BEST PLACE FOR LAST MINUTE GIFTS
Readers’ Pick: Heliotrope
248 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur
(404) 371-0100, heliotropehome.com
An eclectic assortment of kitchen items, jewelry, candles, kids’ gifts, calendars and more make this the perfect place to find a gift for nearly everyone on your last-minute list. Runners-up: Junkman’s Daughter and Traders.
Staff Pick: Traders
485 Flat Shoals Ave. #B
(404) 522-3006, traders-atlanta.com
Accessories, furniture, candles, bar and bath items make this a hip place for last-minute gifts. Now that Traders and Urban Area Interiors have combined, there’s even more to choose from.
BEST SHOP FOR UNIQUE ORNAMENTS & DECOR
Readers’ Pick: Ten Thousand Villages
1056 St. Charles Ave.
(404) 892-5307, tenthousandvillages.com
This Fair Trade shop offers beautiful, unique ornaments, jewelry , home decor and gift items from artisans in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Runners-up: Kudzu Antiques and Mingei World Arts.
Staff Pick: Mingei World Arts
427 Church St., Decatur
(404) 371-0101, mingeiworldarts.com
Add international flair and support artisans in China, Mexico, Thailand and other locales by shopping for your holiday decorating and gifting needs at Mingei.
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY SHOPPING
Readers’ Pick: Patagonia
34 E. Andrews Dr.
(404) 266-8182, patagonia.com
Whether you’re looking for eco-friendly sports clothing for men, women and children or the latest gear for skiing, hiking or yoga, this Buckhead store has it all. Runners-up: Attic Treasures and ecoEMPORIUM.
Staff Pick: ecoEMPORIUM
1000 Marietta St., #114
(404) 875-5224, theecoemporium.com
Located in the Brickworks on the Westside, where you’ll find organic furniture, accessories, fashion, toys, cleaning products and more, all made with sustainable materials and the environment in mind.
BEST CHILDREN’S GIFTS & TOYS
Reader’s Pick: Richard’s Variety Store
2347 Peachtree Rd., (404) 237-1412
931 Monroe Dr., #113, (404) 879-9877
Stepping inside Richard’s stores in Buckhead or Midtown is reminiscent of the old five-and-dime stores of yesteryear. Hula-Hoops, board games, stuffed animals, Hot Wheels cars, Mr. Potato Head and Pez dispensers are just some of the classic toys you’ll find here. Runners-up: The Toy Store and Hoopla.
Staff Pick: Hoopla
414 Church St., Decatur
(404) 371-9485, hooplakids.com
This colorful shop has retro and educational toys, figurines, dolls, books, stuffed animals and cool clothes and accessories, too.
BEST PLACE TO SHOP FOR YOUR PET
Readers’ Pick: Highland Pet Supply
1186 N. Highland Ave., #G
(404) 892-5900, highlandpet.com
A great selection of toys, beds and food for cats and dogs are available, along with expert advice, at this popular Virginia Highland shop. Runners-up: CityDog Market and Kirkwood Feed & Seed.
Staff Pick: CityDog Market
4244 Peachtree Rd.
(404) 816-8050, citydogmarket.com
This Brookhaven shop has all-natural, all-organic food, treats, toys and other pet needs.
BEST PET BOARDING
Readers’ Pick: Wag-A-Lot
840 Old Flat Shoals Road, (404) 522-2230
225 DeKalb Industrial Way, (404) 292-3377
Wag-A-Lot’s boarding facilities pamper pooches, allowing them to play with other dogs or chill out in the Zen Den, and there’s even a turn-down service for overnight guests. Runners-up: Piedmont Bark and Spot for Dogs.
Staff Pick: Piedmont Bark
501 Amsterdam Ave.
(404) 873-5400, piedmontbark.com
Short, long-term and daycare services, large indoor/outdoor play areas and professional grooming create loyal guests at this Midtown favorite owned by William Campbell.
BEST GIFTS FOR THE COOK
Reader’s Pick: Cooks’s Warehouse
Brookhaven, Decatur and new flagship at Ansley Mall
For the chef in your life, Cook’s Warehouse has all the tools of the trade. High-end appliances, cookware, cutlery and classes on how to become a gourmet cook. Runners-up: Savor and the Viking Store.
Staff Pick: Savor Gourmet
2355 Peachtree Rd.
(404) 869-0070, savorgourmet.com
This Buckhead favorite has hard-to-find gourmet food products, prepared lunches and dinners, artisanal cheeses and home furnishings from around the world.
BEST HOLIDAY FOOD SHOPPING
Readers’ Pick: Alon’s Bakery & Market
1394 N. Highland Ave., (404) 872-6000
4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., (678) 397-1781
Incredible sandwiches, prepared foods, gift baskets and sinfully good sweets put Alon’s way out front in our poll. Runners-up: Greene’s Fine Foods, Glenwood Farmer’s Market and Little Cake Bakery.
Staff Pick: Greene’s Fine Foods
141 E. Trinity Place, Decatur
(404) 378-2001, greenesfinefoods.com
Premium nuts, candy and ice cream and gifts are served up in this throwback to the 1950s candy shop located in Decatur’s historic Post Office building.
BEST WINES & CHAMPAGNE
Readers’ Pick: Green’s
737 Ponce de Leon Ave., (404) 872-1109
2614 Buford Hwy., (404) 321-6232
The two Atlanta locations are one-stop shops for beer, wine, liquor and even fine cognac and single malts. Runners-up: Candler Park Market, Hall’s of Fine Wine, Total Wine and Tower.
Staff Pick: Total Wine
Locations in Alpharetta, Kennesaw and Perimeter
With more than 8,000 bottles of wine and 1,000 beers to choose from, this superstore is hard to beat.
BEST RESTAURANT FOR FAMILY OR VISITORS
Readers’ Pick: Agave
(404) 588-0006, agaverestaurant.com
The Southwestern food in this Cabbagetown favorite can’t be beat. Enjoy a low-key meal near the fireplace in the dining room or with friends at the busy bar. We recommend the cayenne fried chicken and a margarita. Runners-up: South City Kitchen, Sundial and The Colannade.
Staff Pick: Uncle Julio’s Casa Grande
1860 Peachtree Rd., (404) 350-6767
1140 Hammond Dr., (678) 736-8260, unclejulios.com
This Tex-Mex eatery serves big, tasty platters of Mexican food, perfect for the whole family. The INtown staff is having our Christmas party there this year.
BEST FOOD SHOPPING FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS
Reader’s Pick: DeKalb Farmers’ Market
3000 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur
(404) 377-6400, dekalbfamersmarket.com
A haven for organically grown food, the DeKalb Farmers’ Market supports small farms that are environmentally responsible and sustainable. Get your meats, seafood, dairy and fresh coffee here without compromising your principles. Runners-up: Sevananda and Whole Foods.
Staff Pick: Sevananda
467 Moreland Ave.
(404) 681-2831, sevananda.coop
For 35 years, this cooperative supermarket has been providing residents of Little Five Points and beyond with all-natural, chemical-free food and goods.
BEST PLACE TO WORK OFF HOLIDAY DINNER
Readers’s & Staff Pick: Urban Body Fitness
742 Ponce de Leon Place
(404) 885-1499, urbanbodyfitness.com
This locally-owned gym has a full complement of trainers, classes, chiropractic care and much more to keep you healthy. Runners-up: LA Fitness and Colony Square Athletic Club.
BEST HOLIDAY CONCERT OR SHOW
Readers’ Pick: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
1280 Peachtree St., Woodruff Arts Center
(404) 733-4900, atlantasymphony.org
The lauded symphony hosts a month of concert events, including the signature Christmas With the ASO, which has been an Atlanta tradition for more than 50 years. Runners-up: A Christmas Carol at the Alliance and Madeline’s Christmas and The Santaland Diaries both at Horizon Theatre.
Staff Pick: The Santaland Diaries, Horizon Theatre
1803 Austin Ave.
(404) 523-1477, horizontheatre.com
This staged version of David Sedaris’ story of working as a holiday elf at Macy’s in New York makes for a hilarious – and adult – evening of comedy theater.
BEST HOLIDAY LIGHTS & DECORATIONS
Reader’s Pick: Grant Park
The historic homes in this southeast Atlanta neighborhood are decked out in holiday finery and lights during the holiday season, and don’t miss the Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes to get a closer look at some of them. See the article on Page 28. Runners-up: Centennial Park and Atlantic Station.
Staff Pick: Atlantic Station
17th Street in Midtown, atlanticstation.com
The giant Christmas tree, carriage rides and artificial snowfall transforms this live/work/play mecca into a holiday wonderland.
BEST PLACE TO SEE SANTA
Readers’ and Staff Pick: Phipps Plaza
3500 Peachtree Rd.
(404) 262-7802, santaatphipps.com
Santa’s visit to Phipps Plaza in Buckhead is so popular that reservations are required, and at this writing Santa was totally booked. Check the Web site for cancellations. Runners-up: Lenox Square and Atlantic Station.