Sports & Recreation

  • Best Hype

    Super Bowl 2004

    The sign at the entrance of Bush Intercontinental is already touting it. A number of nightclubs are already booked up for it. One Midtown comedy spot has already been bought out for the entire week of Super Bowl XXXVIII by an out-of-town corporation that wants a private place to drink and have a laugh every night. Tours of Enchantment, a… More >>
  • Best Texan

    Aaron Glenn

    After seven seasons of frigid Decembers in the windswept New Jersey Meadowlands with the New York Jets, cornerback Aaron Glenn was happy to return to his home town of Houston in 2002 as a newly minted Texan. And Houston was equally glad to welcome him back. Glenn, who went to Nimitz High School and Texas A&M, joined Texan teammate Gary… More >>
  • Best Way to Park at Reliant Stadium

    Metro Park & Ride Lots

    Parking at Reliant Stadium is a joke. A nightmare. Impossible almost, especially considering the high price you're paying. And once the game's over, you have to sit idling in your car for more than an hour because of traffic. So why even try it? Go to your local Metro Park & Ride lot and take one of the game day… More >>
  • Best Place to See a College Game

    Rice Stadium

    The best place to watch a football game is this secret little 70,000-seat place near the Medical Center. Built in nine months in 1950, Rice Stadium was designed solely for the purpose of football. No rodeo. No track and field. No baseball, basketball, no nothing else. It's got the best sight lines of any stadium in the city. True, you… More >>
  • Best Chance for a Championship

    Develop a Major League Soccer team

    No offense to the Rockets, the Astros, the Texans or the Aeros, but we think Houston is a soccer town. Our vast suburbs are filled with soccer fields packed to the gills with people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds kicking the fútbol around. Every other minivan has one of those cheesy soccer ball stickers proclaiming that, yes, the driver… More >>
  • Best Way to Break In to the Big Time

    Strake Jesuit joining the UIL

    Strake Jesuit College Preparatory and Dallas Jesuit, its brother school in the Metroplex, had a big problem: For years, they had competed in the Texas Catholic Interscholastic League, but when that league merged with the rest of the private schools, they left the Jesuits in the cold, saying Strake and DJ were just too big. Ever since, these two schools… More >>
  • Best Color Commentator

    Jim Deshaies

    The best managers in baseball are those who made the worst players. That's because they had to work harder, to try more things to succeed. It's easier for them to teach the game because they understand the struggles. This holds true for color commentators as well. Jim Deshaies survived in the big leagues on guile. And it's this guile, along… More >>
  • Best Play-by-Play Announcer

    Bill Brown

    The job of the play-by-play announcer is simple: Give the score and the details of the play. The job of the play-by-play announcer is also difficult: Keep the viewer involved in the game and direct traffic so that the color commentator can explain and enlighten. Nobody in Houston is better at this job than Bill Brown. He doesn't shout. He's… More >>
  • Best Sports Talk Show

    Sports Rap

    Native Houstonians are rare on the sports radio dial. Most of the guys on 610 and 740 came to Houston as adults, and don't identify with Houston teams as strongly as people who grew up here. Sports Rap host Ralph Cooper is a notable exception to that rule. He's not an uncritical homer or anything like that, just a guy… More >>
  • Best Sports Columnist

    Richard Justice

    Viewers of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption best know Richard Justice as that show's Southwest bureau chief. But Richard Justice is also the only reason to read the Houston Chronicle's Sunday sports section. In his column, which appears every Sunday during baseball season, he's not gossipy and he doesn't kiss up to his favorite players. He just discusses baseball with concise… More >>
  • Best Sports Music CD

    Pulltab's Greatest Hits

    Until we get a CD of classic Houston sports songs (anyone remember that Astros ditty about "stealing round the bases / driving in the runs / no place else but Houston -- As-tros Num-ber Ooooone"?), we'll have to content ourselves with the offerings of Pulltab. Their sound is a little like Smash Mouth, but those guys never sang about Jeff… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Live Sports Café

    We'll wager that this spacious restaurant and bar was originally intended as a different kind of "nightlife option." Sure, Live Sports has plenty going for it as a sports bar: The TVs are big and show a variety of sports; there are more drink options than you'll know what to do with (who orders ouzo at a sports bar?); and… More >>
  • Best Rocket

    Yao Ming

    He came to the team late because of contract negotiations. He was subjected to intense press scrutiny at every U.S. city he visited. And he had to learn the NBA game on the run and acquaint himself with his teammates in quick practice sessions and on the court. Yet by the end of the season, he was easily the best… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Ping-Pong

    The Tavern - CLOSED

    Suck at pool? Then travel to The Tavern's patio to enjoy the ancient art of table tennis. Wow the crowd with your wicked backhand and work off that beer gut chasing stray balls from under your fellow Ping-Pong enthusiasts' feet. When you need a break, quench your thirst with one of the establishment's 26 draft beers and gaze slack-jawed at… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Bocce Ball

    Hans' Bierhaus

    Bocce ball, basically a prehistoric version of bowling that involves what look like croquet balls, is best played in Boston's Little Italy. But Houston doesn't have a Little Italy, so we have to make do. Go eat some pasta. Have dessert at Dolce & Freddo to get in the mood. Then get a little drunk: Hans' Bierhaus has more than… More >>
  • Best Dart House

    Ron's Pub

    About two decades ago, when there were only a few dart bars around, darts enthusiast Ron Towne went from managing the original Sherlock's Pub to founding the one bearing his name. Ron's Pub doesn't sponsor regular traveling league teams and isn't a major tournament host -- it's simply the best neutral turf in town for darters. The serious practitioners come… More >>
  • Best Place for a Basketball Pickup Game

    Fonde Community Center

    Unless you've got game, you'd best stay away from the basketball courts at Fonde Community Center. The guys who play here are ruthless about who they pick for their teams, and they don't take kindly to a sucky novice who can't hang. They're especially annoyed by high schoolers who try to get in on the action -- unless, of course,… More >>
  • Best Public Tennis Courts

    Cherryhurst Park

    Tucked snugly away in the Cherryhurst section of Montrose, this single concrete court is perfect for a quiet match or for showing off your skills. Get there early and squat the court, but if you notice dirty looks from local residents waiting to play, you may want to concede. Looking to stage a grudge match? Invite your friends and the… More >>
  • Best New Golf Course

    Wildcat Golf Course

    The two golf courses at Wildcat are the only ones in the city with real hills. Not only does the terrain provide an interesting test of a golfer's skills, the hilltops also afford spectacular views of nearby Reliant Stadium and the Houston skyline. But it's the reason that Wildcat boasts the highest elevations in Harris County that makes it special:… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Hermann Park Golf Course

    Most driving ranges offer little in terms of obstacles. They're usually just wide open spaces with a few mounds and flags scattered willy-nilly so there's something to aim at. Hermann Park's range boasts a cluster of three tall trees smack in the middle of the field. Now that's useful. It makes the range a place to actually practice skills instead… More >>
  • Best Putt-Putt

    Celebration Station

    Show off, Tiger Woods-style, at Celebration Station's three 18-hole miniature golf courses. You know those panty-waists in the PGA are scared of obstacles like the 20-foot waterfall on the Rio Grande Course, but with a little practice, you could impress a date or even the whole family. (It's only $6 for adults and $4 for kids ages six to ten;… More >>
  • Best Frisbee Golf Course

    Rice University disc golf course

    Discriminating disc golf players laud Rice University's object course for having the best variety of surfaces and air clearance. A combination of streets, gravel and lawn, the 18-hole course includes wide expanses where players can really open up and let fly, as well as tight corridors and hazards. The front nine ends at Valhalla, the Rice grad student bar, perfect… More >>
  • Best Ice Rink


    Boy, it's not easy picking the best ice rink in Houston. There are just so many...But even without hordes of competitors, the Aerodrome in Sugar Land stands out. It's the practice home of the Houston Aeros, so obviously the rink has to be in top shape. And the connection with the team makes the Aerodrome the best place to go… More >>
  • Best Comet

    Sheryl Swoopes

    Sheryl Swoopes has been a regular winner in our Best Comet category since the WNBA came into existence in 1997, and for good reason. Swoopes was the league's first superstar, and she's never done anything but carry that title with class. She came back from both a debilitating ACL injury and a pregnancy, which ain't no walk in the park… More >>
  • Best Park

    Donovan Park

    Donovan Park should be called Donovan Land. The sprawling wooden kid-world could make even the most unimaginative tyke imagine he's the ruler of a vast kingdom. Turrets, bridges and secret compartments link the more typical playground accessories: slides, jungle gyms, climbing nets, swings and the like. The park is surrounded by trees and grassy hills; shaded areas with benches will… More >>
  • Best Bird-Watching

    High Island

    Each spring, avid birders from around the globe make a pilgrimage to High Island to see one of the most famed birding spots in the world. And Houstonians are lucky enough to have it (almost) in our backyard. Located about 80 miles from the city on the Gulf Coast, High Island serves as a rest stop for the exhausted neotropical… More >>
  • Best Beach

    Palm Beach at Moody Gardens

    Sick of cutting your feet on shells? Annoyed by the inevitable close encounters with jellyfish? Tired of wading through brackish water that looks like it was just churned out of the treatment plant? Head to Moody Gardens. The Galveston Island attraction/resort has created a new, improved beach, and it's charging guests a fee to enjoy it. The three-acre Palm Beach… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Brazos Bend State Park

    Brazos Bend is only a 30-mile drive from downtown, but once you get there you'll feel hundreds of miles away. This peaceful, 4,900-acre state park is located where the Big Creek and Brazos River meet, and it offers up to 20 miles of easy walking trails. (There are no changes in elevation, so don't come expecting a tough workout.) You'll… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Wet

    Splashtown Water Park

    It's hot. Damn hot. Unbearably hot. So put your kids in those swimsuits with the built-in floaties, pile them in the back of the minivan and head out to Splashtown. The 45-acre park is filled with opportunities to get drenched. Kids can get their feet wet in the fountain before flying down one of the swirly, whirly, twirly water slides.… More >>
  • Best Place to Water-Ski

    Lake McQueeney

    Why suffer the crowded, choppy waters of lakes Conroe and Livingston? If you're willing to drive a little farther, you can head to the Hill Country for a far superior skiing experience. The man-made Lake McQueeney is just outside Seguin in Guadalupe County (near New Braunfels) and has its own exit off I-10 West. Because of its calm, glasslike water… More >>
  • Best Skate and Bike Park

    Dirtwood Ramp Park

    Skaters and bikers coexist mostly happily at Dirtwood Ramp Park. Less than a year ago, Jay Evans, 24, rented two Garden Oaks warehouses that combine into 15,000 square feet of riding space. In an effort to keep patrons challenged, he and his friends regularly change the layout of the ramps and rails, including the only spine ramps and wall ride… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn to Ride a Hog

    Rider's Edge New Rider Course

    Can you ride a bicycle? Do you have a driver's license? If so, then for about $200, you can learn all the skills you need to safely ride a motorcycle in just five days. First, you'll spend two evenings in the classroom, becoming familiar with the parts and functions of the bike, along with the special considerations of operating a… More >>
  • Best Place to Skydive

    Skydive Spaceland

    First things first: No one's ever died here. Everything else is just icing on the cake. At Skydive Spaceland, they drop you from 14,000 feet -- that's 1,000 feet higher than the industry minimum. Plus, they're open all week long, with $169 weekly rates and $189 weekend rates for first-time jumpers. After your second tandem jump, you can jump solo,… More >>
  • Best Place to Be Glad You're Alive

    Biking Through Buffalo Bayou Park

    Every city has its "central park" -- the one in the middle of everything where you can hike, bike or just sit in the grass next to a babbling brook and forget that you live in an urban jungle. Well, our babbling brook is Buffalo Bayou, and while it's not the prettiest body of water in the world, it provides… More >>
  • Best Astro

    Brad Ausmus

    What better place for a Dartmouth man than wearing the Tools of Ignorance behind home plate? Ausmus, 34, is a certified Ivy Leaguer with a degree in government that probably does him absolutely no good as he mentors the Astros' young but erratic pitching staff ("Wade, I think a bicameral legislature with a strong chief executive would produce a call… More >>
  • Best Sports Role Model

    Craig Biggio

    It's not easy being an athlete. You make millions of dollars, and the public expects you to perform at the highest level and not be a jerk. Craig Biggio is no longer able to perform at the highest level. There's also word that he can be a bit of a jerk. But he's the Sportsman of the Year because of… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Van Chancellor

    Only one coach in this city has led a team to four straight championships. While his point guard died from cancer. While his two star players fought so much that it made the Clyde-and-Chuckster feud look like a couple of preschoolers fighting over a toy. While his home court got wiped out by a flood. Yes, Van Chancellor has had… More >>
  • Best Cheerleaders

    The Houston Rocket Power Dancers

    They don't get half-hour specials on KTRK. Ken Hoffman doesn't write about judging their tryouts. Rich and Charlie don't talk about one of them being robbed for not making the squad. No. The Power Dancers just show up every night -- for far more games than the Texans' cheerleaders. They have actual dance talent and routines with real choreographed moves.… More >>
  • Best Fans

    Houston Aeros

    There's just something about a woman in a hockey jersey grabbing a big beer in one hand and slamming the sideline glass with the other as she screams for someone, anyone, to beat the pulp out of some visiting glamour-puss center. But even if there weren't, there'd still be something special about Houston Aeros fans. Maybe it's because the… More >>
  • Best New Stadium

    Minute Maid Park

    Forget about the stupid corporate name and that god-awful choo-choo train in left field. The best new stadium in Houston is the oldest new stadium in Houston: Minute Maid Park, a.k.a. the Juice Box, Home Run Field and Sponsorship Stadium. Minute Maid wins simply because it offers the best, and most interactive, fan experience in Houston: Sit in the Crawford… More >>