Spa Avania - Hyatt Gainey Ranch

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 cactus extract, and the lavish Crushed Pearl Facial ($180), that we find that elusive world of Zen-like enlightenment. If you hear us chanting oms, chalk it up to the spa-induced state of nirvana and get yourself an appointment, stat.

Clean Freak Car Wash

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 you can recapture the fantastical feeling of your childhood. Plus, the staff is friendly, and the deals are priced right. A regular wash is $5, takes just three minutes, and includes vacuuming. Step it up with the Freaky Clean for $8 or the Obsessively Clean for $10, complete with undercarriage power wash and Turtle Wax ICE. Can't keep the desert dust off your car? Unlimited monthly washes start at $20.

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 such low-fi livery vehicles, however, is that Sunrise Cab can offer substantially cheaper rates than its snazzier competitors. Flag drops, for instance, are only $2.50, and the per-mile charge is a mere $1.50. Drivers — who are not only prompt but also ultra-friendly — tend to stick around the Phoenix area but will journey to other parts of the Valley for those who schedule pickups in advance. It allows you to get to and from your favorite nightspots with plenty of dough leftover for drinks.

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 high-end automobile (or any others in the E-class) is by ringing up the drivers at Euro Way Transportation. They've got a bounty of Benzes at their disposal and can ferry you around the Valley in style for roughly the same as most other luxury cab companies (with $5.20 for the first mile, $2.25 for every mile thereafter). Or, if you'd like to be shuttled around to some of Scottsdale's swankiest for an entire evening, Euro Way's staff — who go through a rigorous screening process — will charge you $58 per hour. It certainly beats rolling up to the Mint in your old Mazda.

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 busy with oil changes and repairs. And when she's not under the car, Lateiner is hard at work on a handbook for women — and anyone else — who want to learn more about auto repair. For her, the business is more than an oil change; it's an education and a pretty sweet hobby if you get to know what's under the hood.

Best Place to Get Your Bike Fixed While at Work

PHX Bike

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, brakes freeze up, or drop a chain? No problem. If you're into two-wheel fun of any variety, this super-specialized, super-indie shop's got the goods for fixie, single-speed, road, or BMX varieties. Located in The Hub building, just south of Adams on Central, PHX Bikes is the only shop downtown to service bike commuters and ASU students. And, as with any good shop, the space is anchored by a comfy red couch.

Bicycle Haus

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 is a big supporter of local racing, sponsoring multiple teams as well as a local pro-level crit race. The very best part of the shop, though, is the collection of vintage Specialized and Schwinn bikes and race-worn bike jerseys that line the ceilings, making this place not only a shop but a museum. Be sure to look for the green jersey from the Tour de Romandie, won by the Valley's own Chad Beyer. Complete with a bar to sidle up to for chatting up the wrenches who seem to constantly be building a new dream bike, Bicycle Haüs may only look like it's for a few, but it really is for anyone who loves to pedal two wheels.

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 who will give you their honest take on everything from trucks and shirts to decks and sneakers. When they're not hawking wheelie goods, you likely will find them out at local skate parks testing out tricks and gathering material for new videos. That's what makes the Cowtown team legit, and it's why we trust 'em above all others when it comes to grinding, carving, and flipping.

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 making acquaintances with the helpful and sociable staff at ChemLab Supply, who seem to have great chemistry with their customers (sorry, couldn't resist). If your latest experiment calls for sodium thiosulfate or cupric chloride, ChemLab Supply has 'em in stock at their South Phoenix retail location, as well as more than 600 other essential substances, oxidizers, and acids. And if you're feeling testy, the store also stocks kits for gauging pH levels, conductivity, and water purity. A full range of flasks, beakers, glassware, Bunsen burners, and lab equipment is available for purchase. ChemLab's been serving solvents since 1980 to a variety of local inventors and lab nerds. But if a badass bald-headed ex-teacher strolled in asking for thorium oxide and phenylacetone to make Blue Sky, they'd probably call the cops.

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 is a conscientious desert-dwelling animal lover to do?

Perhaps head over to the annual Phoenix Reptile Expo held at the Mesa Convention Center. Whether you are looking for a new tank for your 15-foot boa constrictor or just a hot rock for your favorite scaly friend, this reptile convention has you covered. Beyond upgrading your current reptile enclosure, you can also look forward to browsing through a huge array of new reptile companions. Local and national vendors sell everything from corn snakes to bearded dragons. The expo goes down in November, and tickets will run you $12 for adults and $5 for children. There is a $2 admission coupon available on their webpage.

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