So you wanna buy a new outfit, grab a couple of lamps for the apartment and a book to read, and maybe snag a new coffee table to put them on all for less than the cost of lunch at some hotshot downtown restaurant? Truly, Unique Thrift has some real bargains for cost-conscious consumers. The Lorain-Fulton location of this multi-state chain has been the go-to spot for thrift shop junkies on the city's westside for years. Promotions include Half-price Mondays and Early Bird Thursdays.
3333 Lorain Ave., 216-631-0205, uniquethriftstore.com.
Big Fun, in Cleveland Heights' Coventry neighborhood, is a veritable "toy time machine" where you can buy hard-to-find retro toys from the past, including Star Wars, Transformers, and G.I. Joe figurines. Looking to play a prank with a good, old-fashioned whoopee cushion? This place has got you covered. Playboy once even named it one of the "coolest stores" in all of America.
1814 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-371-4386, bigfuntoystore.com.
Conveniently located next to the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern, Music Saves is one of the few record stores in town that still regularly stocks lots of new stuff. Come Record Store Day, the annual limited edition vinyl release day, there will be a line wrapped around the block. This is the place where hipsters go to grab the tunes they need. It's also the place where everybody goes when they want to grab some new music and anchor themselves in Collinwood for the afternoon.
15801 Waterloo Rd. 216-481-1875 musicsaves.com.
It's tricky to find that perfect hair stylist: the one who understands your texture, color, and desire to do something different — but not too different. The fine folks at North Royalton's Enzo Salon & Spa understand those needs. With a team of award-winning stylists and a wide array of services that range from Bio-Ionic straightening to quick trims, Enzo has you covered follicle to follicle.
12791 State Rd., North Royalton, 440-582-8484, salonenzo.com.
Not as fancy schmancy as places like Earth Fare and Whole Foods, Nature's Bin offers plenty of healthy food options, including organic produce and natural frozen foods. The bakery offers up some tasty treats too, and the vegan carrot cake is really delicious. You can seemingly find every vitamin in the world here as well. The place is also a vocational rehabilitation training facility for people with disabilities.
18120 Sloane Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-4600, cornucopia-inc.org.
In recent years, Detroit Avenue in Lakewood has become a very welcoming thoroughfare for cyclists. The fine folks of Beat Cycles find themselves right in the middle of the action, which is great because they deal in top-tier equipment and service. Whether you're just starting out or you biked here from Tuscaloosa, you'll find what you need at Beat.
15608 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 440-799-8788 beatcycles.com.
If you've never had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into one (or two, or three!) dark chocolate and smoked sea-salt caramels, we suggest you hightail it over to Fear's Confections immediately. These puppies, and all of owner-baker Cassandra Fear's creations, are handmade in small batches with the freshest ingredients around. Those citrus-infused brownies you've had your eye on? Yep, Ms. Fear hand-zests every orange involved. Stop in. Your taste buds will thank you.
15208 Madison Ave., Lakewood 216-481-0888, fearsconfections.com.
Probably known best for those T-shirts that feature a mashup of our sports logos (Brownie the Elf with Cavaliers' sword and a headdress homage to the Tribe), GV Art and Design has become a titan on the local thread scene. With a bricks-and-mortar joint in Lakewood, there's no excuse not to get out and meet the makers behind these awesome local looks. On the day last year when LeBron announced his return to Cleveland, the line was out the door.
17411 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-273-7188, gvartwork.com.
"The character of a finely crafted wine seeps from the earth itself," the Wine Spot owners tell their patrons. And we say that the character of the region's best wine store seeps from the community itself. Or something like that. Either way, the Wine Spot has everything you need out of a nice bottle. You'll have a tough time beating the selection and atmosphere.
2271 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights 216-342-3623, thewinespotonline.com.
At this Rocky River bakery, a cake is not just something to scarf down: It's a work of art, and the bakers here have been producing masterpieces since 1994. With a staff of 10 -- some with degrees like "bachelor's in baking and pastry arts management" and others students of art -- Wild Flour Bakery bakes 70,000 slices of intricately designed wedding cake every year.
20111 Lake Rd., Rocky River, 440-331-2950, wildflourbakery.com