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.

For months, workers' advocates had decried the city's practice of giving tax breaks to huge companies like Walmart and Landry's without requiring them to pay a living wage, which resulted in workers' still needing to lean on the government for help. In March, though, City Council passed new guidelines that now encourage companies applying for millions in tax breaks to pay better wages to workers, offer affordable or workforce housing assistance, provide paid internships to low-income students and jobs to ex-cons, and create midskilled jobs that don't require a college degree. While the criteria aren't required, Mayor Sylvester Turner said this would give companies an idea of what the city was looking for. Advocates considered it a victory for workers' rights and a step closer to mandatory tax-break rules.

Two steps inside Fuller's and it smells like some rock-and-roll-loving woodworker could be sanding down the face of a brand-new acoustic in the back room, so distinct is the scent wafting throughout the store. Fuller's offers everything for the aspiring guitar hero, from a custom-made double-neck acoustic to a star-shaped, fire-truck-red electric that looks like a weapon. The staff is eager to help you find exactly what you need, whether that's a mandolin, a bass, a violin or a colorful ukulele. Just starting out? Sign up for lessons.

Grocery shopping can be a pain, but the Bunker Hill H-E-B has all the big problems conquered. Lack of selection? This store is massive, the type of place where you could play a soccer game if the shelves weren't in the way, and the stockers make the most of the space when it comes to loading up those shelves. Parking? This H-E-B has ample parking in a wide lot that won't get you trapped in a maze of random turns and trees. Other people? Thanks to a new program from the chain, you don't even have to go inside to get your groceries; you just order them ahead of time and pick them up in a special side parking lot. If hell is other people, this H-E-B is grocery store heaven.

A great manicure looks flawless, lasts for ages and — most important — won't break your budget. By those standards, CC Nails is the hands-down best nail spot in town. Sitting in a painfully average-looking strip center, the space is beautifully lit and scrupulously clean. You can almost always walk in and immediately plop yourself down in one of the electronic massage chairs to begin your treatment. The manicurists don't try to rush anyone out the door either. They encourage you to sit back and enjoy having your nails prettied up while taking in the serenity of the space. Turn up the experience to an 11 and get your toes done too.

It's a piano in the sky. To appear as a normal-size instrument from 110 feet in the air, this "baby" grand actually needs to be 25 feet long and 15 feet tall. The piano has been nestled among the other Greenway Plaza skyscrapers since 1972, when it was erected at the behest of the Holcombe-Lindquist, who cleaned up when everyone wanted a Hammond or Wurlitzer during the '60s and '70s. Today it belongs to the Fort Bend Music Center, which opened its second location above Noel Furniture Clearance in 2013 and restored the sign to the tune of $100,000. If that sounds like a lot of money for a giant piano, you can't put a price on the countless Elton John fantasies it's inspired during Houstonians' daily commutes.

Nazar's has been making Houstonians' lives richer since 1982. Whether you're looking for the right jewel for an engagement, birthday, anniversary or just because, the inventory in this spectacularly large showroom will not disappoint. Along with the classic designers like Belle Etoile, Chimento and Jack Kelege, you can also find unique offerings like the 14-karat gold Nazar Gemstone Fashion Ring, or the 18-karat white gold Nazar Sapphire Pendant. Men's and ladies' rings, necklaces, timepieces, earrings — it's all here, and all at a great price. Now go ahead and make someone feel special.

Sunny Flea Market is enormous, a labyrinth loaded with a seemingly endless supply of country western gear, jewelry, movies, soccer equipment, Pokémon cards, gardening tools, cooking utensils, shiny speakers, sandals, jeans and dresses. The amount of vendors is essentially overwhelming, so be sure to take a break and hit up the stalls selling burritos, enchiladas, fresh-fruit juices and smoothies, not to mention booze. Don't forget to bring cash.

READERS' CHOICE: Traders Village

PlazAmericas

This aptly named mall combines the best of North, South and Central American shopping culture. When it was still Sharpstown Mall, it was the go-to place for diamond grills and other personalized jewelry, custom airbrushing services, hip-hop T-shirts and top-of-the-line footwear. As PlazAmericas, it combines those features with many of the mainstays of a vast Latin American mercado, including an indoor flea market and several quinceañera stores. It also features iFix iPhone Repair, one of Houston's few phone repair shops with both the expertise and the willingness to repair outdated smartphones. Best of all, the food court supplies the diverse meriendas, onces and bocadillos of a quick trip to the streets of Guatemala City or Bogota, but with air-conditioning.

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