Best Cemetery
Photo by Olivia Flores Alvarez

What makes Olivewood so incredible isn't how it looks, though the lovely six acres are well maintained. It's the history behind the place that makes it so special. Originally a slave burial ground, it became the first African-American cemetery in Houston, and it is the final resting place of numerous black pioneers from the 1800s. In 2003, a nonprofit organized to revitalize the location and it is now thriving as a result, having been dedicated as a Historic Texas Cemetery in 2010.

Best Dry Cleaners
Photo by Your Best Digs via CC

Dirt, ketchup, grass stains, whiskey or ink — there isn't a substance on Earth that we haven't accidentally rubbed into our clothes. And pretty much every time this happens, Hi Cleaners has come to the rescue. We don't know what we did before, and we can't remember a time when that basic, no-frills blue-and-white sign wasn't there, like a Laundry Lighthouse, calling us in from the Stain Storm. Hi offers speedy, friendly service at fair prices — you owe it to yourself to try it out if you haven't yet. You don't need to wait for an emergency, but if you do, you won't have to worry. Once you say "hi," you'll never say "bye" to this king of cleaners.

Best New Way to Get Around the City
Photo by Alfredo Mendez via CC

The pink mustaches are back. After leaving Houston in 2014 over a beef with the city concerning its driver regulations, the rideshare service has returned thanks to a new law the Texas Legislature passed this year. Lyft gave Uber the rideshare monopoly back in '14 because it didn't like that Houston required costly fingerprint background checks on all its drivers. But after Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that transfers the power to regulate rideshare services to the state, Houston's Uber and Lyft regulations will be null by September. And so you can ride in style again inside mustachioed cars.

Best Hobby Store
Photo by Max Burkhalter

Major chains like Target and GameStop can try to co-opt the renewed interest in board games, but they'll never hold a candle to your local, mom-and-pop game shops. Beyond having a great selection of games and space to play them, 8th Dimension does something that a chain store would never dream of doing: It creates communities that game enthusiasts can be a part of. Whether through holding game nights or hosting workshops and demos, 8th Dimension gives nerds and geeks a welcoming spot to participate in their hobbies. If you've ever been to a game shop with rude gatekeepers who doubt your nerd credentials, 8th Dimension will show you that not all game shops are created equal.

Traders Village

According to the ancient African saying, "It takes a village to make a truly awesome flea market." That proverb is personified in this north Houston institution — a veritable ZIP code unto itself. We're talking more than 100 acres chock-full of just about anything you can imagine, from jewelry, auto parts, furniture, clothes and art to toys, electronics, tools, appliances and too many other goods to list. Even if you aren't particularly in a shopping mood, it's straight-up fun to spend a Saturday or Sunday exploring Traders Village on a solo outing or with the family. Kiddos may especially enjoy the rides — like Pharaoh's Fury or the more low-key Trackless Family Train. All aboard!

Best Home Services
Photo by Omar Jordan Fawahl via CC

Is there anything more stressful than when your smartphone or tablet stops working? Maybe you spilled water on it and shorted it out. Maybe your battery gasped its last breath. Maybe you have no idea why the darn thing isn't working. All you know is you want it repaired fast and right. Sure, you could go to the Apple Store and wait hours. You could contact the manufacturer, and good luck with that. We suggest instead you call the fine technicians at MiFixit.com instead. These mobile saviors of technology come right to your door, sometimes a mere 20 minutes after your call, and they can fix just about anything that might have gone wrong, no matter who makes your device. The best part is their work is guaranteed and the cost is comparable to that of storefront repair shops. Within minutes, you'll be back up and running, and that makes them the best in our books.

Third Planet

The best comic book stores are old, with low ceilings and little natural light. The type of place you can go in, start digging around and lose all track of time. There are a lot of places you can go to buy comics in Houston, but none will give you the nostalgic warmth of looking for comics in your youth the way that Third Planet does. It's not the biggest store in Houston, and it may not have the most stuff, but it's got the intangibles that make it feel more like a comic book store than any other place in Houston. Comics may have gone digital in 2017, but nothing will scratch the itch of digging through comic boxes for old issues of your favorites like a trip to Third Planet.

More often than not, getting to this gas station takes a not-sure-if-it's-worth-it whiparound thanks to its inconvenient location. But whether you're heading home from downtown on U.S. 59/State Highway 288 or hanging out near the Museum District, the Stripes just off the northbound feeder of 288 at Southmore usually has the cheapest fuel in central Houston. There's often a short wait at the pumps, but at prices that almost always hover around $2 per gallon of 87 regular unleaded octane, it's so worth it. The convenience store is also stocked with low-priced snacks as well as made-to-order-ish breakfast tacos if gas-station Mexican is your jam.

Little Watch Shop

Stepping into this house-cum-store at the corner of Shepherd and Welch is like stepping back — wait for it — in time. Not only has the shop been in the same location since 1947, but its cozy, welcoming atmosphere seems downright old-fashioned when compared to many of the oh-so-chic River Oaks businesses surrounding it. The insanely skilled technicians will treat your timepiece with care and respect, at prices that won't make you have to pawn your other watches. Plus, there's a great selection of watches and jewelry, so you can browse while the work is being done. You don't last for 70 years without being great at what you do and treating people right. It's about time — get it? — you checked out the Little Watch Shop.

Best Department Store
Photo by Aranami via Cc

Gone are the days when department stores played the same elevator music under the same fluorescent lighting and had the same sad shoe rack your parents made you choose from. Welcome instead to Nordstrom in The Woodlands, where the store is chic and each area is treated as a boutique and not just the next department. Enter into the realm of a modern department store that features its own coffee shop, restaurant and lounge area, where each restroom feels like a spa and the selection is friendly for almost every shopper's price point. Go ahead, try on this Woodlands Mall Nordstrom for size the next time you need a new pair of jeans. The fit might surprise you.

Best Of Houston®

Best Of