Shopping & Services

  • Best Vintage Clothing

    Replay on 19th

    What to say about Replay, the 19th Street Heights vintage boutique run by Laura Levine and "Crazy Mike" Hildebrand? It's simply the best vintage store in town and has been for years. It would be better to clue you in on how to shop at Replay in order to find the best deals. Follow them on Facebook, where they often… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    West End Cycles

    A rider recently posted to the Critical Mass Houston Facebook page to complain about a half-assed bike tuneup he'd received at one of those chain bicycle shops. "They took it in and two minutes later it rode out — they just shifted thru the gears and said it was fine." That sort of thing would never happen at West End.… More >>
  • Best Democrat

    Mayor Annise Parker

    Okay, so the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is endorsing her opponent, but the Houston Police Department still loves her — just a sign of what happens when candidates become officeholders and there's not enough money to go around. Mayor Annise Parker, now running for a third term, stays on top of social media (we love that she follows the… More >>
  • Best Republican

    State Sen. Dan Patrick

    There are few politicians, regardless of level, who can provide the emotive range of state Sen. Dan Patrick, who represents northwest Houston. Whether he's ripping into pro-choice advocates in a public hearing or choking up when discussing students eligible for his neo-vouchers, Patrick serves his deep-red district with enough artistic aplomb to make any televangelist jealous. And while he's seemingly… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Traders Village

    Since 1989, this behemoth of a flea village — we're talking more than 100 acres — has been a Valhalla for those who not only love a good deal, but love the hunt. You don't go to Traders Village on a quick errand — you go there for the day, and you inevitably wind up finding treasures you didn't expect.… More >>
  • Best Comics Store

    8th Dimension Comics

    In just three short years, Jeremy and Annie Bulloch have established one of the most perfect geek havens in the city of Houston. 8th Dimension is packed to Namor's gills with everything a comics fan could desire. Their back-issue stock is impressive, as are their collections of toys and T-shirts. Jeremy Bulloch's knowledge of current comics stories, artists, news and… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Murder by the Book

    It isn't just readers who love Murder by the Book bookstore; writers love it, too. Charlaine Harris, the author of The Southern Vampire Mysteries featuring Sookie Stackhouse, counts the store as one of her top two in the country. It's easy to see why. MBTB hosts several author appearances a week, all of which are well attended by the store's… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Urban Harvest's Eastside Farmers Market

    Earlier this year, Houston's best and biggest farmers' market began running all weekend long. Now if you simply cannot make it to the Saturday morning market (hangover, cough, cough), open from 8 a.m. to noon, you can join the fun on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. There you'll find a plethora of farmers and vendors ready to help you… More >>
  • Best Junk Store

    Texas Junk Company

    Texas Junk's hours are wonky. If it's open at all, it's only open Friday and Saturday, and calling first is mandatory. But if you have a shred of pack rat in you, you owe yourself a visit even if you have no intention of buying anything. The three garage doors in front are your first clue that this is a… More >>
  • Best Doggie Daycare

    You Had Me at Woof

    Renee Guerdrum operates You Had Me at Woof out of her Montrose home, and getting a dog-sitting session with her isn't easy. For one thing, most of her clients come through recommendations. And she auditions each and every dog she watches (one wonders if it's really the dogs or the owners getting the auditions). But it's that attention to detail… More >>
  • Best Musical Instrument/Equipment Store

    Rockin' Robin Guitars

    When Billy Gibbons's pre-ZZ Top garage band the Moving Sidewalks reunited earlier this year, guess where they came to get their gear? Every city has a music store staffed by musicians who can teach you not only how to play an instrument but how to fix it, too, and luckily Houston has been blessed with Rockin' Robin for more than… More >>
  • Best Antiques Store

    Carol Gibbins Antiques

    As a licensed interior designer, Gibbins has an especially discerning eye, and it shows in her shop's remarkable selection. This includes Welsh dressers, cricket tables, trunks and more period oaks than you can shake a stick at. According to her Web site, "Carol makes three to five buying trips every year, which helps her keep the shop in Houston full… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Andres Chapa, 1919 Wine and Mixology

    A good bartender acknowledges you right away, serves you promptly and keeps the drinks flowing steadily. A great bartender also remembers your name and your drink preference and will become one of your most important confidants aside from your partner and your priest. Andres Chapa, the dark, handsome and eternally cool mixologist, fits this description perfectly. While other barkeeps in… More >>
  • Grocery Store

    Kroger, West University Location

    Houston is blessed with many good supermarkets, both chain and independent, which is a great thing for the consumer. We've got hoity-toity places, no-frills bargain bins and plenty of exotic markets. But among the four prominent local chains, we usually find ourselves at Kroger — and one Kroger in particular: the gleaming, expansive oasis in West U. The produce, seafood… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Ace Flowers

    This family-owned business has a wonderful selection at reasonable prices. Whatever the occasion — birthday, anniversary, sympathy, wedding, thank-you or "just because" — the friendly, experienced staff can help you find the best way to express your thoughts. Ace says on its Web site, "Because all of our customers are important, our professional staff is dedicated to making your experience… More >>
  • Best Rail Station

    Ensemble/HCC South Bound

    Mass transit demands a certain amount of uniformity, which means a rail station is really defined by its surroundings. Looking out the windows as you pull up to the Ensemble/HCC South Bound station, you're greeted by something lacking at most other rail stations: character. It's a location that feels like a haven from the great concrete constructs that make up… More >>
  • Best Art Supply Store

    Texas Art Supply

    A Houston institution, Texas Art Supply has been meeting the needs of armchair doodlers and professional artistes for as long as we can remember. No matter your medium, Texas Art Supply will be able to meet your needs. Whether you're shopping for yourself or for a friend or family member who's even just a little passionate about art, this should… More >>
  • Best Mexican Bakery

    El Bolillo

    Could there possibly be any question? El Bolillo stands as close to a model of fresh-baked Mexican pan as anything America knows, and rightfully so. Don't be fooled by its imposing, stately facade: Once you're inside, all the warmth of a neighborhood panadería is yours. There are the piles of variegated cakes. There are the buckets of fresh bolillos waiting… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    David Paul, KHOU

    Surely it's every TV meteorologist's worst nightmare: an on-air attack of the hiccups that can't be contained and won't be denied. But that's exactly what happened to Channel 11's David Paul the evening of May 1 — and not during a routine weather update, but instead amid some heavy rush-hour rains. Paul kept his composure while shooting a series of… More >>
  • Best Watch Repair

    Mr. K's

    You know what sucks about Mr. K's? His shop can be a little tricky to find. You know what else sucks? Absolutely nothing. For years, Houstonians have trusted this extremely skilled, knowledgeable and personable watch-wiz with their timepieces. It doesn't matter if you have a cheapo, entirely utilitarian watch or a keepsake handed down from generation to generation — the… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

    The list of "residents" at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery is impressive. Civic and government leaders like Jesse Jones, Oscar Holcombe, Hugh Roy Cullen, "Red" Adair and Lloyd Bentsen are all buried here. Some not so illustrious characters also call Forest Park Lawndale their home, including Karla Faye Tucker (the last woman to be put to death in Texas). More impressive… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Bubbles

    Here's a little ditty to help you remember where you should go for a car wash: When your Caddy's really dirty, and you want it lookin' purty — Bubbles, Bubbles. When your ride reeks like hell, and you want that new-car smell — Bubbles, Bubbles. When grit and grime attacks, and you need a trusty wax — Bubbles, Bubbles. When… More >>
  • Best Computer Store

    Fry's Electronics

    Apples. PCs. Tablets. Desktops. Laptops. Printers. Scanners. More accessories than you can shake a stick at. Need we go on? Fry's is just overflowing with computers and equipment, and your needs will be met, whether you're just an average dude or dudette looking for something basic or a full-fledged tech geek on a mission for all the latest gadgets and… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop

    Action Pawn Shop

    Think of this: It's Christmas or Mother's Day, and you forgot to buy that special someone a gift. Sure, you could go to the big-box electronics store for a big-screen or the jewelry shop in the mall for a nice watch or the hardware store for a lawn mower, and in the process waste a full tank of gas. Or… More >>
  • Best Greeting Cards

    Space

    Have you noticed the price of your average birthday card at the grocery store lately? At $5.99, it's hard to justify another Maxine card, no matter how clever that old hag is. Turns out there's a shop in Montrose that offers unique handmade cards by local and national artists for the same price and sometimes less. Space is a unique… More >>
  • Best Auto Parts

    Estrella Used Parts

    The storefront of this auto parts merchant at the very north border of Houston's Northline Park neighborhood is deceptively small. The counter is staffed by knowledgeable, strictly-business attendants ready to assist you promptly and provide you the best price. Behind the office is a large room with multiple shelves containing everything from starters to transmissions. This room leads to a… More >>
  • Best Costume Shop

    Party Boy

    Whether it's for Halloween, a theme party or just because you feel like dressing up on a random Tuesday, Party Boy is your destination for great deals on a wide variety of costumes. They've got your superheroes, your pirates, your cops, your flappers. They also have everything you need for an awesome theme party, whether you want to treat your… More >>
  • Best Camera Store

    Camera Co/op

    When you're ready to move up from your cell-phone camera to something a little more professional, Camera Co/op should be your first stop. They cater to all types of photographers, from digital warriors who always have a spare memory card on hand to those who still like to do their work in a darkroom. It also has that lived-in, mom-and-pop-store… More >>
  • Best Head Shop

    BC Smoke Shop

    Just thinking about this shop's remarkable selection of pipes gives us the munchies. These are pure works of art, some of the finest glassware we've ever seen, and we're not just saying that because we're in an especially mellow place right now. Generic "smoke shops" are a dimebag a dozen — you see them in just about every strip mall,… More >>
  • Best Meat Market

    Las Tarascas

    Hidden in an unassuming shopping center between Fondren and Gessner, this combination carnicería, taquería, frutería and grocery is the best place to buy all the fresh ingredients you need for a magnificent dinner. The fajitas are of excellent quality and can be purchased marinated in a powerful and tasty blend of chiles and other spices. You will also find pollos… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Spec's Midtown

    In the world of liquor stores, Spec's is the undisputed king in Houston. And the featured jewel in the crown is the company's Midtown location, which can be described as a wonderland full of beer, spirits, cigars and specialty foods. Every aspect of this store is top-shelf, with low-priced selections of your favorite tequilas and whiskeys; specialty beers such as… More >>
  • Best Hobby Shop

    Asgard Games

    It's one thing to carry board games, card games and miniature war games, but what's really impressive about Asgard Games is the amount of space they devote to giving the gamers of Houston a place to play. From flattops for Magic: The Gathering to elaborate battlegrounds for miniature armies, there's a good chance that if you've got a physical game,… More >>
  • Best Jewelry Store

    Sloan/Hall

    Some of the quirkiest, most beautiful and eclectic jewelry we've seen in Houston has been inside the glass cases of Sloan/Hall. Though it's not solely a jewelry store per se, the store's owners, Marcus Sloan and Shannon Hall, seek out artisan jewelry from artists like The Woods and Ileana Makri, which includes everything from a delicate bangle in the shape… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    Kuhl-Linscomb

    You're going to want to devote some time to Kuhl-Linscomb's sprawling campus, just east of the Whole Foods on Alabama and Kirby. The store is actually five separate showrooms, some in old houses, featuring everything from antiques to candles to jewelry to furniture and linens to an apothecary section with an old-timey feel to it. It's a great place to… More >>
  • Best Gun Store

    Collectors Firearms

    Gun lovers in Houston are particularly blessed — unlike some cities, Houston has its fair share of gun stores. But for selection, service and price, it's hard to beat Collectors Firearms. In business for more than 30 years, Collectors boasts an "ever changing inventory of 7,000 guns" as well as thousands of books and a wide range of ammunition and… More >>
  • Best Shoe Store

    Village Shoe Shop

    For 59 years, Village Shoe Shop has been on a mission to help people find shoes that fit perfectly. How, you ask. Well, for one, they customize shoes that support and hug every contour of your feet — they'll make a cast of your feet and then hand-craft your shoes. And we're not talking clunky orthopedic wear, but stylish get-ups… More >>
  • Best Department Store

    Target, South Central location

    It's almost automatic — anytime we need stuff, whether it be a shirt, a shower curtain or a vacuum cleaner, our first thought is "Target!" Like Walmart, it has everything, but unlike with Walmart, you won't feel guilty for shopping there. We're fortunate to have several locations in Houston, but the one we seem drawn to most often is the… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Discount 24 Hr Video

    Why go out to an adult video store when free smut is just a Google search away? Adult video stores have to work harder than ever to get business, but Discount 24 Hr Video has figured out the secret to getting people to keep coming back. Not only have they built up quite the collection of porn and sex toys,… More >>
  • Best Community Paper

    The Police News

    The Police News's subject matter may be relatively limited, but it's the best place around to keep track of the activities of both criminals and law-enforcement officials in the Houston area, particularly the south-southeast quadrant. Founded in 2004, the Galveston-based TPN publishes its print edition monthly, but the jail-bookings ticker on the Web site is updated practically 24-7, down to… More >>
  • Best Spectacles/Glasses/Optometry

    Smith's Opticians

    Smith's Opticians has long been Houston's best source for new old stock frames (that means unworn or unopened vintage), but the store also has a carefully curated selection of modern frames (or pretty much any look). Your glasses won't be ready in an hour, and they might cost more than you'd pay at some other places, but the owner, Phillip,… More >>
  • Best Barber

    Kings of the Clippers

    Whether you're a sneakerhead or a hipster, an artist or a bartender, if you want to look good in H-Town, a carefully styled set of hair follicles is a must. The barbers at Kings of the Clippers are exceptionally skilled in fades, shaves, edge-ups and designs. This clean, hip and affordable shop is staffed by welcoming barbers who'll make you… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods

    Tri on the Run

    Swim, bike and run. Those are the elements of a triathlon. But in order to accomplish this strenuous feat of physical ability, you will require three things: a strong will, a meticulous training regiment and the specialized gear needed to complete the journey. That's where Tri on the Run fits in. They have been Houston's triathlon specialty store for more… More >>
  • Best Asian Grocery

    Super H Mart

    Walking into Super H Mart for the first time can be somewhat overwhelming if you didn't grow up going to an Asian grocer. The mall-turned-grocery store is a bit to take in at first, but once you've gained your bearings, you'll find an incredible variety of foods and an array of shops within the impeccably tidy and bright store. This… More >>
  • Best Mall

    The Galleria

    There are malls, and then there are supermalls. The Galleria is such a monstrosity. If downtown is the heart of the city, this mall is the central nervous system. Bustling with activity from morning till way past dark, it has expanded in recent years with a new wing and enormous parking garage to accommodate the millions of visitors who stop… More >>
  • Best Engagement Ring Store

    I.W. Marks

    For 35 years, Houstonians have turned to this family-owned jewelry store for gifts to commemorate life's milestones. The professional staff can help you find just the right diamond and setting to express, be it classic solitaire, three-stone, pavé or even a custom design. With an unbelievable selection and remarkable prices, I.W. Marks ought to be on the list of anyone… More >>
  • Best Architect

    Barry Moore

    When a planned expansion to the Houston Library System's historic Julia Ideson Building was announced, architectural purists held their collective breath — would the building's original Spanish Renaissance design be enhanced or butchered by the addition? Luckily, Barry Moore, an architect with an investment in Houston's historic preservation, was at the helm. Moore used the original plans by Ralph Adams… More >>
  • Best Record Store

    Vinal Edge

    Vinal Edge, which relocated to the Heights last year, is no different from the other quaint shops lining 19th Street just west of Yale, except this is probably the only one where you can pick up a rare Alien Sex Fiend singles compilation or the Rev. Pat Robertson's It's Time to Pray, America! LP. Vinal Edge's new location is roomier… More >>

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