners young and old own that money better. Plus, hey, buying a home is tough and so is buying a car. Elevations can you help you figure out how to finance such big purchases. And you can take that to the bank!

Movie House/Theater


2032 14th St., 303-786-7030

Second Place: AMC Flatiron Crossing 14

Third Place: Boedecker Theater

Fourth Place: Century Theatre

Fifth Place: Chautauqua Auditorium

Movies. Music. Comedians. Speakers. Dance. Parties. Boulder Theater has it all. From its weekly film series to world-class musicians, from Boulder Ballet to Hillary Clinton, this classic theater has something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a film festival, the annual Colorado Pole championship, the Game of Thrones premiere or a great musical show, Boulder Theater has a long history of entertaining Boulderites. Originally opening as an opera house in 1906, the art deco theater has gone through several iterations with the same goal — bringing culture and community together in the heart of Boulder.

Place to Dance


6185 Arapahoe Road, 303-440-8303

Second Place: Tahona Tequila Bistro

Third Place: Boulder Theater

Fourth Place: St Julien Hotel & Spa

Fifth Place: Fox Theatre

They say dancing is a window to the soul. They, in this case, are confusing “dancing” with “eyes,” but we think the analogy is apt. Apt to the max. When you dance, you show the world that you have rhythm, like to have fun and really like the song “Blame it on the Boogie.” You may or may not hear that at The Avalon Ballroom, but our readers love just how far they can “get down” there. With music playing in many different styles for any number of events, The Avalon Ballroom leaves prospective dancers happy.

Live Theater Group


5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000

Second Place: Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Third Place: Boulder Ensemble Theater Company

Fourth Place: University of Colorado Theater and Dance

Fifth Place: Peanut Butter Players

We love live theater because it transports us. Seeing live actors bare their souls and become someone else at the same time is true poetry. It’s alchemy done before our very eyes. And so we crave great theater like we crave cool mountain air when we need to breath, and icy fresh spring water when we’re thirsty. Luckily, BDT Stage serves up food and drinks with their good theater so in the rare situation where you’re starving, thirsty, suffocating and also in need of good theater, Boulder has a place. BDT Stage consistently has a great cast, well-made costumes, immersive sets and more. It’s almost like Broadway in Boulder.

Private School


10455 Dawson Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-6679

Second Place: Friends’ School

Third Place: Shining Mountain Waldorf School

Fourth Place: Boulder Country Day School

Fifth Place: Tara Performing Arts High School

With a rich history of private education in Boulder, BW readers once again voted Dawson School the best private school for kids kindergarten through grade 12. With a strong emphasis on college prep, it’s Dawson’s mission to challenge “students to achieve excellence of mind, body, and character.” With a further commitment to the community and the virtues of respect, compassion, courage and integrity, this private school provides opportunities for every child to succeed. Children are our future and with places like Dawson around our future is sure to be bright.

Place to Wi-Fi


1001 Arapahoe Ave., 303-441-3100

(and other locations in Boulder County)

Second Place: Ozo Coffee Company

Third Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Fourth Place: Amante Coffee

Fifth Place: Trident Booksellers and Cafe

In this age of technology, where robots are basically one step from taking over the world, thankfully places filled with books and learning still exist. They’re called libraries! And libraries are havens for information. They also have Wi-Fi, and our readers say Boulder Public Library is the best place to use it. Set yourself up in a nice quiet environment surrounded by other people on the quest for higher knowledge, or even if you’re playing Candy Crush — you get the picture. It’ll be the perfect place to write your Game of Thrones/Orange is the New Black crossover fanficiton.

Live Jazz Venue


900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696

Second Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Third Place: Nissi’s

Fourth Place: Hotel Boulderado

Fifth Place: Caffe Sole

Skee bop da dap daw… skiddly bee bop da doo wap bow…  Whether it’s the dog days of summer or the deep throes of winter, our readers know there’s no better place to take in an evening of live jazz music than at the St Julien Hotel & Spa. With local jazz staples like the Nice Work Jazz Combo, Ron LeGault Jazz and the Mike Robinson Quartet making regular appearances at the St Julien, you can rest assured you’re watching the best live jazz Boulder has to offer. So grab a cocktail at the bar and get comfy, inside or out, because you’re in for a night of toe tapping, skiddely doo dapping jazz.

Open Mic


1709 Pearl St.

Second Place: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew

Third Place: Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant

Fourth Place: The Attic Bar and Bistro

Fifth Place: Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe

Before American Idol, before The Voice, before YouTube and MySpace, there were open mic nights. A place to showcase talent, creativity and style, open mic nights have started the careers of many artists but also provide community and support for any aspiring musician. And open mics aren’t just for musicians — poetry reading and comedy open mics are also popular venues to showcase talent. In Boulder, BW readers voted The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse home of the best open mic around. With a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of space and that authentic coffee-shop feel, check out the Laughing Goat schedule to watch great talent or get up on stage yourself.

Summer Camp


10063 Gold Hill Road, 303-442-4557

Second Place: YMCA Summer Camps

Third Place: University of Colorado Science Discovery

Fourth Place: Avid4 Adventure

Fifth Place: APEX Movement Boulder

We remember summer camp. Summer camp was a time to hang out outside all day with your buds and talk about frogs or play kickball or find your first crush. There are fun-loving counselors to act mentors (who will also help kids have a fun summer). Our readers chose Colorado Mountain Ranch as the best summer camp, and there are a lot of reasons why. They get kids outside, experiencing myriad recreational activities, all in a safe, fun and social environment. They’ve got horses, trampolines, trails, water activities and a long list of other fun stuff for your kiddos.

Classical Music


2590 Walnut St., 303-449-1343

Second Place: Colorado Music Festival

Third Place: Boulder Symphony

Fourth Place: Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Fifth Place: CU Presents

For more than a half century, The Boulder Phil, as locals refer to it, has been making amazing music in Boulder County. The reason is simple — music is important to community. The Boulder Phil does more than put on classical music performances, some with the world’s most respected soloists. It also works with local organizations for the good of the community and it puts on concerts for youth in order to expand their cultural horizons. It’s no wonder that our readers have once again chosen the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra as its favorite provider of classical music. It’s because it is so much more than that.

staff pix graphic_2016Diverse Radio


88.5 FM, 1390 AM

The best part about the radio is that when you stop liking something, be it a song or a talking head, you can just turn the dial. But, our favorite radio stations rarely beckon us to do so, and Boulder’s KGNU is a station that’s hard to turn off. It’s likely you’ve found yourself parked outside your house waiting for an engrossing segment to wrap up before you go inside. Or maybe you turn to it for world-class, no-spin news. Or maybe it’s the music and arts features you like. Whatever it is, there’s no denying KGNU’s diversity, and that’s why it’s one of our favorites.

Live Dance Group


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

Second Place: Frequent Flyers Productions

Third Place: Streetside Studios

Fourth Place: Boulder Samba School

Fifth Place: Lemon Sponge Cake Ballet

Dance isn’t just about The Nutcracker at Christmas or for little girls in tutus. It’s about artistry, expression and interpretation. And Boulder Ballet offers performances throughout the year the opportunity to engage and inspire viewers in the art of storytelling through movement. Whether it’s a contemporary performance accompanied by the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra or a classical ballet performed at the Bandshell for free during the summer, Boulder Ballet is the city’s favorite live dance group. With a rich history, talented dancers and the artistic direction of Ana Claire, the company draws audiences of all ages. They also offer youth and adult ballet classes, with a unique boy’s program and a wide-range of talented faculty.

Local Celebrity


Somewhere on Pearl Street Mall

Second Place: Big Head Todd

Third Place: Jessica Biel

Fourth Place: Hazel Miller

Fifth Place: Gregory Allan Isakov

“73007” comes a shout from a man in the audience. “Arcadia, Oklahoma, just down the road from the round barn,” answers Zip Code Man, aka David Rosdeitcher. By itself, that may not strike you as an amazing feat, but when you consider that Zip Code Man stands on the mall day after day as people passing by try to stump him with one obscure town’s zip code after another, and he somehow manages to get them all correct, it really is something. It’s an astounding and bizarre skill. It’s so cool, in fact, we have to wonder if any one will ever unseat Zip Code Man as the area’s best-known and appreciated local celebrity. Time will tell, but for this year, he is safely at the top once again.

staff pix graphic_2016Karaoke


3141 28th St., 303-444-0081

The word karaoke is a combination of the Japanese word kara, which means empty, and a clipped form of okesutora, which means orchestra. Empty orchestra. That kind of describes karaoke, but we think it’s more accurately described as the unveiling of a brightly burning, yet-undiscovered pop star. And when the moment is right, you’ve had just enough beers and you’re ready to show the world (or at least part of East Boulder) the pop star within, head to The Outback Saloon for a night of karaoke every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. Have a little nosh from their sizable menu of bar goodies, imbibe a delicious microbrew or three, and then sign up for the best rendition of “Livin’ on a Prayer” Boulder has ever heard.

Performance Arts Venue


2590 Walnut St., 303-440-7826

Second Place: Boulder Theater

Third Place: Chautauqua Auditorium

Fourth Place: Macky Auditorium

Fifth Place: BDT Stage

The Dairy Arts Center is Boulder County’s choice spot to take in performance art, and rightfully so. At The Dairy you can take in comedy shows, theater, dance and musical performances. The Dairy is currently undergoing what they call “much needed” renovation, split into three phases so the center can stay open during the entire 18 months of construction. When the renovation is complete, The Dairy will have, if it’s possible to believe, an even better performance space. The Gordon Gamm Performance Theater will become a 250-set venue and the Grace Gamm Drama Theater will grow to seat 116. The Carsen Theater — ideal for experimental theater and intimate performances — will undergo a reconfiguration, and all theaters will receive technical, lighting and sound improvements. It’s scheduled to be all done December 2016. If you’re reading this in March 2017, and it’s still not open, they’re behind schedule.

staff pix graphic_2016Place to Juggle Something on Fire


4747 26th St., 303-444-8110

Dream no more, dear reader, because with a little help from the Boulder Circus Center, you can be that daring young person on the flying trapeze. Or juggling fire. The Boulder Circus Center offers classes in a number of circus arts to get you moving and dancing and connected with a community of fun-loving people.  Check their website (bouldercircuscenter.net) to see what’s right for you.

Music Festival


Telluride, 800-624-2422

Second Place: Colorado Music Festival

Third Place: RockyGrass Festival

Fourth Place: Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

Fifth Place: ARISE Music Festival

Music festivals bring us together with our favorite artists and our common man unlike any other event. And that’s for better or worse. Luckily, we have a number of music festivals that are consistently positive experiences. Our readers say no festival is better than the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Though it’s many hours of driving away, Telluride Bluegrass Festival is run by Planet Bluegrass, which also hosts RockyGrass and the Folks Festival in Lyons. Telluride, though, always brings in the biggest bluegrass acts from across the country, and even some artists that mix genres. It’s a rip-roaring good time.

Local Musician/ Group


Second Place: Elephant Revival

Third Place: Gasoline Lollipops

Fourth Place: Hazel Miller

Fifth Place: Gregory
Alan Isakov

Boulder is spoiled with a slew of awesome musicians. The competition is fierce but when our readers wanna boogie down, they choose FACE as their favorite local group. FACE is composed of five members on vocals… with no instrumentalists. Alone with their voices, the members can create bumpin’ beats that match their energetic singing. From writing original songs to covering popular music across different genres, FACE has something for everyone. The band has garnered attention from all over the world, recently returning from a European tour. Stop by one of their performances and you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

Festival/Event — Non Music


13th Street between Arapahoe and Canyon, 303-910-2236

Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont

Second Place: Boulder Creek Festival

Third Place: Frozen Dead Guy Days

Fourth Place: Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Fifth Place: Boulder International Film Festival

It’s a bleak time for Boulder between Thanksgiving and April. As winter takes hold, Boulder citizens have a farmers’-market-sized hole in their hearts. Frozen and hungry, we daydream about warm mornings spent strolling the market, talking with farmers, laughing with friends and filling up on tasty treats. As the snow melts and flowers bloom, our beloved Boulder County Farmers’ Market opens its doors again and we collectively shout, “Huzzah!” Entering their 30th season in 2016, the Farmers’ Market has provided Boulder County citizens with a community-oriented event that promotes and supports local agriculture and business. You go Boulder County Farmers’ Market — keep doin’ you.

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: Food Lab

Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or at 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Well, Boulder must be full of young people, for there is a plethora of advanced educational opportunities here, whether it’s cooking, learning a new creative skill or starting a second career. And the University of Colorado Continuing Education department has plenty of options to choose from and a flexible program to accommodate learners of all ages, careers, schedules and lifestyles. From online courses to weekend classes to evening credits, you’re sure to find something that works for you.

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