Photo by Mike Woods

Mike Woods, artist and owner of Advent Tattoo, is booked months in advance for those highly coveted five-hour slots for sleeves and other major ink projects. His portfolio speaks for itself, and this very talented inkmaster works with the body's curves to deliver highly detailed masterpieces that scream to be shown off. He's a class act, and you won't hear him publicly badmouthing the work of others, even when he has to rescue a tearful damsel in distress from a poorly rendered rose. Can't get in? The other Mike at his shop, Mike Ashworth, does amazing work as well.

Walking into Retropolis can be rather daunting initially. The long, slim aisle that you must march up to enter is packed to the brim with clothes, shoes, sunglasses, beaded handbags and crazy earrings from various decades, all thrown together in a kaleidoscope of brightly colored possibilities. But don't get bogged down there, because it's not until you move past the counter and up the stairs that you get to the really good stuff. The upstairs of Retropolis is massive but divided into booths. Each seller tends to have different specialties, so whether you're looking for Victorian-era loungewear, the perfect Led Zeppelin T-shirt from the actual days of yore, or a 1950s prom dress to wear to a symphony performance at Jones Hall, there's a section that is likely to offer something along the lines of what you're looking for. If you don't find it on one trip, just keep trying. The selection is always changing, and with time and patience, there are countless vintage goodies to be discovered and procured.

Photo by Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos via CC

In what is perhaps one of the most unassuming auto shops on what is rapidly becoming an extremely busy street corner just outside the Heights, Kelley Tires has quietly been fixing cars for decades. The tiny little shop still writes up orders with pen and paper, often stained with oil from the hands of the mechanics who handle the repairs and paperwork. They can fix almost anything and they will tell you when they can't. If nothing else, they are fair and honest, a critical component for customers when your lack of knowledge of cars can literally cost you.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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 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.

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.

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