BEST MAKERSPACE 2020 | Dallas Makerspace | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Inspiration can strike at any time, so Dallas Makerspace is open 24/7 to cater to your random bouts of creativity. The nonprofit is a collaborative and educational community for DIY artists, craftsmen, designers and everyone else. The Carrollton space offers tools like 3D printers, glass and ceramic kilns, sewing machines and vinyl cutters along with classes and support. Dallas Makerspace is sticking to strict COVID-19 guidelines, but if you don't have enough face masks, you can always make them here.

If you were in the Design District about three years ago, you may have seen a bunch of cyclists riding down the street in nearly nothing but their underwear. They were riding for an event organized by Red Star Bicycle Shop to promote body positivity. But don't worry, you don't have to strip down to get your bike tuned up at Red Star. Just bring your wheels and a smile on your face. If you're still looking for a crowd to cruise with, you can do so modestly with Red Star's crew during one of their Road Mile rides.

A Limoges China set may say "class," but Vulgar Tea Cups tell your enemies what you really mean to say. The teacups and saucers are decorated with delicate flowers and, in the fanciest cursive, spell out tea time pleasantries such as "Eat a dick," and "I hope you choke." Some messages are useful; if your recreational snacks make your memory fuzzy you can keep them in a cookie jar labeled "uppers" or on a tray labeled "edibles." There's also nothing more satisfying than seeing your MAGA-diehard relatives find a message like "Fuck Trump" underneath their scones. The china is customizable, and a portion of sales goes to charities supporting women and children.

Kathy Tran

Dallas designer Charles Smith II released his "Freedom" collection in November 2019. Inspired by the resiliency of Black leaders, culture and experiences, Smith artfully constructed pieces honoring Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent figures of the civil rights movement. Little did the "Do Not Touch" designer know at the time, but his collection would be resurrected in June 2020 at the JFK Memorial downtown to serve as the centerpiece of hope and inspiration for a Freedom II (Black Lives Matter-inspired) protest where he and leading voices in the Dallas arts industry made a call for equality through images of fashion, art, music and sound. As images of Emmett Till, Malcolm X and George Floyd appeared in projections on the side of the memorial, the peaceful, illustrative protest made a social statement on its own.

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Historic in its own right, The Joule effortlessly appeals to Dallas' multiple personalities. For the ultra-casual, downtown views at either Americano or CBD Provisions fare well, followed by a low-key nightcap at The Midnight Rambler. Don't forget the mood lighting. The creative falls in love as vibrant art installations, unique retail boutiques and contemporary vibes surround him/her with every step. Coffee and convos take a seat in the spacious foyer, while others travel exclusively to indulge in the world-class spa. Whether it's a pool-side soiree, rooftop toast or relaxing staycation for two, it's clear why The Joule is touted as "the cultural epicenter of downtown."

"Upscale hippie," "earthy elegance," "the kind of thing Alexis Rose would wear" — we'll try any way to avoid the expression "boho-chic," but that fashion-favorite duality is exactly what Dallas designer Julie Cohn's work entails. Cohen's jewelry encompasses all sorts of beauty: that of culture, nature, luxurious craftsmanship and innovation in design. Her standout pieces include black widow and cocoon bronze earrings. It's original and evocative, not "ew" at all, David.

Brian Maschino

This Dallas gem off Jefferson Boulevard is the perfect spot to flip through vinyl while listening to one of your favorite bands play live in the background. Since opening in 1956, Top Ten Records has become more than a record store. It's become an all-encompassing lifestyle store with old and new records, turntables, clothing and sound systems. Sitting near Texas Theatre, Top Ten relaunched as an arts and culture nonprofit/media library with a huge selection of Tejano, hip-hop, rock and anything else you can think of.

Avoid the grocery stores and mega-chain pet stores in favor of a shop and team that cares about your furry loved ones. Since simply stepping out for groceries is a risk during this time, Hollywood Feed provides same-day delivery and a variety of sustenance for the animals that matter most to you. Insight, care and knowledge from the Feed's staff prove there's a reason why they are called "pet experts."

Kathy Tran

Let other Dallas shops specialize in vintage couture. Vagabond has the clothing items we actually wear: vintage band tees. The store carries jackets, cowboy boots and other items, but their T-shirts make up the majority of the inventory. If you're looking for an authentic Van Halen tour tee from the '80s or original The Simpsons merch, you'll find it at Vagabond. Their selection is made up of collectibles, and prices are reasonable considering the mileage you'll get out of your purchase.

Originally built in 1925, The Drakestone is a mix of modern and historic as the Dallas landmark is newly remodeled in the heart of downtown. The former Republic National Bank now holds a fitness center, resident lounges and working spaces (since it looks like we'll be working from home for the foreseeable future.) The new apartment complex also houses a rooftop spot that includes a panoramic view of the skyline. But what makes The Drakestone appealing most of all is its commitment to preserving the interior while adhering to the growing resident life in downtown. Sure, it's pricey, but it's a prime example of preservation that's modern, luxurious and uniquely Dallas.

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