Best of the Twin Cities 2011

150 things to be proud of because they're ours

Shopping Districts

The go-to neighborhoods for finding the best stuff

Boutique Shopping: 50th & France

Long the crown jewel of Twin Cities neighborhood shopping, 50th & France isn’t resting on its laurels: This year saw the arrival of knockout intimate apparel boutique Room No. 3 (952-746-3003, roomno3.com), stationery and gift store Paperista (612-886-3470, paperista.com), contemporary boutique Drama (612-338-9423, shopatdrama.com), and, just in time for the holidays, the Twin Cities’ first Athleta (athleta.com) activewear store. Add those to the fashion, bridal, home, accessories, and even swimwear offerings already available, and this neighborhood addresses a discriminating woman’s every need. Stay tuned: More openings are on the horizon next year.

Vintage Corner: 50th & Xerxes

Antique and vintage hounds have long sought out the intersection of 50th Street and Xerxes Avenue South in south Minneapolis for its eclectic standbys: Hunt & Gather (612-455-0250, huntandgatherantiques.com), Loft Antiques (612-922-4200, loftantiquesmpls.com), and Michael’s Lamp Studio (612-926-9147). Now things are getting even richer with the recent additions of The Vintage Studio (612-929-2559) and Piccadilly Prairie (612-581-7117, picadillyprairie.com). With art galleries, coffee shops, and a salvage warehouse sprinkled between, it’s even more of a perfect place to hunt, gather, shop, and play.

Revitalized Corner: Selby & Dale

It used to be a cinch to park at Selby and Dale in St. Paul, because, let’s face it, there wasn’t much reason to stop–especially between meals. Selby and Snelling has gotten lots of attention for its turnaround, but this commercial stretch deserves some love too. From the exquisitely merchandised men’s store BlackBlue (651-260-5340, blakblu.blogspot.com)—which has added women’s clothes!—to trendy-on-a-budget Primp (651-414-0091, primpyourself.com) to the latest arrival, Allee Metro Chic (651-414-0274, alleemetrochic.com) and its downstairs partner, home accessories store Assez Bon (651-414-0274), this intersection is now a destination.

Girls' Night Out: Excelsior

Fashion shows. Karaoke. Botox on the street. If it’s Thursday night, you can be sure there’s something going on along Water Street in downtown Excelsior (pictured). Cynthia Rae (952-401-4484, cynthiaraeboutique.com), Omorphia (952-401-3311), Brightwater Clothing & Gear (952-474-0256, brightwater-excelsior.com)–really, all the small retailers in this lakeside town have done a terrific job of banding together to create social shopping events that draw packs of women. The official season runs June through early October, with bonus events for the holidays. Each night out has a different theme, with store and restaurant specials, events, and extended hours. excelsiorgirlsnightout.com

10 Local Stores We Love

1) Designer Fashion: Bumbershute

5014 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-475-2684, bumbershute.com

2) Men’s Tailored: Heimie’s Haberdashery

400 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-224-2354, heimies.com

3) Trend Apparel: Covered

1201 Lagoon Ave., Mpls., 612-825-1610, shopcovered.com

4) Shoes: Pumpz & Co.

Galleria, 952-926-2252, pumpzco.com

5) Accessories: StyledLife

Galleria, 952-928-8888, styledlife.com

6) Denim: Len Druskin

Galleria, 952-927-7923, lendruskin.com

7) Office: russell + hazel

4388 France Ave. S., Mpls., 952-279-1360, russellandhazel.com

8) Gifts: Patina

Six metro locations including 1009 Franklin Ave. W., Mpls., 612-872-0880, patinastores.com

9) Baby Gifts: Pacifier

310 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-623-8123; 40 S. 7th St., Ste. 260, Mpls., 612-767-6330, pacifieronline.com

10) Mini Department Store: General Store of Minnetonka

14401 Hwy. 7, Minnetonka, 952-935-2215, generalstoreofminnetonka.com

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