BEST CHILD CARE
First United Methodist Church
201 S. Locust St.
First United Methodist Church of Denton has been providing child care services for local families since the 1970s.
Children’s Day Out offers preschool and full-time day care services. FunStop Out-of-School Time serves children through eighth grade and provides transportation from 10 elementary schools to the church.
Director Kay Jennings said First United Methodist offers Denton’s only Christian child care program where children are cared for from infancy through middle school. The programs aim to provide meaningful learning opportunities to develop skills and a foundation for life.
Runner-up: Wellspring Christian Academy
Bragging rights: First Baptist Child Development Center
BEST COMMUNITY EVENT
Denton Arts & Jazz Festival
Last full weekend of April (April 24-26 this year)
P.O. Box 2104
Known as one of the largest attractions in North Texas, the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival is the region’s go-to for art and music in a family-friendly environment.
For 25 years the festival has been held on Quakertown Park’s 32 acres, providing free entertainment for over 225,000 guests — from locals in walking distance to visitors traveling from surrounding states.
If your interest is music, there are seven stages serving up songs from 3,000 musicians and performers. If you’re attending for the art, expect to see 300 artists and vendors looking to impress. Not to mention a children’s art tent, percussion tent, food vendors, games and activities and information booths. This event is made possible each year by close to 1,000 people giving up their time and effort to create the best experience possible.
Executive director Carol Short said the real reward is being able to see the smiling faces of all who attend.
Runner-up: North Texas Fair & Rodeo
Bragging rights: Denton Community Market
BEST DANCE STUDIO
Denton Dance Conservatory
4103 Mesa Drive
Denton Dance Conservatory combines a professional training atmosphere and nurturing environment where students of all ages can learn and make memories.
Dance training is offered in a range of styles, including classical ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, tap and hip-hop. Graduates of Denton Dance Conservatory have moved on to major college dance programs and professional dance careers.
The dance school also collaborates with the Denton City Contemporary Ballet, a nonprofit performance company.
Runner-up: Denton Ballet Academy
Bragging rights: Green Space Arts Collective
3014 S. I-35E
Achievers Gymnastics is the place to go for gymnastics, cheer and even parkour training.
The gym hosts special events throughout the year including Mom’s Day Out, Parent’s Night Out and an award-winning summer camp program for all ages and abilities.
With classes in beginner to advanced levels for both boys and girls gymnastics, instructors work to provide excellent customer service, high-quality instruction and a proud safety record with equipment for gymnasts ages 4 and up.
Achievers has been voted for honors in Best of Denton four years now and is constantly trying to improve to offer Denton the best of what it does.
Runner-up: Denton Gymnastics Academy
Bragging rights: Corinth Gymnastics
BEST HEALTH & FITNESS
Denton location: 806 W. University Drive
Thanks to its an inviting and affordable workout experience, Planet Fitness has earned a Best of Denton award within a year of opening its doors.
Whether you’re a first-time gym-goer or somebody just looking for a different spot to work out, this is the place for you. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and there to assist you in any way needed.
General manager Diego Ramirez said the award only puts more pressure on the staff to keep up with the standards they’ve set for themselves. “It gives us the drive and determination to continue giving great customer service,” he said.
Runner-up: North Lakes Recreation Center
Bragging rights: LA Fitness
BEST LIVE/MOVIE THEATER
Movie Tavern Denton
Denton location: 916 W. University Drive
A stop at the bar on the way to the movies is never a bad thing — especially when the bar is down the hall from the theater.
Movie Tavern Denton offers the best of a pub and a cinema, with smaller theaters and a large menu of drinks and eats with service to your seat. Movie buffs can catch old classics like The Big Lebowski and The Godfather regularly on retro movie days, as well as the latest blockbusters.
Other specials at the theater include breakfast and a flick on weekend mornings.
Runner-up: Cinemark Denton
Bragging rights: Denton Community Theatre
BEST MARTIAL ARTS STUDIO
Top Game Jiu Jitsu Studio
1402 N. Corinth St., Suite 209, Corinth
Not even a year into business, Top Game Jiu Jitsu received Best of Denton honors for the family-oriented environment it offers for students of the martial arts.
“We are honored to win this award — especially for being in business for less than a year,” says Blake Dvorak, co-owner of the family-owned studio. “We hope this recognition will encourage people to stop by our studio and see if our team would be a good match to help them live a more productive and rewarding life.”
Top Game Jiu Jitsu prides itself on not only teaching a great martial arts curriculum, but also building a supportive and healthy team environment.
Whether you’re 5 years old or 65, the studio can teach you Brazilian martial arts and some Pilates as well.
Runner-up: Reding Martial Arts
Bragging rights: Denton Taekwondo Academy
BEST PLACE TO CREATE ARTS/CRAFT
420 S. Bell Ave.
SCRAP Denton is a place to learn new craft skills and find creative inspiration. The nonprofit shop sells affordable art, craft, sewing and school supplies and takes donations of usable materials.
Director Heather Gregory said SCRAP Denton is the only creative reuse center in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She’s thrilled by the continuous community support.
Runner-up: Painting With a Twist
Bragging rights: Serendipity on the Square
BEST PRIVATE/GROUP MUSIC LESSONS
UNT String Program
There’s no shortage of music lessons in Denton. The city is, after all, home to a large music school at University of North Texas. Without leaving the city limits, locals can study voice and just about any instrument that suits their fancy.
Readers rate the UNT String Program as the best place in town to wrap your brain and your hands around a violin, viola, cello or double bass. The program’s scope is limited to children in second through eighth grade.
“Learning to play a stringed instrument and belonging to the UNT String Project opens up a whole new world of friendship and fun,” director Rebecca Roesler says. “The opportunities for playing a stringed instrument in school and even after high school are abundant, with many universities offering scholarships just for orchestra participation.”
The string program teaches more than music. Children in the program learn self-discipline, cooperation, problem-solving, goal-setting and self-expression.
The program’s officials said they’ve gotten praise for both the music and the relationships formed with their young students’ families.
“We’d like to think that we are doing a good job educating the community’s children and providing a wonderful musical experience for them,” Roesler said. “However, it’s important to note that the families we work with have always been so supportive of our teachers and program and we wouldn’t be here with out their support.
Families can monitor the music education program’s Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1IT3Pw6.
Runner-up: Bonduris Music
Bragging rights: The Ghost Note
BEST RECREATIONAL VEHICLES & EQUIPMENT
Cycle Center of Denton
521 Acme St.
Endless knowledge of motorcycles and never-ending customer service are just a couple of reasons to stop by Cycle Center of Denton.
Cycle Center has been around for nearly 20 years under the current ownership, and it’s been present in Denton since the 1960s. In addition to being the largest motorcycle dealership in the region, it hosts several events and participates and volunteers in fundraisers.
Cycle Center of Denton offers Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, Victory, Slingshot, KTM and BMW Motorrad, as well as service, parts and accessories, financing and insurance.
After you’ve found what you’re looking for, don’t expect these guys to just disappear. The staff will stay in touch after your visit to make sure you’re getting everything you expect out of your new ride.
Runner-up: McClain’s RV Superstore
Bragging rights: Camping World
BEST WEDDING VENUE
TWU’s Little Chapel-in-the-Woods
415 Chapel Drive on the TWU campus
TWU Conference Services, 940-898-3644
For Denton locals, the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods on the Texas Woman’s University campus serves as a beautiful and historical venue for weddings, commitment ceremonies, recitals and memorial services.
The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods was designed by famed Denton architect O’Neil Ford and was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt. Many a visitor has been mesmerized by its beauty inside and out — after all, it’s been designated as one of the state’s 20 most outstanding architectural achievements by the Texas Society of Architects.
Residents realize the hard work it took to construct the chapel back in 1939, and it’s a Denton icon for any history aficionado.
TWU’s customer service, excellent dining services and all-inclusive wedding packages help calm the stressful time of planning a wedding.
“We feel privileged to receive this wonderful honor for a place that is so beautiful, tranquil, spiritual and meaningful to our community,” says Carine Feyten, TWU’s chancellor and president. “Receiving this recognition for the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods shows how beloved this ‘Texas Treasure’ is to Denton.”
Runner-up: Ashton Gardens
Bragging rights: Wildwood Inn
BEST YOGA STUDIO
Twisted Bodies Pilates and Yoga
508 S. Elm St., Suite 102
If you happen to be strolling through Denton Plaza, you might catch a glimpse of people of all ages twisting their bodies in bright pink rooms.
Twisted Bodies is the sole aerial yoga studio in Denton County, and the only nationally registered yoga school that offers yoga teacher training programs in Denton.
The studio strives to offer an atmosphere of honesty and care, while each instructor is personally invested in each of their clients, new and old.
After opening in 2008, co-owners Carissa Laitinen-Kniss and Khristen Pahler believe their smaller class sizes let them focus heavily on anatomy, technique and alignment. Although they take their Pilates and yoga seriously, they make sure to sprinkle in the crazy fun that makes them twisted!
If you are looking for a place that challenges you in an environment where the class sizes are small enough to allow for more individualized instruction, then Twisted Bodies is the place for you.
Runner-up: The Yoga Hut
Bragging rights: Denton Yoga Center