Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Scottsdale

Not to nitpick, but there's no such thing as a Sonoran rose. Yes, roses can grow in the Sonoran Desert. And there's such a thing as a desert rose. But it's called adenium, and while lovely and vaguely Seussian, the flower is native to the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Like we said, though, not nitpicking. Because Camelback Inn's so-called Sonoran Rose Facial delivers relaxation and our favorite floral note to such a degree that it calms our skin as well as our know-it-all tendencies. Seriously. The combination of glycolic acid and rose oil paired with a hand and foot massage make for quite the chill, mind-mellowing experience. Call it whatever you want. We're on board.

Between the year-round shedding and the worrisome "What did you just roll in?", dog groomers are the unsung heroes, saving us from what could easily be an entire morning of coaxing, sudsing, and, heaven forbid, nail-clipping. Fortunately for us and our four-legged friends, the best canine coiffures in town don't come at a cost that will leave us howling. Doggy Daze offers a variety of all-inclusive services for pooches big and small, from self-service washes to double-coat de-shedding — all of which come with the complimentary "royal treatment" (ear-cleaning, nail-trimming, and yes, even gland-checking). As an added bonus, the pet parlor also features a retail area for purchasing dog food, treats, and toys, so you can do your one-stop shopping while Spot gets the salon treatment.

The jackalope — jackrabbit meets antelope — is a mythical creature, but now you can make your very own if you're lucky enough to nab a spot in a Curious Nature taxidermy class. This Central Phoenix shop celebrates all things scientific, particularly if they're hip, and what's hipper than taxidermy? The best part of the classes — all materials are included, and no animals are harmed. So put down your gun, and don't call PETA. This is all about preserving and enjoying nature. If that's your kind of thing.

The wooden floors, blue walls, and large dome ceiling of 17,500-square-foot The Ocean Floor are meant to make you feel like you're in a shipwreck, or at least a cool aquarium store. It works. This place has it all, starting with a reptile section behind the massive aquariums for sale. Then, take the bridge over the little koi pond for over 150 aquariums stocked with freshwater to tropical and saltwater fish — everything from rare fish to the standard red and blue bettas in little cups on a shelf. Admire the tenants of the Reef Tank, then check out the Swim Tank. There are also supplies of fish food, aquarium filters, lights, gear, barrels of colorful rocks and decor, corals, about 2,200 gallons of real harvested seawater, and plenty of kids with faces and hands pressed against the glass.

Bizarre Guitar & Drum

Anyone who's ever stepped foot in a big-box guitar store knows what a hellscape the place can be. Imagine it: dozens of wannabe shredders workshopping their pinch harmonics while uninterested sales people consider what they might have to do to make a commission. Bizarre Guitar isn't like that at all. Filled to the brim with vintage gear, new axes, amps, and best of all, a chill staff, the shop feels homey and stress-free. Whether you're browsing for a stomp box, picking up strings, or even looking to trade up for something new, the locally owned Bizarre Guitar makes it clear that instrument stores don't have to suck — the corporate competition doesn't even come close.

Stinkweeds

Kimber Lanning's record store has been around for 30 years, and it's easy to see why. Stinkweeds is all about curation. It kinda has to be, given how small the CenPho shop is. But damn if they don't make every square foot worth it — particularly when it comes to CDs. You'll find a well-stocked selection of locally made albums and EPs, as well as super-specific small releases from choice labels that you might have to dig around for elsewhere. That the shop is picky about its staffers is also a plus. Both manager Lindsay Cates and longtime employee Dario Miranda have great taste (both are musicians, too), and you'll be rewarded for being a return customer with killer recommendations.

No record shop in town does it quite like Zia Record Exchange. That's partly because nobody rivals the sheer square footage the local chain's shops cover, and also because pretty much every record store in town was founded by somebody who used to work at Zia. Hard to compete with the big kahuna. Really though, Zia carries everything from silly gag gifts and stocking stuffers to Criterion Collection films, and a bananas array of preowned items like action figures, musical instruments, and gaming gear. But the store really shines when it comes to vinyl. Where else can you ogle a Beatles butcher cover, spend hours digging through crates of dollar records, and pick up the latest DJ Khaled LP? Nowhere but Zia.

Arizona State Fairgrounds

Some people wait all year long for Christmas. Or their birthday, the NBA playoffs, the beginning of elk season — we've all got our thing. For Phoenix bibliophiles, that's the VNSA used book sale, which is traditionally held the second weekend in February at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. "Book sale" doesn't begin to cover it: Each year, VNSA offers up hundreds of thousands of books, CDs, DVDs, games, sheet music, magazines, and much more at ridiculously low prices to thousands of shoppers, some of whom travel across the country and even the world to attend. Bring a backpack, bring a suitcase, bring a trash bin (we've seen people do it), and start filling it with enough reading material to get you through to the next sale. And best of all, VNSA is a nonprofit organization, which means that going overboard on purchases just sends that much more money to local charities. Everybody wins.

Since 1974, Changing Hands has been synonymous with Phoenix's book culture. Currently operating two shops, one in Tempe, the other in central Phoenix just off the light rail, Changing Hands has more going for it than the best and most diverse selection of literature in Phoenix (though it certainly has that). What truly sets the shops apart from other book nooks is a dedication to community. Whether hosting family workshops, book club discussions, or lively author Q&As and signings, Changing Hands makes it clear that people who read together grow together, and Phoenix is better for that commitment and inquisitive spirit.

Small? Yes. A good selection just the same? Also yes. Among the loud banter and busking of Mill Avenue, you'll spot the hanging sign for Old Town Books just south of Fifth Street. That is, if you don't first spot the small, mobile bookshelves wheeled out onto the sidewalk, or the imaginative window display they have going on. Owner Chris Smith has run the bookshop since 1984, and settled into the Mill Avenue storefront in 1987. The narrow bookstore has all the same sections as a larger shop, so you'll find titles delicately crammed in any shelf space available, along with copy paper boxes filled with books along the edge of the floor. Those interested in Arizona, Native American, and Old West history will find a good mixture of titles on the north shelves, while others can look for the vintage, first-edition, and out-of-print books the shop has to offer. Oh, and one more thing: It's cash only.

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