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  • Best Used Clothing Store

    Second Debut

    Guest Best: Allison Kaplan Yes, Goodwill has cleaned up its thrift stores—they're bright, organized, and don't smell (much). Still, those bargain barns are a far cry from this spiffy resale boutique just off Excelsior Boulevard. With its gleaming hardwood floors, neat racks of discounted Theory dresses, Coach bags, and brand-new bridal gowns with tags still intact, Second Debut is thrift shopping… More >>
  • BEST MALL

    Mall of America

    Yes, it's loud—very, very loud, and often uncomfortably crowded. But seriously, where else in the state, or even the country, are you going to find a single building in which you can buy a Tiffany lamp, a set of goalie pads, and a new bed; go on a roller coaster; and learn about hundreds of kinds of aquatic life? The… More >>
  • Opitz Outlet

    Best Clothing Store (Women)

    Opitz Outlet

    To broke-but-not-broken fashionistas, Opitz Outlet is a reason for living. Why hit up Nordstrom for the latest Marc Jacobs bag when you can just stalk Opitz (which gets its stock from high-end department stores) for a few weeks and nab a sweet, barely off-season gem for 90 percent off? Recent finds include La Rok and Miss Sixty crocheted shawls for… More >>
  • Best Clothing Store (Men)

    VS Social Standard

    It's tough being a guy who loves clothes. Your girlfriend gives you shit about it. But what does she know about breaking in raw denim? Luckily, there is a place in Minneapolis for men with such a problem: VS Social Standard. The walls and tables are painted black to contrast with the glowing neon and pastel brightness of the clothes.… More >>
  • Best Clothing Store (Kids)

    Savers

    Children frequently display a couple of traits that absolutely confound those responsible for clothing them. First, they grow, unpredictably and erratically, making September's prized T-shirt an undersized hand-me-down by the holidays. Second, they are resolutely irrational: That pricey department-store dress your daughter absolutely must have stands a decent chance of never being worn, for mysterious and never-divulged reasons. Shopping for… More >>
  • Best Baby Goods Store

    Twin Cities Green

    It's a sad truth that even in this day and age products intended to be used by infants and children are not always completely safe. Plastic baby bottles in particular—even from well-respected companies like Gerber and Evenflo—are known to leach a dangerous toxin called bisphenol A. New parents are busy enough without having to research every product they bring into… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    Via's Vintage

    Looking for an elegant cocktail dress? Need to find a business suit unlike the ones the other cubicle rats wear? Via's Vintage has the look you want. For 25 years, the Uptown boutique has offered expertise to help you cultivate your wardrobe or find the key piece to make your night perfect. The store focuses on high-end vintage classics, like… More >>
  • Best Boutique

    Robot Love

    Ah, boutiques—even the word has a riche flavor to it. But these days fashionistas are taking a more practical approach to style, thinking twice about buying a memorable piece for $160 when versatility is key. That's why we're into a different kind of locally owned boutique—one whose uniqueness has built a community around it. Robot Love, Kris Knutson's Uptown haven… More >>
  • Best Lingerie Shop

    Flirt Boutique

    Like good chocolate, fine lingerie should be elegant and subtle—not cloyingly sweet. Unfortunately, most Twin Cities shops devoted to underpinnings either a) appear to cater to sex workers, or b) display enormous, intimidating photos of big-breasted models who have no hips. Fortunately, Flirt Boutique, which opened in May, has filled the gap for women who understand that sexy and classy… More >>
  • Best Plus-Size Shopping

    Rosedale Center

    Plus-size shopping can be like foraging for perfect berries, landing a perfect walleye, or even looking for a job—you need patience, stamina, and an optimistic but opportunistic attitude. The solidly suburban stores of Rosedale are a great source of inspiration. Yes, you have to march to the back of the store and mentally inoculate yourself against excessive appliqué. But you'll… More >>
  • Best High-Top Selection

    Status

    A nice pair of kicks has more power than most people assume. Bright red, with neon laces, or flashy white with classic details, shoes are a great way to communicate your personality to the city around you. Just walk past Status's front window display and see if you can fight the urge to peek inside. In this shop designed for… More >>
  • Best Bookstore (New)

    Micawber's

    To a non-resident, the Saint Anthony Park neighborhood doesn't look quite real. It's too picturesque, too quaint, too adorable—like something out of a storybook. And there's no better place to find an actual storybook for comparison than the area's cozy little bookshop, Micawber's. The independent store takes its moniker from a Dickens character, an honest but bumbling glass-half-full type who… More >>
  • Best Bookstore (Used)

    Booksmart

    Apparently a mischievous little genius is in charge of shelving at Booksmart. In the basement, when you turn right at the bottom of the stairs, you'll find the section with books about aging. Directly below are shelves labeled "Menopause." After that is "Death and Dying." Existentially speaking, you might wonder what comes next. At Booksmart, it's the sex section. Discovering… More >>
  • Best Mystery Bookstore

    Once Upon a Crime

    If you're looking for a project some weekend afternoon, try coming up with a mystery novel that Once Upon a Crime doesn't have. The Twin Cities' finest source for thrillers and crime fiction is home to thousands of new releases as well as a large section of rare and used books. Can't find a critical volume in Frank Gruber's Johnny… More >>
  • Best Science-Fiction Bookstore

    Dreamhaven

    There was a collective panic in the science fiction, fantasy, and comic-book communities when Dreamhaven owner Greg Ketter announced he was closing the store's venerable Uptown location. Thankfully, it wasn't an end—just another transition for the longstanding shop that has survived several moves in the past. Now located farther southeast than before, the offerings are still very much the same.… More >>
  • Best Children's Bookstore

    Wild Rumpus

    From the moment you walk through the front door of Wild Rumpus (the smaller front door if you're a wee one) you are transported into a children's dream world. The bookshelves lined with thousands of children's stories are only part of the magic. You might see a cluster of wide-eyed children running after Pimento, a chicken that always manages to… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Store

    Big Brain Comics

    With a spacious, well-lit storefront along a strip of prime real estate just a stone's throw from the Guthrie, Big Brain Comics is a shining example of prospering nerdery. Whether you're coming to grab a trade paperback of Optic Nerve, the newest issue of Kick-Ass, or an armful of Swamp Thing and Spidey, Big Brain has you covered, and it… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Creative Kidstuff

    Sure, Target and Toys"R"Us are easy places to pick up gifts for kiddies, but Barbie and Dragon Ball Z can only inspire so much. For original gifts that spark the unexpected, Creative Kidstuff is your best bet. There you will find items that range from the simple pleasures of youth, such as sidewalk chalk and jump rope, to more complex… More >>
  • Best CD Store (New)

    Electric Fetus

    As much as pundits and bloggers obsess over the slow death of the CD as a marketable product, you never have a problem finding a crowd of browsers and buyers at Electric Fetus. And not just on days when they have one of their vaunted in-store performances, either: With a 41-year history and a sterling reputation among Twin Cities music… More >>
  • Best CD Store (Used)

    Cheapo

    Don't listen to the rumors, people. Size matters. And when it comes to local used-CD stores, Cheapo is simply the biggest and best. The recent-arrival racks are a digger's dream, and the store offers no shortage of ways for shoppers to find that copy of Everclear's "Sparkle and Fade." Don't have time to let your fingers do the walking through… More >>
  • Best Music Store

    Twin Town Guitars

    It might be called Twin Town Guitars, and sure, the walls are decorated with more Gibsons and Les Pauls than Korg keyboards. But nestled into a cozy storefront on 34th and Lyndale is a comprehensive one-stop shop for Twin Cities musicians in need of a tune-up, a new set of strings, or a hundred feet of XLR cable for the… More >>
  • Best Game Store

    The Source - CLOSED

    For some, gaming is the pastime of a youth spent huddled over sheets of paper and piles of dice, determining the fates of Orcish gun monks and elven warmages. For others, the passion is life-long. Whatever the stage of your life or the form your gaming takes, there's little doubt you'll find your needs met at the Source. The spacious… More >>
  • Best Store for Knickknacks

    Heavenly Soles

    As the name implies, Heavenly Soles sells hip and durable shoes and shoe accessories. But that's only half the store. The other half is loaded with awesome stuff you don't need but, you know, need—like ice cube trays shaped like dentures, a plastic unicorn spearing a mime, and Play-Doh-scented room spray. Do you want to make toast emblazoned with the… More >>
  • Best Gift Store

    Corazon

    These two cute but not cutesy shops—one near the Guthrie and one at the end of Lake Street by the Mississippi River—carry such fun, funky goods that if you can't find a gift for someone here, that person probably isn't very interesting. You can always fall back on a scented candle, but Corazon (the name means "heart" in Spanish) offers… More >>
  • Best Yarn Store

    Depth of Field Yarn

    From beginners to cable-knit-sweater veterans, yarn lovers should make Depth of Field their first stop. If you're looking for your everyday Red Heart yarn, go to JoAnn Fabric. But if you're seeking out high-quality, warm and fuzzy, freakin' awesome yarn of every color and stripe, this is your place. Depth of Field stocks aisles of alpaca, silk, wool, and cotton… More >>
  • Best Flower Shop

    Minneapolis Floral Company

    Now that impersonal floral arrangements modeled after martinis and cupcakes are being hawked by internet warehouses at every light-rail station, it has become painfully clear that flowers, for many people, have crossed over into strange, sentimentally barren territory. Thank Chloris that for every person who abuses 1-800-Flowers.com, there is another who harbors romantic dreams of a career in floristry or… More >>
  • Best Garden Center

    Tangletown Gardens

    It's a garden store, but it's so much more. Its very name conjures up a wonderland of entwined vines and bracken where wee fairy folk come to frolic. With a focus on uncommon plants and unique garden sculpture, the charming Tangletown Gardens brings a bit of the exotic to an urban Minnesota garden. Tangletown owners Scott Endres and Dean Engelmann… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    North End Hardware and Rental

    A North Side institution for decades, North End Hardware and Rental doesn't just have everything you need, it has staff members who are more than willing to direct you to the right aisle for that just-right screw, washer, or nail for the job. And while big-box stores may have "greeters" to provide a pretense of warmth, that greeting is genuine… More >>
  • Best Green Home-Improvement Store

    The Reuse Center

    Since 1995, the Reuse Center has offered new, used, and surplus building materials such as plumbing fixtures, doors, cabinets, and reclaimed lumber salvaged from home and commercial building sites, and all are priced well below retail. If you just can't handle that dripping faucet, malfunctioning doorknob, or ugly, outdated kitchen sink any longer, replacements can be had for a proverbial… More >>
  • Best Pet Boarding

    Now Boarding

    It's a shame that Spot and Lucky can't accompany you on every trip you take. They probably would have found your two-week stint in Hawaii every bit as enjoyable as you did. Still, you have a wealth of luxurious pet-boarding services to choose from in the Twin Cities. Now Boarding, which opened in the past year, offers the entire package:… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Big Top Liquors

    Oenophiles looking for a $50 bottle of Bordeaux and homeless people scraping change together for an ice-cold 40 of Colt 45 are served as equals by the three rings of goods available at Big Top Liquors in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. With an impressive selection of top-shelf liquor, a smorgasbord of mid-range hard stuff, and a wide selection… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Solo Vino

    Solo Vino is the type of place you can stop by on your way home from the gym—greasy hair, pit stains, and all—and still be taken seriously. It's also one of the increasingly rare shops that focus solely on wine. At Solo Vino, almost all the wines have been handpicked and vetted by staff, and three of the shop's seven… More >>
  • Best Haircut

    Micah Savage at Moxie Hair Salon

    For some, a haircut is a mere necessity—almost a chore, in fact. But for others, a haircut is a special treat. Slip into Moxie Salon for an appointment with master stylist Micah Savage, and you might think you're also paying to make a new friend. Savage takes the time to make sure you get exactly what you want. If you… More >>
  • Best Pedicures

    Red Nails

    Sometimes it can be awfully hard to justify the $55 to $110 most Twin Cities salons charge for painting little piggies. Enter Red Nail salon, where pedicures cost $30 but include all the services of glitzier spas that bill three times the price. Sure, Dr. Phil may be droning in the background and the aroma of acetone may fill the… More >>

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