Shopping & Services

  • Best Bureaucrat

    Randy Vaughn

    This spring the media-relations officer for the St. Louis County Police Department found himself part of the police blotter for a change. Randy Vaughn was filling out paperwork when a fleeing suspect burst into the building and ran past his desk — the perp seemingly unaware that he had chosen police headquarters as a hiding place. The cops easily nabbed… More >>
  • Best Blog


    A driving force behind the IKEA-to-St. Louis rumors and home to some of the smartest analysis of local crime stats, regularly stirs the pot in ways that can make mainstream media in town jealous. Launched in 2010 and run by editor Alex Ihnen, nextSTL is known for its in-depth analysis of hyperlocal issues — we're talking block-by-block changes —… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Jim Hacking

    It's a divorce attorney's job to get two people to split up. Conversely, it's often Jim Hacking's job to bring two people together. That is, if one of the two people was born in a foreign country and the other is a U.S. citizen. Some of Hacking's more dramatic work is helping asylum seekers and battling with immigration authorities over… More >>
  • Best Public Library

    Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library

    Of the 4 million pieces that populate the beautifully restored Central branch of the St. Louis Public Library, visitors will find some 100,000 maps of our fair city. Most of these, naturally, are found in the handsome St. Louis Room. Here are stacks upon stacks of maps, atlases and reproductions of cityscapes from centuries ago that outline St. Louis' story.… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    Missouri State Parks

    We are a sedentary nation, and the Internet sure ain't helping. For the first time ever, this year Americans are expected to spend more time online (five hours per day) than they do watching TV (four and a half hours per day). Who better to recognize this than a counter-intuitive website that actually encourages us to unplug and get off… More >>
  • Best Place to Live

    Holly Hills

    Quietly tucked away in deep south city next to Carondelet Park, fortressed behind rows of century-old trees that line the boulevards, Holly Hills gets along quietly, just fine on its own. The houses span from elegant brick masterpieces to affordable, comfortable bungalows. Perhaps most telling about the neighborhood is its census figures. In a time when many city folks were,… More >>
  • Best Blues Player

    Alex Pietrangelo

    The 2012-'13 Blues were a frustrating club, unable to get out of their own way, seemingly cursed with unlucky injuries and loaded down with players pulling nightly Jekyll and Hyde routines. One player, though, stood above it all. One defenseman whose play remained at the same excellent level all season, regardless of the chaos surrounding him. Alex Pietrangelo is the… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Alex Waldbart Florist

    Claire Waldbart Kramer is the great-granddaughter of the man who founded Alex Waldbart Florist in 1872 with a shop in the lobby of the Planter's Hotel downtown. The iconic green neon sign out front has been attracting customers since the 1930s, though it has hung in its current spot only since 1967. "I was five when we moved to this… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    The Fantasy Shop

    Some comic-book stores are total dungeons — unreasonably dark, gunning for a spot on Hoarders and manned by jerky, know-it-all clerks. Others boast bright lighting, cutesy displays and all the sickeningly sweet sunshine and unicorns you desire. The Fantasy Shop location in St. Charles finds the middle ground, preventing your shopping experience from becoming too depressing or too candy-coated. There's… More >>
  • Best CD/Record Store

    Apop Records

    Apop is a collector's dream. The shop marries new vinyl with used fare, providing for the diehards and casual wax eaters alike. Reissues of classic records comingle with recent drops by burgeoning labels. Cassette tapes line the far right wall where you'll find the most obscure rips in noise and pop. Every piece is curated by clerks who trim the… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    General Grant Car Wash & Detail Center

    Most car washes, even the automatic ones, will do an adequate job of cleaning automobile exteriors. But only truly topnotch human professionals, like those who staff General Grant Car Wash, will rise gracefully to the challenge of removing vomit from a vehicle's interior. Says one Google review about an expert detailer there named Chad: "In addition he was also kind… More >>
  • Best Used-Book Store

    The Book House

    By the time you read this, the Book House will be dead. The Civil War-era building will be emptied of books, and the bulldozers will be growling in anticipation of tearing down another irreplaceable piece of Rock Hill's history. In its stead will soon be some sort of storage-for-hire facility, which is ironic — the Book House always wanted more… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    All Star Tattoo

    Let's say — hypothetically speaking, of course — that you have a vindictive older sister who holds grudges, and she's decided to get a tattoo to commemorate her cancer-free life. She comes to you for suggestions about where to go: What's your answer? Remember, in this hypothetical situation, if you send your sister someplace where sanitation is lax, she gets… More >>
  • Best Book Store

    Subterranean Books

    Subterranean Books is proof that people continue to read, regardless of what you've heard from the media. A few years ago the shop was indeed in danger of closing, but the reading community rallied around the store and bought it back to health. The staple of the Loop is now busier than ever, with regular author appearances, a loyal customer… More >>
  • Best Sporting-Goods Store

    Alpine Shop

    Walk into the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood, and it's hard to believe you're stepping into a locally owned store. This former grocery seems just too big and polished to be some mom-and-pop operation. But then the story behind Alpine Shop is well-known to most outdoorsy types around here. What started out 40 years ago as a small pit stop for… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Wolfgang's Pet Stop

    If the idea of dousing your furry friend in chemicals to keep fleas at bay turns your stomach, you'll be barking up the right tree at Wolfgang's Pet Shop. The shop offers all-natural flea medication, not to mention a staff that is as loving and caring to their four-legged customers as you are. Whether you're there for a scheduled grooming… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    Circle of Knowledge

    Imagine you're a kid again. Your mother tells you, "We are going to the store," and packs you into the minivan with your slew of siblings. You're pissed because this means nothing more than trailing Mama as she sorts through clothes and tells you to stop hiding in the middle of the circular racks. Inevitably she will buy you an… More >>
  • Best Lingerie

    Sugar Magnolia Boutique

    Sugar Magnolia is the perfect place to get out of that Victoria's Secret rut. It has everything from the practical — T-shirt and maternity bras — to the playful: bridal sets, burlesque items and push-ups for a little extra oomph. Personal, private bra fittings are available to get just the right fit, and the store is so well stocked that… More >>
  • Best Clothing Store For Women


    Ziezo has been in the Delmar Loop since 1982, but it's not at all stuck in the past. It's the perfect spot to find independent designers — local and national — so you won't be wearing the same thing as everyone else in town. Find brands like Free People, Jeffrey Campbell, Cheap Monday and Michael Drummond, as well as hard-to-find… More >>
  • Best Furniture Store

    Arhaus Furniture

    Hair on hide is big this season. This is why you'll find piebald cowskin throw pillows strewn across sofas and chairs all around the showroom floor of Brentwood Square's Arhaus. The large, airy space is segmented into lovely little dream rooms full of fairly pricey furniture that reflects other current design elements: weathered wood, nail heads, industrial metal, mirrored glass… More >>
  • Best Vintage Shop

    Green Shag Market

    Imagine the grooviest garage sale of your dreams. You know, the one in which an eclectic collector is parting with her accumulation of rare furniture, clothing and curios in one large fire sale. Now magnify it all by ten and you've got a fuzzy idea of Green Shag Market. This consignment shop, just southeast of Dogtown, could also take honors… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    The Wizard's Wagon

    Adults aren't supposed to have toys; they have hobbies or guns. But since April the Wizard's Wagon has fostered the enjoyment of grown-up twelve-sided die rollers, Star Wars lovers, card-game players, Magic: The Gathering junkies, Dungeons & Dragons adventurers, Whovians and every other conceivable stripe and creed of enthusiast in the Loop. Let's not quibble about "nerd" or "geek" labels.… More >>
  • Best Smoke Shop


    Knock on Emporium's door, wait for the buzzer and don't you dare say anything about bongs, man. It's water pipes, got it? Show the friendly hippie your ID, then try not to get blinded by the gleaming rows of not-bongs lining the back wall. Just a block off Delmar Boulevard in the heart of the Loop, Emporium doesn't try to… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    Phoenix Rising

    After 21 years, Phoenix Rising owner Carrie Drda knows a thing or two about finding the elusive perfect gift for that special someone. "There's so much good stuff out there that it's hard to narrow it down," she says. So Drda stocked the friendly confines of her shop with everything from unique pieces of jewelry to bacon-related objects (two words:… More >>
  • Best Clothing Store For Men

    Sam Cavato Men's Wear

    Sam Cavato Men's Wear is not for the casual shopper. Cavato has been outfitting the movers and shakers of St. Louis since 1972 with Italian suits ranging from $800 to $4,000. It's the most personal service in town, and Cavato and his tailors take pride in their work. Cavato learned his trade in the '50s and '60s at Tom Houlihan's,… More >>
  • Best Bridal Shop

    Town & Country Bridal Boutique at Plaza Frontenac

    Choosing a wedding dress is stressful enough, so why go anywhere that isn't prepared to pamper you? Town & Country Bridal offers gown-selection assistance with a personal touch, all in a gorgeous setting to put the blushing bride in the right frame of mind. The standout designer here is Monique Lhuillier, whose gowns range from city-hall sassy to the dream… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Cherokee Street Bikes

    Everyone knows how much hipsters love their rides, and at Cherokee Street Bikes, you'll find a qualified staff of mustachioed mechanics you can pay to lavish attention on your two-wheeler. Located in the heart of the coolest neighborhood in the city, the workers do quick, skillful work on a PBR budget — the shop boasts the cheapest tuneups in town.… More >>
  • Best Antique Store

    Warson Woods Antique Gallery

    It's rare that you find an antique store — especially one with multiple dealers — where you don't have to search to find something great. That isn't the case at Warson Woods Antique Gallery. Notice we said gallery, not mall. That's because this gallery is better curated than your average antique mall, despite over 31,000 square feet of vintage goods:… More >>
  • Best Used-Clothing Store

    Retro 101

    In Pretty in Pink, lovesick Jon Cryer tells experimental fashion plate and BFF Molly Ringwald, "This is a really volcanic ensemble you're wearing." Ringwald's character, who thrives on combining pieces from different fashion eras, easily could have found her duds at Retro 101. The Cherokee Street store is the source for eye-catching, notable vintage stock and accessories from across the… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center

    What kind of thrift store tries to sell you broken crap for just under retail price? Plenty around here, it seems. But not the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center. The midtown location is especially good about pricing objects appropriately, according to their chips, scratches and usability. But beyond the everyday pricing, the Family Store also features major sales… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vinyl

    Vintage Vinyl

    This St. Louis music mainstay carries everything from vintage records with high-quality standards to the newest national and local releases. The city's music experts shop here to buy records for their personal collections or to play on the radio. Many of the staffers are musicians and radio DJs themselves, which makes navigating the store's selection or getting a recommendation a… More >>
  • Best Anime Shop


    Animeggroll's walls are plastered with a mix of fresh releases and dated rarities. The curio shop of Japanese lore and Western fantasy holds no shortage of Asian comics and figures, but its collection of anime shines above any other store in St. Louis. Animeggroll caters to casual fans with value-priced box sets and used stock, but the hardcore folks can… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Scheidt True Value Hardware

    Walk into Scheidt Hardware and ask for Roger. Chances are you needn't look far. He's the Kris Kringle look-alike parked at the cash register. Can't find him there? Follow your nose to the source of that sweet pipe tobacco in back of the store. There you'll find Roger doing what he does best: helping homeowners who've gotten themselves into a… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    The Cheshire

    Apparently, the $8 million makeover the Cheshire received back in 2011 just wasn't enough for some people, like New York-based art critic Michael Wilson who sniffed in Artforum, "The mock-Tudor facility had apparently been designated officially historic, a reward for having survived unnumbered stag parties and family getaways since as far back as the mid-1950s." Harumph. Guests who aren't insufferable… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Chesterfield Mall

    Whether you've got a ten-spot or a trust fund burning a hole in your pocket, Chesterfield Mall is one of the very best places to go blow it. From discount retailers like H&M to high-end boutiques like Coach, there's something for everyone in this pristine indoor shopping mecca. Little girls (or boys) can run amok at the American Girl store… More >>
  • Best Place for a GrownUp's Birthday Party

    St. Louis BarCycle

    Desperately seeking a novel way to ring in your next year of life? Behold, your savior Dan Lloyd and his trusty steed — a massive, metallic, pedal-powered charabanc — careening down Ninth Street at a breathtaking three to five miles per hour. After clearing some regulatory hurdles last August, Lloyd's St. Louis BarCycle has been a nearly ubiquitous Soulard sight… More >>
  • Best Clothing Store for Kids

    Kangaroo Kids

    Here's a tip to all you expecting parents: Don't make the rookie mistake of spending tons of coin on your child's clothes only for the kid to, A) ruin that adorable new outfit with one massive burp of grape juice; or B) outgrow it after just one or two wearings. Instead, be a parental pro and get your tyke's clothing… More >>
  • Best Arcade

    The Neutral Zone

    There was a time when you could become king of nerds by dominating at Ms. Pac-Man in a musty back-room arcade. Then the Internet became a thing. Trash talk is now done online through a Bluetooth headset, not face to face. While few spots in our city still offer that former arcade glory, the Neutral Zone is home to heavy… More >>
  • Best Art Supplies

    Hobby Lobby

    This is a great place to spot green-haired Juggalos, those notorious followers of Insane Clown Posse, stocking up on floral tape (for hair horns) and staple guns (for impromptu piercings) before their annual jamboree. However, if you want to get chopping on that portrait of your cocker spaniel but need a tube of burnt umber gouache before you can start,… More >>
  • Best Sex Shop

    Dr. John's Lingerie and Novelty Boutique

    Not all adult shops are created equal. Say you're out with your significant other and you decide that you want to spice things up. You and your honey pop into a nearby adult store, not knowing what lies beyond the barred windows and sketchy parking lot. You might find, to your horror, that the shop is dark, that the shop… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Video Games

    Game Trader

    Trade in the sterilized, brightly lit game store for the stained, musty confines of a collector's paradise. Game Trader is full of gaming oddities like Japanese arcades and peripherals. Foreign titles are commonplace among stacks of American games, which are neatly sorted by region and system. Used copies of fresh games line the shelves leading to the back counter, and… More >>
  • Best Gun Shop

    Metro Shooting Supplies

    Whether you live in the Second Amendment utopia of Missourah or the restrictive liberal purgatory of Illinois, Metro Shooting Supplies is the place to go for your constitutionally mandated freedom. Locations in Bridgeton and Belleville, Illinois, carry a full lineup of handguns, shotguns and rifles, and feature indoor shooting ranges that can accommodate calibers up to 30.06. And of course,… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party


    Take the Magic House. Shrink it. Do the same to the Saint Louis Science Center. Merge the two together and place in a strip mall in Town & Country. Add a few private party rooms and cake of your choosing. Voila! You've got yourself a b-day party that will be the envy of your kid's peer group. And who knows?… More >>

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