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Best of the Cities

The spiciest curry, the stiffest drink, the greenest dry cleaner, the hippest adult entertainment (it’s not what you think), and the movers and shakers who make the Twin Cities a better—and more interesting—place to live. They’re all right here, in our annual best-of-the-best guide.

Best of the Cities

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Women’s Store

There’s more to Hot Mama than maternity wear. A lot more. In fact, the shopping dream is alive and well at this beloved local chain, which prides itself on helping women feel good in the skin—and clothes—they’re in. You’ll find stylish and flattering fashions, spacious dressing rooms, perfectly helpful staffers (who you’ll want to hate because they’re so cute, but won’t because they’re so darn nice), a kids play area, and—mark our words—a pair of perfectly fitting jeans. Four metro locations, shopmama.com

Home Accessories

Oddly enough, shelter store Roam will likely inspire you to nest, rather than do what the name implies. Those who favor contemporary décor will be right at home browsing an extensive collection of Minneapolis-designed Blu Dot furnishings, and an impressive collection of modern European offerings from Alessi and Kartell. There’s really is no place like Roam. 813 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis, 612-377-6465


At Nani Nalu, swimsuit shopping is a day at the beach. You’ll find elegant one-piece suits alongside teeny-weenie bikinis, flip-flops in every imaginable color, cover-ups cute enough to be dresses, wide-rimmed hats, and even roomy beach bags to stow it all in style. 3922 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-546-5598, naninaluswim.com


The vintage pin-up posters decorating the wall at Flirt Boutique sum it all up: This pastel-colored lingerie shop is a girly paradise. There are sweet lacy nighties, cool cotton PJs, coordinated bras and panties sets, and super-soft bamboo robes. To fully stock your fantasy boudoir, scoop up luxurious bath treats, retro makeup cases, and scented candles and drawer liners. 1330 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-698-3692

Yoga Clothes

Don’t let a little downward-facing dog dampen your style. The spacious, Zen-like boutique at CorePower Yoga in Edina carries local labels Foat Design, Julz Marie, and Universal pants, along with such big brand names in yoga wear such as Prana, Tonic, and Be Present. Jewelry with stones allegedly imbued with spiritual energy round out the sublime selection. It’s enough wardrobe inspiration to make you say ommmmm. 7495 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-835-9642, corepoweryoga.com/edina

Music Store

At American Guitar & Band, you’ll likely spot a professional musician trying out a vintage bass while an aspiring 7-year-old drummer looks for his first set. That’s the norm at this family-run business, owned by Cory Lake, a recording engineer, and his wife, Stephanie, who designed the space. Here you’ll find everything from a Hello Kitty Stratocaster to a guitar with a diamond-studded flatboard. There are also lesson rooms, a coffee lounge, and posters straight from the walls of First Ave. 13777 Grove Dr. N., Maple Grove, 763-424-4888, americanguitarandband.com

Place to Buy Gifts

A pen makes the perfect gift. It doesn’t require assembly. It always fits. A pen, when purchased at Ink, makes a statement. At this sleek shop, pens come in a range of price points and styles, from a fashionable, $10 ball-point for the babysitter to a precious Italian fountain pen for the jet-setting boss. By appointment only; IDS Center, Suite 4530, Minneapolis, 612-455-2600, penstore.biz

New Boutique

The men’s and women’s boutique that scores big with northeast Minneapolis residents is a must-shop for any Twin Citian looking for casual yet sophisticated clothing and accessories in a laid-back, urban setting. Parc Boutique’s eclectic mix includes trendy denim, flirty frocks, cozy sweaters, and colorful scarves—a must-have for fall. Stuff moves fast here, so shop often. 328 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-353-4966, parcboutique.com

Creative Outlet

Whether you’ve got a life-long passion for making hats and socks or a newfound interest in needlepoint, you’ll be inspired by Bella Lana’s rows of bright skeins and the recommended designer patterns paired with them. Knitters are welcome to bring in projects and ask for advice from one of the yarn-savvy owners. For more formal instruction, there are monthly classes for beginners taking their first stitches, and for experts looking to finish off projects. Felting, anyone? 21 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis, 612-331-3330, bellalanaminneapolis.com

Shopping Site

The art of sending notes has found new life in the 21st century, thanks to RedStamp.com. The Minneapolis-based website was started by Erin Newkirk and Renée Walter, two moms with MBAs and a passion for pulp. Their paper site carries designers who express a distinctly modern sensibility, which means you’re sure to find a seriously stylish calling card or desk calendar that reflects your personality. The company recently introduced its first line of Red Stamp–branded products, including personalized stationery and a holiday collection. If you’re short on time or lack penmanship, try the website’s “send-for-you” service. We sincerely appreciate the help. redstamp.com

Deals & Steals

What began as a last-call destination for baby and maternity wear from the über Baby family of stores, has become a collaboration of local fashion heavyweights. At über Outlet you’ll find brand new, current styles (as in, not last season’s leggings) from Arafina, Bumbershute, Ivy, and Twill, to name a few—all for up to 80 percent off original retail prices. 6021 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-869-0930

St. Paul Shop

When Patina moved onto the corner of Selby and Snelling avenues, the drab and quiet neighborhood instantly perked up. The historic building that houses Patina got a complete facelift, exposing the beautiful red brick that had long been hidden. And inside? The treasures that Patina is known for—from quirky greeting cards to kitschy gifts and shabby-chic home décor. At night the store glows, its windows twinkling with goodies. Sometimes a new neighbor makes all the difference. 1581 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-644-5444, patinastores.com

Men’s Store

Even if you’re about as cool as your khaki collection—there’s hope. Ivy Men’s is stocked like a rock star’s dressing room: bad-ass Tom Ford sunglasses, steel and skull accessories, street-smart fedoras, and luxury casual wear that’s perfect for when you’re lounging on a white leather couch in the Hamptons—or not. 1220 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis, 612-377-4319, shopivy.com

Wardrobe Advice for Men

After more than 21 years at Macy’s/Marshall Field’s/Dayton’s (and a dapper, devoted clientele to show for it), Keith Dorsett opened his own boutique, Elsworth, in downtown Minneapolis. A Yoda-like master of men’s wardrobes, Dorsett has a straightforward style mantra: simplicity without a lot of bling. His store is mannequin-free so that he can tailor advice to each customer—like how to effortlessly break up a suit and wear it five different ways. Elsworth, 811 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis, 612-339-0763

Wardrobe Advice for Women

Ever wish that stylist would go into your closet and tell you what to wear? Lucky for us all, StyledLook owner Kevin Quinn and his team of wardrobe experts make house calls. In full- or half-day sessions, they’ll analyze your existing wardrobe and help you put together at least 10 new outfits. Guaranteed. Then, you’ll get a book with photos of all of the options—for those mornings when you can use the extra help. StyledLook, 612-746-5800, wardrobeexperts.com

Wardrobe Staple

The gaping button-front shirt. The wrap dress that won’t stay wrapped. The trouser hem that comes undone. For these and other wardrobe malfunctions we offer one simple solution: Hollywood Fashion Tape. Created by Minnesota gal pals Marni Bumsted and Jane Dailey, this three-inch piece of invisible, double-stick adhesive fixes fashion faux pas on the spot, keeping fabric in place and unmentionables safe. This ingenious product has made its way to into nearly every local boutique and our style editor’s handbag. We hear that most celebrities won’t hit the red carpet without it. Why should you? Hollywoodfashiontape.com

Second Acts



Just like pairs of premium denim, two Covered stores are definitely better than one. The new glossy Uptown location carries the same skinny, bootcut, and wide-leg styles, and all of the hot labels as the original Dinkytown spot, plus a selection of men’s denim and casual tops. Both shops, with their denim-savvy staffers, offer the same invaluable fit advice. 1201 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis, 612-825-1610, shopcovered.com


The owners of ultra-trendy Bluebird Boutique have spread their wings with Ladyslipper, a much-needed shoe and handbag outpost just down the street. Try on heels and flats while perched on a rosy pink ottoman or strutting the zebra-print carpet. Throw a Botiker handbag over your shoulder, slip a Kenneth Jay Lane cocktail ring on your finger, and you’re on your way. 4940 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-224-1900


Stephanie Morrissey has duplicated her cosmopolitan St. Paul boutique across the river. Under her keen fashion-forward eye, the second Stephanie’s has a similar mix of designer labels, including Nicole Miller, Yoana Baraschi, Nougat London, and Tracy Reese. There are also plenty of casual day and cocktail dresses for west-metro shoppers to wisely invest their saved gas money. 5005 France Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-929-2087, stephaniesshop.com

Green Goods



Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher reinvented beauty products (again) this summer with the launch of a certified USDA organic hair and body collection, Intelligent Nutrients. The purifying aromas, gentle hair care, and high-performance styling products are all made from only nontoxic, nutritious, and 100-percent edible, food-derived ingredients. 983 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-617-2003, intelligentnutrients.com


Green is the new black at Birch Clothing. The cozy store is overflowing with fair-trade and environmentally conscious fashions: soft bamboo tees and dresses, organic-cotton denim, purses crafted from recycled candy wrappers, and biodegradable umbrellas. Lucky for the fashion-conscious, Birch’s eco-friendly options are far more chic than crunchy. 2309 W. 50th St., Minneapolis, 612-436-0776, birchclothing.com


Twin Cities Green is like an environmentally friendly department store, complete with gift registries. Owners Ryan and Tina North have stocked it to encourage greener living. Organic linens, recycled glass pasta bowls, solar-
powered radios, and metal flowers made from reclaimed aluminum are just a few of the offerings at this eco-emporium. 2405 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-374-4581, greengiftsonline.com


Want to pimp your bike? Cool Planet Goods will help you transform it into an electric speed demon. Travel a lot? Try the collapsible bicycle, which folds up to fit overhead compartments on airplanes. If they don’t carry the form of alternative transportation you’re looking for, Cool Planet’s knowledgeable staff can tell you where to find it locally or online. 1023A Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-333-3341, coolplanetgoods.com

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