Best Public Health Expert 2021 | Dr. Erin Carlson | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Erika Suarez / The University of Texas at Arlington

Since last year, journalists have been tasked with delivering readers reliable, accurate information about the novel coronavirus. To do that, of course, they've needed to hear from public health experts who have a knack for explaining science in a way that everyone can understand. Enter the University of Texas at Arlington's Dr. Erin Carlson, who emerged as a guiding light during a dark time. A gifted communicator, Carlson always delivers dire prognoses with a kind, gentle bedside manner. Be sure to thank the good doctor if you ever get a chance; she's working overtime to keep North Texans safe.

Hannah Ridings

Before you order another record, boxset, protective sleeves or anti-static turntable mat from Jeffrey Bezos' website, consider buying your vinyl and record collecting supplies online while also supporting a local brick-and-mortar record store. During the early days of the pandemic, Good Records quickly sprang into action launching "Good Records to Go," a new website offering customers the freedom to browse their record bins online with free delivery within a 60-mile radius from the store with a $60 minimum purchase. After shoppers place an order online, the goods are delivered that evening or the following morning (as routes and schedules allow) to porch or patio just as a text with a photo of the order arrives to the customer's phone. Curbside pickup is also available, and several mail-order shipping options are offered.

Xochitl Gonzalez/Kathy Tran

North Texas has many stores dedicated to superhero, science-fiction, fantasy and horror collectibles, but this Addison location is dedicated to exclusive anime merchandise. Offering collectible items from programs like Naruto, Dragonball Z and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Anime Pop boasts an extensive collection of action figures, scale models, trading cards, plush items, apparel and soundtracks. Non-locals not able to make the trek to the physical location have enjoyed the shop's up-to-date online library, but dedicated Dallas fans get to experience the location's meet-ups and speciality events.

Courtesy of the Statler

Established in 1956 and thoroughly renovated this century, The Statler has been host to performances by the likes of Jackson 5, Frank Sinatra and so many others. The Statler was known at the time for celebrity appearances. With a mid-20th century design, The Statler has long been a hub for entertainment with a boutique hotel attached to it. Jazz performer Tony Bennett sang his heart out for the grand reopening of The Statler Ballroom in March 2018. Besides stellar performances, The Statler also rocks a bangin' variety of food and drink options at several eateries and bars. The ballroom's capacity is scalable to accommodate up to 1,600 people, which means plenty of room for you and all your friends.

Kathy Tran

Getting a clean shave and a fresh haircut at the barber is so much more than just pulling hairs. It's a tradition — an unchanged process that goes back all the way to the ancient Egyptians. Sitting in the barber's chair typically signifies something important is on the horizon. An upcoming date? A job interview? Or even just a desire to have the finest follicles in all of Dallas?. When the step-by-step ritual of the barber is taken into consideration, there are few finer than Brass Tacks, located inside the Aldophus Hotel. Their style is timeless, their barbers knowledgeable, and they hold on to the spirit that has made going to get a straight razor shave and a line-up a rite of passage since before the pyramids were around.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

{neighborhood} in the Design District is both a designer furniture store and art studio. Its modern desert vibe, soft tones and quirky decor channel the West Texas town of Marfa. All those couches and comfy chairs might make you wish this was Airbnb. Alas, you can't snuggle up with a good book on one of the Blu Dot sofas, but you can purchase art from up-and-coming independent artists; the space doubles as a studio and offers a variety of work, often local, on a rotating basis. During Black history month {neighborhood} hosted a collection from six local female artists called Tellin' Our Stories. If you're shopping for either furniture or art, or just want to be inspired by both, this is a great place to go.

Honestly, we feel better just walking in the door of Molly Mathias' brightly decorated outpost in Bishop Arts: our serotonin levels pop before we even make it over to the merch, all of which centers on the art of self-care. In fact, the whole store makes us reconsider the whole idea of self-care , which given the year we've all just had is definitely something to embrace. Mathias' thoughtfully-curated and highly-researched selection is a prescription for almost every aspect of women's wellness: there's everything from CBD-tinged skincare and supplements to haircare, aromatherapy, books and journals, sexual health aides, candles, accessories and a t-shirt that asks you to consider "how are you really?". This warm, inclusive little shop, packed wall-to-wall with good vibes, will help you elevate your me-time to a whole new level.

Courtesy Artisan Vapor

Artisan has been providing DFW with quality vapor for some time now with over 160 different e-liquids to choose from. But these days, there are even more reasons to hit up one of more than 30 local Artisan locations. The shops now carry a good selection of kratom, CBD and delta-8 THC products. If you don't know what you're looking for, one of the shop's employees can show you the ropes. They'll make sure you leave with the perfect product, but take it from us, their delta-8 tincture will send you to the moon.

Kathy Tran

The world of theater, costume design, props, filming equipment, and more is astonishingly more complex than most make it out to be. From finding the exact shade of alien green makeup, to era accurate pirate costumes, Norcostco has turned the chaotic into an experience that makes folks from seasoned set designers to aspiring filmmakers actually want to visit. While Norcostco has a thriving online presence, actually stepping into their physical store is an experience in and of itself.

Kathy Tran

Nail culture is going strong, and fashionable nails can make as much of a statement piece as any other adornment on your body, and, unlike your unfortunate tattoos, they're not permanent. North Texas has no shortage of nail salons, but Nailed in Oak Lawn stands out for its high customer reviews and attentive staff. The high-ceiling salon is more upscale than your standard strip mall nail spot and makes the experience more luxurious. Your hands will look like you've never worked a day in your life.

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