Shopping & Services

  • Best Shot of Espresso

    Press Coffee Roasters

    There are three factors that contribute to a good shot of espresso — beans, machine, and barista. If even one of the pieces of that trifecta is off, your shot of espresso can suffer. Luckily, the boys behind Scottsdale Quarter's Press Coffee Roasters have the process down. Created with their bold house-roasted Twitch Espresso Blend and pulled by their talented… More >>
  • Best Coffee Beans

    Black Market Espresso

    Great coffee starts with high-quality beans, and the folks at Cartel score only the best from Brazil for their impressive Black Market Espresso. The four-bean blend is sourced from a single high-elevation farm in the Sul de Mina region of Brazil, where it goes through its natural pulping process on-site before it is shipped off the farm. Cartel then roasts… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, Central Phoenix

    Carmel's Coffee & Bakery

    We were sold on this quaint and cozy coffee shop the second that designer-turned-barista Pat Flanagan opened the doors of his freshly remodeled spot last spring. The warm interior and interesting artwork begs you to take a few minutes out of your day to stay and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee (beans courtesy of Lux). But Carmel's isn't… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, Downtown Phoenix

    Lola Coffee

    All of the sudden, there's a lot of coffee competition on Roosevelt Row. But for us, there's no contest. Fresh house-roasted beans, an in-house bakery, an omelet bar, and a beautiful selection of rotating artwork are just a few reasons why Lola is our go-to downtown coffee shop. Artisan coffee roaster and latte art fanatic Daniel Wayne has created a… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, South Phoenix

    Cupz N' Crepes

    Crepes and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly, David Lee Roth and Van Halen, or vodka and Red Bull. Without one, the other is lonely and incomplete. Thankfully, Cupz N' Crepes is keeping the coffee-and-crepe team together at its Paris-inspired shop in Ahwatukee. Dig into a delicate crepe packed full of sweet Nutella and ripe bananas or the… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, West Valley

    Elevate Coffee Co.

    A good West Valley coffee shop isn't easy to come by — so many we've loved have shut their doors and taken their sweet coffee drinks and free Wi-Fi with them. Thank goodness we've been blessed with Elevate Coffee Co. The modern coffee shop is inviting, with lots of cozy nooks in which to relax with a hot latte and… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, Southeast Valley

    The Coffee Shop

    On the grounds of Agritopia (home of Joe's Farm Grill) in Gilbert, The Coffee Shop is a sanctuary from run-of-the-mill strip-mall coffee joints. Set in a beautifully repurposed maintenance garage, the spacious modern building has tons of natural light and plenty of seating. The baristas behind the counter whip up fantastic iced lattes and specialty drinks, including the Black and… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, North Phoenix

    Matador Coffee Roasting

    This strip-mall gem serves hot cups of fresh-brewed coffee from its skillfully roasted beans along with sweet housemade pastries. Matador strives to roast only the best beans daily, giving each and every cup of coffee or shot of espresso an extra kick of flavor to start your caffeinated day on the right foot. Curl up in one of the shop's… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, Tempe

    Cartel Coffee Lab

    When Cartel Coffee Lab opened its doors in 2007, it changed the game for coffee shops across the state. In Arizona, roasting beans was unheard of, and unless they'd visited Portland or Seattle, most Arizonans didn't really have a clue that coffee could be so good. With its über-hip industrial space and walls adorned with artwork from the Tempe community,… More >>
  • Best Coffee House, Scottsdale

    Village Coffee Roastery

    The first thing that you'll notice when you walk in the doors of this sleek coffee shop is the giant bean roaster on the south side of the room, and most of our afternoon visits have been accompanied by the aroma of fresh-roasted coffee. The shop's small-batch roasted beans have an exotic flavor achieved by using a patented scientific method… More >>
  • Best Brewery

    Four Peaks Brewing Co.

    Four Peaks seems to have winning down to a science. At the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, the brewery's American IPA, Hop Knot, took home the bronze; at the 2012 World Beer Cup, it claimed the gold, along with its Kolsch, SunBru. Four Peaks was the only Arizona brewery honored in the World Beer Cup's judging competition — actually coming… More >>
  • Best Place to Fill a Growler

    Flanny's Bar & Grill

    Beer geeks, craft brew nerds, and classy alcoholics rejoiced this year when the Arizona Liquor Board changed its rules and began allowing bars and restaurants with certain liquor licenses to fill 64-ounce glass jugs — a.k.a. growlers — with draft beer from their favorite breweries. And when we feel the need to get our trusty growlers filled to go, we… More >>
  • Best Bottled Beer Selection

    Whole Foods Market

    The choice of beer at most grocery stores comes down to color — would you like the boring, mass-produced lager that comes in a blue box or the boring, mass-produced lager that comes in a silver box? Not so at this Whole Foods location, where scores of bottles from Belgium, Germany, Canada, and every state in the union stand in… More >>
  • Best Drive-Thru Liquor Store, East Valley

    Sun Devil Liquors

    Where else in the East Valley can you grab a bottle of Arizona Stronghold's Mandala Red, a six-pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, and a bottle of Crystal Head vodka, all without leaving the comfort of your vehicle? Sun Devil Liquors has one of the biggest selections of craft beer and an extensive selection of locally made wines and… More >>
  • Best Drive-Thru Liquor Store, West Valley

    Henry's Liquors

    Getting out of the car to pick up a 12-pack of Coors sucks. You have to turn the car off and then walk into the store and, well, it's just a big pain in the behind (that we'd rather be sitting on while drinking). Luckily, someone had the genius idea to sell booze from the window of his store. Family-owned… More >>
  • Best Candy Store

    Smeeks

    Much like the wide-eyed crew of kiddos who won golden tickets into Willy Wonka's colorful world, shoppers' jaws drop (and there might be some incidental drool) when they walk into Smeeks. And that's for good reason. To the very likely chagrin of Valley dentists, the small Medlock Plaza candy shop offers crave-worthy goodies including lollipops nearly the size of dinner… More >>
  • Best Cigar Shop

    Magnum's Cigar Wine & Spirits

    Magnum's may not be in the classiest part of town, but what the Valley's premier cigar lounge lacks in location, it makes up for in selection. The upscale shop carries more than 1,000 different varieties of imported cigars in its 450-square-foot walk-in humidor. Don't know anything about cigars? That's okay. Magnum's has cigar aficionados on staff who will walk you… More >>
  • Best Head Shop

    Headquarters

    When The Headquarters first expanded into the longtime location of neighboring Eastside Records, we instantly had pangs of nostalgia for the independent music store. But the expansion has only made the head shop bigger and better for locals looking to light up their lives. And now that the "records" portion of the sign that read "smokeshop records" is removed, that… More >>
  • Best Hydroponic Growing Supplies Store

    weGrow

    With all this talk of medical-marijuana, new grow shops have sprung up in the Valley like seedlings. weGrow's a California transplant, having started with a store in Sacramento before spreading to Phoenix. In January, the franchise opened another location in Washington, D.C. The Phoenix store is huge, inhabiting a former warehouse. The grow lights, bottles of fertilizers and nutrients, and… More >>
  • Best Nursery

    Jackrabbit Nursery

    Somehow, this incredible nursery in West Valley has stayed under the radar for the past 11 years. If you're looking for hearty plants for a front or backyard makeover, the handsome nursery stocks everything you need to spruce up your land, from citrus trees to hip succulents to high-quality fertilizers and seeds. Jackrabbit will even deliver your new green babies… More >>
  • Best Antique Shop for Gardening Supplies

    Qcumberz

    We didn't know we needed a vintage hand rake until we saw a nicely weathered green one hanging on the wall at Qcumberz, a longtime favorite of local antique fans. We bought it and, as we were leaving, the nice guy behind the counter mentioned that he had several similar rakes and hoes and gardening tools, as well — and… More >>
  • Best Vintage Lighting Fixtures

    Stuff Antiques

    Staring at the ceiling is a good idea at Stuff Antiques, a place that's really all about the best in period lighting. Joe, the owner, clearly is obsessed with fine examples of exceptional period lamps and light fixtures; his place is filled to the rafters with stunning examples of Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, and Midcentury Modern pieces. The… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy an Antique Bathtub

    Antique Trove

    We wanted an old claw-foot tub, and we looked in all the usual places. Pretty much every antique dealer rolled his eyes and wrung his hands and sent us away, empty-handed. And then we went to Antique Trove, which lives up to its name, always. Treasures everywhere, and all of it so nicely displayed and lit. This is one of… More >>
  • Best Vintage Furniture Reupholstering

    UFO

    We spend a lot of time on our sofa — often fast asleep in front of some '60s rerun marathon. And so every couple of years, we drag the couch down to UFO, where the magic upholstery elves who toil there can work their magic on it. There may be no better or more affordable upholsterer in town, but even… More >>
  • Best Vintage Textiles

    Retro Ranch

    Ramie. Baft. Bombazine. We're addicted to reading the labels on vintage clothing, and some of the best label-reading (not to mention shopping) that we've done lately is at Retro Ranch, one of Seventh Avenue's best-known vintage stores. Sure, you can find broadcloth and dungaree at most vintage shops that sell clothing, but what is it about these guys that even… More >>
  • Best Vintage Christmas Stuff

    Zinnias at Melrose

    We didn't used to own a set of Santa Claus salt-and-pepper shakers or a Frosty the Snowman slushy maker, but we do now, thanks to Zinnias at Melrose, our favorite spot in town for vintage holiday gewgaws and all things Christmas. There, we've seen boxes of 60-year-old Shiny Brite glass tree ornaments stacked alongside mint-in-package tinsel, bags of still-glossy garland… More >>
  • Best Antique Shop for Vintage Carnival Chalkware

    Antique Centre

    Lots of people go to Scottsdale for its better restaurants and uptown department store shopping, but we go there for plaster Kewpie dolls. Antique Centre is the best place to find vintage carnival chalkware, those oddly painted statues that were given away as prizes at carnival dime-tosses in the '30s and '40s. At Centre, we've scored two 10-inch marching majorettes,… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Plaster Deities

    Salvation Army

    Last time we were here, we got a Virgin of Guadalupe with a chipped ear and an Infant of Prague whose index fingers were gone. The time before that, we got a plaster Jesus with real vinyl hair. And although we sometimes see religious statues in other thrift stores, this is the only place in town where we always find… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Collectible Books

    Goodwill

    When we decided we wanted an old set of encyclopedias, we thought it would be a piece of cake to find one — because any thrift store must have at least one set, right? Wrong. We visited a half-dozen of them before we headed to this west-side Goodwill, where we snagged a 33-volume set in mint condition for $20. And… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Vintage Furniture

    White Dove Thrift

    Outside of a plain old antiques store, this is the place where the best local collection of slightly tarnished vintage furniture resides. Every stick of Stickley is waiting for you to discover it and bring it home; and next time you drive past this Seventh Avenue destination and see a moving van out front, pull in! Nonstop deliveries to this… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Vintage Dishware

    Flo's on 7th

    The best thing about our new set of Brockware Chanticleer dishware is that we got it for next to nothing, because we shop at Flo's. The buyers there seem to know what they have — often, dishes and serving pieces will be tagged with the set's current eBay value — but they're not doing that weird thing where they lock… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Vintage Cookware

    Goodwill

    We thought it was a total fluke when we found two minty-mint Wearever cook-pots from the 1940s at this thrift store, but then a few weeks later, we found the matching saucepan — with its lid, too! After that, we made this unusually clean shop a regular stop. We've since found a like-new fondue set, still in its avocado-green box,… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Big, Ugly Lamps

    Goodwill

    There was this corner in our home that needed nothing so much as a big, ugly table lamp. Off we headed to the Goodwill at 32nd Street and Thomas, because we'd seen a colossal monster of a lamp there not long before. Little did we know we'd find not one giant lamp, but three — one of them a floor… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Small Appliances

    Savers

    We wanted an electric can opener but didn't want to pay full price; we knew we'd be using it only to open the occasional can of dog food. And so we headed straight to the Bell Road Savers in Peoria, because we knew they have practically an entire department devoted to small appliances. We found a nice almond-colored can opener… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store for Cheap Gifts

    Assistance League Thrift

    We admit it: There's a box in our closet where we keep inexpensive gifts we've scored at Assistance League Thrift, one of the best thrift shops in town for still-in-the-box re-giftables. Recently, we've found a cute box of vintage stationery for a dollar; a still-wrapped-in-plastic potpourri candle; and a neat spice rack (also still in its original box) shaped like… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store Antique Department

    Indian School Thrift

    We secretly hate those glass cases in thrift stores, where the "good stuff" has been locked away because someone in a backroom has decided that a headless Shirley Temple doll with a torn dress is valuable and should cost $40. And there's never anyone around with a key to show us the thing we want, anyway. But at Indian School… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store Nobody Knows About

    Eve's Treasures

    It's the glassware that we love the best. No, wait. It's the stunning selection of hardcover books for sale here. Or is it the whole roomful of vintage record albums that keep drawing us back, over and over again, to this cute little best-kept-secret of a thrift shop? We can't decide, so we keep going back, and once there, we… More >>
  • Best Midcentury Modern Furniture

    Modern Manor

    If you spend considerable time on Craigslist employing search terms like "teak," "Danish," and "Eames," pause your rapidly moving fingers. Now, instead of compulsively hitting refresh on that shady search page again, redirect your eyes to Ryan and Kylie Durkin's website for a look at their mod treasures. Nice, right? We thought you'd like Modern Manor. Once you manage to… More >>
  • Best Monthly Vintage Sale

    Sweet Salvage

    Every month, we strive to make a little more room in our apartment in hopes of squeezing in a new vintage find from Sweet Salvage. The décor shop opens its doors every third Thursday through Sunday with a new theme (the second-ever, held around Halloween, was "mad scientist") and fresh merchandise. To its sprawling Seventh Avenue space, shoppers flock to… More >>
  • Best Annual Parking Lot Sale of Vintage Goods

    Antique Gatherings

    What we wanted more than anything was a pair of gigantic vintage Drexel china cupboards to cram all of our dishes into. Alas, everyplace we saw them (they're pretty common but still very lovely), there was only one and it was way too expensive. Then we headed over to Antique Gatherings for its semi-annual Spring Parking Lot Sale, because we… More >>
  • Best Antiques Mall

    Brass Armadillo

    We're clumsy. And so, when we recently knocked over and smashed a vintage Dr Pepper bottle while visiting a friend's very vintage home, we were mortified but not surprised. We also weren't worried about replacing this rare article — we just grabbed our phone and dialed Brass Armadillo, because if anyone had one, we knew they would. They did, and… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Antiques on a Budget

    Antique Marketplace

    It just keeps growing, like Topsy. Antique Marketplace, which savvy shoppers remember as the old Historic District Antiques on Seventh Avenue, continues to gobble up the other storefronts around it, expanding more and more every time we drop in. That's a good thing, because we always find something amazing, at an amazingly low price, when we do. For our friend… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy High-End Antiques

    Phoenix Lamp Repair

    We know where to go for fancier antiques for our great old house, and now we're going to tell you — in good part because you may not know that this wonderful old shop even sells antiques. They do — and good ones, besides. We recently dropped in for a lampshade and ended up staying for an hour to ogle… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vintage Clothing

    Antique Sugar at Zinnias

    Shopping for vintage duds can prove an iffy endeavor in Phoenix, where some stores couldn't be bothered to give a hoot about their products. That's especially true when delving into racks and stacks ends with shoppers exiting in the midst of a dusty sneezing fit. In the case of Melrose district vintage staple Antique Sugar, the clothing couldn't be ignored… More >>
  • Best Mobile Vintage Shop

    Merry May Shoppe

    Yeah, yeah. We know all about food trucks. But there's a new brand of shops on wheels we're excited about: clothing trucks. And we have Ashley Eaton to thank for our newfound obsession. Her white and peach 1961 Shasta Airflyte trailer houses Merry May Shoppe, Eaton's mobile boutique, and travels to festivals and special events such as First Friday to… More >>
  • Best Vintage Jewelry

    Vintage by Misty - CLOSED

    Misty Guerriero travels the world in search of to-die-for vintage fashion and furniture to fill up Vintage By Misty. London, Paris, Israel, and Spain all make her list of shopping destinations. Where Guerriero's eye for the eye-catching serves her best (in our humble opinion) is in her selection of fabulous baubles, as evidenced by the shop's impressive variety of accessories.… More >>
  • Best Splurge-Worthy Vintage Clothing

    Fashion by Robert Black

    With the frequency that designers use the word "couture" to describe their work, you'd think the stuff magically grew on mannequins. The term actually is short for haute couture, a French descriptor for handmade, custom high fashion that is really, really expensive. And if you're in the market for it, there's one Valley standby that always has it stocked: Fashion… More >>
  • Best Designer Consignment Store

    Poor Little Rich Girl

    Label lovers who get giddy over good deals on quality products, we're about to let you in on a little shopping secret of ours. Instead of getting bogged down by aimless shoppers and too much filler at places like T.J. Maxx, head to discount department store alternative Poor Little Rich Girl. It’s an upscale resale and consignment boutique chock-full of… More >>
  • Best Used Clothing for Kids

    Love Child

    The only thing more adorable than a little girl's party dress is a little girl's party dress at a screaming bargain. And that's what you'll find — rack after rack of 'em, in fact — at Love Child. We'll be honest: We don't know how this cute little consignment store stays in business. The prices on clothing, shoes, and a… More >>
  • Best Vintage Clothing on a Budget

    Butter Toast Boutique - CLOSED

    Nobody pulls off the hippie-chic look quite like Butter Toast owners Traci Nelson and Jasmine Jarrett do. At once effortless and thoughtfully put together, theirs is a look that is easy to attempt but can be tough to pull off. Those looking to cultivate a Woodstock-worthy wardrobe have a leg up by way of the twosome's boutique, though. It's full… More >>
  • Best Boutique Thrift Shop

    Sunset Clothing Xchange

    On the flipside of Mucho Gusto, on University Drive, sits Sunset, a boutique thrift shop where, after a few of those hibiscus margs, we tend to go a little berserk. Not that it's unwarranted. It's quite the opposite. Shopping here is almost too easy to do because the store's racks are packed with designer clothing on the cheap (sometimes with… More >>
  • Best New Boutique

    Nostra Style House

    The ever-chic Angelica Gonzalez bridges two stylish worlds, mixing vintage wear with new pieces from small, upcoming labels at her boutique, Nostra Style House. When the shop joined GrowOp and Butter Toast on Sixth Street off Roosevelt, it completed a trifecta of independently owned stores on a quest to keep downtowners looking good. And, boy, does it succeed. With a… More >>
  • Best Boutique

    Frances

    We never met Georganne Bryant's beloved grandmother — the namesake for her vintage-inspired CenPho boutique — but frankly, we feel like we knew the woman well; that's how much time we've spent with Frances over the years, poking at "her" gorgeous, creative collection of jewelry and super-cute kitchenware. And we are pretty sure we're sending Bryant's kid to college with… More >>
  • Best See and Be Seen Shopping

    Biltmore Fashion Park

    Anchored by Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, open-air shopping center Biltmore Fashion Park makes for some of the best people-watching we've ever enjoyed. Unlike most malls that are overrun with hapless high-schoolers trying to look cool, Biltmore's crowd is made up of shoppers who tend to fall into one of two groups. The first has money to burn at Escada… More >>
  • Best Inspiration in a Retail Setting

    MADE

    Believe it or not, the Phoenix arts district known as Roosevelt Row has been around long enough to have some actual history. And when people tell the story of how the whole thing started, they love to talk about Modified Arts, the music/arts venue that popped up many years ago in a nest of twinkly white lights that eventually put… More >>
  • Best Shopping on Roosevelt Row

    GreenHaus Gallery + Boutique

    We were ecstatic upon hearing that Cole and Dana Reed would fill Roosevelt Row's long-empty, shoebox-shape building that formerly housed drag bar 307 Lounge. High expectations for a quirky, interesting, and, most important, fun place to shop on RoRo were happily met with the pair's GreenHaus Gallery + Boutique. Its offerings include reupholstered and refinished furniture, vintage interior décor finds,… More >>
  • Best Shopping on Grand Avenue

    Gallery Marsiglia

    Gloria Marsiglia's Grand Avenue jewelry shop and gallery is a gem worth unearthing. In the small space, you'll discover handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, beads, accessories, and other gifts made by local artists, including Marsiglia, who has designed decorative accouterments for more than 30 years. And she's all about sharing her in-depth knowledge. Marsiglia teaches workshops for beginners looking to learn about… More >>
  • Best Shopping on Mill Avenue

    Meat Market Vintage

    It's not every day that a business founded online succeeds to the point of opening a brick-and-mortar shop. In fact, the story usually seems to go the other way around and is attributed to lack of consumer interest. But that's the story of Cory Martinez and Ben Funke's Meat Market Vintage, an eBay shop that grew to take over the… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Western Boots

    Saba's

    Whether you've got one pair or one for every day of the week, Saba's got what you're looking for. There's nothing worse than a cheap pair of boots, and fortunately, Saba's carries only the best. From a simple starter set to top-of-the-line exotics such as ostrich and rattlesnake, they'll hook you up and fit you right. In fact, we stop… More >>
  • Best Men's Section

    Bunky Boutique

    It's a rare occurrence when boyfriends, hubbies, and, well, any dudes can stay entertained during a shopping endeavor. Bunky Boutique is the exception to that rule. Granted, it neighbors Matt Poole's Giant Coffee, so no excuses for dozing off are acceptable while in a 50-foot radius. But what it really comes down to is the inherent style of its owners,… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Six Points Hardware

    Those of us who like nothing so much as a hardware store that offers old-fashioned DIY advice must now stop our whining. Because the folks who work at Six Points Hardware are so nice and so helpful that we sometimes wonder if we've stumbled onto the set of an Andy Griffith Show rerun. Sure, they sell lumber and nuts and… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Typewriter Fixed

    Mesa Typewriter Exchange

    Bill Wahl's happy to be disturbed at work. The local typophile and his stockpile of typewriters continue the tradition of the business that's occupied 30 South MacDonald in Mesa since 1949. Wahl’s surrounded by old, rusty machines that local diehards and newfound typewriting hipsters have dropped off at his shop for repairs. The walls are lined with Coronas, Smiths, Hermes,… More >>
  • Best Cheap Vinyl

    Revolver Records

    We recently decided we liked Sonny and Cher, and we knew just where to go to get a big pile of their super-groovy records for next to no money. Revolver Records never lets us down when we're on a musical whim. Whether we're stuck on Leonard Cohen or the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the nice boys at Revolver always have at… More >>
  • Best CD Store

    Stinkweeds

    If you've spent any time identifying the indie songs you hear in hip coffee shops or in your even hipper friend's car with the help of iPhone's handy Shazam app, you can take that list straight to Stinkweeds, where employees can find the correlating albums and make a few suggestions. We love Stinkweeds because we don't have to surf through… More >>
  • Best Movie Posters

    Victor Moreno's Cult Classics

    Local designer Victor Moreno has had a lifelong love affair with movie posters. Gowing up in the 1980s, he was fascinated by legendary artist Drew Struzan's action-packed one-sheet for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, as well the iconic poster for Robocop. "I can always remember movie posters being something that stuck with me, even when I was little."… More >>
  • Best Costume Store

    Easley's Fun Shop

    If you buy into the theory that the end of the Mayan calendar will coincide with the end of the world this December, then it's about time you picked out your apocalypse ensemble. As it very well could be the last thing you ever wear, why not have a little science fiction-inspired fun along the way? Perhaps you'd like to… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vinyl Toys

    Lulubell Toy Bodega

    You don't see many of Fuei Shokai's eerie Slender Man dolls selling alongside other vinyl playthings at chain stores like Urban Outfitters or Zia Record Exchange. In fact, the sought-after collectible is so scarce that they can't be purchased anywhere in Arizona, except at Lulubell Toy Bodega. The quirky emporium, which moved to downtown Mesa from Tucson last winter, focuses… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Shop

    Gotham City Comics & Coffee

    With all the geekery that's found a home in downtown Mesa, it's no surprise the main drag is also home to a comic shop that's busy with Daredevil, Wolverine, and Joker fans alike. Store owners Kevin Johnson and Miguel Vega and have played host to video game tournaments, book-signings, action figure showdowns, late-night Wi-Fi sessions, and plenty of good-hearted debate… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Changing Hands Bookstore

    It's funny. As reports of the demise of the bookstore — and, indeed, the paper-and-ink book itself — increase, hipsters are embracing the book as an art form. Not as something to read, but something to carve — literally. Really, we've seen skulls carved from old books, art stamped on their pages, shelves built on their backs. A coffee bar… More >>
  • Best Used Bookstore

    Bookmans

    Really, we should give this local micro-chain a Best of for "Best Place to Kill an Entire Summer Afternoon," because we've done that more than once at Bookmans. Or "Best Place to Do All Your Christmas Shopping" — because we've done that, too. In short, this is our favorite place to browse, to buy, and to sell back gently used… More >>
  • Best Specialty Bookstore

    The Poisoned Pen

    When bookworms find themselves craving a literary thrill, we point them toward The Poisoned Pen. There are shelves of novels in the bookstore that will sate their appetite. But that's nothing new. Since 1989, the specialty store has offered up tales, some of which its sister press publishes, in niche genres such as mystery and thriller. But don't let that… More >>
  • Best Art Supply Store

    Arizona Art Supply

    After slowly but surely plowing through the mass of art history goodness that is Phaidon Press' The Art Museum, any artist (or person with vaguely creative tendencies, for that matter) would feel inspired. But what to do with such a burst of creative energy is the real matter. We say head to Arizona Art Supply and let the materials that… More >>
  • Best Bead Store

    Beads Galore

    Whether you're a serious beader in need of sophisticated tools or a newbie ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the strings of crystals and other sparkling treasures, Beads Galore won't disappoint. It's a one-stop shop for all your beading needs, a star of the annual gem show in Tucson, and the standard bearer in the Valley. Seed beads in every imaginable color,… More >>
  • Best Knitting Supplies

    Knit Happens

    In case the cheeky name didn't give it away, Knit Happens is not some mothball-infused shop for old ladies and their kittens. No. Knitting noobs and purling pros of all ages get their needle fixes at this Scottsdale skein supply store, where the approachable staff has shoppers in stitches in no time. Knit offers more than 30 brands of yarn… More >>
  • Best Fabric Store

    Tempe Sales Company

    The dimly lit aisles of Tempe Sales might not be the easiest spot to locate the Marimekko-inspired fabric for your latest reupholstery project. But if you have an hour or two to kill and need a place to find some serious inspiration for a new fabric-based project, Tempe Sales is a good place to start. It's here you'll find collections… More >>
  • Best Fabric Store on a Budget

    SAS Fabrics by the Pound

    Trust us: Not every SAS store is created equal. Several years back, there was a fire at the Central Phoenix location on Indian School Road. This forced a cleanup and reorganization that was cause for great celebration among sewers, crafters, and fabric hoarders across the land. The "new" spot is cleaner, brighter, and it's actually possible to find what you're… More >>
  • Best Pet Groomer

    Mackie's Parlour

    Fine. You can blame our unbridled love of and compulsive need to spoil our pets on watching too many Disney movies featuring talking animals when we were kids. And, you know, we probably did watch Lady and the Tramp a few too many times. Big deal. Feel free to judge our gorgeously manicured fuzzy companions — and us — all… More >>
  • Best DIY Pet Groomer

    Wag n' Wash

    Bath time is a dreaded tradition — for both dirty doggies and their parents. The wagging ones dread the sudsy tub, while the promise of cleaning up Fido's watery tracks all over the house after he decides to jump ship inspires ire in the well-meaning humans. That’s why we thank goodness that Wag n’ Wash provides professional-grade and easy-to-use equipment… More >>
  • Best Beauty Products

    Just B — B Just

    We all need a job to do, and for many homeless individuals, a job could be the first step toward a better life. Just B — B Just, a program of the Phoenix-based Lodestar Day Resource Center, is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness. Just B sells natural bath and body products and is run almost entirely by… More >>
  • Best Spa

    Spa Avania

    When taking a much-needed spa day, the key to really enjoying the pampering experience is feeling transported to an oasis. Hyatt Gainey Ranch's Spa Avania, with its instantly calming neutral, sandy color scheme, takes us to such a state of bliss. But it's through its unique treatments, like the signature Desert Essence Body Wrap ($165), a deeply hydrating treatment employing… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Clean Freak Carwash

    Remember going through the automatic car wash as a kid in your mom and dad's car? That feeling of being inside something so mechanical, so loud, and so much more sci-fi futuristic than any of your parents' other errands. Now, as adults, car washes are a boring necessity — that is, unless you take your ride to Clean Freak, where… More >>
  • Best Cab Company for Cheapskates

    Sunrise Cab

    The slew of sedans making up Sunrise Cab's fleet isn't exactly what you'd call pristine. In fact, shabby and squalid would be better words to use when describing the tattered, threadbare interiors of the former cop cars and secondhand hoopties that were purchased from local surplus auctions by this mom-and-pop cab company and transformed into taxis. The practical upshot of… More >>
  • Best Cab Company for Big Spenders

    Euro Way Transportation

    The Mercedes-Benz E350 isn't a mere car; it's a rolling palace of posh. This dream machine's V-6 engine purrs with 302 horsepower, its luxury exterior exudes an aura of wealth and privilege, and its price tag is in excess of $50,000. So unless you can somehow divine the correct Powerball numbers, your only shot at taking a ride inside this… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Car Fixed by a Girl

    180 Degrees Automotive

    If you think women know nothing about cars, you haven't met Bogi Lateiner. The 30-something is passionate about vehicles and ditched her plans to become a lawyer to instead break down the barriers between women and their cars (and men who don't think their cars can be fixed by women). She opened 180 Degrees Automotive this year and is already… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Bike Fixed While at Work

    PHX Bike

    Have a mechanical snafu on the morning commute to work or need a quick repair from damage done on the weekend ride? PHX Bike is downtown Phoenix's little urban bike boutique that not only could, but is. Shop owner Palmer Martines can have a bike ready before it's time for the ride home. Break a spoke, need a derailleur adjustment,… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Shop

    Bicycle Haüs

    Set in Old Town Scottsdale, Bicycle Haüs is the town's ultimate cycling boutique. It carries drool-worthy, super-high-end lines like Rapha, Assos, Pinarello, and Colnago in a shop that is always immaculate. Even though it's got the stuff that can fill anyone with bike envy, it also has baseline bikes for those looking to cruise the Greenbelt or area canals. Haüs… More >>
  • Best Skateboard Shop

    Cowtown Skateboards

    We're not sure why the titular character of Avril Lavigne's hit song "Sk8r Boi" was dubbed a loser. In our high school, the skater kids were some of our coolest classmates. And the chill cats behind the counters at Cowtown Skateboards are the same way, which makes us feel right at home. Maybe that's because the shop employs burgeoning kick-pushers… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Lab Supplies

    ChemLab Supply

    It's said that a chemist's best friend is the periodic table. If that's true, being BFFs with a tabular display of elements sounds like a boring existence, if you ask us. It might behoove said chemists to seek some new buddies, and, no, we're not talking about any greasy-haired teenagers eager for you to help them cook up. Instead, consider… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Pet That Actually Belongs in Phoenix

    Phoenix Reptile Expo

    Do you own a chinchilla? If so, then you are a bad person and should feel bad about subjecting an animal to the Arizona heat. Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains and adapted to live at cool higher elevations. Arizona is probably as far as you can possibly get from that environment without shooting them into space. So what… More >>
  • Best Place to Prepare for the End of the World As We Know It

    Arizona Survivalist Show

    If you have ever had even a passing interest in preparing for the End Of The World As We Know It (EOTWAWKI) then you'll probably want to check out this Mesa convention. Held in the hangars of the Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum, this "prepper" convention has all your bases covered. Here you can pick up the very latest… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Wine by the Bottle

    Sportsman's - CLOSED

    If you can't find a bottle of wine you like somewhere in Sportsman's 1,500-plus bottle collection then you probably need to admit to yourself that maybe you don't like wine – or that you're the snobbiest wine snob in all the land. For more than 25 years, Sportsman's has been offering Phoenicians the best selection of wines in town. Whether… More >>
  • Best Taxidermy

    Kruger's Creations

    We're not claiming to be experts in the world of hunting, but we do know that the telltale sign of a good taxidermist appears when you find yourself seriously debating whether the stuffed animal you see is alive. That's the reaction that Chris Kruger strives for with every animal he preserves — from bears to bass, bison to bobcats. Working alongside… More >>
  • Best Nose

    Christina Carlino, founder of Philosophy

    In 1996, Phoenix-based entrepreneur Christina Carlino decided to put her beauty school knowledge and life philosophy to work. The then-34-year-old had had plenty of experience in the beauty industry (she worked for plastic surgeons in Hollywood and developed the BioMedic line that's now sold in plastic surgery offices around the country). As the story goes, the idea for Philosphy skin… More >>
  • Best Vegan Taxidermy

    Christy Puetz

    Phoenix artist Christy Puetz works on her animal creations with a long needle, a collection of glass seed beads, and countless peyote stitches. Her fragile, delicate, and painstakingly detailed creatures come from a variety of backgrounds and stories. In 2011, she created a collection of “shapeshifting” creatures shown at Modified Arts, and, in 2009, she showcased a series of birds… More >>
  • Best Bird's Eye View of Phoenix

    Kenney Aerial Mapping

    Armed with two turbo-charged Cessna 206 aircraft and a slew of cameras, the Kenney Aerial Mapping crew takes to the sky. From above, the team can capture data that helps it create custom aerial topographic maps, aerial photos, surveys, and digital terrain models of any area in the Southwest. Forget Google Earth; these guys use two Zeiss aerial-mapping cameras that… More >>
  • Best Locally Made Reason to Smile

    Restylane

    Scottsdale could serve as the poster city for three things: bleached blond hair, bedazzled jeans, and plastic surgery. Which means we shouldn't be that surprised to find out the city with as many plastic surgeons as gas stations is also the home of Medicis, the pharmaceutical company behind one of the most popular family of injectable fillers for facial tissues.… More >>
  • Best Science Experiment in a Nail Polish Bottle

    Scotch Natural Nail Polish

    Did you know that the Los Angeles Department of Public Health classifies traditional nail polish as toxic waste? Well, guess what, they do, and you have been putting it all over your flanges for years. Yuck. So, ladies (and gentlemen, if you're into this sort of thing), the days of putting toxic paint all over your pretty fingernails is over.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Used Science Equipment

    ASU Surplus

    Any given day (except Sunday; they're open from noon to 4 Monday through Saturday), ASU Surplus is worth a visit — if you're looking for a super-cool, old-school vintage desk or perhaps a sturdy desk chair. Last time we visited, we found some giant green chalkboards. Nice. The price is right — ASU orders new supplies and dumps the old… More >>
  • Best Place to Build Your Dream Car

    Local Motors

    Boy, you wish your high school shop class was as cool as Local Motors in Chandler. It's a space where auto enthusiasts, fabricators, engineers, and designers come to create vehicles conducive to the local environment. The Rally Fighter is the flagship vehicle of Local Motors, designed by Song Ho Kim, who won Local Motors' open competition. It's built for the… More >>
  • Best Supplies For Your Genetic Experiment

    DNASU Plasmid Repository

    Plasmids are the key to genetic engineering. You can't just take a string of genetic code, throw it into a pot of DNA, give it a shake and expect a cure for cancer to fall out. Plasmids are tiny loops of genetic material that scientists use to courier desired genes into the heart of a cell, its DNA. Pretty much… More >>

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