Best Of Sports & Recreation

  • Best Driving Range

    Topgolf Houston — Katy

    Going golfing is not for everyone, but almost anyone can find the joy in using a stick to hit a ball as hard as he or she can. Topgolf, through a combination of technology and alcohol, has found a way to make that joy even better, which is why come...

  • Best Cheap Seats

    Minute Maid Park

    When the kids beg and plead to "take me out to the ballgame," it's nice to know that you can still go see a Major League product at a price where you don't have to donate a kidney. (It's also nice to have a team now that we can call...

  • Best Mascot

    Orbit

    Remember Junction Jack? The buck-toothed bunny replaced Orbit, the Astros' beloved alien mascot, after the team moved from the Astrodome to Minute Maid Park. But much like the miserable failure that was the Rockets' pinstripes and cartoon rocket logo in the mid-1990s, the bloom came off the rose. By 2013,...

  • Best Bowling Alley

    Del-Mar Lanes

    Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski would like this venerable bowling alley as much as he likes White Russians and Creedence. It's an old-school joint, with a friendly, laid-back vibe and plenty of specials, like the Rent-A-Lane Fun Packs for up to five people, the Friday night special and the Monday &...

  • Best Place to Ride a Horse

    Cypress Trails

    Cypress Trails is located near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but it's hard to remember this place is anywhere near civilization when you're out on a horse moving through the dense forest along the banks of Cypress Creek. The instructors are patient and helpful with beginners, and they also approve experienced...

  • Best Rocket

    James Harden

    In 2012, it looked like the Rockets were heading toward their nadir under the stewardship of general manager Daryl Morey. Three nondescript seasons in the back end of the NBA lottery had the city in a hoops malaise. Then, on October 27, 2012, it all changed. Morey was able to...

  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Fort Worth

    800-433-5747 fortworth.com At four hours away, Fort Worth is a bit of a drive for a weekend getaway, but the city's many offerings make it worth the trip for both families and couples. Fort Worth likes to brag that it offers "cowboys and culture." On the cowboy side, there's the...

  • Best Color Commentary

    Alan Ashby (Houston Astros)

    Former Astros player and now longtime broadcaster Alan Ashby grew up in Long Beach, California, and retains some of that laid-back California attitude in the booth, which works well with a wit as dry as his home state has been this year. Named to the Astros' all-time 25-man roster in...

  • Best Dog Park

    Congressman Bill Archer Bark Park

    There are fancier dog parks around, with manicured lawns fit for bougie poodles. And then there's this sucker, a sprawling expanse that's actually built to give your dog room to be a dog. Split into small- and large-dog areas, the park features man-made ponds with clean water, as well as...

  • Best Stadium Announcer

    John Paul Stevenson

    In the sports world, there are certain high-profile symbiotic relationships, partnerships that feed off one another — coach and player, general manager and owner. But perhaps the most underrated is the relationship between a team, its fans and its public address announcer. John Paul Stevenson, the Houston Rockets' PA guy,...

  • Best Place to Canoe

    Buffalo Bayou

    More and more people are getting wise to the fact that one of the best places to do some canoeing runs right through the center of Houston. Whenever we feel the need to get our hands on a canoe and do a little paddling on the water, we head straight...

  • Best Texan

    J.J. Watt

    From a sheer analytical standpoint, it's impossible to name anyone else on the Texans aside from J.J. Watt as the Best Houston Texan. After all, this past summer, his peers in the NFL named him the best football player on earth, with Watt taking home top honors in the NFL's...

  • Best Bike Trail

    Heights Bike Trail

    Sure, this trail will lead you on a leisurely ride through some of the Heights's fancier neighborhoods. But in the past year, the Heights Hike and Bike Trail has become a critical connector in Houston's growing bike trail network. At one end, where the trail dumps you out near UH-Downtown,...

  • Best Place to Walk Your Dog

    Paul Carr Jogging Trail/Heights Boulevard esplanade

    Dogs and their human companions both find the Paul Carr Jogging Trail that runs through the Heights Boulevard esplanade the best place for a walk. Magnolia trees, live oaks and a few palm trees line the 60-foot-wide wooded strip that extends from 4th to 20th streets along Heights. Weaving in...

  • Best Sports Franchise

    Houston Rockets

    With the emergence of J.J. Watt, Jose Altuvé, Carlos Correa and James Harden, it could be argued that Houston has four of the best players at or below the age of 26 in all of sports. And while the Texans are working to overcome more than a decade of futility...

  • Best Scenic View

    610 South frontage road between Westheimer and Richmond

    The only way this route works is on foot, at sunset. Start at the parking lot of the CVS at Westheimer and 610. Walk south on the sidewalk and look up as your view is dominated by one of Houston's tallest and most recognizable skyscrapers, the Williams Tower, looming so...

  • Best Play-By-Play

    Bill Brown (Houston Astros)

    Longtime Astros play-by-play man Bill Brown doesn't call as many games as he used to, but whenever he is in the booth, it's like listening to your super-knowledgeable favorite uncle call balls and strikes — he's no homer, but it's not hard to guess who he's rooting for. Although frequent...

  • Best Beach

    East Beach

    The beaches near Houston often undeservedly get a bad rap. Houstonians have plenty of great choices for sun and surf, but the one that stands out is Galveston's East Beach, a good stretch of coastline that offers both free and pay parking, access to bathrooms and outdoor showers, and occasional...

  • Best Gym

    Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA

    The old downtown YMCA was a dark, dank relic of 1930s physical fitness, but the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA is our go-to place when we want to hit the gym to burn off the beer calories. Replacing the historic building less than two blocks away, this YMCA opened in 2010,...

  • Best Picnic Spot

    Discovery Green

    Officially, the Sarofim Picnic Lawn is the dedicated space for picnicking at Discovery Green. But with almost 12 acres of cultivated gardens, lawns and promenades, not to mention a lake and a couple of fountains, there are lots and lots of choices as to where to spread your picnic blanket...

  • Best Dynamo

    Brad Davis

    If there were ever a contest to name a Dynamo player, past or present, as the face of the franchise ("Mr. Dynamo," if you will), with apologies to Brian Ching, it would have to be midfielder Brad Davis. An original member of the Dynamo since the team arrived in Houston...

  • Best City Park

    Hermann Park

    Hermann Park was set up after George Hermann donated a tract of land to Houston to create the first city park in 1914. That initial gift of about 285 acres has since grown into a 445-acre site that features some of the best parts of Houston, all grouped together on...

  • Best Fun Run

    TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot

    There are tons of races and fun runs happening in Houston's cooler months, but the annual TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot is the one we look forward to every year. It's held on Thanksgiving morning near The Galleria, and participants can choose to trot in the Phillips 66 10k or...

  • Best State Park

    Galveston Island State Park

    The Gulf Coast boasts an abundance of nature areas but few are as varied in geography and history as Galveston Island State Park. There's a low $5 entrance fee and, once inside, visitors have a choice of Karankawa Reef (the story goes that the Karankawa indians could wade on the...

  • Best Astro

    Carlos Correa

    A few weeks after the All-Star break, Carlos Correa was leading the Astros in hits, home runs and RBIs since being called up in early June, and already drawing comparisons to A-Rod for his play at shortstop. The 20-year-old rookie had drawn the attention of The New York Times for...

  • Best Jogging Trail

    Memorial Park

    When we're looking to go for a real run, we always head straight for Memorial Park. As one of the largest urban parks in the United States (it spans 1,466 acres), Memorial has everything a runner needs. The three-mile loop along Memorial Drive is always a fun place to run...

  • Best Fans

    Houston Dynamo

    With all due respect to the crazy Texans tailgaters, the Red Rowdies and whatever rough assemblage passes for Astros spectators these days, there are no fans more insanely loyal than those who root for Houston's MLS franchise. Just showing up in the dead of summer at the open-air BBVA Compass...

  • Best Coach

    Romeo Crennel

    If you're looking to tie the Houston Texans' 2014 improvement, from 2-14 in 2013 to 9-7 last season, to one statistic, look no further than the defense's ability to force turnovers. In 2013, the Texans' defense set a record for the fewest turnovers forced in a season (11); in 2014,...

  • Best Role Model

    Bill O'Brien

    From winning the 2012 Bear Bryant Award in his first year at Penn State to overseeing the Texans' seven-game turnaround in his first season in Houston, Bill O'Brien's ability to lead by instilling belief is unquestioned. But it's his leadership at home, along with his wife Colleen, that makes him...

  • Best Amusement Center

    Speedy's Fast Track

    Most amusement centers these days look like what they are: relics from another time. They may fight the good fight to keep the lights on, but the chipped paint and faded signs show that they're not fighting that hard. For those times you're feeling nostalgic for the glory days of...

  • Best Golf Course

    Wildcat Golf Club

    When times are tight, Houstonians still love to golf, but we don't want to sacrifice quality for the price. That's why Wildcat Golf Club, since opening in 2001, has been the benchmark for daily-fee public golf courses in this city. It's a private-course experience at a public-course price, with rolling...

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