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

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.

Arne's Texas Size Party Store is the place to go no matter what type of party you're throwing. Aisle upon aisle is filled with a multitude of balloons, cups, leis, ponchos, banners, placemats, flowers and glow sticks. We could spend hours just taking in all the colors. Whether you're looking for penis-shaped bachelorette party favors, quinceañera tiaras fit for a 15-year-old birthday queen, or an entire aisle devoted to St. Patrick's Day, you'll find it at this Houston institution.


Some folks might have to take out a second mortgage to afford a Cortigiani jacket or pair of Moreschi oxfords, but for men of means Taghi's is the go-to tailor in H-Town. Since 1984, Ali Taghi and his family have been outfitting wealthy Houstonians (and TNT sportscaster Craig Sager) from their small shop across from the Galleria, including de rigueur accessories like cuff links, key fobs and tie bars. Amir Taghi, Ali's nephew, is a rising star in his own right who broke through with his 2014 line at New York's Fashion Week. Even if browsing their Web site is as close to you'll ever come to wearing anything in the store, Taghi's can still show you how to appreciate the finer things in life.

The small house on the corner of South Shepherd and Welch might not look like much, but inside you'll find an expert staff who've been maintaining Houston's watches and clocks since 1947. No matter how delicate or complicated your timepiece is, these are the people who probably can fix it, and the repairs will be handled quickly and at low cost. In a town where very few things last, there's a reason this shop has been around almost 70 years.

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