Wild Bill's Western Store
Michael Barera

Just a few blocks from the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK, Wild Bill's Western Store offers a selection of saddles, boots and belts in the historic West End of downtown Dallas. It's a place that once catered to actors from the old TV show Dallas and rock stars such as Mick Jagger, Elton John and Eric Clapton. Wild Bill's boot selection is impressive, from freshwater Hornback alligator boots to diamondback rattlesnake and hippopotamus skinned ones, too. Some boots showcase designs of guitars and others crosses. From hand-tooled Indian skulls to tooled snake and roses, all different types of custom-made boots are available. Moccasins, too. Wild Bill's is the best and one of the oldest boot shops this side of the Trinity.

The Joule Hotel

The Joule isn't just a comfortable place for out-of-towners to rest their weary heads. It's fast become a culture hub of downtown Dallas and a favorite haunt of locals (meaning you know it's good). With a basement-level speakeasy, Midnight Rambler, which serves cocktails with exotic ingredients, and a lobby-level restaurant, CBD Provisions, which sources sustainable ingredients with a focus on local farms, brewers and vinters, the Joule is the best hotel in these parts. The hotel is a patron of the arts with an impressive collection, and sources some of its decorative works from local artists. It's the official hotel sponsor of the Dallas Art Fair and plays host to art galleries, dealers and artists from around the world. With the yearly Dallas Art Fair fete taking place under the watchful gaze of the Joule's massive eyeball sculpture in its garden across the street, this hotel is the one to watch for the best events in the city.

Readers' Pick:

Omni Dallas Hotel

If you have, say, an English Foxhound with a very finicky stomach, there is no better place in Dallas to find comfort than Deep Ellum's Upper Paw. The local shop stocks dozen of specialty foods for all types of dogs and has a complete selection of harnesses and other dog gear to keep Fido outfitted. Just don't eat the cookies stocked near the front of the store, however good they look. They're for your four-legged pal, not you.

Readers' Pick:

Petsmart

It's time to say goodbye to your dog or cat. You don't want to, but you knew it would happen. So you can take your furry pal to the vet, the place you know the critter hates, or you can go to lovingpawshousecalls.com and ask for a house call. Dr. Rebecca Westbrook will show up with kind words, a professional demeanor and total competency. Her lethal cocktails are delivered in a way that ensures your pet's final moments, spent at home, are painless. The fee is reasonable, especially since you've bought yourself a lifetime of guilt-free happiness, knowing you sent your animal off in the best possible way.

Pet boarding has gone upscale. Video cameras, plasma televisions, spa days and swimming pools have made it easier to tamp down the separation anxiety associated with leaving your furballs behind when you're out of town or busy during the day. These perks don't come free, but the return on investment is easily recouped in peace of mind. Paradise 4 Paws' DFW facility markets itself as a pet resort, and rightfully so. Dogs can get mud baths, individual walks, time in the pool and "cuddle time" at night. Cats have a jungle gym area to roam. For those traveling from Love Field, they have a "boarding lounge" service that will ferry pets to their Airfield Drive location in a van. Here's a tip: Leave your vehicle at the pet resort, take the ride P4P offers and save yourself from the steep airport parking charges.

Pawliday Inn

Dropping off Rover at his first day of doggy daycare feels like dropping a kid off at preschool. You worry about his ability to fit in with the other pups, whether he'll get bullied, if he'll have fun, and most of all you hope the person responsible for watching him is attentive and nurturing. Pawliday Inn in The Cedars just south of downtown may not be much to look at, but the friendly staff really loves your pup. They play fetch with your pooch, run around with him and send you Snapchat videos or photos to put you at ease. At affordable prices like $22 for a full day and $11 for up to six hours, it's hard to turn down a day of fun for your four-legged friend.

The guilt is real. Your dog is spending another day waiting by the door of your cramped boring apartment. Even with a dog walker, your pup may only get an hour or less of exercise. But Dallas has many day care options that offer pups a fun environment with plenty of frocklicking friends. The best for small dogs is Urban Paws in Deep Ellum. This facility has many clients under 40 pounds. Having an abundance of smaller cohorts is essential if your mini French boxer is a major menace to larger dogs. Urban Paws also offers bathing and grooming, training classes and overnight boarding. Best of all, they offer curbside pooch pick-up and drop-off.

John Ramos doesn't just sell urban chickens and urban chicken habitats (called "coops" by rural persons). He builds custom shelters (coops), does shelter (coop) cleaning, provides chicken-sitting services and, perhaps of greatest value to city chicken guardians, provides consulting services. He can answer just about any question the typical urban chicken-tender might come up with, like, "What's that white stuff all over the ground?" Answer: That's what you hire John Ramos to take care of for you. Check out his web page: Some of those habitats would be cool to have even without the chickens. You could put origami chickens out there, really, and achieve the same effect without the white stuff.

The southeast corner of Central Expressway and Royal Lane is known to most as "oh, yeah right, that's where the Chicken Express is." But behind those fried tenders are strong, knowing hands with the power to relax even the most fried Dallasite. Knowledge of pressure points or reflexology isn't required; leave that to the practitioners at Foot Therapy. Also, the name could not be more of an undersell, in the most amazing way: For a freakishly low rate per hour, customers receive foot reflexology (as one would expect), as well as a full body rub that manages to both relax and invigorate. From scalp to toe, virtually every body part is either massaged, thumped, pounded or stretched, depending on the intensity requested by each client, and the problem areas pointed out by the client or simply sussed out by the therapist. And wow, can they suss. Aside from shoes and socks, clothes stay on, so the massage area is communal, but very calm — save the thumping sounds — and the cushy chair-pallets are so comfortable that under the face-covering towel, the outside world is quickly forgotten.

More and more people are getting hip to the fact that Dallas is, well, hip. And while natives like us are enjoying this long-awaited moment of validation, it also comes with downsides. More people moving here means it's harder to find an affordable apartment with a washer and dryer. But thankfully, if you're tired of twiddling your thumbs at the laundromat every week, we have a solution: JR Coin Laundry, a laundry that also offers an excellent and cheap wash and fold service. For just 99 cents a pound they'll wash your clothes for you and even hang them when necessary. If you get there by early afternoon you can almost always pick them back up the same day. When you do you'll find your items have been handled as carefully as if you'd washed them yourself, and best of all, you don't have to pair your socks.

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