Shopping & Services

  • BEST ART SUPPLIES

    Wet Paint Artists' Materials & Framing

    To the uninitiated, the claustrophobic confines of Wet Paint might be daunting. This store squeezes every usable inch out of its Grand Avenue space. But what you lose in breathing room you gain in merchandise and experience. The staff knows where to find things and how to use them—they are helpful to a fault. Nestled near the Macalester College campus… More >>
  • BEST BABY GOODS STORE

    Peapods

    If you're expecting, then we're expecting you'll end up at one of the big-box baby stores at some point. It's only logical. The baby goods industry is one in which the big stores and the little ones kind of need each other. As any new parent can tell you, baby infrastructure—the crib, changing table, diaper pail, activity saucer, and on… More >>
  • BEST BIKE SHOP

    Freewheel Bike

    Last year the Census Bureau ranked Minneapolis second among the nation's biggest cities—behind only Portland, Oregon—in the percentage of people who commute to work by bicycle. The Cities are serious about their biking, and we are graced with several first-rate bike shops to meet the demand. This year our choice for the best goes to Freewheel Bike, the venerable shop… More >>
  • BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW)

    Common Good Books

    In a perfect world, good books and great coffee would always be found together. Just when the Barnes & Noble/Starbucks pairing seemed like the closest thing to reader's utopia, along comes Common Good Books. Unique, homey, and accessible, this Garrison Keillor-owned spot, located right beneath the stylish Nina's Coffee Café in the hip St. Paul Cathedral Hill neighborhood, seems too… More >>
  • BEST BOOKSTORE (USED)

    Magers and Quinn

    With its cluttered shelves and seemingly endless rows of books, it's easy to get lost inside Magers and Quinn. From Charlie Brown to Aristotle, hidden treasures can be found in every nook and cranny of the store. It's the perfect place to browse, with more than 120,000 used and current titles, with subjects ranging from how to cook to how… More >>
  • BEST BOUTIQUE

    Cliché

    The outside of the dirty brick building on Lyndale doesn't seem like anything special, but once inside, the store's raspberry-colored walls and vaulted tin ceilings welcome browsers to a secret fashion wonderland. From high-fashion white drop shirt dresses and vintage jumpers with buttons to die for, A-line skirts, designer jeans, and a dizzying array of shoes and bags, the Uptown… More >>
  • BEST CAR WASH

    T & Y Service Co.

    If you want to know where the best car wash in town is, just follow the taxis. You can often find half a dozen of them lined up here on most days. The station's convenient proximity to I-94 in downtown Minneapolis might have something to do with its popularity, but cab drivers also put a premium on getting a thorough… More >>
  • BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKSTORE

    Wild Rumpus

    It might be best to try to explain the unmitigated glory of this place through the eyes of a child who is, say, two feet tall and relatively new to this world. And let's say this child has enough command of language to exclaim with reasonable articulation. This, then, is how that child would likely review his time at Wild… More >>
  • BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP

    Big Brain Comics

    We know a comic book fan who once sent a girlfriend into a local comic shop. No, it wasn't a practical joke; he was sure she'd be impressed by its selection of offbeat magazines. Big mistake. His friend returned verifiably creeped out. See, girly-bombs like her rarely make appearances in comic book shops, and apparently the hobbits couldn't stop themselves… More >>
  • BEST FULL-SERVICE SALON/SPA

    The Sanctuary Salonspa

    The Sanctuary Salonspa combines beauty and relaxation in perfect harmony. In addition to cutting and coloring your locks, the staff offers a wide range of massage services including hot stone massage, pregnancy massage, and Lomi Lomi, plus facials, waxing, body treatments, and more. The friendly and talented staff greets patrons at the door and immediately begins the pampering process. In… More >>
  • BEST GAME STORE

    Source Comics and Games - CLOSED

    For 14 years this mighty stronghold has stood, touted by fierce dwarfish warriors and timid nerds alike as the Cities' premier Geek House. The hallowed halls carry a dizzyingly comprehensive library of role-playing-game books, from the shiny new editions of Dungeons & Dragons to the arcane, out-of-print sourcebooks of first-edition Shadowrun. It's got your comic-book fix as well—in 2002 it… More >>
  • BEST GARDEN CENTER

    Mother Earth Gardens

    Dealing with a short growing season and a long winter, a backyard gardener in this part of the country is an efficient and patient animal. One must work quickly when planting time comes, and must wait and wait and wait for it all winter long. It is easy for such an animal to want from its growing season the promise… More >>
  • BEST GIFT STORE

    Avalon

    It's easy to miss Avalon, nestled subtly between louder stores like Patagonia and Ace Hardware on Grand Avenue. But those who enter will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of potential gifts inside. Got money? The store has kitschy furniture, jewelry, and the kind of quirky knickknacks that always draw comments at parties. A little strapped for cash? There are… More >>
  • BEST HAIRCUT

    Hair Police

    It may be in close geographic proximity to the punk-house bathroom in Uptown where you got your first mohawk, perched shirtless on the toilet while the buzzers sheared away your winter frizz. But Hair Police, towering over the hustle and bustle of Lyndale and Lake, is light years from those DIY beginnings. It doesn't take a keen eye to spot… More >>
  • BEST HARDWARE STORE

    Seven Corners Hardware

    With spacious big-box hardware stores like Home Depot now the norm, entering the cramped, maze-like space of Seven Corners Hardware might be a bit of a shock. But think of it as an adventure, because like a hardware store in Harry Potter's Diagon Alley would, this place can work magic. This year the store celebrates its 75th year in business,… More >>
  • BEST KNITTING STORE

    The Yarnery

    Remember when knitting wasn't cool? It must have been about seven or eight years ago when the only people spotted knitting in airports or on buses were grandmothers creating soon-to-be-unwanted Christmas gifts. Not anymore. But back before you could buy a DIY knitting kit for an iPod case at Target, there was the Yarnery. For more than 35 years, the… More >>
  • BEST MALL

    Midtown Global Market

    It may be a bit of stretch to call the Midtown Global Market a "shopping mall," what with its decidedly un-mall-like open layout and festive atmosphere (live music acts regularly play on center stage). Shoppers seeking respite from the sprawling, chain-store mega-malls of suburbia relish Midtown for its myriad ethnic specialty shops. Where else can you buy Hmong crafts, North… More >>
  • BEST MEN'S CLOTHING STORE

    Lava Lounge

    Diamond shopping has its three Cs, school its three Rs, and clothes shopping its three Ss—sales, selection, and service. You always want to feel like you could unearth a bargain, you have options, and you're welcomed rather than reviled. Most men's clothing outlets fall flat on at least one of those criteria. Some places have loads of sales but no… More >>
  • BEST METAPHYSICAL SUPPLY STORE

    Magus Books & Herbs

    Emporiums catering to alternative spirituality stand tall among the few remaining bastions of independent retail. Part of the reason is that few corporations have the chutzpah to launch, say, Tarot R Us or the Pentacle Depot, because they figure they'd get unwelcome attention from the religious right. Plus, succeeding in the industry requires a passion for more than the bottom… More >>
  • BEST MYSTERY BOOKSTORE

    Uncle Edgar's

    Some bookstores can be too orderly. Shelves that are too neat can make the selection seem sparse and take all the fun out of stumbling across a great bargain or serendipitous discovery. Other shops are completely out of control, making it nearly impossible to find anything. Uncle Edgar's, like its science-fiction brother, Uncle Hugo's, is an experiment in controlled chaos.… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD FOR GARAGE SALES

    Macalester-Groveland

    A veteran garage sale expert knows how to case a neighborhood by population data. Usually the study is more informal, but hard numbers as well as experience back up our choice. The Macalester-Groveland neighborhood boasts that 64 percent of its residents have college degrees. The median income is 17 grand higher than St. Paul as a whole. That leads to… More >>
  • BEST PHARMACY

    Schneider Drug

    True, Tom Gupta's drugstore is among the last independently owned pharmacies in the Twin Cities, with the others countable on a Simpsons hand. And yes, it is also one of the great local bastions of civic engagement. His political salons, with attendees crammed into the narrow aisles of his cavernous store, have long attracted the DFL party's top brass—everyone from… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ACCESSORIZE YOUR SCANDO HERITAGE

    Ingebretsen's

    The following is an exchange, recounted verbatim, as it was overheard at the beloved Scandinavian gift and meat shop on East Lake Street: "Look, Lori, a gnome," said one woman, in a proud second- or third-generation Scandinavian drawl. "No, Deborah, that's a troll," came the impatient response. And they were both wrong, but the people at the counter were too… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY USED DVDS

    CD Warehouse

    The used DVD is this decade's used CD—if you want to get the latest release cheap, your best bet is often to wait a few weeks (or even a few days) and hunt for it in the used bins. The various CD Warehouses in the Twin Cities offer a cornucopia of options, not just the latest Hollywood releases but also… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET A PIñATA

    Litin Everything Party 'n' Paper

    This massive warehouse store, in its 40th year of business in the Twin Cities, lies on the edge of downtown Minneapolis and houses one of the biggest collections of random party paraphernalia you're likely to find—supplies for any kind of bash, from a wedding to a costume ball. But glance up in almost any aisle and you'll find Litin's most… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SAY IT WITH A CARD

    Mitrebox

    There are those of you out there who are inclined to "say it with a card" but can't for the life of you find the card to say it. The gag card with the muscleman in the thong doesn't say it. The kitten in a boot doesn't say it. The soft-focus flowers with the swooping font don't say it either.… More >>
  • BEST PLUS-SIZE SHOPPING

    Mall of America

    Whether you celebrate or camouflage your curves, if you're above a size 16 you know the importance of great, well-fitting clothes. While it's still often hard to find them, shoppers know that through a combination of persistence, personal style, and patience, good, non-matronly clothes can be found locally for reasonable prices. Downtown Minneapolis has a good mix of designer outlets… More >>
  • BEST SCIENCE-FICTION BOOKSTORE

    Dreamhaven

    Recently a new customer at Dreamhaven's longstanding location on Lake Street was overheard exclaiming, "I could spend a whole day in here!" That wouldn't be hard at all. With thousands of books, both new and used, not to mention extensive comic book and magazine sections, Dreamhaven is a place where it's easy to get lost. Not in a frantic, "let… More >>
  • BEST TATTOO PARLOR

    Saint Sabrina's

    The embellishment that once marked members of tribal cultures, sailors, and circus performers has now become a mainstream fashion statement. The removal of its aura of taboo no doubt displeases counterculture enthusiasts; after all, the tattoo loses its edge when every small-town prom queen sports a tramp stamp underneath her polyester gown. Thankfully, a visit to Saint Sabrina's breathes new… More >>
  • BEST TOY STORE

    Creative Kidstuff

    These are the things that make a great toy store: first, restraint. Namely, the restraint required to opt out of the lucrative world of TV- and movie-themed toys—you know, the ones developed by marketing groups instead of people who actually care about child development. What happens when a toy store exercises this kind of restraint? The space that would otherwise… More >>
  • BEST USED CLOTHING FOR KIDS

    Arc's Value Village

    Let's narrow this category a bit and tweak the name: "Best place to shop for used kids' clothes with toddler in tow and come out a winner." Surely the people at Arc needed a focus group of thrift-store-weary parents to make their kids' clothing section work the way it does. Let's just tick off the successes: clothes neatly organized; price… More >>
  • BEST USED CLOTHING STORE

    Buffalo Exchange

    Buffalo Exchange provides the yearning shopper, who perhaps also has a yearning, mostly empty wallet, with an unthinkable experience. The bright colors and patterned fabrics begin to spin together, putting the body into overdrive. So many shirts! And skirts! And necklaces! And jeans! The body kicks into action, rustling the racks greedily and anxiously, certain that if one minute is… More >>
  • BEST VIDEO RENTAL STORE

    Nicollet Village Video

    Beyond the tattered carpet and beneath the almost painful fluorescent lights lies The X Files. Three whole shelves of it. The grizzly Nicollet Village Video is a store for the retro movie and television lover, with a selection you'd never expect to see outside of 1993. For a mere $5 for a four-day rental, or $3.50 for a night, the… More >>
  • BEST WOMEN'S CLOTHING STORE

    Heartbreaker

    Uptown offers a wealth of shopping opportunities, between Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, and the maze of vintage stores. The problem is that a few swipes of a nearly maxed-out Visa can leave a girl looking like a fashion plate from Any-town, USA, with tiredly ironic T-shirts and played-out plaid. For a truly original look, head to Heartbreaker on Hennepin Avenue.… More >>
  • BEST WESTERN CLOTHING STORE

    Emil Schatzlein started working with saddles at age 14 as an apprentice in his native Germany. Not long after, he immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Minneapolis in 1907, where Schatzlein Saddle Shop opened on Lake Street. The store hasn't strayed from that street nor from the family; six Schatzleins still keep shop today, and their patriarch's dedication to… More >>

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