Best Mall Alternative (2005)

Harwin Drive

What are you looking for? A $175 wedding dress? Mexican-flag boxing gloves? A 500-pound brass statue of Buddha? Sunglasses? Perfume? A car stereo? Or maybe it's an action figure of dubious copyright, let's say, "Superheroic Man," a longhaired Superman riding a horse with a sword and a whip in his hand. You can find all that and much, much more in the shops and wholesale warehouses along Harwin, Houston's shadiest and quirkiest shopping hot spot. Want a wall clock that touts "Bebsi" or "7 Vp"? How about a "Kate Spate" handbag? They've got those too, all at a fraction of the genuine article's price. When speaking of this type of shady merchandise, the Brits like to say, "It fell off the back of a lorry." In Harwin's case, it would be more accurate to say this stuff fell overboard from a container ship -- most of it's made in China, and most of the stores are run by often-cranky Chinese women. Sure, some of the goods you buy down here may come apart as soon as you get them home, but the shopping experience is worth it. On Harwin, you never know what you'll find next. Can you honestly say the same about the Galleria?