Bedrock City Comic Company - Westheimer

With five locations, the comic aficionados at Bedrock City know how to spread the love around town, but we're giving props to the Westheimer store because of its size, selection and staff. It's got floor-to-ceiling games, graphic novels, statues, model kits, toys, posters, tees, back issues and so much more. On Free Comic Book Day, the staff handed out 10,000 comic books, bringing in artists, celebrities and bands to turn it into a party. Plus, there's always something going on like ladies' nights and Doctor Who Comics Day, and the shop's DC Rebirth and Civil War II #3 launch parties were epic.

READERS' CHOICE: Bedrock City Comic Company

If you long to be a modern-day Fred Astaire, Tap Happy will teach you the moves. This adult tap dance studio started out in 2008 with just a beginner class, but now founder Sara Draper offers options for all levels. All the teachers use Draper's standards, meaning you'll learn with tried-and-true techniques. Whether you already can perform a soft-shoe shuffle with the seemingly effortless grace of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson or are just now living out your childhood fantasy of becoming the next Ginger Rogers, Tap Happy has a class for you.

Texas native Esther Freedman designs clothes for the most discriminating consumers: children. Her online boutique, cuteheads, showcases some of the most adorable kiddo clothes you could imagine. A mother herself, Freedman has a real eye for design, but she also understands practicality. As she told the Press in 2014, "Everything is super-cute, super-comfortable, and we're all about getting dressed easily in the morning." We especially like how the company uses local seamstresses and factories. Oh, and we really dig the free shipping. Make sure to check out Freedman's blog, The Cuteness, to find out more about what she has planned.

This place is too cool for school. From bikinis and wetsuits in the summer to hoodies and camo jackets in the winter, Funny Furr has everything the most fashionable canine could want. The River Oaks shop has mini-tuxedos, party dresses with pearls, christening gowns, a Betty Boop pink denim jacket and even Goth leather wear. Funny Fur carries costumes and accessories, too, like hair bows, colorful collars and tags, as well as small dog carriers with breathable mesh netting (à la Paris Hilton) and even a rolling platform for the jet set. Très chic!

No one tells you when you buy a house that it doesn't come with a manual. And despite what shows on HGTV and DIY may lead you to believe, most problems require professional fixes. Finding a contractor who is trustworthy and willing to do a job smaller than an entire remodel isn't easy, but we have good news: Swinging Hammer provides honest, reliable and reasonably priced contractor services for jobs big and small. So, instead of trying to patch that drywall yourself armed only with a hacksaw and a YouTube video, stick with pros like Swinging Hammer.

Mayor Sylvester Turner was not messing around when he promised during his campaign to do something about the city's annoying, car-killing pothole problem. Immediately upon taking office, in January, Turner launched his pothole repair initiative, which required Public Works to fill potholes by the next business day when citizens reported them to 311. Since then Public Works has filled 3,951 potholes called in by Houstonians — and an additional 39,779 proactively on its own. The crews are working so hard that, during Turner's first State of the City address, he called a bunch of workers up to the stage to pay them special thanks.

The Briar Shoppe

Legend has it that the Briar Shoppe was founded in 1962 when single mother Alice Amason got Richard "Racehorse" Haynes to give her a $500 loan to start her own tobacco store. From there, Amason created a tobacco mecca that today offers a walk-in humidor you have to see to believe and about 100 different labels. The staff are renowned for being both friendly and knowledgeable. When you consult with them, you know you're talking to the kind of people who will make sure you've found the right cigar for you, whether you're a novice or you've been chomping on cigars like Winston Churchill every day for the past 40 years.

CityCentre

In a city seemingly built for hardcore shoppers, CityCentre is perfect for folks who don't treat buying like a contact sport. The vibe at CityCentre is just a lot more chill than at other malls, which makes it a fun place to kill a few hours. You can look in stores, grab dinner or dessert, or just enjoy some time outside without having to worry about getting run over. As CityCentre proves, there's more to a positive shopping experience than just the number of stores or square acreage.

MD Anderson's network of hospitals and other cancer-treatment facilities, originally established by the Texas Legislature in 1941, welcomes patients from all over the world, enough that its International Center offers full-time interpreters in Arabic, Mandarin, Russian and several other languages. Even eating in the cafeteria can feel like stepping inside a model UN. MD Anderson sees more than 135,000 patients per year, a staggering number eclipsed only by the lengths the staff goes to in making sure none of them ever feel like part of the medical-industrial complex. It takes doctors, nurses, techs, administrators, researchers, social workers and dozens of other dedicated professionals working in concert to create as comfortable an environment as possible. Considering what its patients are up against, the people of MD Anderson understand that little things can make all the difference.

READERS' CHOICE: Memorial Hermann

Heights Station Antiques

There are plenty of antique meccas in Houston, but when you want a true variety of very old things to dig through, Heights Station Antiques is just the place to look. Housed on Heights Boulevard just south of the railroad tracks, the old carriage barn, built in 1895, has 5,000 square feet of booths packed with all sorts of junk and hidden treasures. The place features tons of vendors so there's always a good variety to pick over. If you don't find that perfect 1920s-era velvet chair or a Sholes and Glidden typewriter to clatter out your first novel on, the odds are high you'll still find something else just as satisfyingly old and in need of a new home.

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