Best Of Shopping & Services
Best Men's Clothing Store
Occupying prime retail space in Deep Ellum, Epocha boutique and art gallery specializes in men's hard-to-find sneakers. Rare editions of Pumas and Asics are there, along with lesser-known brands. Steps from the colorful shoe rack hang a large selection of men's vintage coats. Shop here for unique streetwear and hip-hop...
Best Liquor Store
Beverage Depot is the size of a grocery store, but the food groups here are "vodka," "whiskey" and "Scotch." Checkout lines are long and aisles crowded on Friday nights as customers load up on bargain booze from the well organized selection of wines, beers and spirits. Imported wines at low...
Best Tattoo Artist
Oliver Peck is the local ink star who founded the Friday the 13th tattoo marathons. On those nights on the calendar, Peck and his coworkers at Elm Street Tattoo put on a show. With lines snaking out the door, people wait to get a tattoo for just $13 — on...
Best Place to Vaccinate Your Pup
Pet Supplies Plus
One Saturday a month, the back room of the independently owned Pet Supplies Plus on Lower Greenville offers discount vaccines, drawing lots of dog owners and yapping, furry friends who sense that something's up. Be assured that the vets here work with sensitivity, patience and care. This store is open...
Best Cycling Caps
Ellum Bag Works
Jewel Ybarra is a Dallas cyclist who taught herself to sew. She is the creator of Ellum Bag Works, selling handmade, locally sourced gear and apparel to local bike shops and from her Etsy page. Her specialty is cycling caps — light, breezy caps that absorb the sweat under a...
The restored 1946 Belmont Hotel was essential to the revitalization of its West Dallas neighborhood. It has a great, mid-century cool bar and spectacular views of downtown. It's a terrific venue for weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations, and Barefoot at the Belmont, Dallas' best outdoor concert series, happens there. Check...
Best Vintage Clothing Store
You're never fully dressed without a muumuu, a mink hand-muff and a pillbox hat. You'll find all of these and much, much more on the racks at Vintage Martini. After just a year in Dallas, this has become the go-to shopping destination for keen lovers of all things grandma (but...
Best Luxury Day Spa
Espa at The Joule
Before you've even entered Espa, you'll get a nose full of eucalyptus. Between Main and Commerce streets, attached to the Joule Hotel, this day spa smells luxurious. Sure, everything on the menu strains the purse strings, from a foot massage ($80) to a treatment known as The Joule ($295), which...
Best Photo Booth
If an unassuming 1958 Cardinal travel trailer is parked at the next event you attend, don't hesitate. Hop inside, grab an American flag or a pair of oversized sunglasses and flash a smile. You're at the coolest photo booth in town. It pops up at some of the city's most...
Best Apartment Community
You've probably noticed that a new "luxury" apartment community is under construction in Dallas on just about every corner. They all promise the same overpriced granite countertops, a pool with swanky-looking fountains and the chance to live in the next cool neighborhood. Of course, you can't afford it. Neither can...
Best Nail Salon
Inwood Village Nailery
Nail treatments are a luxury, but that doesn't mean all nail salons are relaxing or spa-like. We eschew the salons where apathetic nail techs blab on cellphones or to each other as they're filing our toesies. If you're looking for something more soothing, give the almost unsettlingly quiet Inwood Village...
Best Hair Salon
When drifting from hair stylist to hair stylist, you enter each new cut with hope tinged with dread about your locks. Will the new cut be too short? Will the color be brassy? Sure, hair grows and dye jobs fade, but no one wants to look like a doofus, even...
Best Bike Shop
Transit Bicycle Co.
Bike culture is really taking off in Dallas, which is a great thing. (Now only if there were dedicated bike lanes to ride them in.) But with the rise in bike life comes snobbery and pretension at certain shops. Not at Transit Bicycle Co. on Greenville Avenue, where the staff...
Best Gift Shop
So you need to buy a prezzie but have no idea where to start. TenOverSix, a sleek, Los Angeles-based boutique with a second outpost in The Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas, is gift heaven. Owners Joe and Kristen Cole and Brady Cunningham have sharp eyes for good design and a...
Best Eyewear Selection
Online eyeglass retailers such as Warby Parker have become popular because they offer stylish frames at an affordable price point. But when optometrist Stephen Wilkes and his son Paul opened Glass Optical on Davis Street in Oak Cliff last year, we realized what we were missing. Get an eye exam...
Best Cheap Massage
Massages are great any way you can get them, but there's nothing better than a spontaneous rubdown. Spas are expensive and require appointments well in advance, so when you're feeling particularly tense after a long work day, unless you can convince your unenthusiastic significant other to help you out, you're...
Best Dallas Fashion Designer
Charles Smith II
Charles Smith II has whatever "it" is, and it's brought him success in the realms of basketball, modeling and now fashion design. The New York-born designer moved to Dallas to play basketball at Lincoln High School and his skills on the court got him scouted by the NBA. Even now...
Best Toy Store
Whether you have a kid or just know one who needs bribing, Toy Maven has the goods. Say you're rushing to a 4-year-old's birthday party and have no clue what a fun or age-appropriate gift looks like. The staff here can quickly guide you to the perfect plaything based on...
Best First Date Activity
They say questions such as "Do you like scary movies?" can be high predictors of compatibility. We just skip the cutesy small-talk and take dates to Voodoo Chile, a record/art/vintage clothing/glass pipe/gift shop in a red one-story house off Lower Greenville. It's a bastion of character and weirdness. And Voodoo...
Best Car Wash
Forest Car Wash & Detail
There are car washes all over the city, but where do you go when there's 6-month-old Slurpee muck lining the bottom of your cup holders ... with pennies stuck in it? In times of auto-interior distress, Forest Car Wash & Detail has all kinds of wash and wax packages, but...
Best Dry Cleaner
Sunshine Laundry and Dry Cleaning
Some stains just can't be washed out at home. If you need dry cleaning, special laundering or help with damaged garments, Sunshine Laundry and Dry Cleaning has about 75 years' experience. They've been on Maple Avenue this whole time (their current location is across the street from their original home),...
Best Hardware Store Staff
Lakewood Ace Hardware
Everybody in East Dallas living in an old house or apartment building held their breath when Lakewood's Ace Hardware got kicked out of its longtime location in the Lakewood Shopping Center across from Whole Foods. Sure, other places have hardware. But nobody has the experienced, knowledgeable staff that proprietor Khandoo...
Best Old-Fashioned Jeweler
Ralph Austin Jewelers
Figure anybody can sell you some shiny gewgaws. But what do you do if the jeweled piece you thought was perfect for your sweetie turns out to get shrugs and winces when you hand it to the recipient? No need for psychodrama over whose taste is better. Take it for...
The Vet House
A "cookie" by any reasonable definition, is not an amorphous slab of pseudo-meat. It is an unattainable morsel of baked goodness that the laws of nature dictate becomes available only via the benevolence of an incautious 2-year-old or unrelated catastrophe. But when Dr. Candace Major, veterinarian extraordinaire at Plano-Arapaho veterinary...
Best Pediatric Dentist
Dr. Lara Kirstin Holly
Say your kid is a bit hyperactive. Or maybe he or she is just perpetually distracted. Getting a kid's teeth cleaned might seem like a potential nightmare, and it can be if you choose the wrong dentist. Dr. Lara Kirstin Holly of Children's Dentistry of North Dallas is the right...
Best Bullet Train Idea
Texas Central Railway
In a perfect world, no one would travel to Houston from Dallas. Ever. But now and then, Dallasites must descend into the murky depths of Harris County and, conversely, Houston residents, sad creatures from said murky depths that they are, must visit here. Right now you can drive or fly...
Best Way to Get to the Airport
DART Orange Line
In the Solomonic tradition, Dallas and Fort Worth split their differences and built their massive international air hub in the no-man's-land between the two cities. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is equally close to each of the region's two economic hubs, but so far away from each that it's a pain...
You can't hail a cab on the street in Dallas, which has always made going car-free a little taxing. Also the lack of competition among cab companies (plus the city's byzantine taxi regulations) wasn't good for the consumer. That changed with the advent of the Uber app. Anyone with a...
Best LEGO-Only Toy Store
The LEGO Store
Some kids like all types of toys. Others are so thoroughly consumed by a certain brand of interlocking plastic brick systems that they eschew other playthings and would probably do the same to food, water and sleep if not occasionally forced to put down the LEGOs. For the second type...
Best Place to Get Naked
Getting naked in public is generally frowned upon, but at Spa Castle, it's just part of the experience. Once you get past the awkwardness of shucking your clothes in front of complete strangers of all stripes, you'll easily melt into the relaxing experience that is Dallas' biggest Korean spa. Once...
Best Furniture Store
All the furniture at Lula B's has been owned by someone else at one point, but you can bet that they were cooler than you — this ain't your grandma's antique mall. Each of the booths curated by different vendors from all over Dallas-Fort Worth is full of treasures of...
Best Head Shop
Puff n Stuff
Technically, Puff n Stuff is selling "tobacco accessories," but we all know the deal. Should you find yourself in need of a brand new water pipe or just a pack of rolling papers, Puff n Stuff is an obvious and convenient stop. If you're interested in more intricate, hand-blown works...
Best Actual Thrift (NOT Vintage) Store
The line between "thrift" and "vintage" stores has become impossibly blurred, but Thrift World is the best kind of old-school thrift shop. It's not a tiny, quaint shop, more like the Wal-Mart of used clothing and home decor, but you'll always walk out of there with some bizarre or unique...
Best Plus-Size Boutique
Plus-size boutiques aren't exactly easy to find in Dallas, so it's fortunate that the Marlie Madison Boutique stocks plenty of styles that won't make women over size 12 look like their grandmothers. Marlie Madison has physical locations in Roanoke and Plano, but you can also shop online when you're a...
Best Dollar Store
This recent addition to Carrollton is already our favorite place to shop when we've got about $20 kicking around in the old pockets. Here, you'll find everything from housewares to school supplies to cosmetics, most of which are priced below $5. Not everything is going to be your favorite, and...
Best Chicken Sitter
Urban Chicken Inc.
If you grew up on a farm, had to visit a farm every summer because that's where the grandfolks lived, had to learn at any point in your life how hard real farm work is, then your first thought when you heard about the urban backyard chicken fad was that...
Best Men's Boutique
Traffic Los Angeles
If you're a jeans-and-flip-flops kind of guy, Traffic LA probably isn't your thing. But if you spend too much time reading GQ and enjoy haute couture pour homme, Traffic LA is the city's most fashion-forward men's boutique. Sometimes, the offerings look a little outlandish for our conservative city, which makes...
Best Junk Shop
Ross at Peak Thrift Store
At first glance, the dusty piles of tables and chairs at Ross at Peak Thrift Store just look like junk. But if you manage to dig past this tiny shop's crowded exterior, you'll quickly find some diamonds buried inside. This is the perfect spot to pick up the cheap furniture...
Best Place To Buy "I'm Sorry" Flowers
When you screw up — forget your wife's aunt's birthday or accidentally walk in on your boss having an affair, say — you generally have to do something to make up for it. The good people at DIRT can help you figure out the perfect gorgeous, living centerpiece to remedy...
Best Tattoo Shop
Davis Street Tattoo
A tattoo is a permanent decision, and finding the right tattoo artist is sort of like finding a mate — you're going to spend a lot of up-close-and-personal time together, this person is going to interact with your bodily fluids, and you're stuck with whatever they give you forever. Fortunately,...
Best Place To Blow Your Paycheck On Your Pet
All loving pet owners feed their furry friends free-range, organic, grain-free food, right? If those fancy dog food commercials are to be believed, your dog can learn to play chess and read Italian with the right (read: most expensive) kind of nourishment. You can find that at Hollywood Feed, along...
Best Makeup Shop
You can buy makeup pretty much anywhere, but Blue Mercury is much more than a makeup shop — it's an experience. In addition to the impressive selection of luxe skincare, hair and cosmetics brands, there's also a full-scale spa nestled right into the middle of the Highland Park Village shop...
Best Place to Buy Something Weird/Get a Mugshot
If your shopping list includes a taxidermied bat, hillbilly tarot cards and ephemera, you'll have no trouble checking it all off at Dolly Python. The 10-year-old vintage store houses 3,800 square feet of such treasures and more. "More" includes a mugshot background salvaged from an old Washington County jail, which...
Under certain circumstances, Postmates is a lifesaver. If you're sick, you can use the San Francisco-founded app to send someone to pick up your prescriptions or a grilled cheese and some tomato soup. The rest of time, the service just enables you to indulge in the easiest of the seven...
Best Ride to Austin
Austin is just close enough to Dallas that the time and hassle of flying isn't worth it. And you never know when I-35 construction or traffic will turn a three-hour drive into four-and-a-half (or longer). Megabus offers a convenient, cheap way to make the trip. The interstate under the wheels...
Best Place to Spend Recklessly
It would be fair to describe Nest as a "lifestyle store." The showroom on McKinney Avenue is casual enough to make you believe your home could look like it if you just spent a little bit more money, but extravagant enough to remind you that you don't actually need anything...
Best Place to See a Celebrity
Highland Park Village
Kim Kardashian? Check. Gwyneth Paltrow? Check. That one model from that spread in Vanity Fair? Check. Well, maybe. Not sure it was actually her, whoever she is. The next time a celebrity, or even semi-famous but fabulously wealthy person is rumored to be in Dallas, our advice to you is...
Best Jewelry Line
Best Women's Clothing Store
Lion & Witch
In a world in which you had everything you ever wanted hanging in your wardrobe already, or in a world where clothes did not exist, or perhaps in Narnia, you would have no need for a boutique. But we live in fashion-centric Dallas, where being well-dressed is equal to cleanliness,...
Best Vape Shop
It may not confer the same sort of James Dean coolness, but vaping is infinitely healthier — well, maybe — than smoking cigarettes, which means that many of us have begrudgingly made the transition. For those times when you're craving a maybe-better-for-you nicotine fix, Flavor Vapor at Mockingbird Lane and...
Best World Tour
Some people in these offices snidely refer to NorthPark as the rich, white people's mall. We have a lot of class anger here at the Observer. You might have noticed. Obviously, some of our broke-ass, reverse-snobbish staff haven't been to NorthPark in awhile, because a trip there is a like...