Best Of Sports & Recreation
Red Rowdies, Rockets
After a 2005-2006 season in which the Houston Rockets went 15-26 at home, then-Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy held auditions for what he would deem the most rabid Rockets fans, and would literally give them their own section in Toyota Center. Thus the Red Rowdies were born, and the...
Best Sports Franchise
This year naming Houston's best pro sports franchise feels like judging a state-fair ugly contest — even first prize needs a little makeup to leave the house. But given the competition this year (even the Dynamo were basement dwellers as of this writing), the Rockets still win this category going...
Located on the eastern tip of Galveston Island, East Beach is "The People's Beach," where generations of Houstonians have come to party amid the sand and surf. Outfitted with a boardwalk, pavilion and entertainment stage, the park has been hosting concerts for years, but this past summer Houston electronic-music promoters...
Best Stadium Announcer
Bob Ford, Astros
While the times are getting better, over the past four years, there hasn't been much at Minute Maid Park that's made Astros fans feel like they're rooting for a Major League product on the field. Thankfully, though, every time the lineup is announced or a batter is introduced, the booming...
Best Health and Fitness Enterprise
Houston Wellness Project
What do you get when you offer 5K races to anyone who wants to sign up and you don't charge one cent? You get teenage couples running together on a Sunday morning with the sun barely peeking over the horizon. You get whole families not only urging each other on...
Best Sports Role Model
Heading into his tenth season in the NFL, Houston Texans center Chris Myers has been one of the team's true leaders in the transition from the Gary Kubiak era to the Bill O'Brien era. A two time Pro Bowler, Myers is anxious to help the team bounce back to playoff...
Best Picnic Spot
Menil Park offers a refreshing change of pace in the bustle of the Inner Loop. Even though the park is not huge, there's ample room to spread out a blanket in the shade. It's a quiet space that's anything but boring. The creative types who frequent this green spot make...
Best Cheerleading Squad
Houston Texans Cheerleaders
We hear that every few weeks in the fall, thousands of people pack NRG Stadium for some sort of sporting event. We're not really sure what that's all about, because we're there to see 34 supremely talented young women dance about and shake their pom-poms. They're also wicked cool —...
Best Sports Photo That Went Viral
Bull Runner Selfie by Derrek Barlow
It used to be that when you wanted to put your life in danger and have it captured for time immemorial, you brought along a friend with a camera. In the age of the selfie, thanks to technology, we can make already dangerous situations even more so by taking the...
The Houston Astros haven't really had the best anything compared to their competitors the past few years. George Springer is changing that. The 24-year-old outfielder isn't only the best Astro, he's one of the best rookies in Major League Baseball. He's second among first-year players in home runs and RBIs...
Best State Park
Galveston Island State Park
Beach camping. That's right, beach camping. Even if Galveston Island State Park offered nothing else, beach camping would put it on our "must-visit" list. Of course, the park does offer lots more, including fishing, birding, kayaking, biking, swimming and hiking. There's an observation platform, boardwalks, trails, overnight sites and even...
Best Basketball Court
Root Memorial Square Basketball Court
When it comes to outdoor basketball courts, the two key criteria are atmosphere and court quality. Nestled snugly across the street from Toyota Center amid several downtown high-rises and in absolute mint condition, Root Memorial Square's basketball court grades off the charts in both of those categories. It's the ideal...
Best Play-by-Play Announcer
Craig Ackerman, Rockets
It's not easy to fill the shoes of one legend, let alone two, but that's exactly the task that Craig Ackerman was assigned back in 2008 when longtime Rockets announcer duo Gene Peterson and Jim Foley both stepped aside and retired and the Rockets chose to go to a one-man...
Best Skate Park
You won't find any trees, ponds or hiking trails at Houston's newest park — that's because it's made for skateboarders. Instead of green grass or playground equipment, the newly opened Spring Skatepark offers 72,000 square feet of concrete, which is more footage than any other skatepark in the country. Challenges...
Best New Jogging and Biking Trail
Buffalo Bayou Park
Runners and bikers don't always get along well in the wild, but Buffalo Bayou Park offers a setting where they can respectively jog and pedal in harmony. The park, which touches both sides of the bayou, now boasts ten-foot-wide concrete trails with passing space for joggers and cyclists. A five-year...
Todd Whitting, UH baseball
Houston sports fans have grown so used to frustration, we'll take any bit of good news that comes along, even if it's from a relatively unusual source. College baseball may be second-string in a city with four professional franchises, but in his fourth season at the helm this year, UH...
Best Dog Park
Discovery Green Kinder Large Dog Run and Harriet and Joe Foster Small Dog Run
It's so well planned and so enjoyable for human and canine visitors that we forgive the Discovery Green Kinder Large Dog Run and Harriet and Joe Foster Small Dog Run its extremely cumbersome name(s). Discovery Green has separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, with both crushed gravel and...
Best Cheap Seats
The Astros are admittedly terrible, but there's a plus side in the form of those amazingly cheap seats. Right now a trip to Minute Maid Park to take in America's national pastime will set you back as little as $10. The view is decent even from the nosebleed sections, and...
Best Place to Ride Go-Karts
Speedy's Fast Track
Yes, there are places that have faster go-karts. Yes, there are places where you can ride indoors. The reality is that while many places in Houston offer many different kinds of go-karting experiences, none delivers a better ratio of fun-to-money than Speedy's. The track lives up to its name, especially...
Best City Park
Hermann Park turns 100 next year, and it's in great shape for its centennial. Landscape architect George Kessler designed the park in 1915 and included plenty of attractions but left lots of open space for future development. But wars, a waning economy and fickle public support delayed many of the...
Dwight Howard brought the initial headlines, but James Harden got the final recognition. After finishing fifth in the NBA in scoring last season at 25.4 points per game while also dishing out more than six assists per game, The Beard became just the third Rocket to be named First Team...
Best Weekend Getaway
Galveston Island has lots of year-round attractions, including Moody Gardens, the Pleasure Pier and the Strand Historic District. There's also the Pier 21 Theater (with exhibits and screenings about the great 1900 storm that completely submerged the island), the Texas Seaport Museum (with the 1877 tall ship Elissa), and several...
Best Golf Course
Despite golf's best efforts to become more inclusive, the fact is if you want to just jump out and play 18 holes, at many courses, even public courses, a major cash outlay is involved. Thankfully, back in the late '90s, the city of Houston decided to invest in restoring the...
Best Driving Range
Memorial Park Golf Course
There's maybe a two-second window during the summer when it's not too hot and humid to get in 18 holes, or even nine. But getting your fix at the driving range is a lot less dependent on the weather, and you can sharpen your swing or just work out your...
Best Place to Walk Your Dog
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
We can't get to the dog park every day, and sometimes we want a change in the ol' around-the-block routine, so our go-to is the Houston Arboretum. Instead of sniffing the same fire hydrants and garbage cans, your pooch can enjoy the olfactory bliss of the Palmetto Multi-sensory Trail, the...
With one of the best left feet in Major League Soccer, Brad Davis is the Dynamo's all-time game starter and assist leader. He's a superstar, a fact he proved not only during the Dynamo's regular season but also in his time as a member of the 2014 United States World...
Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA
One of the finest additions to downtown Houston in the past ten years, this mammoth YMCA boasts state-of-the-art equipment, a cornucopia of fitness classes and some of the friendliest staff in the city. We love everything about this joint, from the delicious cafe on the first floor to the weight...
Best Bowling Alley
Forget the days of dark, dank bowling alleys filled with stale cigarette smoke and competitive bowlers. Lucky Strike is way too fancy-pants for that business. Those plastic seats and sticky tables of bowling alley old have been replaced with posh curtains and plush furnishings, creating a lounge-like atmosphere that only...
Matt Bullard, Rockets
Back in 2004, Matt Bullard was the runner-up on an ESPN reality show called Dream Job, on which numerous NBA players competed for a chance to land an analyst's job at the network. Ironically, today, the winner of that show (Dee Brown) is bouncing around from job to job in...
Best Place to Hike
Unlike almost any other Houston neighborhood, the Museum District is worth exploring on foot for both the scenery and the amount of activities it offers. Roughly bordered by the Southwest Freeway (north), Hermann Park (south), Almeda Road (east) and Rice University (west), the district includes some of Houston's marquee attractions...
The Texans were the worst team in the NFL last year, and their star wide receiver and longest-tenured player? Andre Johnson was seventh in the league in receiving yards and third in receptions despite catching passes from three different quarterbacks. Johnson has received some criticism for not showing up at...
Best Place to Canoe
If you're looking for a good place to do some canoeing, you can't go wrong with Buffalo Bayou, where you can commune with nature right in the middle of the city. There are stretches — particularly the areas running through River Oaks (go figure) — that are still wild and...
Best Place for a Pickup Game
Fonde Recreation Center
There was a saying back in the 1990s that the only reason Michael Jordan wouldn't win the MVP award some seasons is that writers were tired of voting for him. The same could probably be said of Fonde Rec Center and the "Best Place for a Pickup Game" Award in...
Best Place to Ride a Horse
Cypress Trails is located near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but it's hard to remember this place is anywhere near the city when you're out on a horse taking in the natural beauty. The instructors are patient and helpful with beginners, and they also approve experienced horsewomen and horsemen to take...