Shopping & Services

  • Best place to buy women's perfume

    Sephora

    The glitzy black-and-white décor is a grand setting for the two walls piled high with an overwhelming array of perfumes. Don't go looking for something as mundane as White Shoulders; this is the place to pick up Jean-Paul Gaultier's new perfume encased in a snow globe with, of course, gold snow. Vivian Westwood's Boudoir might be the ticket if the… More >>
  • Best card shop (tie)

    Gifted & Nuvo

    Hallmark Cards probably thinks it has secured coolness with Fresh Ink, its new line of bizarre and unconventional cards similar to the ones independent gift and bookstores have sold for years. In this realm, however, if you care to send the very best, Hallmark Gold Crown Stores are not your destinations. Independent cardmakers are still making the most stylish and… More >>
  • Best costume shop (tie)

    Dallas Costume Shoppe & Norcostco Texas Costume

    A Dallas institution, Dallas Costume Shoppe is the place to go if you're in need of an outfit for that gala costume ball or a Halloween bash. Producing a stage play? They can outfit the entire cast. Period costumes from as far back as Shakespeare and Greek mythology days, Roaring Twenties--you name it. If they don't have the costume you're… More >>
  • Best place for great junk bargains

    Sarah's Thrift Store

    If you get off on garage sales, you'll love this place. It's large, dusty, and hot, but treasures can be found at almost give-away prices. Just plan on digging and browsing. From household appliances and furniture to costume and antique jewelry to a stuffed animal barrel where a quarter buys your choice, a visit to Sarah's is a little like… More >>
  • Best custom frame shop

    Frame Master

    This longtime establishment has been a favorite with art collectors and galleries for years. Its clientele (including Rita Clements, Lupe Murchison, the Edith Baker Gallery, and Dallas' Office of Cultural Affairs) ranges from serious collectors who need to preserve their expensive treasures to everyday customers who treat their children's art like original masterpieces. No matter what the customer request, Frame… More >>
  • Best place to rent party equipment

    Ducky Bob's Party Rental

    Ducky Bob's has been in the business of renting equipment for parties and events in the metroplex for almost 30 years. It simply provides the best amenities for a throwdown. From simple requests for tables, chairs, and large-scale outdoor tents, to full-scale kitchens and supplies, this longtime Dallas institution (which recently purchased former rival Cannonball Party Rentals) is able to… More >>
  • Best plant nursery

    Redenta's Organic Garden Centers

    Sure, there are places with more selection and places with cheaper prices. But for charm, service, and originality, this corner mainstay in East Dallas deserves some credit. Specializing in organics, it has a great selection of herbs and perennials, plus all the natural fertilizers and pest controls you need to unplug from the chemical factory . Many of its garden… More >>
  • Best women's clothing

    Arden B

    The fashions never get stale at Arden B at the Dallas Galleria. Styles are typically geared toward women ages 18 to 40. The wide variety of looks--and competitive prices--make this the perfect place to shop for formal and casual occasions. … More >>
  • Best music browsing mecca

    CD Source

    Used CD marts abound in Dallas, and merchants ranging from Wherehouse Music to CD Warehouse to Half Price Books have selections of used product. But where do the most fervent music lovers go to locate their much-desired discs? We point to CD Source in the Old Town Shopping Center, which boasts excellent selections of jazz, folk, blues, Latin, and other… More >>
  • Best place to upgrade your garden

    Sticks & Stones Garden Market

    This lovely store sells all sorts of unusual items for the garden and home. We saw some angel sculptures and large-scale urns that would make almost any outdoor setting look classical. It also carries a nice assortment of iron works and other small collectibles for home exteriors.… More >>
  • Best place to buy a thong

    Spotlite Lingerie

    Piled in the row of glass display cases are thongs for every occasion and to match every mood. Workday thongs in black teem from the case alongside lacy and satiny bits in lavender, cobalt, peach, or lime for color coordinating with super slinky dresses and skirts. When the time is right, pick from the fierce jungle prints or the sleek… More >>
  • Best obscure movie rental nook

    Alternative Videos

    Blockbuster Video locations sprout up like so many mushrooms at nearly every Dallas intersection. But where, oh where, to go for all things urban, African, and hip? We recommend Alternative Videos in Fair Park, where you can pick from a range of selections, from Thelonious Monk videos to the Roots miniseries boxed set and a huge array of classic '70s… More >>
  • Best handmade tortilla, soft drink, and voodoo market

    Super Mercado Mexico

    Fiesta and Danals offer bigger, brighter Mexican stores, of course, but Supermercado Mexico is still mecca to people who like their markets small and messy and who need to see their tortillas being baked. Cow heads can be found here, in season, along with an excellent collection of prayer candles, some of which tend to veer off in the direction… More >>
  • Best dry cleaners

    Dee & Hattie Cleaners

    It pains us to write about this subject. For the last three years, every "Best of Dallas" winner in this category, as soon as it receives this accolade, has had its service go from exemplary to downright unpredictable. It's almost as if some sort of curse is attached. With this in mind, we want to state that we wish no… More >>
  • Best place to find a gift for someone you barely know

    Talulah

    It has probably happened to all of us. You need a present fast for someone you barely know--cousin's fiancé, boss' teenage son, better half's Aunt Mable. Gift certificates and checks stuck in nondescript greeting cards are out. They're too impersonal. Flavored body oils are a touch too personal--unless you're way friendly. Talulah in Lakewood has great, inexpensive stuff that says,… More >>
  • Best place to rent a car (tie)

    Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Richardson & Rent-A-Wreck

    The guys at Enterprise rock: free soda when you walk in, nice people, and they deal. Granted, renting a car is usually not a pleasant experience, especially because the majority of cars are rented when your car is in the shop. And if your car is in the shop for a prolonged period of time, it's because you were in… More >>
  • Best CD store (used)

    CD World

    The people who sell their CDs to this store either have fickle tastes or really love their CD burners, because it's easy to score used copies of new albums here. The selection runs the gamut from small, local labels to major-label releases with healthy doses of independent releases and imports available too. The selection is better than most, and so… More >>
  • Best independent book store

    Maxwell Books

    OK, so the stock on hand doesn't match up with the warehouse chains, but owner Donna Cressman and her staff make up for it with friendly service and by offering useful critiques of books they've actually read. The selection of hardbacks and paperbacks is good, and if they don't have the particular title you're looking for, they'll quickly order it… More >>
  • Best revival of a shopping center

    Wynnewood Village

    In the late 1940s, Angus Wynne began building the Wynnewood community, the heart of which was the Wynnewood Village shopping center. By the early 1990s, this once very modern shopping center was an almost-abandoned hulk. In an almost miraculous rebirth it's again flourishing with stores that run the gamut, from Bobby's T-Shirts and Pan Africa Connection to Kroger and MacFrugals. … More >>
  • Best rocks

    Banks Stone Service Inc.

    Don't stop driving until you find this hidden stone yard in Oak Cliff, snuggled against the Trinity River levee. Drive in and weigh your vehicle. Then wander the rows of stone to your heart's content, admiring rocks hauled from all over the United States. Even though it's near downtown, this is a lost bucolic corner of the city: You'll scare… More >>
  • Best health food store (tie)

    Whole Foods Market & Roy's Natural Market

    Healthy food can be hard to come by, but Whole Foods has no problem keeping a vast stock. From organic veggies to vitamin supplements, the granola munchers of Dallas have a place to call their own. The produce sections are large and the alternative vegetarian fare--tofu dogs and such--is more varied than what most non-healthy eaters would believe possible. A… More >>
  • Best place to get a pet

    SPCA of Texas

    The SPCA of Texas has been around since 1938, so it's a sure bet you're dealing with a reputable group. Each month, the nonprofit organization handles an average of 1,200 animals. It has two locations, one in Dallas, another in McKinney, and you can adopt a pet at either place. The Dallas location can house more than 200 animals at… More >>
  • Best hair colorist

    The Beauty Store and Salon

    Not all of us like to acknowledge that we've had to dip into the color wheel now and again, but when middle age starts creeping up and gray hairs become evident, the colorists at this shop know how to keep you away from the tell-tale orangey glow or the just-too-vivid blonds. … More >>
  • Best way to get to Vegas

    Legend Airlines

    Vegas is all about fantasy, and Legend is the way to get there. (It's also the best way to go to Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.) For less than the price of a spur-of-the-moment ticket on any other airline, you'll be treated like a high roller from the time the valet takes your car at their private terminal… More >>
  • Best shopping center name in the Internet era

    TheWebb@LBJ

    You must admit, it's clever, and you won't forget it or the location after glancing at it once. … More >>
  • Best florist

    Dr. Delphinium Designs

    Most of us see the inside of a florist when our anniversary rolls around, when it's a major holiday (and around our house, Arbor Day counts as a major holiday), or when we're in trouble with the old lady. Dr. Delphinium, located in those most impractical spot in town (where the Dallas North Tollway intersects with Lovers Lane, making it… More >>
  • Best place to spend money

    Highland Park Village

    This is the most wannabe Beverly Hills area ever. The mall's layout and composition scream Southern California, as do the stores: Banana Republic for him and her, Williams Sonoma, St. John's, Hermès Paris, Chanel, Prada. And what Los Angeles establishment would be complete without an Ann Taylor, Chanel, Starbucks, and Jamba Juice (health drinks)? The parking lot is like an… More >>
  • Best place to buy old Life magazines

    Forestwood Antique Mall

    Time Inc. stopped publishing Life magazine in May, but nostalgia buffs still have a place to turn: Forestwood Antique Mall. Issues of the magazine going back to the 1940s are sold, many in excellent condition. Prices usually run around $15, depending on the issue. It's a small price to pay for a glimpse at some of the best magazine photography… More >>
  • Best place to buy a formal gown

    Stanley Korshak

    We went on a search for a gown at the request of a friend who was to attend a high-profile, black-tie function. (Yes, we're female.) Buying ladies formal wear in a city this size is not as easy as you might think; we won't elaborate on how disappointing and downright ugly this search got. We can, however, recommend the quality… More >>
  • Best grocery store for last- minute wine and flowers

    Kroger in Oak Lawn

    A discriminating friend recently walked into the Kroger at Cedar Springs in Oak Lawn. She had been lamenting the demise of Simon David stores with their wonderful selection of exotic items. (Unfortunately, the Tom Thumb replacements just don't have the same magic.) Imagine her surprise when she found that the flower selection at this simple store was larger than expected… More >>
  • Best business start-up likely to kick butt

    NextJet

    When it "absolutely, positively" has to get there, don't be so certain it's Federal Express or UPS that is going to get it (whatever it is) there first, not with the recent launch of NextJet. The Dallas-based, Internet-enabled start-up guarantees same-day (instead of overnight) service for those who need the fastest delivery going and are willing to pay for it.… More >>
  • Best women's re-sale clothing

    Revente

    Businesswomen on a budget frequent this women's clothing resale store with a vengeance. One of our shoppers recently found an excellent deal on an Ann Klein suit. The atmosphere and staff are friendly, and you can usually find most items at 50-80 percent off retail department store prices. … More >>
  • Best barber

    Medallion Barbers

    Medallion is a good neighborhood place to go for a cheap haircut and interesting conversation. You can even get keys cut here; the machine is near the door. Rugrats are also welcome, but so are SMU students, young men, old men, anybody with hair follicles. Old-fashioned barbershops are a dying breed, veritable endangered species in an era in which "stylists"… More >>
  • Best toy store

    Lakeshore Learning Store

    We're tired of all the product placement at the mega-toy stores around town. We're mortified that Disney and Pixar are having their way with our 3-year-old. Buzz Lightyear and Pokémon and Tarzan and Bullwinkle and Babe are making us hanker for a concealed-weapon license. Escape the insanity of being a target market for Rugrats and enter the Lakeshore Learning Store,… More >>
  • Best place to buy fine china

    The Ivy House

    This shop actually has fine china in stock, not just a sample on the floor and a frustrating four-week wait. At $1,450 a plate, Flora Danica isn't for everyone, but it's nice to know you could run out and get a set in an emergency. At more reasonable prices are Wedgwood, Spode, Present Tense, and Richard Ginori, for the bride… More >>
  • Best furniture store

    Gabbert's Furniture Outlet

    Our family-room couch, a nifty if rather impractical wood-frame affair, sells for a couple thou in most catalogs; we bought it for less than half that...even though, or maybe because, it used to sit on the Good Morning Texas set. (No truth to the rumor it's a former casting couch, though it has seen a lot of pussy lately--dude, our… More >>
  • Best place to buy candles

    Er' Go Outlet

    To all those who swore off candles when TV news programs sensationalized the lead content of wicks several months ago: It's OK. Ergo's wicks are made of cotton. The wax is soy-based and food-grade so that the candles burn cleanly and evenly, which means they stay attractive while burning. The Dallas-based candle maker, which supplies several upscale retail stores, sells… More >>
  • Best hair salon

    Hairs the End

    Proprietors Robert Wilson and Matt Tully are looking for clients who want more than just a little off the top. They love doing out-of-town folks--Britney Spears' dancers came in for late-night drinks, hair coloring, and a cathartic bitch session--because, as Wilson says, "They won't be coming back, and I can really do my best work." This is not a threat… More >>
  • Best place to buy gifts for vintage freaks and gadget geeks

    Restoration Hardware

    At Restoration Hardware, thumb-sized candle snuffers and a penguin-shaped cocktail shaker are necessities, not luxuries. The stores are also totally Wodehouse--the fine, polished wood furniture has the reserved elegance of Jeeves, while the tin toys and quirky high-dollar accessories are reminiscent of Bertie Wooster. There are recipe books containing only after-dinner drinks, and road-sign bingo cards, magnets made from milk… More >>
  • Best auto body shop

    American Collision

    Women (or anybody not into car repairs), pay attention: These guys won't rip you off. They're nice people who come through in clutch situations. First, they flip the towing bill for you and haul in your heap. Then they give you an estimate that is between $3,000 and $5,000 less than the dealership's estimate. If you don't like the price… More >>
  • Best way to build a fish pond on a balcony

    Recycled wine barrel halves from Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse

    These sturdy oak half-barrels, still redolent of California cabernet, are generous enough to hold a water lily, a bog plant, and a couple of fish--and cost only $29. Finding out that your apartment's balcony isn't quite as sturdy as you thought costs a lot more.… More >>
  • Best hardware store

    Ace Hardware of Plano

    This store has been here for 25 years, and you can't leave without buying a grill or something unwieldy you hadn't intended to purchase. The store has about 15,000 square feet of floor space, and the soft-spoken employees do a lot of work for their customers, including installing washers on faucets, pipe work, etc. They don't charge union rates, making… More >>
  • Best place to decorate a rat packstyle pad

    Cool Junk

    Thrift store stuff covered in lime green plants, mushrooms, and owls is just too Brady Bunch. While Greg may have loved Carol's groovy style, having a house that resembles a cartoonish oak grove growing under a toxic dump is just so lame, man. Think hip--make that hep. Bright aluminum tumblers, shiny cocktail shakers, Tiki masks, martini glasses with colored stems… More >>
  • Best place to buy a bra

    The Maddox Shop

    If you're looking for serious support, these little ladies have it. You don't just go grab a handful of bras and hope one fits. Oh no, before you even get to look at a bra, you're properly measured, advised on the best sort of support for you, and then allowed to try on the bras they select for you. Go… More >>
  • Best oriental rug cleaning

    Oriental Rug Cleaning Co.

    If your Oriental rug is a treasure, if you think it might be a treasure, or even if you know it's definitely not a treasure, this is the place to bring it after it has been treated disrespectfully by cat, child, or roommate. Three generations of family owners, originally from the part of the world where your rug may have… More >>
  • Best head shop

    Pipe Dream

    Draconian drug laws being what they are, "head shop" is perhaps an unhealthy term. That may explain why Pipe Dream's matchbooks describe the stores as selling "lifestyle accessories." That they do. A section of creative water bongs of various shapes and sizes (Grateful Dead bear heads, mushrooms) draws attention, but the good deals lie with the smaller pipes. Glass pipes… More >>
  • Best veterinary clinic

    East Dallas Veterinary Clinic

    This top-notch clinic includes a pet adoption center for prospective pet owners. Their patient staff members have a great love for animals; all animals, from purebreds to mixed breeds, are treated like millionaire patients. Offering all services with a tremendous Aggie Howdy greeting, this animal clinic is a favorite with the East Dallas dog and cat set. … More >>
  • Best place to view capitalism at its finest

    Hebron Highway between Preston and Midway Roads

    Along this strip, you will soon find brand-spanking new locations of Neiman Marcus, Dillard's, Target, and all the others. Apparently seizing on the opportunities available because of the high-priced housing going up all around this area, practically every retail operation in America seems to think it's necessary to have representation here. Since the roads are still under construction, the traffic… More >>
  • Best urban oasis shopping experience

    The Urban Gardener

    Surrounded on every side by the urban grit of downtown Oak Cliff, this sophisticated little outdoor nursery, between Jefferson and 12th Streets, is a delightful surprise for people who stumble on it unexpectedly. Cleverly put together, with a neat little gift shop, this is a place to come and walk the aisles if for no other reason than to enjoy… More >>
  • Best place for kids' shoes

    Stride Rite

    Little feet grow faster than delinquent tax penalties, so it helps to have a place with lots of variety, colors, and styles of footwear plus terrific service. Stride Rite is not as cost-effective as burlap and twine, but at least with these shoes you won't find people from the government knocking on your door. … More >>
  • Best computer store

    Best Buy

    We're tempted to say, "Any place other than Fry's Electronics," but that's a cheap shot. (OK, not really: We once had a Fry's salesman talk us into a $2,000 computer that was out-of-date 13 minutes after we bought it. Then, when we got it home, it didn't work. When we brought it back, the salesman insisted there was nothing he… More >>
  • Best place to buy men's cologne

    Neiman Marcus

    It's time to update that tired collection of half-empty bottles of Paco Raban and Grey Flannel. Get modern by going back so far in the past that it's new again with Neiman's exclusive collection of colognes from the 200-year-old Creed company of England. Or plant yourself firmly in the 21st century with a splash of Zaharoff. Big plus--the guys at… More >>
  • Best place to buy picture frames

    Wolf Camera & Video

    Wolf Camera has a wide selection of picture frames for your favorite photographs--or if not your favorite, at least those you're willing to display. Compared with other stores, prices are lower, selection is more varied, and you are more likely to find unique frame designs to match every picture. Prices start at $9.99. Brand-name frames include Burns of Boston, Carr,… More >>
  • Best handyman

    Tommy Snider

    Flannery O'Connor was correct. A good man is hard to find, but a good all-purpose handyman is almost impossible to find in a city the size of Dallas. It's almost a disservice to call Snider a handyman. He does so much more than that. He does interior and exterior painting and carpentry and specializes in plumbing. He can handle small… More >>
  • Best scrapbook supply store

    Scrappy's

    The hobby of creating one-of-a-kind scrapbooks has been growing in Dallas--among our friends, at least. To help with this new trend is Scrappy's. The store carries an excellent selection of scrapbooking necessities, including adhesive stickers, unusual papers, books, binders, and ideas galore. The Scrappy's staff is friendly and helpful.… More >>
  • Best car wash

    Forest Car Wash

    Worried that a mechanized car wash is going to suck the paint off your new roadster? Afraid that some unthinking automaton is going to scrape instead of scour, whack instead of wax? Fear no more, friends. Forest is a hand-wash car wash, eschewing rolling machines and whipping brushes for humans with sponges (and at reasonable prices). This people-centric motif extends… More >>
  • Best source to help you get the GQ look

    David Mills at Neiman Marcus

    Some men know how to dress well. Some men have significant others to help them dress well. For the other 80 percent of us, we have help from guys like David Mills. Mills has long been a treasured secret for shoppers at the men's department of Neiman Marcus at NorthPark Center. Ask him to find you a suit, and he… More >>
  • Best place to buy DVDs

    Movie Trading Co.

    While the video chains are trying to catch up to the DVD-renting business that other specialty and independent stores already have, Movie Trading Co. already is several steps ahead. Go into any location, pick up any new or used DVD, and rent it for a few bucks. Try out the special features and see if it's good enough to add… More >>
  • Best men's clothing store (tie)

    Culwell & Son and Bachrach

    It almost doesn't matter what kind of price break you can get elsewhere on the same suit. In the end, the only break that really counts is the one your cuff makes before it hits your shoe. The only people who know how to do that are real honest-to-goodness, pins-in-the-mouth tailors with cloth tape measures draped around their necks, preferably… More >>
  • Best comic book shop (tie)

    Cosmic Comics and Cards & Titan Comics

    Cosmic Comics and Cards owner Mike Rubino has been a collector himself for 30 years and in business since 1980, so he understands his customers. His eclectic range of merchandise ranges from Archie and Jughead to The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. to modern day X-Men, and back issues are easy to locate, neatly arranged by title and number. While his average… More >>
  • Best place to window shop

    Deco-Dence

    Place your greasy nose smudge next to ours and marvel at the brass and colored glass lamps lining the window sill, along with black-and-white Hollywood photos and various other gorgeous art deco baubles. But unless several Benjamins are burning a hole in your pocket, stay outside. Inside lurk antiques buffed and shined to prime condition, including a carved bedroom set… More >>
  • Best kids' haircut

    Stride Rite (ask for Ginger in the back)

    Two career families, already over-scheduled to the max with kids' activities, will find they can cross at least two items off their checklist if they visit the Stride-Rite Shoe Store in Preston Center. Not only can they select from a large variety of kids' shoes--from sandals to hiking boots--they can saunter into the back, where they'll get a decent, no-hassles… More >>
  • Best place to buy chic furnishings on a not-so-chic budget (tie)

    Crate & Barrel Outlet and Target

    At one time it was respectable to furnish an apartment piece-by-piece as the budget allowed. Now there's no need to be so patient. There are credit cards and discount stores with items sexier than their price tags. Unlike many outlet stores, Crate & Barrel doesn't have stock that recalls the stragglers left at the bar at last call. It has… More >>
  • Best new bookstore

    Borders Books Music & Café - CLOSED

    You've got to hand it to Borders. Their deep catalog cannot be beaten; to do better you have to go to Amazon.com, and do you really want to wait a week for a book you want to start reading tonight? Besides Borders also has nice little coffee shops and excellent magazine sections that highlight more than biker and weightlifting titles.… More >>
  • Best new liquor store

    The Liquor Shoppe: Hops, Barley & Grapes

    The plucky Wheeler family has chosen to go up against the Holy Trinity of Dallas' liquor stores-- Sigel's, Red Coleman, and Centennial--in the battle for your booze bucks, and they're doing a nifty job of it with little amenities such as easy chairs and handy reference books in an airy, spacious, light-filled store. Plus, they have nice little tastings on… More >>
  • Best place to buy salvaged parts for your home

    Alexander's Salvage

    When your budget is shy of enough zeros to call a contractor, check out the salvaged parts, and the few architectural gems, strewn about this junkyard: sinks and counters from the '80s in good-enough shape, lots of wrought-iron fencing, and the odd door and bathtub. Prices are reasonable. … More >>
  • Best liquor store

    Centennial Liquor Store

    This is not the biggest liquor store in Dallas, and it by no means has the best selection, but the bottom line is, you usually want to get in and out of a liquor store as quickly as possible for fear that someone you know might see you buying bottles of Boone's Farm. At the Centennial Liquor Store by The… More >>
  • Best place to buy ribbons, trim, and other stuff to make a hat

    Milliners Supply Co.

    You can bet that the fiercest Easter bonnets began life here. The ground floor feels like the attic of an ancient, slightly haunted, dusty, dark Victorian house that's crammed to the ceiling with miles of fabric, tiny drawers full of trim, spangles, beads, and a flurry of feathers. Grab a ready-made hat form and let the Carmen Miranda in you… More >>
  • Best place to get your tennis racket strung

    Star Tennis

    With a hot match at five in the afternoon you learn at three that the old racket badly needs to be re-strung. Not a problem at Dallas' newest racket sports specialty store. In addition to top-of-the-line equipment and accessories, an on-staff master racket technician--for you weekend players that means he's USRSA-qualified, has strung more than 6,000 frames, and knows how… More >>
  • Best place to buy a firearm

    First Call Firearms Sales

    It's still a free country, in theory, and your right to own a firearm is still protected. In Texas, it's a cherished right. To exercise this right in Dallas, take a drive to First Call Firearms, where Jerry Carroll will buy, sell, or trade guns with amiability and institutional knowledge. In Texas, gun rights include being licensed to carry a… More >>
  • Best dog trainer

    Best Behavior

    You can always recognize the married couples that don't have kids: They go to dinner and talk all night about their dogs and/or cats as though they're children. They take their animals to things like Dog Day Afternoon at Reverchon Park; they enroll their dog in the Dallas Dog and Disc club, taking great pride in their puppy's second-place finish… More >>
  • Best video store

    Premiere Video

    Finding a movie for a slow evening at home is an art, not a science. Oftentimes you don't know exactly what you want, and it's better to just roll the dice with a blind rental--or not-so-blind. The staffers at Premiere Video know their stuff and are eager to let customers tap into their institutional knowledge to guide them to a… More >>
  • Best place to learn to ride

    Capricorn Equestrian Center

    The new facilities should be operational later this month. Expectations are that this 30-horse stable should continue to provide thoroughly engaging and educational horseback sessions for novices and veterans alike, offering both Western and English styles. The young teachers at this place expend much energy on their group sessions--which start at $150--teaching their students how to ride, care for, and… More >>
  • Best outlet shopping

    Dillard's Clearance Center

    Imagine a world where BCBG rubs shoulders with My Michelle, where Calvin Klein stone-washed jeans still sit on the rack and where any variety of teal green men's blazers are yours for the picking. Although you probably can't leave the store for less than $100, you'll walk away with several bags-full. Everything is at least 75 percent off the… More >>
  • Best kids' clothing store

    Chocolate Soup

    If you like primary colors, rickrack, and bloomers, then this boutique is the perfect stop. While your children will still wear what you buy (a trend that comes to a screeching halt sometime around the age of 8), it's important to exploit these precious years and garb the little darlings in outfits that look appropriately juvenile. At this shop, the… More >>
  • Best fashion shoe store for men and women

    Sole Kitchen

    It's located deep in the heart of the gay area of Oak Lawn, and as the whole city/state/country knows, gay people have the best taste in footwear. Period. Sole Kitchen has the best of both worlds: sleek New York City fashions and those boisterous Los Angeles-type boots. The place itself is decorated very nicely, with a '50s motif. It also… More >>
  • Best ethnic jewelers

    Aarti Jewelers

    If you're looking for a bit of the exotic, check out Aarti Jewelers. Located in Richardson, this jewelry store features 22-carat gold jewelry from Italy, Turkey, India, and Pakistan. Prices are reasonable and there's a wide range to choose from: rings, necklaces, bracelets, all with unique designs. Rings can be fitted on site. … More >>
  • Best place to buy gift-wrap

    Papyrus

    While it's easy to find gift wrapping services during the Christmas season, good wrappers are a bit scarcer during the rest of the year. Papyrus fulfills this need year-round. The store carries a lovely selection of cards and elegant gift-wraps for a variety of tastes. They can wrap packages while you wait. Next time you need that last-minute birthday gift-wrapped,… More >>
  • Best interior-design guru

    Richard Schrade

    We all want to live in a home that meets our physical and aesthetic needs. Unfortunately, while some of us have talent for putting together stylish interiors, others are still living with the beer-stained plaid sofas from their college days. If the latter describes you, then Richard Schrade can help. Schrade has years of experience with art, antiques, and home… More >>
  • Best personal coach

    Drue Gawel

    First off, a personal coach is not the same as a personal trainer. A coach is more of a professional motivator. If you need someone to get you off your duff and help you make progress with your life, this is the man for the job. Gawel has been in this business long enough to tell when someone really wants… More >>
  • Best immigration lawyer

    Fernando Dubove

    With the immigration laws being somewhat draconian when it comes to noncitizens--documented or otherwise--who have committed crimes in their immediate or distant past, a good immigration lawyer had better have a working knowledge of criminal law as well. Fernando Dubove is such an attorney. Not only does he give a damn about his clients, but at a reasonable price, he… More >>
  • Best antique store

    Snider Plaza Antiques

    This store has a lovely selection of European and American antiques and collectibles. In addition to all the cool loot that your mother would love, it also offers antique hunting tours to Italy that provide the unique opportunity to stay at the palace of an authentic Italian count. It's definitely not your economy tour of Europe, but the price is… More >>
  • Best tattoo parlor

    Pair O'Dice Tattoo

    Imagine walking into a party and finding you're wearing the same dress as someone else. Now imagine that, like Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, you're stuck with those clothes forever. For that matter, everyone else is too, so every time you leave your house, you see at least one other person wearing that outfit. That's what it must be like to have… More >>
  • Best magazine stand

    Superstand

    This is a good place to browse for magazines before your take-out pizza is ready at Mr. Gatti's (which is right down the street). It has an unbeatable selection of foreign and specialty magazines, but its real advantage over Borders and Barnes & Noble is its coupons, which, after buying 10 magazines, you can use to get one free.… More >>
  • Best place to buy juice

    Whole Foods Market

    While other stores have aisles filled floor to ceiling with sweet carbonated beverages, Whole Foods market has lanes dedicated only to juice, Mother Nature's cola. Find peach, mango, raspberry, pineapple, coconut nectar, and every other juice man can squeeze from fruit and sell in jars and bottles. There are at least a dozen cranberry blends, including the Holy Grail of… More >>
  • Best kids bookstrore

    Enchanted Forest

    We were forced--we repeat, forced--to watch the wretched, saccharine You've Got Mail the other night on HBO, and in light of that, we want to be clear about one thing: We've got no problem with big ol' bookstore chains. Love 'em. We want our latte with our magazines and our Oprah Book Club. But we also dig the smaller bookstores,… More >>
  • Best CD store (new)

    Good Records

    The name says it all. Located on the edge of Deep Ellum, this young store stocks local releases, the catalogs of several independent labels, and some major releases. (Don't expect to find Britney Spears albums, but Built to Spill and Billy Bragg/Wilco are on the top-selling lists.) The yellow wooden shelves with the colored light bulbs house well-kept rows of… More >>
  • Best used bookstore

    Half Price Books Records & Magazines

    The new Half Price Books location on Northwest Highway, across the street from their older, smaller location, is the mecca of cut-rate book buying. If you don't know what you want, you're bound to find 10 other books you didn't think of before. The music and arts sections are especially edifying, if not comprehensive, and they also boast a solid… More >>
  • Best way to spend $20 in four minutes

    Helicopter ride by DFW Helitours

    There are other four-minute $20 dates, but this is the only quickie you can tell your mom about. Only available on Sundays, a little metroplex flyover is a far more impressive date trick than another mimosa-heavy brunch.… More >>
  • Best private pre-school

    Westminster Presbyterian Pre-School and Kindergarten

    It's pricey and there's generally a waiting list, but little Westminster, with its accredited early-childhood learning program, has been serving Dallas youngsters well for 35 years. It's a parent's dream, with small classes and a qualified staff that loves to teach, offering classes for children ages 12 months through kindergarten. … More >>
  • Best place to buy canned food

    Fiesta Mart

    Beefaroni. Canned ravioli. Chunky Soup. These are the mainstays of the diet of the contemporary citizen on the go. Or at least the easy fixin's of the broke and lazy. The best place to pick up these indigestible treats is Fiesta Mart, home of the dollar-can-of-soup and Franco American clearance sales. Look for the routine three-for-a-dollar specials and "family size"… More >>
  • Best one-hour film developing

    Colorfast Photos

    These guys do it right and fast. This is a quick turn-around stop that provides high-quality custom lab results that the real photographer demands. The staff is experienced, knowledgeable, and eager to help. They also do magic in the field of photograph restoration and repair. … More >>
  • Best local tour of the Middle East

    Worldwide Food, Inc.

    Shelves lined with tins of olive oil, glass cases full of Turkish confection, racks to the ceiling crammed with Arabic-language videotapes, the scents and sounds of Istanbul all around you: This is the place (across the street from Whole Foods) to come if you have a serious hankering for the Middle East. … More >>
  • Best discount clothing store

    The Nordstrom Rack

    Even if you've never had the nerve to set foot in the pricey Galleria department store with the Seattle cachet, don't worry, you can now hightail it to The Rack. It's Nordstrom's on the cheap. The store gets daily shipments of goods that aren't moving quickly enough among the well-heeled crowd that haunts the department store, and the company offers… More >>
  • Best travel agency

    The Travel Bureau

    Technology is often a good thing, but not always. Because so many Web sites are designed for obtaining airfares at a good price, we get confused navigating them. Sometimes the fares were not guaranteed, other times the Web site was too slow to book anything. Web sites of the major airlines were not any more user-friendly. That's why we were… More >>
  • Best gardening store

    North Haven Gardens

    Whether you're scouring for the best bougainvillea or bulbs, this store offers the highest quality. The regulars who go to this place know it's addictive. The staff is extremely well informed. The plants are gorgeous, thriving, and well kept. The prices are, unfortunately, steep, but, for a good fix, it's worth it. … More >>
  • Best clothes for Plano moms

    Harold's

    Grab your Kate Spade and follow us to Harold's, which is updating its styles and colors to the latest fashion trends. The store even totes "vacation from panty hose" as its advertising slogan. Fall's bold prints, (faux) fur-trimmed vests, and beaded Capri pants have given Harold's a fresh, younger look. Check the sale racks for last season's bargains, or even… More >>

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