comScore

Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST MUSIC STORE

Guitar Center

Sure, the notion of whiling away an afternoon at your neighborhood consignment shop might harbor a certain nostalgic charm. But if you're actually looking to buy an instrument, price and/or selection almost surely dominate your agenda. Specialty stores aside, with music, bigger pretty much always equals better on both counts. Hence the appeal of local indie colossus Groth Music and the metro's four Guitar Center locations. All are huge, and often graced with the kind of cacophony that's inevitable when dozens of people simultaneously test gear in big, open spaces. But the racket comes in handy as a homing mechanism: If you're at all unsure of the store's layout, just let the sound of your department—guitars, keyboards, drums, DJ gear, whatever—be your guide. Granted, you could ask, too. Staff members tend to be friendly, accommodating, and well informed. Prices on both new and used equipment range from handsomely discounted to low enough to make you question the 214-store chain's sanity. The Edina outlet recently offered a sweet, pre-owned 10-inch Zildjian splash cymbal for $17.95—part of a massive drum-related acquisition priced to vanish faster than free pizza.

BEST MUSIC STORE (CHAIN) (2007) Guitar Center

BEST MUSIC STORE (CHAIN) (2006) Guitar Center

BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE Sex World

BEST ART SUPPLIES MCAD Art Cellar

BEST BIKE SHOP Freewheel Bike

BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW) Micawber's Books

BEST BOOKSTORE (USED) Magers & Quinn

BEST BOUTIQUE Picky Girl

BEST CAMERA STORE National Camera Exchange

BEST CD STORE (NEW) The Electric Fetus

BEST CD STORE (USED) The Electric Fetus

BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKSTORE Wild Rumpus Books

BEST CLOTHING STORE (KIDS) Savers

BEST CLOTHING STORE (MEN) Heimie's Haberdashery

BEST CLOTHING STORE (WOMEN) Opitz Outlet

BEST COMIC BOOK STORE Big Brain Comics

BEST GAMING STORE Source Comics & Games

BEST GARDEN CENTER Mother Earth Gardens

BEST GIFT SHOP I Like You

BEST HAIRCUT Moxie

BEST LINGERIE Frederick's of Hollywood

BEST LIQUOR STORE South Lyndale Liquors

BEST MALL Mall of America

BEST MYSTERY BOOKSTORE Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore

BEST NATURAL FOODS GROCERY Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli

BEST OUTDOORS STORE Midwest Mountaineering

BEST PET STORE Chuck and Don's Pet Outlet

BEST PLACE TO BUY A PIECE Clown Glass

BEST PLACE TO BUY USED VIDEO GAMES GameStop

BEST PLACE TO BUY VINYL Treehouse Records

BEST SALON/SPA Ivy Spa Club

BEST SCIENCE-FICTION BOOKSTORE Dreamhaven Books & Comics

BEST SHOE REPAIR George's Shoes & Skate Repair

BEST SPORTING GOODS Dick's Sporting Goods

BEST STORE FOR SEX TOYS Smitten Kitten

BEST TATTOO PARLOR Acme Tattoo

BEST THRIFT STORE Animal Ark Thrift and Pet Store

BEST TOBACCONIST Golden Leaf Tobacco

BEST TOY STORE Wonderment

BEST YARN STORE The Yarnery