People & Places

  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Hermann Park

    Though thankfully Jim Crow ended generations ago, Houston is still often a segregated city, by social class if not by race. One of the few places you can see the 21st-century international mega-city in all its cosmopolitan glory is Hermann Park. There a typical day will find black families grilling out, Persian-American women riding pedal-boats, classrooms-full of field-tripping Hispanic kids… More >>
  • Best Community Newspaper

    The Seabreeze News

    Too many community newspapers like to portray the places they cover as they would like them to be rather than as they really are. Not so The Seabreeze News. Publisher Gator Miller and Editor Steve Hoyland are muckrakers in the classical sense, and most issues feature investigative reporting of vital import to "Sunny San Leon," their two-fisted little "quaint drinking… More >>
  • Best Local TV Reporter

    Phil Archer, KPRC-TV

    Phil Archer has become an institution in local news, a guy who's seemingly been around forever but hasn't lost the urge to chase down the latest story and do a great job with it. He can take complex governmental issues and make them clear enough for the average Joe to understand; he can stand in floodwaters with the best of… More >>
  • Best Local Radio Host (Talk)

    Michael Berry

    You may not agree with him, but chances are very good that the guy next to you in traffic is emphatically nodding his head to every word that 740 AM radio host Michael Berry utters. Hell, we only agree with his keen conservative stances but once in a blue moon, but we keep listening for sheer entertainment. When Berry drops… More >>
  • Best Local TV Anchor

    Gina Gaston, KTRK

    Until fairly recently, news anchors in the Houston market tended to stay in their jobs until full fossilization had set in. Nowadays they seem to change faces quicker than a channel-surfing dude switches channels. Which means Gina Gaston, who was once an utter newcomer, is now a reassuring longtime presence. She's paired with the ultimate anchor survivor, Dave Ward, and… More >>
  • Best Local Weathercaster

    Frank Billingsley, KPRC-Channel 2

    The only time a Houston weathercaster can truly earn his or her stripes is during hurricane season. A trained monkey could give you the forecast eight months a year. After all, how hard is it to say, "It's gonna be hot and humid and it might rain" over and over again? No, it's only when we get hit or menaced… More >>
  • Best Local Magazine


    We keep waiting for a local magazine to stand up and snatch this prize away from OutSmart, but it just never happens. Even as the masthead changes from time to time, the quality remains high: smart, insightful features into Houston's gay past and present, sharp reviews of theater, music and gay-targeted movies, and lively interviews with national figures letting out… More >>
  • Best Local TV News


    You'd think, with the way Channel 13's news broadcasts tend to consistently have solid ratings, that the operation would get talked about more than it does. Channel 11 tends to get kudos for being a serious, relatively sober newscast, Channel 2 gets buzz with wild antics, and Fox and 39...don't generally get watched at all. But 13 gets its ratings… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Dr. Herminia Palacio, Harris County

    Heading up the public-health department for the third-largest county in the U.S. is never going to be an easy task, but Harris County brings its own special challenges, like hurricanes and, this year, its seeming to be Ground Zero for the swine-flu pandemic/panic (take your pick). Herminia Palacio handles these duties with competence and class — during Ike, she and… More >>
  • Best Flack

    Michelle Lyons, TDCJ

    Spokespeople can be a reporter's best friend or worst nightmare, and Michelle Lyons is the poster child for the former. Don't get us wrong — "best friend" doesn't mean she's always available to hang out and talk about the Astros; it means she's always able to provide useful, reliable information, whether it be a quote, a statistic, a reference, or… More >>
  • Best Parade

    Art Car Parade

    Distinctly Houstonian in nature, the Art Car Parade is an annual event that the whole family can enjoy. Besides being a paean to outrageous quirkiness, this 22-year-old institution is just plain fun. Plus, having grand marshals like George Clinton and Kinky Friedman is pretty cool, too. Take heed, though: Since it's held in May, parade day is usually hot as… More >>
  • Best Criminal Defense Attorney

    Brian Wice

    Brian Wice is a shrinking wallflower who all but refuses to blow his own horn. It can sometimes take up to 2.6 seconds for him to leap at yet another opportunity to expound on the law before a camera, whether it's his regular gig at Channel 2 or any network that needs instant analysis. He's the Sound-Bite King. But anyone… More >>
  • Best Civil Attorney

    Joel Androphy

    Okay, you've committed a crime. Quick, check your shirt: Is the collar white? If so, there's only one attorney in town to contact: Joel Androphy. You may have seen him on TV as a legal expert both locally and nationally, but ironically enough, a lot of his most important work goes unnoticed. He specializes in whistleblower lawsuits, and while those… More >>
  • Best Court Ruling

    Freedom for the Crawford protesters

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — the Supreme Court for criminal cases in the state — is not exactly made up of flaming liberals, as anyone who's tried to get a conviction overturned has learned. You wouldn't think the judges would take kindly to a bunch of out-of-state hippie longhairs coming down to the peaceful Texas burg of Crawford… More >>
  • Best Democrat

    Sheriff Adrian Garcia

    Longtime Republican control of basically all countywide offices resulted in a lot of stagnation, good-ol'-boy indifference and a resistance to change. (Note: This would have happened under longtime Democratic control, too.) Nowhere was it worse than in the Harris County Sheriff's Office, a place entirely distrusted by many minority residents. Harassment by officers, a jail where inmates tended to die… More >>
  • Best Republican

    Harris County Judge Ed Emmett

    2008 was a big Democratic year across Harris County — Dems swept out all but a handful of the Republicans who had held all the countywide seats, some of them for years and years. One Republican who survived the wave was County Judge Ed Emmett...and with good reason. Emmett was appointed to the seat in 2007 and quickly demonstrated that… More >>
  • Best Crime (Charge)

    Sir Allen Stanford

    As of this writing, Stanford hasn't been convicted of any crime, but he's been charged with a whopper: namely, presiding over an $8 billion Ponzi scheme, making him Houston's own Bernie Madoff. The eccentric Stanford didn't spend much time in Houston, preferring the empire he built for himself in the Caribbean island-nation of Antigua, where he was cozy with the… More >>
  • Best New Development

    Houston Pavilions

    Despite assurances from booster types that Houston was insulated from the worst effects of the global economic meltdown, the past year was notably slow on the development front, which is why, despite its faults and thus-far unfulfilled promise, Houston Pavilions takes this award in a walk. While we would have preferred that the shops, restaurants and taverns in this downtown… More >>
  • Best Twitterer

    Dwight Silverman

    Twitter has become increasingly important in both social and business circles, a fact that baffles the general public. How could a "micro-blogging service" that seems to be a vast ocean of noise in 140-character segments be so significant? And how does one use it? That's where Houston-based Dwight Silverman comes in. An early adopter of Twitter (he's been using the… More >>
  • Best Local Blog

    Lose an Eye, It's a Sport (Cory Crow)

    Accountant Cory Crow spun off Lose an Eye from earlier blog Isolation Desolation in 2006, and we're glad. For three years now, Lose an Eye has been — dare we say it? — an entertaining and educational brew of Space City politics and culture, with sharp writing, links to a wide variety of media, and one of our favorites, The… More >>
  • Best Local Web Site

    Though ostensibly a site devoted to local architecture, it's on the message boards that "the Haif" comes alive. A full range of topics generally (but not exclusively) related to Houston and its building trade are brought to the fore — on a recent day, the hot topics included developments at Memorial City Mall and what to do when you get… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    The Refineries at Night

    In showing off our fair city, too many people take visitors to things that can be found anywhere. Every city bigger than Austin has an arts district with pretensions to "world-classiness"; every metropolis has its Galleria equivalent, River Oaks-type district and downtown full of skyscrapers. What Houston has that few cities on Earth outside of the Persian Gulf can match… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Singles Ministry at Kingdom Builders Center

    We're not saying you won't meet a nice girl at a Midtown bar, but why not better your odds and fish from holier waters? At Kingdom Builders Center, you might meet a lawyer, local business owner or otherwise impressive-on-the-inside woman whose head is almost certainly in the right place. The center's popular singles ministry goes well past the standard awkward… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Minute Maid Park

    "But I hate sports!" is what you are saying right about now. You may scoff at going to Minute Park looking for single men because you don't exactly dig on baseball. But there really is nothing to being an Astros fan. Games can be as good as movies, with moments of tears, laughter, utter infatuation, crazy wardrobe changes and hilarious… More >>
  • Best Scenic Park

    Elizabeth Baldwin Park

    A tangled tale of secret wills, court battles and murder lies behind the birth of this ever-lovelier Midtown gem. Elizabeth Baldwin Park takes its name from the wife of William Marsh Rice, the founder of the nearby university. Just before her death, unbeknownst to old man Rice, Elizabeth drew up a new will leaving half her husband's fortune to various… More >>
  • Best View

    I-610 Ship Channel Bridge

    Skyline views are a dime a dozen. To really take in the city's sweep in all its satanic petrochemical splendor, you need to head over to the Ship Channel area, the engine room of the local economy. It may stink of smoldering benzene and God knows what else over there around the Port of Houston Industrial Complex, but without all… More >>
  • Best City Park

    Memorial Park

    What Houstonian isn't proud of this beautiful, expansive, multifaceted park? Located on a former military camp where soldiers trained for battle in World War I, the park is dedicated to those soldiers' honor. Today, the park has something for just about everyone — an 18-hole golf course, 2.93-mile jogging trail, mountain bike paths, tennis, soccer, baseball, croquet, volleyball and a… More >>
  • Best Public Library Branch

    Freed-Montrose Library

    Sure, the city has newer and fancier branches with more bells and whistles — the McGovern-Stella Link and Looscan River Oaks libraries come instantly to mind. And while other branches might have more stuff on the shelves, there is something so urban and civilized about the Montrose branch, housed as it is in a converted church with limited parking but… More >>
  • Best Cop

    Houston Police Officer Julia Christina Oliver

    There are dozens of ways to measure a police officer's performance. How many cases closed, how many tickets written — or, as in the case of our winner for Best Cop, Houston Police Officer Julia Christina Oliver, the more intangible quality of personal courage. Oliver has been with HPD for more than 25 years, serving 23 of them as a… More >>
  • Best Firefighters

    James Harlow and Damien Hobbs

    Sadly, the Best Firefighter title is bestowed posthumously on Houston firefighters James Harlow and Damien Hobbs. The two men died while fighting a blaze last April. Harlow, a 30-year veteran of the department, had been captain of Fire Station 26 for three years. Hobbs, an Iraq war veteran, had begun active duty with the fire department less than 30 days… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Glenwood Cemetery

    The idea of "best cemetery" may sound a bit grim, but there's nothing gloomy about Glenwood. It's just as much of a tranquil park and beautiful place to visit as it is a spot to bury loved ones. Built in what was then rural Houston in 1871, Glenwood's graves sit nestled amongst some of the city's only lush, rolling hills,… More >>
  • Best Sign

    The Colorado

    For ages, this old-school neon giant has been acting as a sort of oversize bug-light, beckoning dudes who're down with seeing a little T&A. But even if you've never stepped foot inside the strip club, it's hard to ignore the tacky charm and majesty of a sign that appears to have time-traveled from some Vegas casino circa 1969. It's a… More >>
  • Best Place to Feel Glad You're Alive

    Downtown on a Sunday on a Bike

    Unless you're a psycho bike messenger ninja assassin type, cycling downtown is generally a nightmare. The sidewalks are too clogged with people, not to mention the fact that biking on the sidewalk is against the law in a business district. As for the streets, forget about it. If the SUVs don't get you, the buses will. Even in our most… More >>
  • Best Truck Stop Bathroom

    Travel Center of America

    If you're up for about a half-a-day's drive out of Houston, there's about a million things to do. There's the Gulf Coast, the border, New Orleans, the Hill Country and even Dallas. One important component of any road trip is a good truck stop to gas up, stock up and hit the bathrooms. One of the best places we've found… More >>
  • Best Place for Outdoor Sex

    Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

    Memorial Park is notorious for its bathrooms where men troll for random sex, but if you're looking for a quiet spot in the city for a risqué encounter with a significant other — someplace where you're less likely to get arrested — you can't beat the Arboretum and Nature Center, a secluded enclave of towering foliage just minutes from the… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    C&D Scrap Metal

    We're not experts, but we're pretty sure it's a sign of great marketing that, if you mention "scrap metal" to a Houstonite, that person will immediately think of $2 bills. Why? Because for thousands of years now, we've been exposed to the spastic owner of C&D Scrap Metal — or his kids, who seem to be pretty good sports —… More >>
  • Best Hidden Neighborhood

    Glenbrook Valley

    Back when it was laid out in 1954, Glenbrook Valley was a showpiece suburb, a mod vision of the glorious George Jetson age to come. Better Homes and Gardens even touted one of the six original Glenbrook ranchers as "the model home for all America." Unfortunately for those who bought in, Houston's march continued aggressively to the west, leaving affluent… More >>
  • Best Ike Recovery

    Stingaree Restaurant

    Other businesses on the Ike-annihilated (or is it "an-Ike-hilated"?) Bolivar Peninsula reopened sooner than the Stingaree, but none was more symbolically important. The Stingaree is the Peninsula's social and culinary epicenter, where Bolivar in all its blue-collar glory gathered on the deck to watch the maritime traffic slide past in the Intracoastal Waterway, down Stingaritas and gorge on oysters jubilee… More >>
  • Best 15 Minutes of Fame

    Hurricane Bear

    When Hurricane Ike was destroying lives and property in Galveston, one man thought to himself, A-ha! I can use this! And that man was Jacob Calle, although he is probably better known as Hurricane Bear. That's because he donned a bear costume with a pink bowtie and moonwalked along a Galveston beach while TV news crews were surveying the damage.… More >>
  • Categories We Forgot

    Best Alternative Workout Tropa Zumba Best Caribbean Food Reggae Hut Best Chef Chris Shepherd Best Drag Queen Anita Bump Best Free Entertainment Miller Outdoor Theatre Best Frozen Yogurt Sweet Lola Yogurt Best Haunted House Phobia Best Medicine Marijuana Best Sommelier Antonio Gianola Best Source of Funky Cheese Central Market Best Tribute Honoring Cary Winscott at Discovery Green… More >>