To find anything from restaurants to clothing stores and auto repair shops in your area, just search Yelp.com. Though Yelp features information for businesses all around the world, you can narrow your search results down to a radius as short as a block from your point of interest. Plus, it features business reviews.
The great thing about Yelp is that it allows users to customize their searches in dozens of ways, such as by popularity, highest rating, distance, category, and more. The reviews and ratings are especially useful because you can learn what people in your area thought of a given business and get a detailed account of their experiences there. Some reviews even include pictures and helpful tips, such as when to show up for great deals or what items to avoid on a menu.
Of course, Yelp isn't the only source for new business openings in your area. Yahoo offers a search setting for just such occasions and Google lets you look for things nearby in its new "near me now" search mode. On Google you can even zoom in on a map of your location and click the "nearby" tab on the search form to see what businesses are located closest to you.