People & Places

  • Best New Construction

    Downtown lofts "Adaptive reuse" is the fancy phrase used by builders to describe the process of renovating old buildings for new uses. It's a simple idea that's finally taking hold downtown, where old shells of former banks and office buildings are gutted and reconstructed for the adventurous urban dweller. We're not talking about the highway-adjacent, corrugated tin cans that promise… More >>
  • Best Contribution to Downtown Redevelopment

    Metro light rail Okay, there are the accidents (mostly the fault of Houston drivers) and the occasionally backed-up traffic, but any new addition to the city that can increase mobility, cut pollution and get people back downtown is a winner to us. And with plans in the works to bring more development (housing, stores and amenities) to the light rail… More >>
  • Best Parade

    Art Car Parade This year's parade, the 17th, featured a dragon, a cadre of Elvises and a giant George W. Bush thrusting his pelvis into a big globe. Whether you like the downright wacky entries or the ones with a little more edge, you can't help but admire the art car owners' craftsmanship and questionable sanity. Every year, hundreds of… More >>
  • Best Green Building

    Delaney Hall The "What would Jesus drive?" bumper stickers aren't likely to be succeeded by "Where would Jesus hang?" varietals, but the question is nonetheless worth asking. If the Lord were to pick His favorite Houston building, He might choose Delaney Hall, the new earth-friendly addition to the Emerson Unitarian Church. The brick building will soon become the first church… More >>
  • Best Road Trip

    Marfa Call it a triple threat. For more than a hundred years, folks have seen unexplained lights near Marfa, putting the small West Texas town on the map of Agent Mulder types. Just under 50 years ago, director George Stevens filmed Giant there, forever cementing the place as a shrine to Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean and Dennis Hopper.… More >>
  • Best Drag Queen

    Kofi Drag queens come in all shapes and sizes, but it seems like the ones who take the stage at most gay bars around town try to emulate the skinny, big-breasted model of feminine beauty. Maybe it's the result of our society's love affair with Britney and Jessica, or maybe it's just the fact that these queens are unnaturally thin… More >>
  • Best Drive

    White Oak Drive, between Studewood and Houston Avenue Heading east with Fitzgerald's behind you, you cruise down a typical neighborhood street. Then you take a turn and voilà: quaint San Francisco-style houses are stacked together on your left while ballparks adorn the bayou on your right. Head down one of the few hills in Houston and you've got a compelling… More >>
  • Best Nonprofit

    Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention Air pollution shouldn't be a partisan issue -- at least, not for those of us who breathe. But in refinery-dominated Houston, clean-air advocates can be painted as whining hypochondriacs who just don't understand that a little bit of ozone keeps the economy well greased. Industry officials might hurl this and other imprecations at the… More >>
  • Best Magazine on Texas Surfing

    Revolution Yeah, we know what you're thinking: Surfing in Texas? Well, after years of being ignored in the Cali-based surf mags, Galveston-born Stephen Hadley launched Gulf Coast Surfer in 2003. That publication metamorphosed into Revolution, a free magazine with great photos, interviews and updates of those involved in the Texas surf scene. "The mag's publication is happening at a time… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Jeff Skilling Hey, Jeff: Nobody's dissin' you for that little mess known as Enron. Hell, you jumped in as CEO and jacked 'em up -- shareholders, small-fry workers and anybody else you could boost -- for a few hundred million. But so did the rest of the gang. That act, er, innovative leadership, will play well in most corporate boardrooms… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Sharon Bush Sit down, Anna Nicole, there's a new bad broad in town. Sharon Bush gives exes everywhere a bad name while elevating the whining-victim game to a new high (or low). Neil may not be the brightest Bush in the bunch, but even he couldn't put up with her. After 23 years, he called it quits last year. But… More >>
  • Best Local Boys Made Good

    Eric Quill, Davey Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Chris Gbandi (Dallas Burn), Josh Gardner, Ricky Lewis (Los Angeles Galaxy), Rusty Pierce (New England Revolution), Nelson Akwari (Columbus Crew) and Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes) Houston needs a Major League Soccer team. Just check the names above. All of these young men hail from the Houston area and are slamming and jamming… More >>
  • Best Spectacle

    Wish's Club It's amazing what people will do inside a shadow box. Hidden by frosted glass with a red light behind them, otherwise distinguished women will take it all off for the sake of a little harmless exhibitionism. Elsewhere in the bar, couples embrace tenderly and not so tenderly -- and then trade off and do it all over again.… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Solange Knowles With her debut record, Solo Star, and a role in the major motion picture Johnson Family Vacation, Houston's other Knowles -- Solange -- is busy punching her way out from big sis Beyoncé's shadow. Her recent appearances on Today and Sharon Osbourne, along with her performances on Soul Train and On Air with Ryan Seacrest, suggest the newly… More >>
  • Best Book About Houston

    Sig Byrd's Houston In the '50s and '60s, Sig Byrd was a columnist for the old daily Houston Press and later the Houston Chronicle, and his beat was the human tragicomedy. Byrd was irresistibly drawn to the city's lowlife; in his words, the "curious assortment of hard-bitten merchants, working men and women, wineheads, goofball addicts, [and] desiccated trollops" that congregated… More >>
  • Best Bar Name

    Hard Times and Misery Saloon A couple of blocks west of Jack Johnson Boulevard squats this neighborhood bar, which rivals a Mexican cantina called El Higado No Existe ("The Liver Doesn't Exist") and a rough pub in Lancashire called Dr. Syntax as the very best bar name we've ever come across in a couple of decades of spending time in… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're in the Hill Country

    Blanco's Living inside the Loop, it's easy to forget you're in Texas. In parts of Midtown, it's easier to trick yourself into thinking you're in Saigon; in parts of the Second and Sixth wards it's easy to believe you're in Puebla or Matamoros. But what about Texas? For that, you'll have to swim the country music-echoing sea of Shiner, Stetsons… More >>
  • Best Garage Apartment

    The Boulder For a garage apartment that really rocks, look no further than this one in a Southampton alley. It is, simply put, a giant gray boulder with windows. And it's on Wrox-ton Street, so we suspect a pun. In a city with no zoning, all too often we end up with giant McMansions looming over postage-stamp lots; in this… More >>
  • Best Apartment

    The Norman Now here's a place we can see Mr. Ralph Furley holding court. It's the perfect backdrop for Jack tripping, Chrissy bouncing and Janet, well, doing whatever the hell it is Janet does. With its palm trees and mustard-yellow detailing, the Norman looks like it's been transported through a time machine. (Could the name be a veiled tribute to… More >>
  • Best Community Newspaper

    Examiner Newspaper Group Publishing a local paper in tony River Oaks and West University presents special challenges. How do you entice readers who have The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal delivered to their doorsteps? Such was the challenge publisher George Boehme and editor Edwin Henry faced in 2001, when the pair launched the weekly West University Examiner.… More >>
  • Best Window Display

    Bailey Moore's State Farm Insurance Office The fab window displays at this insurance office often go unnoticed. The unassuming building under U.S. 59 on Montrose might not grab your attention unless you were walking past it or stuck next to it in traffic due to all the construction. And the displays aren't for the dim-witted or imagination-impaired. When the Clara… More >>
  • Best Secret

    The Waterway at Woodlands Mall Only in the Houston area could you discover a pristine 1.25-mile water route steps away from a P.F. Chang's. But there it is, winding through the Woodlands Mall, featuring a water wall, fountains, pedestrian bridges and even water taxis. The taxis run every ten to 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day… More >>
  • Best Place for a Wedding

    Vargo's This place is strictly old-school. Its location on eight acres of plush lakeside gardens means it's also strictly gorgeous. Private parties and functions are their specialty, and the old pros at Vargo's have helped hundreds of happy couples achieve nuptial nirvana, since they know how to accommodate any request. Not satisfied by the menu's country-club fare? They'll work with… More >>
  • Best New Magazine

    Rice Addict When publishers Mike Tran and Jesse Choi set out to print a guide of Chinatown, they decided to go the extra mile with a bit of added flavor. Rice Addict features articles on all things Asian in Houston: cutting-edge style, culture and entertainment. Ad sales have been brisk enough to double the number of pages of the palm-sized… More >>
  • Best Public Bathroom

    Toyota Center You have to pay admission to use these facilities. What's new? You have to buy a sandwich if you plan to drop a dook in Subway. While it's nothing special aesthetically, the Toyota Center Restroom Committee seemed to pay special attention to an issue many larger venues often forget: the sheer number of toilets. If an entire Rockets… More >>
  • Best Renovation Project

    The Riverside Clinic The Third Ward's only walk-in medical clinic closed in 2002 because of toxic mold and a dangerous roof that needed structural repairs, forcing hundreds of low-income and uninsured folks to seek care in crowded emergency rooms. Now, two years later (and after a bitter turf war at City Hall), the bigger, better and safer Riverside Clinic is… More >>
  • Best Court Ruling

    Lawrence v. Texas You know the story: Two guys are bonking and a cop goes to the wrong house, walks in on them and arrests them because it's illegal in Texas to do the naughty that way, if you happen to have matching parts. Well, not anymore. Bonk away, Houston homos, because Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal wouldn't back… More >>
  • Best Demolition

    Burbridge Apartments It was a wonderful thing, like a huge cave formation that accreted over millions of years, the product of mineral-heavy water dripping and reshaping an ordinary rock into something marvelous. And then one day it was gone -- all that was left was shredded wood, broken glass and pages of gay porn strewn through the rubble. We're speaking… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

    The West End We'll start this driving tour a little outside our spotlight area, at the Starbucks at the corner of West Gray and Shepherd. Then we'll walk across the street and continue planning our itinerary at the other Starbucks at the corner of West Gray and Shepherd. That ought to impress them! Then we'll head west down Memorial to… More >>
  • Best Civil Attorney

    Richard Mithoff Hard-core neo-cons and corporate guys whine about troublemaking plaintiffs' lawyers, but they actually sweat and pull at their collars when it comes to Richard Mithoff. When officials wanted to sweep away the furor over the senseless police shooting of Pedro Oregon, he kept pursuing the truth. Mithoff also demanded that surgical outfits and doctors be held accountable for… More >>
  • Best Criminal Defense Attorney

    Michael Ramsey Rest assured that one grand Houston legacy lives on -- that of the wise, witty, sharp, comfortable and confident criminal defense attorney. Percy Foreman and Richard "Racehorse" Haynes set the standard decades ago, and the next generation's Dick DeGuerin, Rusty Hardin and others have gone on to garner their own national recognition. That's especially true of Michael Ramsey,… More >>
  • Best Benefit to Living Downtown

    Main Street Until recently, Main Street was more Mange Street, with whole blocks of poor wandering souls, piss and construction rubble. It didn't matter that most of downtown was roaring ahead during the last decade. Without a focus, downtown's streets were merely loose threads leading to theaters, stadiums, clubs, new lofts and old landmarks. But it's all coming together now,… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Babirusa What if you found a stud with tusks growing vertically upward through his upper jaw, piercing the flesh on his snout and arching backward to a length of up to 12 inches? And what if he was a vegetarian? From Indonesia? Wouldn't he be the perfect bad boy to go with your Montrose cool? Meet Babirusa, the hairless wild… More >>
  • Best Place to Act Like a Japanese Schoolgirl

    Super Happy Fun Land Tucked into a low-slung, lime-green bungalow in the Heights, a half-block down from a perpetually whirring metal-fence factory, Super Happy Fun Land is a Shangri-la of cute, zany dorkdom. Only here can you sit on a futon, snuggle with an array of custom sock monkeys and play Parcheesi while listening to bands such as Ctrl+Alt+Del and… More >>
  • Best Place to Hang Out with Local Rock Stars

    Poison Girl Little more than a hole-in-the-hot-pink-wall of a lower Westheimer strip center -- and a brand-new hole at that -- Poison Girl has quickly become the it spot for Houston's Inner Loop punk, indie and hard rock crowd. Not as downright scary as Lola's, nor as off-puttingly hipsterish as the Proletariat, nor as intimidating to newcomers as cliquish Rudyard's,… More >>
  • Best Architect

    Rives Taylor Complete with round spectacles, bow tie, close-cropped beard and hard hat, Rives Taylor looks the part of a master builder. Taylor studied at Rice University, where he now teaches sustainability and eco-friendly architecture classes (he also teaches at the University of Houston). As the head architect for the Medical Center, Taylor has kept busy. His four-month-old nursing school… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Association

    Washington Terrace Civic Association Bordered by Alabama, Blodgett, Ennis, Cleburne and Almeda streets, the neighborhood of Washington Terrace, which surrounds Texas Southern University, is right smack in the middle of the redevelopment maelstrom gripping the Third Ward. Goal No. 1 is to preserve the fabric of the community (WTCA wants to maintain its single-family-home feel and stop town houses from… More >>
  • Best Use of Taxpayer Dollars

    Houston Public Library Maybe it's not as glamorous as one or two brand-spanking-new sporting arenas. And maybe it doesn't have the sexy, futuristic cachet of the automobile-hunting light rail. But the Houston library system offers something those other budget-gobblers can't: free knowledge. Sure, there's the occasional overdue-book penalty, but it's relatively cheap compared to the price of getting the light… More >>
  • Best Place for a Lunchtime Tryst

    - CLOSED

    Skyline Bar and Grill People love a good view. It's so steadfast a truth, in fact, that when the Hiltons opened a restaurant on the top floor of their new downtown convention center hotel, they named it Skyline Bar and Grill. The marketing team, no doubt, was promptly given a bonus. The Hilton is located stealthily on the outskirts of… More >>
  • Best Local TV News Reporter

    Katie McCall Ever since it hit the air four years ago, KHWB's nightly 9 p.m. news broadcast has been a welcome addition to the Houston media scene -- solid reporting, not a lot of glitzy hidden-camera investigations of strip clubs. Epitomizing the station's less-frills, more-facts approach is night reporter Katie McCall. A cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt (in Spanish and… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Jeffrey Arndt Metro has gotten its fair share of grief over the past year, what with the new light rail train barreling over cars and pedestrians like a vengeance-seeking instrument of an angry god. But the fender-benders draw attention away from just what the agency has accomplished: a smooth opening of a $324 million rail line and, even trickier, the… More >>
  • Best Environmental Attorney

    Jim Blackburn Houston is a city where it's always good to have the phone number of an environmental attorney handy. After all, you never know when somebody's going to decide to build a container port on your favorite spread of wetlands, covertly spew toxins into your air or simply dump a bunch of crap in your backyard. So thank your… More >>
  • Best Sign of Texas Pride

    Goode Co. Barbeque When it comes to native pride -- the kind that makes you want to hook your thumbs inside your overalls and throw your chest out -- no state in the union does it quite like ours. Everything is bigger in Texas; everything, that is, except for irony. Hey, we are bigger than France, aren't we? The entreaty… More >>
  • Best View

    Scott Gertner's Skybar For better or for worse, ours is a horizontal city. Actually, strike that. It's usually worse than better. At flood time, summer storms lay waste to our barely sloping topography. In traffic snarls, you're never quite sure if it's going to get better over the next hill, because there is no next hill. So it's not that… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Marfreless "I think I've made out with two chicks here," a patron says, adding, "not on the same night, though." When it comes to Marfreless, he's certainly not alone. This West Gray-area nightspot is so secretive, only a stenciled black street number marks the door. You can hardly blame the prurient for assuming it's a swingers bar. And while the… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Sherlock's Pub Hey, we don't specify what kind of single guy, so Sherlock's wins due to sheer volume. You'll find the dudes at any one of the seven Sherlock's locations around town, clad in backwards baseball caps, shorts and sandals. They pack into the Irish-themed pubs, hit on the cute waitresses in short khaki shorts and sing along to the… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Hotel Derek Where better to party like a rock star than the hotel named after a fictional one? The Hotel Derek, situated in the middle of the world's largest traffic jam at Westheimer and Loop 610, is a far cry from the stuffy sanctuary of most Houston hotels, but that's the point: The Derek is a hotel for people who… More >>
  • Best Brain

    William Martin With the presidential campaign season upon us, there's much talk of reds and blues, hawks and doves, and right and wrong. And while it's been nearly a decade since With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America was first published, the cultural tome is more relevant than ever. For that reason, we salute… More >>
  • Best Buddhist Temple

    Jade Buddha Temple Buddhism does not begin with the most hopeful of premises -- that all life is suffering -- but if you've ever battled evening rush hour on the Southwest Freeway, you realize Siddhartha Gautama knew what he was talking about. Do yourself a favor and jump off at Bellaire. After you glide out past the Chinese strip malls… More >>
  • Best Local TV News

    KHOU-TV/Channel 11 In Houston, there's local TV news, and then there's KHOU-TV. Other stations fall into the stygian depths of endless, mindless crime stories (Channel 2) or have good intentions but lack the financial resources (Channel 39). KHOU has varied its formula very little over the years -- solid beat reporting, comprehensive breaking-news coverage and important scoops that other media… More >>
  • Best Suburban Mall

    The Fountains in Stafford Malls all over Houston try to distinguish themselves in some way, but not many succeed. The Fountains, just past Beltway 8 on the Southwest Freeway, does better than most. There are the eponymous waterspouts, of course, but there's also a semi-boardwalk along a small lake that links restaurants such as Sam's Boat, Kim Son, Texas Land… More >>
  • Best Houston Info on the Web Just enter your zip code, and will list your nearest libraries, parks and police stations. But what's really entertaining about this site is the Super Neighborhoods section. Its demographics breakdown is a trivia buff's dream, with census information split into fascinating tidbits. Want to know how many Asians in your neighborhood make more than $200,000 a year? What… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Uptown Sushi The point of a first date is to ascertain whether to have a second one. You're too nervous to relax. Your chances of scoring are slim. And don't even think about bringing your A material -- for all you know, your date has a Catholic-priest uncle and wouldn't appreciate your jokes about altar boys (oops). Forget about having… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Mark's American Cuisine You're getting the brush-off, but you're getting it in style. Mark's has the proper solemnity for the most bittersweet of partings: It used to be a church, for God's sake. Mark's has tables perched high in the choir loft, vaulted ceilings and a communion rail-turned-bar. Confessions come easy in a place like this, and you can feel… More >>
  • Best Regional Cemetery

    Wyatt Chapel Community Cemetery Motorists along U.S. 290 might never realize the rich heritage hidden in the woods-shrouded lowlands about 30 miles northwest of Houston. University Drive, near the edge of the Prairie View A&M campus, has displayed a historical marker for the Wyatt Chapel graveyard for the past decade, but few outsiders know that the real thing -- the… More >>
  • Best Local TV Anchor

    Tom Koch Every anchor, from the networks on down, has to unleash the occasional amusing asides and anecdotes -- those supposedly spontaneous but carefully scripted lines to show how human and personable these made-up personalities are. But something's different about Tom Koch; the guy from Oshkosh U (no kidding) can't help but radiate a genuine, energetic enthusiasm and love of… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Valhalla Aren't you tired of chasing the mindless girls of the Downtown Carrie Bradshaw Impersonation Society only to discover that, when you finally catch one, she doesn't have anything to say? Well, take off your running shoes and rest those weary feet at the steps of studious Valhalla. Located in the basement of Keck Hall on the Rice University campus,… More >>
  • Best Charity

    Houston Shriners Hospital Picking the best charity is harder than it sounds. What are the criteria? The condition of the recipients? The overall effectiveness? How is the money spent? Well, if you consider all of those aspects, then Houston Shriners Hospital is the best charity to donate to this year. The hospital provides free medical care to children suffering from… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    The Texas Hammer (in Spanish) He may very well be the whitest guy in the world, so to hear his thick Texas tongue try to punch out, "I'm Jim Adler, the Texas Hammer," in Spanish induces unequaled laughs. Imagine an older, more uptight Ray Childress hawking lawyer services rather than automobiles. One just hopes that soon he and fellow ambulance-chaser… More >>
  • Best Revitalization

    Midtown If, five or so years ago, you decided to ride your bike through Midtown, you might've felt like you were on the set of Judgment Night. But chic restaurants, hip bars, tall condos and Randalls supermarkets have replaced the area's haunted empty lots and dilapidated shacks. And what was once almost certainly a crack house is now a CVS… More >>
  • Best Sexy Newscaster

    Dominique Sachse We don't mean to undercut her journalistic talents by saying it, but a fact's a fact: Dominique Sachse is freaking hot. There's something in that flashbulb smile that brightens a living room for the 10 p.m. newscast. Something in that pouty haircut that just says, "Give me naughty. And give me weather and sports after the break." Something… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Moody Gardens Ask six different people why they've come to Moody Gardens and you'll get six different answers. It has lush gardens you can tour for free, an aquarium with amazing fish and penguins, an indoor rain forest with ocelots, tree frogs and bats, an indoor ice rink, IMAX movies and Palm Beach, where you can sunbathe on white Florida-style… More >>
  • Best Republican

    State Representative Bill Callegari Those maniacal westside GOPers usually go off the deep end, they but some show real savvy about the system. The best example for the last four years has been their support of low-profile, mild-mannered grandfather of 11 Bill Callegari. He gives constituents real information and representation rather than the sorry hardline rhetoric spewed by the likes… More >>
  • Best Democrat

    State Representative-elect Alma Allen Democratic State Representative Ron Wilson reeked of political arrogance long before he joined the Tom DeLay-led redistricting drive, which will further reroute much-needed state help from the inner-city District 131. Wilson thumbed his nose at the people who needed him most; he even hurled savage taunts at such effective leaders as fellow representative Garnet Coleman. But… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're Famous

    The LounGe on Montrose Here, Trent Steele got everything he needed -- when he needed it (see "How to Be Famous," April 29). VIP table with a view of the crowd? Check. Cup of cherries? Check. Confused admiration? Check. Witty insult from a woman who thought he was an asshole? Yep, that too. The line to get in was surpassed… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    David Tillman Yo! Dude! What's doin' out yonder? Count on David Tillman to tell you, straight up. Houston has its multitudes of manic meteorologists -- from the pretty-haired, fashion-plate "personalities" to the stern high school principal types -- all dividing those dew-point decimals and spewing that nonsensical nomenclature about upper-level troughs. Tillman is pleasantly low-pressure, even when the systems are… More >>
  • Best Criminal Court Judge

    Michael McSpadden, 209th District Court In an era of turnover on the benches, Judge Michael McSpadden provides a blessed balance for beleaguered citizens. He drew criticism in his early years for being an outspoken advocate on nearly every front -- from voluntary castration options for sex offenders to depoliticizing the justice system. But in these homogenized times, more than a… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet People with Large Discretionary Incomes

    The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa Need some funding for your new nonprofit group? Common sense dictates that you not hit up your would-be benefactor during the week. But don't bug him at the office either; that's what everyone does. Better to chat him up during a leisurely game of tennis, say, at the Houstonian. If you're looking for a… More >>
  • Best Civil Court Judge

    James D. Squier, 312th District Court Family courtroom legal brawls can be especially vicious. But Judge James Squier, who got his start coaching in Pasadena's school district, has seen it all. He's paid his dues during a solid decade on the bench, along with 20 years of practice as an attorney (six of them as an associate judge). Squier came… More >>
  • Best 15 Minutes of Fame

    Kimberly Caldwell Kimberly Caldwell sure looked like a winner in the ad campaign for American Idol II, as she fetchingly waved an arm in the air and effortlessly belted out Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Superstition." And she did go quite far, making it all the way to the final 12 and infuriating fans and fellow contestants along the way. During her… More >>
  • Best Hidden Neighborhood

    Japhet Say the words "Fifth Ward" to most Houstonians, and they'll think crime, poverty and desperation. The neighborhood is infamous in song -- everyone from bluesmen like Juke Boy Bonner to rappers like the Geto Boys has made music about the Bloody Fifth and its perils. The tiny pocket called Japhet may be in the Fifth Ward, but it's not… More >>
  • Best Light Rail Station

    Ensemble/HCC Keep your fancy downtown fountains. Forget about the convenience of the Medical Center stops, which allow you to forgo the horror of trying to park there. The best station along Metro's light rail line is, hands down, the Ensemble/HCC stop. The "HCC" stands for Houston Community College, an often-overlooked bastion of cultural happenings. But look what else the stop… More >>
  • Best Landmark

    The Astrodome The cavernous old stadium once billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" is still embedded in the heads of out-of-towners as a symbol of Houston. So what if it's mostly used for monster-truck demos and high school football games? It's 5,000 metric tons of history in a city with its feet planted firmly in the present. And… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    The Galleria At last count, there were approximately 1.8 million stores in this sprawling monument to consumerism. The Galleria is an economic magnet that sucks folks from all kinds of places into its grip. This, combined with the sheer volume of retail outlets, makes the Galleria the prime spot in the region for people-watching. Witness smooching love birds mingling alongside… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're in Blade Runner

    Reliant Energy Plaza Houston might not look as futuristic as Tokyo, but that's why we get goose bumps when we wander down to the corner of Lamar and Main. This 783,000-square-foot skyscraper provides a peephole into the future -- a sleek, chic architectural tomorrow, well worth the reported $150 million price of admission. Hypnotic rods of light twinkle up top… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Raging Singles

    Harris County Civil Courts Building A single woman in Houston is hard to find. At places like Skybar, Dean's and Club Vision, that lonely-looking hottie at the bar is probably waiting for her husband to come back from the bathroom. It's a painful fact for bachelors: Nearly 50 percent of dating-aged women in Houston are married -- a higher portion… More >>
  • Best Farmer

    Joan Gundermann Making vegetables grow in Houston's clay soil, pest-riddled humidity and searing heat is tough. Doing it without any pesticides or artificial fertilizers is even tougher. So, to the increasing number of people in this city who want locally grown, organic produce, Joan Gundermann is quickly becoming a celebrity. Her 70-acre farm in Wharton County is the only certified-organic… More >>
  • Best Recycling Effort

    Patricia Hair Woods's cottage A few years ago, attorney Patricia Hair Woods learned that the law firm where she worked, Womble, Cotellesse & Howell, planned to demolish a neighboring Victorian cottage built in the 1890s near the Historic Sixth Ward and replace it with a parking lot. She offered to save the cottage, and embarked on a house-moving project worthy… More >>
  • Best Reason to Stay in Houston During the Summer

    Juneteenth On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army led his troops into the city of Galveston, where he officially proclaimed freedom for slaves in Texas. Many in America's Deep South hadn't yet learned of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, so on this date, the freed slaves of Texas and other parts of the South really celebrated. That… More >>
  • Best Identity Crisis

    Bill White He's a lawyer-turned-businessman and Bill Clinton's former deputy secretary of energy. He was able to attract prominent Republicans to his campaign for mayor, and he won 62 percent of the vote in the runoff that got him elected. But who is Bill White? Is he the liberal Clinton appointee fighting to find health insurance money for Houston children,… More >>
  • Best Park

    Cherryhurst Park Great parks don't always come in big packages. In fact, some of the best neighborhoods wrap around intimate spaces where people meet over a picnic blanket, under an arching bough or across a newspaper and a park bench. Stroll down Missouri Street in the heart of the Montrose and you'll notice Cherryhurst Park among the stately oaks --… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Artists

    Meat and Verb Houston is not the best place in the world to go graffiti hunting. Most of the cats out here are merely taggers with limited skill, or have no regard for art whatsoever. But we do have a couple of superstars who take their work seriously -- and who haven't yet graduated to the legal stuff. Meat and… More >>
  • Our thanks go out to the urban survivalists who endured the construction and found these Categories We Forgot

    Best Bar Atmosphere Red Lion Pub, 2316 S. Shepherd, 713-782-3030 Best Bloody Mary Mary's, 1022 Westheimer, 713-527-9669 Best Dance Event Barnevelder Movement/Art Center's Big Range Dance Festival Best French Fries Barnaby's Cafe, 604 Fairview, 713-522-0106; and other locations Best Irish Pub Brian O'Neill's, 5555 Morningside, 713-522-2603, Best… More >>