Best Place to Turn the Tables on your Girlfriend and Make Her Bored while Shopping

500 Market St., Ste. 100, 982-3557

Look. I'm not saying that girls don't shop at REI. They have tons of women's gear (including special hiking panties!) and clothing, and plenty of women are super into the outdoors, especially in Santa Fe. There, that caveat should get the neo-feminist death squads off of my back. Doubtful. I am just glad there's at least one place in town where I can make my girlfriend understand how I feel after two hours looping around the SAME AISLE at Bed Bath and Beyond. Yes, I realize it's immature for me and my buddies to waste entire afternoons posing with mountaineering gear in front of the mirror and never actually buying anything, but come on, guys get to have a shopping montage in their lives too, ok. (JPS)

Best metal menagerie

Camino Real Imports
1006 Cerrillos Road, 995-0529

If you're in the process of redecorating your place and are going for that highly sought-after The Museum of International Folk Art just threw up all over my living room look, look no further than the unassuming megashop on near the corner of Cerrillos and Cordova. Inside a maze of warehouses the size of fútbol fields you'll find everything from bedroom sets to calavera-adorned light switch plates. Its outside hosts a collection of tin, ceramic and stone wildlife that would make Joan Embery's salamander green with envy. From the almost lifesize ants (starting at a very specific $6.94) to a gargantuan moose outfitted with a saddle in the thousands, this is the go-to place for all things faux fauna. Behemoth brontosaurus? You got it. Chimpanzee holding a can of Tecate? Step right up. University of Alabama baby elephant? Touchdown. (EL)

Best Place to Hang Around to Make People Think You Love Collecting Vinyl Even Though Your Collection Really Only Contains Hair of the Dog by Nazareth and Jethro Tull's Greatest Hits

The Good Stuff
401 W San Francisco St., 795-1939

Good Stuff owner Ken Kordich has only been in his current location four months, but in the four years before, when he was nestled across the street near Il Vicino, he built up a pretty serious following. "When I first visited Santa Fe years ago, I saw that it was a really cool town, but I felt there was this niche missing in the retail sector," Kordich says. And thus, The Good Stuff was born. Equal parts thrift store, clothing boutique, book shop, coffee shop and record store, the small shop has won fans from both near and far and, according to Kordich, "appeals to basically everyone." This is true, indeed, and for a town without a dedicated record shop, Kordich's vinyl collection is a fantastic array of must-haves, hidden gems and rare finds. "This is the only reason I come downtown," customer Jax Manhoff says while combing through records. "There's always great stuff here. So maybe Kordich ought to change the name to "Great Stuff," but in the meantime we think he's doing just fine. (ADV)

Best place to sharpen your kitchen knives because butternut squash season is coming and you never know when you'll have to shank an armed intruder

Wicked Edge
3 Caliente Road, Ste. 8, (877) 616-9911

Dull knives not only make prepping food tedious. It's dangerous, and cutting yourself with an inferior blade hurts. A lot. Luckily, Santa Fe boasts a number of sharpening services that generally run around $2–$4 per blade-inch (most do scissors and gardening tools, too). You can also drop your knives off with sharpening mainstay Patrick Romero at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market (1607 Paseo de Peralta, 577-4491) and set up a time to pick them up later or hit up Cutting Edge Sharpening (2708 Via Venado, 920-7622), a Santa Fe institution since 1995. Best of the best: the obsessive sharpening gurus at Wicked Edge. Visit their Eldorado shop for the sharpest blades in town. (RDW)

Best Post-Apocalyptic Outfitting Store

The Outdoorsman of Santa Fe
530 N Guadalupe St., 983-3432

The Zombie Apocalypse is coming, and when it gets here, only one thing is going to separate you from becoming some walking corpse's next meal, and that is looking absolutely as badass as possible, decked out in as much ridiculous Rambo gear as you can strap to your body. I'm talking camouflage, bows and arrows, tactical backpacks, knives for every occasion and enough firepower to fuel a Mujahideen uprising; The Outdoorsman's got you covered. They even offer classes to get your concealed handgun permit. The only thing you gotta figure out is how to justify your growing weapons arsenal to your future in-laws. (JPS)

Best place to get exhaust work done on your car

2850 Rufina St., 474-8200

Driving along rough mountainous terrain can rough up cars easily. Extremely dry climates don't help. Sometimes, rust has the tendency to penetrate through key parts of a car. That's what happened to me last winter when I suddenly found the exhaust pipe in my 1999 Honda Civic severed. I tried to bind the severed pipe together but soon found that it was so rusty and light that it needed more than my crude patchwork. Exhaust work is hard to come by in this town, but I eventually found my way to ABET Auto, a locally owned small business tucked in a strip mall just off Rufina. They gave me two options: They could weld the pipe together for roughly $150 or replace most of the pipe for $250 (these prices also included a muffler replacement). I opted for the latter, and came away with a brand new pipe for a decent price. (JP)

Best Store Inventory to Pretend You're an 1800s French Explorer

Cost Plus World Market
550 Montezuma Ave., 955-1700

Unfamiliar with this funky, eclectic marketplace? Check it out. The furniture section looks like a hipster home designer uploaded his wet dreams onto Pinterest. From iron bird cages to the enormous wooden desks and entire aisles dedicated to imported sausages and Italian soda, it feels like you're inside the malarial hallucination of a French legionnaire stationed along some Far East trading route. You half expect a tribe of Bedouin marauders or a Bengal tiger to lunge at you from behind the display drawers. If you are anything like the millions of other steampunk-inspired city dwellers in America today, come here to get everything you need to make your apartment look like the captain's chambers on the Nautilus. (JPS)

Best Place to Fantasize About Future Wealth

Seret & Sons
224 Galisteo St., 988-9151

I'm usually the type that thinks, "Oh, I'm a pretty straightforward person. I don't need a lot of stuff. I'll be fine if I don't make a ton of money," and then I walk into Seret & Sons, where my simple requirements list for the good life gets progressively longer. Yes, I need cabinetry that was painstakingly inlaid; that's going on the list. At least one of these intricately carved sections of gate is becoming my headboard. You really can't have an armchair without a corresponding miniature elephant statue. Marble coffee table? Basic necessity. And those water features? They'll teach the kids about fluid dynamics. Time to call in a direct deposit advance, you really can't skimp on your children's education—whether those children are hypothetical or not. (ZH)

Best Walmart: Store

5701 Herrera Drive, 424-9304

What makes this Walmart location special? I'd have to say it was the aura of respect and common decency that Sam Walton brings to all his business ventures. Upon arriving, I am greeted by a friendly employee with a smile that says: My work here is in no way soul-crushing! I give him a nod that says, "Debbie, as a frequent shopper here, my soul, too, is uncrushed." Once inside, I find that the store's exterior, a style that I call "elegant brown rectangle," is even more stunning from within. The never-frozen, plastic-wrapped vegetables have that indefinable "new car" smell, while the 60-gallon bins of discount movies make it easy to find my favorite straight-to-DVD movie (Miley Cyrus' LOL? OMG, yes!). Although I must leave, I wish I could stay forever; I can tell that, like Jonah in the belly of the whale, I have found paradise. (IM)