Best Of Shopping & Services
Best Women's Clothing Store
A well-run boutique needs a welcoming atmosphere, trendy clothes and pristine changing rooms. Oh, and booze. Rio Ritz has all of this in spades. Earlier this year, Thais Moses took her online shop and moved into an old house in Uptown. You'd be hard-pressed to find something with a price...
Best Place to Find Hidden Treasures
Ross at Peak Thrift Store
At first glance Ross at Peak Thrift Store looks like the kind of place that is too dusty and cluttered to even bother with, especially for those of us who aren't "extreme thrifters." The space is a little stuffy and unorganized, but there are plenty of treasures hiding behind those...
Best Dallas Fashion Designer
We were heartbroken when Christine Visneau announced she'd be closing her Little Bean children's shop a few years back. And even though the shop was sold at the last minute and quickly reopened, Visneau's line of chic home-sewn children's clothing was no more. We really missed buying those vintage-inspired, beautifully...
Best Unkept Secret
Milk & Honey Boutique
There was a time when this little store off Henderson Avenue was Dallas fashion's best-kept secret. You could pop in and buy something cuter and cheaper than Urban Outfitters or TopShop and none of your friends would already own it. Now the secret's out. The clothes are still cute, but...
Best Affordable Jewelry
"A lot of Highland Park moms," the clerk behind the counter at Gemma Collection replied when we asked who shopped at the University Park store. That's not a bad clientele to have when you're selling reasonably priced jewelry. The pieces in Gemma's large assortment of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc., are...
Unique Tailor is a plain-Jane little storefront that stays out front of the competition with great service and very reasonable prices. It's all very democratic and unpretentious. Everybody getting their fat butt or their skinny butt stuck full of pins in front of everybody else, with that kind of mutual...
Best Men's Clothing Store
The small shop on Henderson Avenue calls itself a "Guideshop." That's means it doesn't sell clothing, precisely. Or rather it does sell them, but just not there. Confusing. It's simple, really. You go into Bonobos Guideshop to see the clothes, try them on and get fitted. Then you tell them...
Best Vintage Clothing
This local vintage store is known for many things: eclectic jewelry, taxidermy, antique furniture. But it's the clothing selection that really sets it apart from all other second-hand stores in town. Racks of beaded dresses, fur coats, vests, blouses, denim and more line the entrance of the 3,800-square-foot store. Not...
Best Clothing Store for Making New Friends
Buffalo Exchange is a national thrift chain that mainly sells modern, designer-brand and trendy clothes for about half the original price. Shoppers can also try selling their old clothes back, garnering better sales if the clothes are in-season and in good condition. The stores vary widely from each other, with...
Best Non-Food Reason to Go to Bishop Arts
The restaurants of the Bishop Arts District earned it a reputation as a hotspot, but that's no reason to overlook the shops that fill many of the Oak Cliff neighborhood's storefronts. Nearly every store lining Bishop Avenue and 7th Street is at least worth peering into from the sidewalk. But...
Best Place for Crafting Co-Dependence
Someone keeps telling us that sewing is not a talent; it's a skill that's learned with lots of practice. We hope that's true, because it's becoming pretty clear that we were not blessed with an innate ability to load a bobbin or sew a straight line. And man, we need...
Best Shop for Rethinking Your Choices
Have you ever found yourself out for a night on the town hating the outfit you squeezed into on your way out the door? Or maybe your little black dress just isn't as exciting as the night ahead of you. Elluments is the perfect store for a costume change. Grab...
Best Nail Salon
Castle Nail Spa
Sure, there are plenty of nail salons in town, and while most of them will get your nails looking their best, Castle Nail Spa in Mockingbird Station takes your manicure experience to the next level. The spa is perfect if you're looking for a basic mani-pedi or want to indulge...
Pouf Blow Dry Salon
We never thought that we'd be able go a full seven days without washing our hair — well, not since that Ani DiFranco dreadlock phase in college, anyway. But it's happened a lot lately, saving us untold amounts of time and energy — and nobody's been the wiser. In fact,...
Best Furniture Store
Salvation Army Family Store
We all know that furniture shopping can be expensive, especially when seeking out the latest trends. The mid-century look is so hot right now, but you'll spend a pretty penny to re-create the look for your home. So, instead of shelling out $5,000 for that vintage-looking dining table, why not...
Best Home Decorations
Life of Riley
One of these days, we're going to show up at Life of Riley — Deep Ellum's fantastic interior design spot — with a suitcase and just live there. And not because it's so close to Pecan Lodge. Well, not entirely because of that. Mostly, we just want to stay in...
Best Frame Shop
Art & Frame Expo
Five full-time experienced framers on staff handle framing jobs from $25 to $2,000, mostly in the $50 to $150 range, with most jobs completed within three days, a maximum of seven days for the most challenging work. Their ample staff allows Art Frame Expo to specialize in emergency rush jobs...
Best Place to Furnish Your Vintage Apartment
Lula B's (Riverfront)
This gigantic thrift-store-slash-antique-mall is excellent for perusing wares of all kinds, but the furniture selection is unparalleled. The styles of furniture range from traditional to contemporary, but you'll have the best luck if your style is more mid-century. There are dozens of couches, tables, chairs and knickknacks that will make...
Best Place to Find Weird Vintage Goodness
There could be no name more apt for this Lakewood shop than Curiosities. Those among us who find design inspiration in the quirky and utterly weird will certainly come across something to love in this well-curated collection. As you shop, you'll find buckets of random goodies like old coins, political...
Best Place to Feel Nostalgic about Your Childhood
Geeks who grew up in the '70s or '80s will be in nostalgia heaven as soon as they walk through the doors to B4. The front of the store looks like a Toys "R" Us that has been time-warped back to 1986. Among the Star Wars figurines, metal Ninja Turtle...
Best Thrift Store
Genesis Benefit Thrift Store
This is the kind of thrift shop where serious thrifters do their shopping. The clothing racks, surprisingly filled with lots of brand new, brand-name items, are perfect for building wardrobe basics on a budget. Genesis Benefit Thrift store also has a deceptively good collection of books, and a nice selection...
Best Place to Find Your Halloween Costume
Pandemonium! may very well be the only place you'll ever need to buy an outfit for that tacky Halloween or "throwback Thursday" party your friends are planning. Located on Lower Greenville, the best (and worst) fashions of the '60s, '70s and '80s are crammed into every nook and cranny of...
Best Place to Find an Outfit to Go with Your Fedora
The duds here aren't always high-end, but the clothing racks at Thrift World sometimes yield delicious designer finds. If brand names don't concern you, though, you could easily assemble your entire yuppie-bohemian wardrobe here from the rows of early-'90s flashback fashion that seems to be so popular with that crowd...
Best Gift Shop
We Are 1976
No, this isn't a vintage store, regardless of what the name might imply. Rather, this Henderson Avenue gift shop (which has a second location in the Bishop Arts District) is stocked full of books, prints, apparel, art and even snacks. It's the perfect spot to grab a unique, handmade card...
Best Place to Shop Weird
If an acid trip could be recreated as a retail shop, it would be Voodoo Chile. It's technically billed as a "vintage store," but this place functions much more like an art gallery for its eccentric owner who claims that his name is actually Jimi Hendrix. Weird is an understatement...
Best Record Store (Tie)
Good Records and Dead Wax
A record store isn't just a place to go pick out the record you're looking for, pay for it and leave. It's a gathering place where you'll run into old friends and meet new ones, where you can hang out for hours just thumbing through the racks and listening to...
Saints and Sinners
The Carrollton location may have come first, but now that owner Nick Ley spends the lion's share of his inking time at the Oak Cliff location, the Bishop Arts studio is the one that comes to mind when thinking of Saints and Sinners. And even if it is the newer...
Best Day Spa
King Waterpark and Spa & Sauna
Inspired by the tradition of Korean Jjim-Jil-Bang spas, King Waterpark and the attached King Spa & Sauna provide a quick vacation without a trip to the airport. For the price of dual admission, you can enjoy both the saunas (try the fire sudatorium) and the steam rooms before spending the...
You're walking down a downtown street, when you look up and spy a plexiglass pool elegantly jutting out from a building, several stories above your head. Yeah, you can probably see up some person's swim trunks, but that's not the point. The Joule has only been open for a couple...
Best Public Transit Tool
DART buses are incapable of making change. Ticket terminals at DART train stations often greet credit cards with a demoralizing buzzer. That alone makes GoPass worth the memory it will occupy on your mobile device. A couple of clicks and your phone is now a valid DART pass. Doubly helpful...
Best Gourmet Chicken Feed
If you have backyard chicken pets and you want to treat them like a bunch of animals, fine, go ahead, sling some kind of gross gray pellets at them and call yourself a farmer. But if you want your chickens not only to be well-fed but to have a strong...
Best Store Mascot
George at Gecko Hardware
George is not a gecko. George eats geckos. Or he would, if he got a chance. George — who is Prince George, technically — is an extremely red Buff Orpington rooster, official mascot of Gecko Hardware, which is the kind of store you'd get if a regular modern shopping mall...
Best Store for the Unrequited Fisherman
Maybe it was all those Hemingway stories we read as a kid about big-hearted rivers, but there's something about fly fishing that tugs at our romantic soul. In theory, anyway. Actual fishing experiences – at lakes, bored, sunburned, stinking of bait and bug-bitten – have never been good. Still, a...
Best Priced Seasonal Color and Landscape Plants
Suburban Plants is a kind of inside secret among landscape designers and serious gardeners as a place where you can find good, strong, heart-hardy plants at very reasonable prices. For years it has been tucked up into a hard-to-get-to corner of the Dallas Farmers Market, adding to the insider cachet...
Best Taste of the Midi
Rise No. 1
Because you were born and grew up in the South of France and now you're here, because you went to school there, you visited once on vacation, you read about it, whatever reason you may have for missing the Midi, Rise No. 1 is ingeniously fiendishly designed to scratch your...
Best Serious Massage
Kendahl Airey is a specialist with training in deep tissue/sports massage, lymphatic, pre-natal and hot stone massage and oncology massage, for which she was trained at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She has clients who are NFL players and clients who are desk-bound journalists, all...
Best Clock Repair
Tic Toc Clock Shop
Really old clocks are cool inside, all kinds of retro-looking gizmos clicking up and down, spinning and rocking together to keep the time. But old clocks are sort of like old people. They get kind of crazy sometimes, and just looking in there yourself, it's not easy to tell if...
Best Outdoor Supply
Whole Earth Provision
Not too many years ago Whole Earth Provision and REI were great places to go because it was otherwise so hard to find a lot of hiking, paddling and general outdoor gear in Dallas. Now they're good to know about because there is so much outdoor gear for sale all...
Best Loose-Leaf Tea
If you need a lot of advice and guidance, you have to go to some place like The Cultured Cup, but if you sort of know what you're looking for in a loose-leaf tea or you know what you'd like to explore, Central Market offers a broad selection at fairly...
Best Expat Services
Did you know one of America's largest importers of British goods is in Grapevine? Well, now you do. The British Emporium has every horrifying British food you've never wanted to try, from steak and kidney pie to prawn-cocktail-flavor chips, alongside a smattering of Doctor Who merchandise and pictures of the...
Best Dinner and a Show
Hong Kong Market
When you're heating up the wok, head to Hong Kong Market for all the ingredients for dinner, plus some amazing entertainment while you shop. On one occasion, an Observer staffer went to check out what they were told was an amazing special on lobster. While waiting at the seafood counter,...
Best Old Windows
Orr-Reed Wrecking Co.
Sooner or later you will tell yourself, "Yeah, this house is authentic and historical and all that good stuff, but I need to be able to open a window." As soon as you say that, you are off down the road to re-do Hades. The windows you've got won't open...
Best Kids' Birthday Venue
Kids of a certain age will never get sick of certain popular bounce-house venues. Parents, on the other hand, forced to haul their child to a party there every goddamned weekend, can barely choke down the bile. Enter Quiggly's Clayhouse. As its name implies, parties there involve clay — painting...
Best Place to Explode Your 4-Year-Old's Brain
There aren't many good reasons to drive to Grapevine. The best one, if you have a child obsessed with a certain brand of molded plastic block, is Legoland. It's a Lego theme park. With two million Legos. With a 4-D(!) movie theater. With Lego go-carts. It won't actually explode your...
Best Baby Gifts for Fancy Babies
Do you have to go to a baby shower for a fancy baby? Go to Baby Bliss and snag all the expensive baby crap that fancy baby desperately needs. You want to spend 30 bucks on a onesie the kid will puke on in the first two seconds it wears...
Best Place to Fear for Your Life
Sometimes, your kids are bouncing off the walls in your house, and you'd rather have them bounce off the wall somewhere — anywhere — else. At this desperate point, you make the choice to drive them to Jumpstreet. Jumpstreet is an "indoor trampoline park" (read: a warehouse space they lined...
Best Place to Watch Your Toddler Get Trampled
Play area on the third floor of the Galleria
The play area on the third floor of the Galleria is enclosed, with only one entrance/exit. It's carpeted. And it's full of squishy, rounded-cornered stuff for your kids to climb all over. The whole thing is even lined with a never-ending bench, so every parent has a place to sit...
Best Yoga Pants Car Pool
Dallas Zoo Day Camps
On a 106-acre spread in southern Dallas, a particular species congregates every morning for a week at a time during certain parts of the year. That species: the yoga pants mom. The reason for their migration to these parts: Dallas Zoo day camps. During the summer — and again during...
Best en Español
Spanish House Immersion School
That software you bought last year so you could learn a little conversational Spanish held so much promise, but here you are ... still struggling to figure out how to gender nouns and when to roll your Rs. That's because language acquisition doesn't really work that way. A computer can...
Best Path to Pinterest-Worthiness
Brown Eye Blue Eye Calligraphy Classes
Remember that time you thought you'd pay someone to address your wedding invitations in fancy calligraphy just like you saw on Pinterest and then HOLY MOTHER OF GOD it was, like, Uptown money? There's a reason: That shit's kind of hard. There's a whole science behind it, like the angle...
Best Wine/Liquor Store
Goody Goody Liquor
The only thing better than this Goody Goody's booze selection is the welcoming and knowledgeable staff. Not sure what you're looking for? The Oak Lawn liquor store employees are more than eager to lead customers through the wide-ranging selection of liquor, wine and beer. Goody Goody also boasts some of...
Best Beer Store
All the way up in Carrollton, Lonestar is an incredible place for beer nerds, with regular tastings, and it's one of the most reliable places to pick up the rarest beers around. Owner Sam Ali has an incredible knowledge of his stock and is amazingly friendly, and they lean heavily...
Best Pet Food Store
Whether you're looking to adopt a cat, buy a bag of organic cat food or both, Pet Supermarket has got you covered. This pet supply store stocks every type of pet necessity imaginable. There's even a section exclusively for dressing up your fur-baby (what's cuter than a tiny dog in...
Best Free Green
Leslie Halleck, Halleck Horticultural
She's dropped the gardening know-how on WFAA's Good Morning, Texas and has a new book (Best Garden Plants for Texas) slated for spring, but for now, it's her free green advice on the web that Dallasites should be following. Leslie Halleck is the self-described plant geek behind Halleck Horticultural. As...
Best Tree Trim
If 2014's ice storms were anything to go on, tree pruning and maintenance aren't matters to ignore. Power outages, blocked roads and home repairs caused by fallen trees were big news. That's when homeowners new and old started learning and re-learning the importance of keeping trees trimmed. According to the...
Best Air Quality Boost
Energy Saving Trees from Oncor and the Arbor Day Foundation
Orange alerts and haze and gross. Dallas has seen it all this year. Anything to breathe better and cleaner is welcome, if not passionately celebrated. This falls under passionately celebrated. Oncor and the Arbor Day Foundation, once again, offered two free trees for qualifying homeowners this fall. By just filling...
Best Eyewear Selection
We've shopped high-end eyewear shops, one-hour mall chains and small, locally owned discount stores on the cheap. One thing they've all had in common is that no matter what sort of frames we've bought, from fancy lightweight titanium gems to standard plastic Buddy Holly types, once the person behind the...
Best Vaping Shop
Rock N Roll Vapes
Rock N Roll Vapes offers a vaping experience enhanced with a rock 'n' roll theme. By turning a broken guitar into a work of art and broken records into seat covers, owner John Smith infuses his passion for music in every aspect of his store. Offering signature e-juice flavors with...
Best Hair Salon
Delilah Damage Free Extensions Salon
In a drab plaza on Wycliff Avenue, the hair salon next to a Dickey's barbecue shop from the outside looks indistinguishable from all the other hair salons that dot strip malls across North Texas. Inside, however, is a pleasant surprise — a youthful boutique filled with bags of long hair...
Best Marathon Training
Dallas Running Club
There are a few human beings equipped with a big enough reservoir of internal motivation that they can endure several months of arduous, time-consuming training. The rest of us occasionally need a bit of external motivation, and aside from a vein-bulging drill sergeant, there's nothing quite so effective as a...
Best Bike Trail
White Rock Lake to Deep Ellum (and back)T&P Hill to White Rock Creek Trail to Santa Fe Trail to Deep Ellum (and reverse)
Dallas has made some drastic improvement in terms of making certain neighborhoods more bikeable, but sometimes it's getting between those 'hoods that seems daunting. While cycling from East Dallas/Lake Highlands to Deep Ellum hasn't traditionally been difficult, it's made inherently easier by the Santa Fe Trail. For a particularly tasty...