BEST CHARITY 2013 | Dwell with Dignity | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

We take home decoration for granted. And in the hierarchy of needs we certainly view furniture, decor and other domestic niceties as luxuries. But just imagine the feeling of walking into a room of crates and mattresses on the floor verses a room with an actual bed, a lamp to read by and a blanket to comfort you. The first feels temporary, the latter feels safe, permanent and like something that you'd be proud of. That's why Dwell With Dignity works so diligently to turn apartments for families transitioning out of homelessness into actual homes. They gather gently damaged or donated wares from reputable designers and showrooms, paint the places and even fill the cupboards with food. Dwell With Dignity is more than an interior design nonprofit for those in need; it's a reminder that we all deserve a little supportive comfort.

If you are new in town and still looking around, this chicken coop tour, which takes place every year in early May, will show you exactly why you either do or do not want to live in East Dallas, where people keep backyard chickens under conditions ranging from absurd luxury to hillbilly hell. It's sort of like one big reality TV show spread out all over that part of town, with money raised going to an excellent cause, the student gardens at Stonewall Jackson Elementary School. Keep an eye on the website or watch for posters. It's a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Casey's Lawn Equipment

Casey's was always a great place to get a lawnmower tuned up or a blade sharpened when it was on Northwest Highway by West Lawther Drive at White Rock Lake, but it was, not to put too fine a point to it, a dump. It made the liquor stores around it look good. Now it has relocated to new quarters half a mile east on Northwest Highway, and it's fancy-schmancy, like walking into a fine men's clothing store. Only they fix lawnmowers. The best part: They're still good at it.

Buried somewhere in Carrollton is a magical place. It's a hotel. It's a spa. It's a pool with a bar in it. It's modeled after Korea's mondo giant spas, and $35 gets you into a series of saunas and pools both indoor and out. It's peaceful, and when you get hungry, you can don some comically ill-fitting house sweatpants and go to the café upstairs to dine on sushi or ramen or bubble tea. The most delightful conversations with strangers seem to happen here. It probably has something to do with that bar-pool.

It has its own smell. If you grew up in Dallas, the scent of NorthPark Center likely evokes childhood memories of staring in wonder at those huge robotic sculptures of men ceaselessly hammering, and running up and sliding down those smooth brick quarter-pipe-shaped planters. It could trigger happy nostalgia for picking out toys, wistful memories of ceaselessly trying on clothes as the start of another school year looms or that time your mother loudly asked a clerk if they have any husky-sized jeans to fit your fat ass. We try to avoid going to malls whenever possible, but we won't deny that eau de NorthPark makes things just a little more bearable when we are about to drop some coin on a pair of shoes, a Legos set or an IMAX blockbuster.

For those of us who can't buy bespoke, there's Lee's, which will make you look bespoke. Say you're on your lunch break, and you have a new suit from H&M. It looks good, but the sleeves are a bit long, and the pants need to be taken in and hemmed. So, you walk in, and your fondest hope is that this doesn't take forever, and that you actually get to eat lunch. Without a moment's wait, you're ushered into a dressing room. Once you've changed, a nimble-handed man is turning you around in front of a mirror, deftly slipping pins into the back of your jacket, the seat of your pants, your waistband and hems. In less than five minutes, you're done. A week later, your suit is ready and you look bespoke as hell, but you didn't spend two months' pay. The mom and pop running Lee's are fast, friendly and, best of all, really, really good at what they do.

Here's how to spend your Saturday afternoon: Fill up on brisket at Lockhart Smokehouse (some fat and a little bark with deviled eggs on the side), and, thus sated, stroll a few hundred feet over to M'Antiques. You need stuff from there. Like a giant brass tank shell to put flowers in. Or a leather Davy Crockett jacket with awesome fringe. And, while you're at it, you know that mounted bass head is going to look pretty sweet on the wall. They've got antique swords too so ... good luck not blowing your paycheck on extremely random, manly trinkets. This ain't your ma's antique shop.

Fuel City is best experienced in the wee hours of the morning, when the clubs have disgorged a collection of intoxicated women whose dresses may have been intended as tube tops. Fun game, but seek the answer at your own peril: Which of them are working girls? On the way to the counter, you'll surely get panhandled by drunks and meth heads. But once you get there, you're at the precipice of the greatest drunk food on God's green earth. Pastor on corn tortillas, with diced onions, cilantro and red sauce? They've got barbacoa, beef fajita and chicken fajita, all for $1.40 a pop. By this time of night, the gas station doors will probably be locked, so stroll on over to the window and order a Mexican Coke from the attendant while you wait for your tacos.

We Are 1976 pretty much has the market cornered on adorableness in this town. This is where the hippest chick you know got her gorgeous pocketknife necklace or that teddy bear patterned like a brain she's got artfully propped up on the sofa or the hip Japanese robot figurines marching in formation across the windowsill in her kitchen. Now you know her secrets, and you know where to get her next birthday present. They've also got an ever-rotating display of gorgeous prints, an always delicious assortment of Japanese candy and easily the most beautiful selection of cards around.

Dallas may be lacking in the horse department — we have Fort Worth for that — but that doesn't mean you shouldn't rock a sweet pair of cowboy boots. Consider it one of your inalienable rights as a Texan, right along with eating chicken-fried steak at least once a week. This emporium of Western wear has a massive selection of men's and women's boots of every style and color, from affordable everyday pairs to ridiculously expensive ostrich numbers, not to mention all the belt buckles, Western shirts and Wranglers your little Texan heart could possibly desire. (Oh, and just in case you find yourself drunk at a bar with a sudden urge for some new footwear, Pink's offers shuttle service. Hey, it happens.)

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of