Revolver Records

We started going to Revolver for vinyl — the selection of vintage rock and jazz LPs there is amazing — but ended up relying on this downtown record shop (now with a second location in Tempe) for our digital music needs, too. It started when we couldn't find a domestic copy of Blondie's first album on CD. A quick phone call to Revolver revealed not only this apparently hard-to-find midline, but a surprisingly refined selection of rock, easy listening, and country CDs. Ricky Skaggs' third album used to be on our compact disc Holy Grail list, but no more — we found it at Revolver. We also found friendly, knowledgeable help and willingness by Revolver's staff to seek out the difficult-to-find imports we can't seem to score on eBay or find in an MP3 file anywhere.

Readers choice: Zia Record Exchange

Kitsch and craft meet quasi-creepy at Mill Avenue's Moonage Tempe. Owned by Kelli Vanyek and Tyler Greene, the boutique is filled with locally made jewelry, art, and home goods. It's the perfect pit stop for bolstering your unironic crystal collection that's just a gemstone's throw from ASU's Tempe campus. Also up for grabs are Two Trees Botanicals animal figurine planters, artsy cow skulls by Supreme Souls, cutesy cross-stitch works, and Southwest-inspired jewelry from All the Tiny Pieces. It's kinda like the home and accessories section of Urban Outfitters — if the chain store had a reverence for makers and artists.

Readers Choice: Hippie Gypsy

MADE Art Boutique

MADE Art Boutique has been around for a decade. Traditionally, 10-year anniversaries call for gifts of tin and aluminum, but that sounds crappy given the shop's status as a Roosevelt Row mainstay. Perhaps it would be more fitting, then, to pop in and pick out a few things from the bungalow store's stock. You'll find assorted handmade cards, Alex Ozers' jewelry, and SighFoo wool toys. Aside from gifts for yourself, the shop spotlights rotating small-works exhibitions on its mantel, with fresh art going up from creatives like Roy Wasson Valle and Laura Spalding Best every Third Friday. Happy birthday to MADE. Happy shopping to us.

Readers choice: Bud's Glass Joint

11th Monk3y Industries is emblematic of Grand Avenue's decidedly organic appeal. On the sidewalk outside the shop's brick walls and mint-colored metal barred windows, the demand to "Get excited and make things" is spray-painted in white. It's a philosophy that's evident in the small shop. Run by multifaceted maker Ruben Gonzales, the shop carries his screen-printed wearables like T-shirts and snapbacks. But Gonzales isn't some run-of-the-mill shirt purveyor. He's the go-to guy for lifestyle brands Baby Teith and Lookwood51, in addition to consistently taking up new ways of making things — whether it's metalworking or embroidery. Looking for an added dose of handmade goodness? Swing by on Third Fridays for rotating pop-up gallery shows from The Lab.

Readers Choice: ThirdSpace

Scottsdale Quarter

It's hard to think of a reason to not go to Scottsdale Quarter. The North Scottsdale shopping center keeps adding high-end shops that have us trekking north more often than we'd like to admit. The mileage is worth it for access to West Elm, Intermix, Vince, Restoration Hardware, and Suitsupply — stores with serious style that can't be found anywhere else in the Valley. And we head to the Quarter for more than just retail. The open-air complex is also home to a Drybar, one of the few Dolce spas, and what feels like an extra-large Sephora. For refueling, Press Coffee is the easiest go-to, but sit-down places including True Food Kitchen and Dominick's Steakhouse round out the upper echelon of dining options.

Easley's Fun Shop

We've all been there. It's 2 p.m. the day before Halloween and you've just gotten a last-minute invitation to a costume party. You were planning to stay home and pass out candy this year, but now you need a costume that looks as though you'd planned it for weeks. Obviously, you're headed to Easley's Fun Shop. With the best selection of adult and children's costumes in the Valley, Easley's has just the thing for you. Maybe you decided to be crafty and make your own costume this year? Stop by Easley's to get some killer makeup that will put your look over the top. Of course, Easley's is there for more than just your Halloween needs. Got a '70s-themed birthday party next week? You know where to go.

The Torch Theatre

Whether you aspire to do stand-up or simply want to step out of your comfort zone, Torch Theatre is your ticket for taking socialization to the next level. In addition to serving up its own weekly shows, the small Phoenix improv space offers a variety of drop-in classes and eight-week courses that range from beginner to advanced. Butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, you'll find all walks of life learning to let it all out on the stage. While learning to be funny doesn't come free, students do get an all-access pass to the Torch's regularly scheduled programming to see how professional antics are done. Meeting new people, making stuff up, and marking another activity off your bucket list? Sounds a heck of a lot better than speed-dating, if you ask us.

At $18 a pop, the School of Ballet Arizona is not the cheapest place in town to pick up an adult ballet class — but we stopped whining about the price as soon as we tried it out. The school, home to Ballet Arizona, the state's foremost professional ballet company, features beautiful studios with plenty of room to leap and high-quality flooring that makes turning a dream. It offers a dozen different classes — all danced out to live piano music — in the morning and evening, so it's easy to find something to fit your schedule. With three levels to choose from, the school is one of the only places in town that has something for every adult dancer, from the ballet-curious looking to take a first lesson to the experienced ballerina. The teachers do a great job of catering to the needs of individual students within the class, keeping everyone sweating. Good thing the school offers discount passes for frequent buyers.

Earlier this year, Amanda Rose led the dance company she directs, the Raqs Sharki Movement Collective, to first place in the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition (the universe!). That should give you some idea of the sheer awesomeness you can expect from her Tuesday night class at Toolbox Dance Studio. As a dancer, Rose has a playful sense of musicality and a natural talent for stringing together shimmies and hip lifts in an organic way. Her instruction is on the cutting edge of modern belly dance trends, but it still manages, somehow, to maintain the authenticity of the centuries-old dance form. She keeps beginners comfortable and experienced dancers challenged.

Trailhead Bike Shop and Cafe

We stumbled into this place once, desperate for cold coffee while driving around north Central Phoenix on a busy weekday, our eyes caught by the "espresso" sign on a window. "What's this, a bike cafe? C'mon . . .," we remember thinking skeptically. Then we went inside and fell in love with the place. We saw right away that it truly was both things it advertised — there's the counter for sandwiches and drinks, there's the rows of new bicycles for sale, there's the stands hoisting bicycles in for repair. The place even smells like coffee, new bicycles, and bicycle grease, an aroma that blends together well, believe it or not. Ever since that first magical trip — yes, the iced mocha kicked ass — we've been back to look at the bikes and bought equipment including gloves, a helmet, and biking shorts. Be careful about going to lunch there — it may cost you $2,000, but you'll be leaving with a sweet steed.

Readers Choice: Slippery Pig

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