Best of Dallas — 2015 Guide
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Shopping & Services

Best Men’s Clothing Store


Occupying prime retail space in Deep Ellum, Epocha boutique and art gallery specializes in men’s hard-to-find sneakers. Rare editions of Pumas and Asics are there, along with lesser-known brands. Steps from the colorful shoe rack hang a large selection of men’s vintage coats. Shop here for unique streetwear and hip-hop looks and quality goods from the recent past. Epocha sometimes hosts events, serving drinks to Dallas’ most fashionably offbeat folk. If you can’t afford the footwear, you can at least enjoy the free people-watching.

2540 Elm St., 972-863-9260,

Readers’ Pick: Nordstrom

NorthPark Center, 8687 N. Central Expressway

Best Liquor Store

Beverage Depot

Beverage Depot is the size of a grocery store, but the food groups here are “vodka,” “whiskey” and “Scotch.” Checkout lines are long and aisles crowded on Friday nights as customers load up on bargain booze from the well organized selection of wines, beers and spirits. Imported wines at low prices are a specialty. Looking for a fine Australian vintage? They have more than 25. We’ll drink to that, mate.

2810 Samuell Blvd., 214-823-4011,

Readers’ Pick: Spec’s

Various locations,

Best Tattoo Artist

Oliver Peck

Oliver Peck is the local ink star who founded the Friday the 13th tattoo marathons. On those nights on the calendar, Peck and his coworkers at Elm Street Tattoo put on a show. With lines snaking out the door, people wait to get a tattoo for just $13 — on the condition that it must have the number “13” somewhere in the design. (The store also asks for a $7 tip, so it’s a $20 deal). The bargain night has become a rite of passage for body art enthusiasts. Peck’s the top talent but his assistants are masters, too. You’re lucky to get ink from any of them.

2811 Elm St., 214-653-1392,

Readers’ Pick: Billyjack Gunter

Artistic Encounter Tattoo, 3417 Main St., 469-828-1029

Best Place to Vaccinate Your Pup

Pet Supplies Plus

One Saturday a month, the back room of the independently owned Pet Supplies Plus on Lower Greenville offers discount vaccines, drawing lots of dog owners and yapping, furry friends who sense that something’s up. Be assured that the vets here work with sensitivity, patience and care. This store is open every day of the week and often holds adoption events.

1704 Greenville Ave., 469-249-8210,

Best Cycling Caps

Ellum Bag Works

Jewel Ybarra is a Dallas cyclist who taught herself to sew. She is the creator of Ellum Bag Works, selling handmade, locally sourced gear and apparel to local bike shops and from her Etsy page. Her specialty is cycling caps — light, breezy caps that absorb the sweat under a helmet. No corporate logos on these, just Ybarra’s unique fabrics (batiks, tweeds, moleskins) and designs that appeal to all sorts of riders. Good stuff for getting your head straight and keeping it dry for a long ride.

Transit Bicycle Co., 1915 Greenville Ave., 214- 219-2453 (and other dealers),

Best Hotel

The Belmont

The restored 1946 Belmont Hotel was essential to the revitalization of its West Dallas neighborhood. It has a great, mid-century cool bar and spectacular views of downtown. It’s a terrific venue for weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations, and Barefoot at the Belmont, Dallas’ best outdoor concert series, happens there. Check it out. Or just check in.

901 Fort Worth Ave., 214-393-2300,

Readers’ Pick: The Joule

1530 Main St., 214-748-1300,

Best Vintage Clothing Store

Vintage Martini

You’re never fully dressed without a muumuu, a mink hand-muff and a pillbox hat. You’ll find all of these and much, much more on the racks at Vintage Martini. After just a year in Dallas, this has become the go-to shopping destination for keen lovers of all things grandma (but grandma when she was a stylish, sexy young broad). You’ll find everything from a sable fur wrap to a light blue Escada sweater to a pair of drool-worthy cowboy boots. And the shop is so immaculate, the clothes smell like new. It’s divided into a men’s and a women’s section, but it’s not important to adhere to such labels — use your imagination.

2923 N. Henderson Ave., 469-334-0584,

Readers’ Pick: Dolly Python

1916 N. Haskell Ave., 214-887-3434,

Best Luxury Day Spa

Espa at The Joule

Before you’ve even entered Espa, you’ll get a nose full of eucalyptus. Between Main and Commerce streets, attached to the Joule Hotel, this day spa smells luxurious. Sure, everything on the menu strains the purse strings, from a foot massage ($80) to a treatment known as The Joule ($295), which includes a body scrub and full massage. But nowhere else does treating yo’self feel quite so special. It’s a mini vacation where you step off the streets, kick your feet up and splurge.

1530 Main St.,, 214-261-4555

Readers’ Pick: Avalon Salon

3699 McKinney Ave., 214-969-1901

Best Photo Booth


If an unassuming 1958 Cardinal travel trailer is parked at the next event you attend, don’t hesitate. Hop inside, grab an American flag or a pair of oversized sunglasses and flash a smile. You’re at the coolest photo booth in town. It pops up at some of the city’s most fun events, from Record Store Day at Good Records to Gorilla vs. Bear at the Granada Theater, and if the Photowagon is there, then you’re hanging with the cool cats. The mobile photo booth, affectionately known as Lady Bird, is in such high demand the owners are adding a new trailer to the family, making it twice as likely they’ll be at your next party.


Readers’ Pick: The Photo Bus


Best Apartment Community

The Village

You’ve probably noticed that a new “luxury” apartment community is under construction in Dallas on just about every corner. They all promise the same overpriced granite countertops, a pool with swanky-looking fountains and the chance to live in the next cool neighborhood. Of course, you can’t afford it. Neither can we. And it’s not conveniently located near a highway. Plus, that dog friendly onebedroom unit isn’t available anymore. But it is available at The Village, one of the city’s largest apartment communities. There are multiple swimming pools, running trails and duck ponds, not to mention numerous apartments cheap enough that you can pay your rent on time and furnish your living room. With convenient access to Greenville Avenue and Central Expressway, your getting to work on time will be a breeze.

8310 Southwestern Blvd., 214-772-9300,

Readers’ Pick: South Side on Lamar

1409 S. Lamar St., 214-428-4848

Best Nail Salon Inwood Village Nailery Nail treatments are a luxury, but that doesn’t mean all nail salons are relaxing or spa-like. We eschew the salons where apathetic nail techs blab on cellphones or to each other as they’re filing our toesies. If you’re looking for something more soothing, give the almost unsettlingly quiet Inwood Village Nailery a visit. The decor is minimal (no fancy massaging recliners, just regular chairs). It’s clean, too, and the technicians concentrate on the little details. Nothing nicer than some peace and quiet with the polish.

5470 W. Lovers Lane, 214-357-5327

Readers’ Pick: Pink Toes Nail Bar & Spa

111 S. Field St., 214-242-8042,

Best Hair Salon

Avalon Salon

When drifting from hair stylist to hair stylist, you enter each new cut with hope tinged with dread about your locks. Will the new cut be too short? Will the color be brassy? Sure, hair grows and dye jobs fade, but no one wants to look like a doofus, even temporarily. When you book an appointment at any of Avalon Salon’s three locations, you can rest easy that your stylist will be well trained and eager to create the most flattering cut and color possible, even if you don’t give direction or have a particular look in mind. They’re solid pros with scissors and brushes. We wouldn’t tease you about that.

3699 McKinney Ave., No. 142, and other locations,

Readers’ Pick: Vertigo 12

211 N. Ervay St., 12th floor, 214-699-7824,

Best Bike Shop

Transit Bicycle Co.

Bike culture is really taking off in Dallas, which is a great thing. (Now only if there were dedicated bike lanes to ride them in.) But with the rise in bike life comes snobbery and pretension at certain shops. Not at Transit Bicycle Co. On Greenville Avenue, where the staff are as eager to help with your beat-up cruiser as they are with a fancy new Italian road bike. Whether you need a tune-up, accessories, apparel or simply have a biking-related question, the people at Transit are geared up to be your friends.

1915 Greenville Ave., 214-219-2453,

Readers’ Pick: Richardson Bike Mart

1451 W. Campbell Road, 972-231-3993,

Best Gift Shop


So you need to buy a prezzie but have no idea where to start. TenOverSix, a sleek, Los Angeles- based boutique with a second outpost in The Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas, is gift heaven. Owners Joe and Kristen Cole and Brady Cunningham have sharp eyes for good design and a tendency to stock the unexpected. Clothes and accessories from designers Chris Benz, Pamela Love, Maison Kitsune and Phillip Lim are in the mix, which is constantly rotated and updated. Price points start low for dainty bangles and organic lip balms, a $15 handmade wooden box or a DVD of the latest Frederick Wiseman documentary. Splurge, if you must, on a leather tote from Marlow Goods (still under a thou). Variety is this boutique’s gift to shoppers.

The Joule Hotel, 1511 Commerce St., 214-261- 4540,

Readers’ Pick: The Gypsy Wagon

2928 N. Henderson Ave., 214-370-8010, thegypsy-

Best Eyewear Selection

Glass Optical

Online eyeglass retailers such as Warby Parker have become popular because they offer stylish frames at an affordable price point. But when optometrist Stephen Wilkes and his son Paul opened Glass Optical on Davis Street in Oak Cliff last year, we realized what we were missing. Get an eye exam from a doctor with 30 years of experience and then shop from his curated selection of handmade eyewear that outdoes the online outfits and those chain eyewear shops. There are lots of trendy frame styles and cute sunglasses here, whether you require a prescription or not. And take your time. Glasses are art for your face.

833 W. Davis St., 214-484-4675,

Readers’ Pick: Warby Parker

2008 N. Henderson Ave., 972-426-7272,

Best Cheap Massage

Sole Therapy

Massages are great any way you can get them, but there’s nothing better than a spontaneous rubdown. Spas are expensive and require appointments well in advance, so when you’re feeling particularly tense after a long work day, unless you can convince your unenthusiastic significant other to help you out, you’re massage-less. Enter Sole Therapy. For $35, the reflexology joint next to a Tom Thumb in a strip center will give you a great hour-long, deep tissue, fullbody massage, no appointment necessary. You’re fully clothed and in a room with other people, but if you can adapt to the eccentric aspects of the experience, you’ll find plenty to like, like the green tea foot soak to start and the healing hands ironing out those knots in your neck.

10455 N. Central Expressway, No. 114, 214-234-0551

Best Toy Store

Toy Maven

Whether you have a kid or just know one who needs bribing, Toy Maven has the goods. Say you’re rushing to a 4-year-old’s birthday party and have no clue what a fun or age-appropriate gift looks like. The staff here can quickly guide you to the perfect plaything based on the interests of the small human in question. You might even be surprised at what you’re tempted to buy for yourself. How about some glitter pens for your office? Or a LEGO model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water? Play on!

6025 Royal Lane, No. 225, 214-265-9971,

Best Car Wash

Forest Car Wash & Detail

There are car washes all over the city, but where do you go when there’s 6-month-old Slurpee muck lining the bottom of your cup holders … with pennies stuck in it? In times of auto-interior distress, Forest Car Wash & Detail has all kinds of wash and wax packages, but the most thorough will run you only about $100 and have your car looking like it just came off the lot.

5415 Forest Lane, 972-385-1533,

Best Dry Cleaner

Sunshine Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Some stains just can’t be washed out at home. If you need dry cleaning, special laundering or help with damaged garments, Sunshine Laundry and Dry Cleaning has about 75 years’ experience. They’ve been on Maple Avenue this whole time (their current location is across the street from their original home), with the same iconic sign and expert service. The staff knows at a glance how to handle fancy fabrics.Turnaround time is quick, if you need it. They also have a (very affordable) tailor on site.

4114 Maple Ave., 214-521-9921,

Best Hardware Store Staff

Lakewood Ace Hardware

Everybody in East Dallas living in an old house or apartment building held their breath when Lakewood’s Ace Hardware got kicked out of its longtime location in the Lakewood Shopping Center across from Whole Foods. Sure, other places have hardware. But nobody has the experienced, knowledgeable staff that proprietor Khandoo Nagar had assembled over the years at Lakewood Ace. For a year or so, the store was in semi-sketchy quarters while a brand-new building was being constructed. But now they are at home in a slick, conveniently located new space at Gaston and East Grand avenues. And they still know what you mean when you say you need one of those “prongy-type deals” to hold the lampshade up.

7331 Gaston Ave., Suite 120, 214-821-5680,

Best Old-Fashioned Jeweler

Ralph Austin Jewelers

Figure anybody can sell you some shiny gewgaws. But what do you do if the jeweled piece you thought was perfect for your sweetie turns out to get shrugs and winces when you hand it to the recipient? No need for psychodrama over whose taste is better. Take it for a makeover to Ralph Austin Jewelers, an unprepossessing little shop in the Skillman Shopping Center in East Dallas. They’ll take that ring (or bracelet or necklace) and modify it, or melt it down, make a new design, 3-D print a model, create a mold, cast it anew and, using your gold and stones, give your sweet thang the hunk of jewelry of his or her dreams. Prices are reasonable. Service is 24-karat friendly. Yep, this place is a gem.

1905 Skillman St., 214-827-3371

Best Veterinarian

The Vet House

A “cookie” by any reasonable definition, is not an amorphous slab of pseudo-meat. It is an unattainable morsel of baked goodness that the laws of nature dictate becomes available only via the benevolence of an incautious 2-year-old or unrelated catastrophe. But when Dr. Candace Major, veterinarian extraordinaire at Plano-Arapaho veterinary clinic in Richardson, scoops two fingers into her ever-handy canister and calls the globule of protein that emerges a “cookie,” who are you to argue? It is delicious, and you will eat it, and you will be oblivious to the poking and prodding that non-cookie-appreciating humans swear ensures your longevity as a dog.

1400 N. Plano Road, Richardson, 972-690-8741,

Best Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Lara Kirstin Holly

Say your kid is a bit hyperactive. Or maybe he or she is just perpetually distracted. Getting a kid’s teeth cleaned might seem like a potential nightmare, and it can be if you choose the wrong dentist. Dr. Lara Kirstin Holly of Children’s Dentistry of North Dallas is the right dentist. Not only will she effectively clean and examine your child’s teeth, she also has the uncanny ability to entertain her young patients in the process and keep them from whining or wriggling out of the chair. Everybody leaves smiling.

Children’s Dentistry of North Dallas, 8335 Walnut Hill Lane, No. 125, 214-378-8868

Best Bullet Train Idea

Texas Central Railway

In a perfect world, no one would travel to Houston from Dallas. Ever. But now and then, Dallasites must descend into the murky depths of Harris County and, conversely, Houston residents, sad creatures from said murky depths that they are, must visit here. Right now you can drive or fly. But soon(ish), given that the projected launch date is 2021, Texas Central Railway could offer a new option. The company’s proposed Dallas-to-Houston bullet train will whisk passengers from one city to the other in a mere 90 minutes. Barely enough time to gird yourself for Houston’s brainfrazzling humidity. But at least it will be a quick trip back.

Best Way to Get to the Airport

DART Orange Line

In the Solomonic tradition, Dallas and Fort Worth split their differences and built their massive international air hub in the noman’s- land between the two cities. Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport is equally close to each of the region’s two economic hubs, but so far away from each that it’s a pain to get there. Getting to DFW Airport is still a chore, but, thanks to DART’s extension of its Orange Line, it’s a little easier and now much cheaper. For a $2.50 one-way ticket, you can ride from Plano’s Parker Road station to DFW by light rail train. Stops in between include Arapaho, Park Lane, Mockingbird Station and the Arts District. OK, it takes 92 minutes. But you don’t have to sit in traffic. Take something to read.

Best Transportationfor- Hire

Uber X

You can’t hail a cab on the street in Dallas, which has always made going car-free a little taxing. Also the lack of competition among cab companies (plus the city’s byzantine taxi regulations) wasn’t good for the consumer. That changed with the advent of the Uber app. Anyone with a smartphone can now book a ride and be certain that a car will arrive in short order and that the driver will be courteous and competent (or should be). In December 2014, city officials bowed to the clamor of their Uber-riding constituents and legalized the service and other ride-sharing apps. We app-reciate that.

Best LEGO-Only Toy Store

The LEGO Store

Some kids like all types of toys. Others are so thoroughly consumed by a certain brand of interlocking plastic brick systems that they eschew other playthings and would probably do the same to food, water and sleep if not occasionally forced to put down the LEGOs. For the second type of kid, heaven is the LEGO Store at NorthPark. It’s packed floor-to-ceiling with LEGO sets of every variety, from Star Wars to Ninjago to Chima, and with parents and kids, locked into the fun of picking out toys together.

NorthPark Center, 8687 N. Central Expressway, No. 770, 214-750-6422,

Best Place to Get Naked

Spa Castle

Getting naked in public is generally frowned upon, but at Spa Castle, it’s just part of the experience. Once you get past the awkwardness of shucking your clothes in front of complete strangers of all stripes, you’ll easily melt into the relaxing experience that is Dallas’ biggest Korean spa. Once you’ve soaked (totally naked) in the tension-soothing hot tubs and showered, you can put your clothes back on and head out into the spa’s large outdoor water park. Or, you know, you can just stay in the gender-segregated nude areas and enjoy a day relaxing in your birthday suit. At this place, no one is going to judge you for wanting to stay in the buff.

1020 Raiford Road, Carrollton, 972-446-6800,

Readers’ Pick: King Spa and Sauna

2154 Royal Lane, 214-420-9070,

Best Furniture Store

Lula B’s

All the furniture at Lula B’s has been owned by someone else at one point, but you can bet that they were cooler than you — this ain’t your grandma’s antique mall. Each of the booths curated by different vendors from all over Dallas-Fort Worth is full of treasures of all kinds, from kitschy decor to mid-century masterpieces. The best part of shopping at Lula B’s is digging for all the good (cheap) finds that linger on dusty bookshelves. On any given visit, you could walk out with a vintage designer chair or an orange 1970s sofa the size of a Buick. Whatever your aesthetic, there’s something for your apartment at Lula B’s.

1010 N. Riverfront Blvd., 214-749-1929; 2639 Main St., 214-824-2185

Readers’ Pick: IKEA

7171 Ikea Drive, Frisco, frisco

Best Head Shop

Puff n Stuff

Technically, Puff n Stuff is selling “tobacco accessories,” but we all know the deal. Should you find yourself in need of a brand new water pipe or just a pack of rolling papers, Puff n Stuff is an obvious and convenient stop. If you’re interested in more intricate, handblown works of art that just happen to be engineered for smoking, you’ll find plenty of those too, most of which are hand-crafted by Texas artisans. You’ll also find plenty of head shop staples — incense, snarky T-shirts, and best of all — BEER. We’re not telling you what to smoke in your pipe, just that you should definitely buy that pipe from Puff n Stuff.

4815 Columbia Ave., 214-827-4500, and various other locations,

Best Actual Thrift (NOT Vintage) Store

Thrift World

The line between “thrift” and “vintage” stores has become impossibly blurred, but Thrift World is the best kind of old-school thrift shop. It’s not a tiny, quaint shop, more like the Wal-Mart of used clothing and home decor, but you’ll always walk out of there with some bizarre or unique find that costs less than $6. You’ll probably never wear that mustard-andfuchsia oversized Yves Saint Laurent sweater from the 1980s, but it’s Yves Saint Laurent and you need it! You’ll want to block out a few hours to really peruse the racks and check out the sales, but once you’ve memorized the sort-of-complicated tagging system, it’s smooth sailing and plenty of good deals on funky, once-expensive stuff.

3046 Forest Lane, 972-481-7800

Best Plus-Size Boutique

Marlie Madison

Plus-size boutiques aren’t exactly easy to find in Dallas, so it’s fortunate that the Marlie Madison Boutique stocks plenty of styles that won’t make women over size 12 look like their grandmothers. Marlie Madison has physical locations in Roanoke and Plano, but you can also shop online when you’re a little drunk and feeling reckless with the credit card. Comfy-yet-chic maxi dresses are Marlie Madison’s signature offering, but you’ll also find plenty of casual, dressy and trendy clothes to round out your wardrobe. Plus, you’re helping support a small local business, and that’s something everyone can get behind.

206 N. Oak St., Roanoke; 8300 Preston Road, Suite 150, Plano;

Best Dollar Store

Daiso Japan

This recent addition to Carrollton is already our favorite place to shop when we’ve got about $20 kicking around in the old pockets. Here, you’ll find everything from housewares to school supplies to cosmetics, most of which are priced below $5. Not everything is going to be your favorite, and there are plenty of oddities that don’t make a whole lot of sense, but as soon as you find those $1.50 tea cups or encounter the mountain of cheap nail polish that greets you at the door, you’ll quickly fall in love. Undoubtedly, you’ll waste a few bucks on cheap, plastic crap that doesn’t exactly get the job done, but most of the time, the finds at Daiso are almost shockingly solid.

2540 Old Denton Road, Suite 100, Carrollton, 972-242-4675,

Best Men’s Boutique Traffic

Los Angeles

If you’re a jeans-and-flip-flops kind of guy, Traffic LA probably isn’t your thing. But if you spend too much time reading GQ and enjoy haute couture pour homme, Traffic LA is the city’s most fashion-forward men’s boutique. Sometimes, the offerings look a little outlandish for our conservative city, which makes them even easier to love. The duds you pick up here are certainly going to cost you, but you’ll have a unique piece that no one else can either afford or muster up the courage to wear. It takes a sort of confident, sophisticated man to appreciate the clothes at Traffic LA, but that’s totally you. Let your impressively stylish, well-heeled freak flag fly.

1608 Main St., 214-261-4585,

Best Junk Shop

Ross at Peak Thrift Store

At first glance, the dusty piles of tables and chairs at Ross at Peak Thrift Store just look like junk. But if you manage to dig past this tiny shop’s crowded exterior, you’ll quickly find some diamonds buried inside. This is the perfect spot to pick up the cheap furniture you’ll need for all those Pinterest refinishing and repurposing projects, along with 15 other things that you didn’t realize you totally need. You’re going to have to explain to your roommates or significant other why you bought three samurai swords, but no matter — buy the damn samurai swords.

4233 Ross Ave., 214-682-4794

Best Place To Buy “I’m Sorry” Flowers

DIRT Flowers

When you screw up — forget your wife’s aunt’s birthday or accidentally walk in on your boss having an affair, say — you generally have to do something to make up for it. The good people at DIRT can help you figure out the perfect gorgeous, living centerpiece to remedy whatever situation currently has you looking like an asshole. You may still have to spend a little time groveling for forgiveness, but once your pissed off aunt-in-law lays eyes on the trendy, modern floral arrangement you “picked out,” things are much more likely to work out in your favor.

417 N. Bishop Ave., 214-242-9533,

Best Tattoo Shop

Davis Street Tattoo

A tattoo is a permanent decision, and finding the right tattoo artist is sort of like finding a mate — you’re going to spend a lot of upclose- and-personal time together, this person is going to interact with your bodily fluids, and you’re stuck with whatever they give you forever. Fortunately, the artists at Davis Street Tattoo are committed to creating a custom piece of work that you’ll want to show off to everyone, even when you’re all wrinkly and old. Some of them have likely been tattooing since before you were born; their traditional American tattooing practices have been honed over many years. Once you’ve decided to bite the bullet and get tattooed, Davis Street is the ideal choice.

1301 W. Davis St., 214-238-2717,

Best Place To Blow Your Paycheck On Your Pet

Hollywood Feed

All loving pet owners feed their furry friends free-range, organic, grain-free food, right? If those fancy dog food commercials are to be believed, your dog can learn to play chess and read Italian with the right (read: most expensive) kind of nourishment. You can find that at Hollywood Feed, along with plenty of sustainably sourced treats and toys, handmade collars that cost more than your own jewelry collection, and $300 dog beds that you’ll find yourself fighting your pooch for. It’s comfier than that Ikea mattress you’ve been sleeping (badly) on, but little Fido and Spike deserve the best life possible.

3425 Knight St., 214-774-9488, and various other locations,

Readers’ Pick: Pet Supplies Plus

Various locations,

Best Makeup Shop

Blue Mercury

You can buy makeup pretty much anywhere, but Blue Mercury is much more than a makeup shop — it’s an experience. In addition to the impressive selection of luxe skincare, hair and cosmetics brands, there’s also a fullscale spa nestled right into the middle of the Highland Park Village shop. If the spa services don’t quite fit your budget, you can just splurge on some of your favorite brands — Molton Brown, La Mer and NARS among them — without paying any markup for the chi-chi setting. Most important, the staff here will actually teach you how to apply the makeup, which is infinitely better than sitting at home watching YouTube tutorials.

83 Highland Park Village, 214-520-9400; 219 Grand Ave., Southlake, 817-421-1700;

Best Place to Buy Something Weird/Get a Mugshot

Dolly Python

If your shopping list includes a taxidermied bat, hillbilly tarot cards and ephemera, you’ll have no trouble checking it all off at Dolly Python. The 10-year-old vintage store houses 3,800 square feet of such treasures and more. “More” includes a mugshot background salvaged from an old Washington County jail, which shoppers can use as a prop for profile pics. If accused of uncovering one of Dallas’ coolest stores, you’ll have to plead guilty as charged.

1916 N. Haskell Ave., 214-887-3434,

Best Enabler


Under certain circumstances, Postmates is a lifesaver. If you’re sick, you can use the San Francisco-founded app to send someone to pick up your prescriptions or a grilled cheese and some tomato soup. The rest of time, the service just enables you to indulge in the easiest of the seven deadly sins — sloth. Postmates will bring you anything for sale in Dallas, provided you can figure out a way to pay for it in advance. Don’t feel like getting off the couch to go to Whataburger? Postmates will grab it for you at the touch of a button. Happily in need of condoms and Marlboros but can’t make yourself go outside? Postmates has you covered. It’s bad for your wallet, as the app’s delivery charges start at $5 plus 9 percent of order total and can be even higher based on distance traveled. And it’s not kind to your waistline, either. That Whataburger? Not healthy, but oh so sweet.

Best Ride to Austin


Austin is just close enough to Dallas that the time and hassle of flying isn’t worth it. And you never know when I-35 construction or traffic will turn a three-hour drive into fourand- a-half (or longer). Megabus offers a convenient, cheap way to make the trip. The interstate under the wheels might still be a mess, but at least you’re not behind the wheel. Read or get some work done, thanks in part to the Wi-Fi, power outlets and restrooms. The buses are spacious, the seats are comfortable, and so far the element of crazy among passengers is less than on the competition. Tickets start at $13. Buses leave from Market and Young streets in downtown Dallas.

Best Place to Spend Recklessly

Nest Dallas

It would be fair to describe Nest as a “lifestyle store.” The showroom on McKinney Avenue is casual enough to make you be- lieve your home could look like it if you just spent a little bit more money, but extravagant enough to remind you that you don’t actually need anything it’s selling. But you’ll want it all ... oh, how you’ll want it. A Missoni rug? Yes, please. Designer coasters? Must have for coffee table. A golden wishbone ring-holder? Spoil yourself with jewelry and then spoil the jewelry. That’s the kind of place you’ve walked into. You’ll leave with empty pockets but a really chic set of silicone place mats. Your duplex in Old East Dallas will never have looked so cool.

4524 McKinney Ave., 214-373-4444,

Best Place to See a Celebrity

Highland Park Village

Kim Kardashian? Check. Gwyneth Paltrow? Check. That one model from that spread in Vanity Fair? Check. Well, maybe. Not sure it was actually her, whoever she is. The next time a celebrity, or even semi-famous but fabulously wealthy person is rumored to be in Dallas, our advice to you is to camp out somewhere in Highland Park Village. Probably the Starbucks, because you can’t afford to take up space anywhere else. It’s the ritzy shopping and dining strip that selfie queens and holistic lifestyle blogging Hollywood types flock to when they’re in town. But don’t tell ’em we sent you.

47 Highland Park Village, 214-443-9898

Best Jewelry Line


Your arms are looking a little bare, and you could use a new pair of earrings. But maybe you haven’t hit your do-gooder quotient for the week. Not to worry, you selfless, fashionable, charming human, you. Bracha is a local jewelry line that’s about more than classic styles and on-trend statements; buying these one-of-a-kind, locally designed pieces also gives you something to feel good about. Owned by two sisters, Sayra and Michelle, who make their jewelry with hearts of gold, Bracha donates 20 percent of every sale to organizations fighting to end human trafficking, including local nonprofit Rescue Her. So next time you’re looking to splurge, you can do it for a good cause and look good, all at the same time.

Best Women’s Clothing Store

Lion & Witch

In a world in which you had everything you ever wanted hanging in your wardrobe already, or in a world where clothes did not exist, or perhaps in Narnia, you would have no need for a boutique. But we live in fashioncentric Dallas, where being well-dressed is equal to cleanliness, which is equal to godliness. At least, we think that’s how the saying goes. Either way, if you’re tired of scanning the disheveled racks at Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, we suggest you enter the doors of the newest, and perhaps trendiest, boutique in Dallas: Lion & Witch. Just a few weeks into its time on Oak Lawn Avenue, this place has already proven to be perfect for grabbing a new outfit for a special occasion or a night out. You’ll leave more fashionable than you entered and with some money to spare for a nice glass of bubbly when you’re out on the town.

4252 Oak Lawn Ave., 469-914-5611,

Readers’ Pick: Nordstrom

NorthPark Center, 8687 N. Central Expressway

Best Vape Shop

Flavor Vapor

It may not confer the same sort of James Dean coolness, but vaping is infinitely healthier — well, maybe — than smoking cigarettes, which means that many of us have begrudgingly made the transition. For those times when you’re craving a maybe-better-for-you nicotine fix, Flavor Vapor at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue is an obvious first choice. Beginners can count on an educated staff who will walk you through the ins and outs of setting up your own smoke-free smoking rig, along with an impressive selection of e-liquid flavors and just about any other vaping accessories you can think of. Whether you’re chasing hella large vape clouds, bro, or just interested in no longer smelling like an ashtray, this is the spot.

5706 E. Mockingbird Lane, No. 140, 214-484-7467

Best World Tour

NorthPark Center

Some people in these offices snidely refer to NorthPark as the rich, white people’s mall. We have a lot of class anger here at the Observer. You might have noticed. Obviously, some of our broke-ass, reverse-snobbish staff haven’t been to NorthPark in awhile, because a trip there is a like a world tour in air-conditioned comfort, with no TSA and more familiar food. Walk NorthPark’s long, art-filled halls, and we promise you’ll hear more languages and see more saris, hijabs, stylish sagging and straight-up high and avant-garde fashion than anywhere this side of Manhattan. Goth girls and punks, hiphoppers and models rub shoulders with hoi polloi, the rich and the in-between here, making for the best people-watching in Dallas, inspiring us to quote Willy Shakes: “O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t!” Fancy, eh? And, ya know, the shopping is pretty freakin’ awesome too. Think North- Park is uniformly out of your price range? Well, yes, it can be, but when you’re done watching people, take a look at what’s in the shops. You’ll be surprised at what you can walk away with, feeling fancy without going broke.

8687 N. Central Expressway, 214-363-7441,