Don's Photo Equipment

Need an affordable vintage camera strap to replace the awful stock strap that came with your first D-SLR? Or maybe that old 35mm camera that someone found in the attic needs a lens cap? Still need 35mm film or some photo paper to develop in the darkroom? Don's Photo Equipment started selling new and used photographic equipment to Dallas professionals and hobbyists about 15 years ago, and as the analog industry went digital, the shop has managed to keep its feet firmly planted in both worlds. Accessibly located in the heart of Dallas' Design District near downtown, Don's employees will happily talk shop with you all day even if you never spend a dime (whereas the competitor nearby would rather cut the conversation short and end the transaction). Don's covers all a photographer's basic needs from camera bodies and lenses to studio lighting and darkroom equipment to photo albums and killer vintage camera straps. And Don's buys used photo gear from individuals and estates. So, before tossing that old 35mm camera out, please, take it by Don's.

Dolly Python

This 3,800-square-foot warehouse space located on one-way Haskell is home to some of Dallas' most uncommon clothing items. Owner Gretchen Bell opened the space in 2005 and has since hand-selected a large collection of women's and men's clothes ranging from the 1940s through the 1980s. From mid-century prom dresses to Western wear, fur coats, costume jewelry and a massive boot selection, Dolly Python is the best place to go for unusual vintage finds. There are also more than 20 antique dealers who rent out space in the warehouse and sell antique treasures like old cameras, dishware and furniture, so the friend you brought along with you on your shopping excursion should be able to amuse themselves while you try on an enormous stack of sequined '80s sweaters.

World Market

Walk into any drugstore and sure, you'll find a dozen or so gift bags. And while they'll sufficiently wrap whatever it is that needs wrapping, chances are they're overpriced and look downright drab, cliché or otherwise tacky. A quick trip to World Market will open your eyes to a whole new world of gift-wrapping possibilities. The store is heaping with over-the-top and wow!-worthy bags, boxes, wrapping paper, bows and stuffing of all shapes, colors and sizes, and for less than your average drugstore.

Rudolph's Meat Market

Forget the prepackaged grocery store cuts of meat. The best steaks in town are cut right in front of you by the expert butchers at Rudolph's Market. When you walk in the door, you're likely to see one of the butchers shaving the top layer off of a massive century-old cutting board, where your steak will be carved. The long, refrigerated case that spans the room contains huge cuts of top-quality prime beef, pork and just about anything else that once breathed air and can now be eaten. And if your wallet isn't as thick as that rib-eye, Rudolph's makes its own hot dogs, which are also much better than anything found in a grocery store.

Driving a motorcycle is a freeing experience. Connecting with the elements at 60 mph is certainly a thrill. But it also comes with many dangers, the greatest of which is not being seen by other motorists. Motorcycle Training Center Texas, which offers a two-day course held in various locations around the area, does a fantastic job teaching future bikers how to not die on the road. It's divided into two parts: classroom and riding exercises, where basic motorcycle maneuvers are taught. Taking and passing this class exempts students from taking the on-cycle test at the Department of Public Safety. All classes get the same amount of riding time, but weekday classes might have a better student-to-teacher ratio. You can find the best time for you by calling 972-242-0300 or visiting texasmtc.com

Blitz Moped

There's a reason Deep Ellum is teeming with mopeds and Vespas. It's because of Blitz Moped, the scooter shop located on Main Street near Malcolm X Boulevard. It's hard to miss the shop. Every day five or six new scooters for sale are out front, and inside there's a good mix of Italian Vespas and their less expensive Chinese counterparts. The prices on bikes and accessories are reasonable, and so is the cost of repair work. Blitz has expert mechanics available almost everyday. One trip to Blitz Moped and it's easy to see why people are trading in their gas guzzlers for these fuel-efficient two-wheelers.

At Good Records' many events, namely its massive annual Record Store Day celebration, you know the party has reached its apex when the Good Records Chicken starts making the rounds and posing for photographs. "Basically, we've had the chicken suit for 12 years in various incarnations," says Good Records part-owner Chris Penn. According to Penn, the store's original chicken suit belonged to The Polyphonic Spree's Tim DeLaughter, but was somehow destroyed at a Guided By Voices concert. Penn still considers the mascot important enough to rent a chicken suit for Good Records' special occasions.

The most important product an auto shop can offer is honesty. At North Texas Performance in far West Dallas, that's the way they do business. You'll never be sold something that your car doesn't need. In fact, owner Tony Huerta will even let you look under the hood as he and his mechanics work, something most other auto shops wouldn't dream of. From small things like oil changes to huge undertakings like engine and transmission rebuilds, North Texas Performance can take care of it. And if you don't know what's wrong with your car, they do free diagnostic checks.

There's something whimsical about Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District, and at the center of it all is Dirt, a flower shop that shares the artistic atmosphere of the neighborhood. The smell of seasonal flowers and the dark colors of the rustic walls and distressed wooden tables have a calming effect. They have the basics covered: roses, peonies and succulents, and there are usually a few exotic flowers to mix in. They take a European style approach to flower design, but by using wildflowers, they create a countryside-inspired design of their own.

Nice pairs of shoes get worn out. City sidewalks can chew up the soles of boots and shoes long before they've taken their last step. In that case, hidden in the downtown Dallas tunnels, Shoe Pro has set up shop. Whether your entire shoe collection needs repair or you just need a shine, they do a good job for a low price, and, most important, they get the job done quickly, in most cases on the same day.

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