Sports & Recreation

  • Best Houston Astro

    Octavio Dotel

    When Octavio Dotel came to the Astros from the Mets in 1999, he saw himself as a starter, not a reliever. As he kept getting driven from games by opposing batters last season, he still saw himself as a starter simply going through a rough patch. And when he was demoted to the bullpen earlier this year, he saw himself… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear the Crack of the Bat (and of the Bones)

    Harris County Senior Softball League, Bayland Park

    Beyond the well-manicured youth diamonds of Bayland is the always reliable Field of Dreams: the domain of the Harris County Senior Softball League. These participants, of course, also are kids, ranging from the tender age of 50 upward into the octogenarian ranks. They feature some athletes who could give Triple-A upstarts a real run for their money. And they also… More >>
  • Best Area Team

    Houston Astros

    Being an Astros fan is never easy. If the team breezes to a division title, it gets knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. (If it struggles to a division title, it gets knocked out just as early.) The team seems inherently incapable of taking the big step to the next level. Last year, fresh off a series… More >>
  • Best Bird-Watching Outside City Limits

    Stewart Road, Galveston

    Galveston's Stewart Road is unknown to all but the most curious of island day-trippers. Running parallel to FM 3005 from 61st Street all the way to 13 Mile Road, this scenic byway cuts through the live oak-studded pastures and salt marshes that offer up a hint of what Galveston must have looked like when Jean Lafitte was afoot. These same… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Fitness Exchange

    All things being fairly equal in the equipment and weights department, what makes a gym stand out? For us, it's cleanliness. Immaculate describes Fitness Exchange, with personnel making sure it stays that way all throughout the day. A smudge on a mirror lasts less than an hour before someone comes to wipe it away. The floors are vacuumed every night,… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Nick's Sports Bar & Grill

    Ain't nuttin' fancy 'bout Nick's. And "nuttin'" is definitely the way it's pronounced around here, where the Up Nawth atmosphere is thick (the Web site offers links to the official team sites for the Rockets, the Astros and the Green Bay Packers). Nick's ain't no flashy, Vegas-style establishment with TVs on every table and the all-too-standard display of jock paraphernalia… More >>
  • Best Public Tennis Courts

    Memorial Park

    Not all tennis stars are raised on pristine country club courts under the watchful eye of a sweater-wearing coach named Rex. Some make it through the local communist athletic program. Venus and Serena Williams had neither luxury. Instead, they sweated it out on the public courts of Compton, in California, with a lot of talent and a father's dream. And… More >>
  • Best Mall-Walking

    Katy Mills

    When Katy Mills opened in 1999, it sent a press kit out that had all sorts of useless trivia about the gargantuan size of the place, such as "Telephone wire: 2,600,000 feet, enough to go around Loop 610 13 times" and "The amount of dirt used to build the berm could fill 413,000 sandboxes." Only one fact is relevant to… More >>
  • Best Go-carts

    Speedy's Go Cart

    Don't you just hate it when a go-cart track is so crammed into the available space that the course is little but a series of traffic-jam-inducing hairpin curves? Don't you hate it when at least one car conks out every time, putting up the yellow caution flag for everyone else? Don't you really hate it when the car that conks… More >>
  • Best Place to Inline Skate

    Southampton

    Asphalt. Beautiful asphalt. This area is jam-packed with it. You can roll from Rice University up to the Southwest Freeway and from Kirby Drive east to Mandell with nary a glimpse of concrete, gravel or potholes. We suggest you start somewhere on North or South Boulevard, where the rich folk live (how come they always get the good asphalt?). Take… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink Bloody Marys

    Palace Lanes Bowling Alley

    Forget brunch. We submit that the best time for a Bloody Mary is when you're bowling. Bowling can make you thirsty (it's a sport, you know), and Bloody Marys are light and refreshing. But they're also strong enough to help you take yourself a little less seriously in rented shoes. And at Palace Lanes, the Bloodys are quite good. Yes,… More >>
  • Best Bike Path

    West White Oak Bayou Trail

    Would you believe Houston has more than 200 miles of bikeways? Well, it's true. And the West White Oak Bayou Trail comprises five of the best. Just a year old, the 12-foot-wide concrete path follows its namesake bayou from T.C. Jester at 11th Street in the Heights up to Pinemont, north of Loop 610. Plenty wide and plenty smooth, on… More >>
  • Best Houston Comet

    Tina Thompson

    In the first season following Cynthia Cooper's premature retirement, fans were looking forward to Sheryl Swoopes to carry the team to its fifth WNBA championship. But when a knee injury sidelined Sheryl for the entire season, Tina Thompson took over at forward, with Janeth Arcain as her support at guard. The two took the team to the playoffs with a… More >>
  • Best Houston Rocket

    Steve Francis

    The Hakeem era -- those glorious days that brought Houston its first major pro championships -- is now, officially, history. The Dream is a Toronto Raptor, and he probably has a better chance of making the NBA Finals with new teammate Vince Carter than with the current Rockets. But the Rockets are the team with the better future, and much… More >>
  • Best Place to Mountain Bike

    Huntsville State Park

    Forty-five minutes north of town on I-10 (at least the way we drive) lies Huntsville State Park, nestled among the Piney Woods of the Sam Houston National Forest. Here you can thrash and crash (well, if you're doing it right, it occasionally happens) more than ten miles of hike-and-bike trails for a $3 day-use fee. Following the perimeter of Lake… More >>

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