2011 Best of the Holidays

The votes are in and we’re ready to reveal Atlanta INtown’s fourth annual Best of the Holidays.

Hundreds voted during the month of October after readers nominated their favorites and decided who should be on the final ballot. That means the shops, restaurants, concerts and events were truly selected by you, our readers.

If you don’t see your favorite holiday shopping, dining or event destination,  share your ideas with other readers in the comment field after this article.

BEST PLACE FOR LAST MINUTE GIFTS

Richard’s Variety Store
Locations in Midtown and Buckhead
richardsvarietystore.com
Cards, costumes, board games and classic toys are just some of the items that make Richard’s two locations treasure troves for unique and kooky gifts. It’s old five-and-dime store vibe will appeal to traditionalists, while kids (of all ages) will have a field day with all the tchotchkes on display.
Runners-up: At the Collective and Ten Thousand Villages

BEST SHOP FOR UNIQUE ORNAMENTS & DECOR

Ten Thousand Villages
1056 St. Charles Ave.
(404) 892-5307, atlanta.tenthousandvillages.com
This fair trade retailer features artisan-crafted home decor, personal accessories and gift items from more than 130 artisan groups in some 38 countries. You’ll definitely find something cool and unusual here.
Runners-up: Traders and Davonshire.

BEST GIFT FROM A LOCAL ARTISAN

Young Blood Gallery & Boutique
636 N. Highland Ave.
(404) 254-4127, youngbloodgallery.com
Young Blood is the home for emerging artists and DIY crafters, whose work is now highly sought after around the country. If you’re looking for something truly unique from a local artisan, look no further than Young Blood’s space in Ponce-Highland.
Runners-up: Janke Studio and Hats by Suzseams

BEST ECO-FRIENDLY GIFTS

Morningside Farmers Market
1393 N. Highland Ave.
morningsidefarmersmarket.com
Unlike many of the local farmers markets, Morningside is held year-round every Saturday from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. From the freshest organic produce to items made by local artisans, you’re sure to find something for your “green” friends.
Runners-up: Ten Thousand Villages and Atlanta Habit ReStore

BEST HOLIDAY CLOTHING

Junkman’s Daughter
464 Moreland Ave.
(404) 577-3188, thejunkmansdaughter.com
This Little Five Points mainstay is the place for retro and far-out fashions. You’re sure to find a fun dress, pair of shoes, bag, gloves and accessories in the funky shop. There’s plenty of stuff for the guys, too.
Runners-up: Fab’rik and Mitzi & Ramano

BEST CHILDREN’S GIFTS & CLOTHING

Sprout
1170 Howell Mill Road
(404) 355-2043, sproutatlanta.com
Sprout has books, toys, furniture and clothing for kids in this bright, airy space in White Provision, which it shares with The Seed Factory.
Runners-up: Heliotrope and Egg’s Nest

BEST PLACE TO SHOP FOR YOUR PET

Highland Pet Supply
1186 N. Highland Ave., #G
(404) 892-5900, highlandpet.com
Toys, beds and food for cats and dogs are available at this popular Virginia Highland shop when you absolutely positively cannot leave your pup or kitty off the Christmas list.
Runners-up: The Pet Garage and City Dog Market

BEST PET CARE & BOARDING

Piedmont Bark
501 Amsterdam Ave.
(404) 873-5400, piedmontbark.com
Short, long-term and daycare services are available for dogs at this Midtown business, where there’s plenty of time for play, interaction with humans and walks three times a day.
Runners-up: Barking Hound Village and Spot for Dogs

BEST FESTIVE FOOD SHOPPING

Alon’s Bakery & Market
Locations in Virginia Highland and Ashford Dunwoody
alons.com
Delicious sandwiches, prepared foods, gift baskets and sinfully good sweets have made Alon’s a holiday shopping destination for years.
Runners-up: A Piece of Cake and The Mercantile.

BEST WINES & CHAMPAGNE

Green’s
Locations on Ponce de Leon Avenue and Buford Highway
greensbeverages.com
If you need some liquid fortification to get through the holidays, there are two locations of Green’s with beer, wine, liquor and even fine cognac and single malts.
Runners-up: Ansley Wine Merchant and Tower

BEST RESTAURANT FOR GLOBAL CUISINE

Doc Chey’s
Locations Emory Village, Virginia Highland & Grant Park
doccheys.com
Prepared fresh and made from scratch Asian food are hallmarks of Rich Chey’s noodle outposts. Whether you just want a simple bowl of chicken fried rice or coconut soup or maybe a Korean taco, Doc Chey’s three locations have you covered.
Runners-up: 10 Degrees South and Bocado

BEST PLACE FOR CARRY OUT

Metrofresh
931 Monroe Drive, Suite A106
(404) 724-0155 or metrofreshatl.com
Actor Mitchell Anderson cut his teeth in the culinary world with Souper Jenny before striking out on his own with MetroFresh. Located in Midtown Promenade, MetroFresh has become the go-to for grabbing a sandwich, soup or something sweet.
Runners-up: Doc Chey’s and Grant Central Pizza

BEST RESTAURANT FOR FAMILY OR VISITORS

Yeah! Burger
Locations in West Midtown and Virginia Highland
yeahburger.com
With the proliferation of burger joints in Atlanta, Shaun Doty has carved a successful local brand that appeals to all ages. With made-to-order burgers, a casual but sophisticated atmosphere and damn good onion rings, Yeah! Burger is a great place to stop off after some holiday shopping to refuel.
Runners-up: Ted’s Montana Grill and Vintage Pizza

BEST ORGANIC FOOD SHOPPING

Your 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 Return to Eden

BEST PLACE TO GET FIT

Urban Body Fitness
500 Amersterdam Walk, Unit R
(404) 885-1499, urbanbodyfitness.com
This local gym is now in its new home at Amsterdam Walk and has a full complement of trainers, classes, chiropractic care and much more to keep you healthy.
Runners-up: Catalyst Fitness and B2B Fitness

BEST SPA OR SALON

Blue Med Spa
190 10th St.
(404) 815-8880, bluemedspa.com
Chosen by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best spas in the world, Blue Med Spa is a great place to treat yourself or friends to a facial, massage or a little botox pick-me-up before the holiday parties, this cool retreat will make you relax the moment you walk in the door.
Runners-Up: Crimpers and Blo Beauty Bar

BEST HOLIDAY CONCERT OR SHOW

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring St.
(404)873-3391, puppet.org
This live action version of the classic TV special was a huge hit during its premiere in 2010 and every show sold out. Kids and adults will get a kick out of this timeless story.
Runners-up: Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony and A Christmas Carol at the Alliance

BEST PLACE TO SEE HOLIDAY LIGHTS & DECORATIONS

Downtown Decatur
decaturga.com
The City of Decatur knows how to do the holidays with the historic courthouse square and streets festooned with colorful lights and decorations. Adding to the spirit of the season will be annual Holiday Home Tour and a host of other community events.
Runners-up: Centennial Park and Atlantic Station

BEST PLACE TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR

At home
Times change and so do the ways people celebrate holidays. Once upon a time, if you weren’t liquored up and kissing everyone at a New Year’s Eve party then you were a total loser. Now, staying at home with friends and family and watching festivities in New York or the Peach Drop at Underground on TV is our readers’ favorite way to ring in the New Year.
Runners-Up: Centennial Park and Underground Atlanta