Sports & Recreation

  • Best Place to Watch Wildlife in the Urban Jungle

    Kilmarnock Ditch

    This man-made Brays Bayou feeder teems with wildlife both native and exotic. From the levee that protects the western edge of the Ayrshire subdivision you can gaze down on a usually sluggish (and, truth be told, smelly and trash-strewn) stream full of minnows, frogs, snakes and three kinds of turtle -- black-and-yellow sliders, prehistoric-looking (and surprisingly speedy) softshells and vicious… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Palace Lanes

    There are few places left in Houston where one can drink, smoke and bowl, all at the same time. There's just one, in fact, and that place is Palace Lanes. The joint is technically located in Southside, rather than in Houston metro, even though it fits within the borders of Bellaire. Thanks to this little loophole, you can smoke and… More >>
  • Best Guided Meditation

    Dawn Mountain Temple

    Near the busy intersection of Richmond and Shepherd rests the modern oasis of Dawn Mountain. From its spacious, airy new home, the Tibetan temple, community center and research institute welcomes all seekers to its meditation sessions every Sunday at 11 a.m. Enter quietly, place your shoes in the snug cubbyhole and take a seat in the temple (pillows and chairs… More >>
  • Best Bike Path

    Memorial Park

    If you're looking for a good way to break some bones, Memorial Park's bike paths can do the trick. Known as the "Ho Chi Minh" mountain bike trail amongst regulars, you can find yourself smack in the middle of a Mountain Dew commercial before you even realize what hit you. Once you get over the fact that there's a gigantic,… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Hermann Park Golf Course

    If there's one thing Houston isn't short on, it's golf courses. Our fair city has enough rich white men to fill several GOP fund-raisers, so it's only fitting that we have an abundance of excellent places to swing some clubs. The best place by far to get your drive on is Hermann Park. Centrally located, affordable, within minutes of hot… More >>
  • Best Frisbee Golf Course

    Buffalo Bayou Park

    With 124 acres of lush green land and the city's most popular Frisbee golf course, Buffalo Bayou Park offers the aspiring thrower 18 holes of opportunity to perfect his or her tomahawk against the backdrop of the beautiful downtown skyline. As Dave said in The Tao of Steve, be desire-less, be excellent, be gone.… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Brazos Bend State Park

    Houston isn't generally known for its natural beauty and places to hike, but it boasts some close-in hidden gems that you can quickly escape to when the urban lifestyle starts to degrade your mojo. When it's time for a recharge, take a trip to Brazos Bend State Park in Needville. Named one of America's Top Ten State Parks by...the people… More >>
  • Best Sports Role Model

    Sheryl Swoopes

    It's a shame that, in the 21st century, coming out of the closet is still a big deal for a celebrity. It's an especially big deal for a pro athlete. But when you have a president who wants to go out of his way to amend the freaking Constitution in order to ban gay marriage, you know you're dealing with… More >>
  • Best Gym

    YMCA Downtown - CLOSED

    The most frequent accolade expressed by YMCA habitués is a deep appreciation for the unending supply of fresh towels, and we agree -- especially since the huge stacks here are often warm. Add state-of-the-art, clean and diverse workout facilities (including an indoor Olympic-size pool), a helpful staff, income-based membership pricing, a fully equipped password-protected women's-only workout area and an in-house… More >>
  • Best Yoga Instructor

    Kay Westcott

    A refugee from corporate America, Kay Westcott has been teaching yoga full-time since 1995. She leads 20 classes a week at different venues around town, including the Jewish Community Center, the West U Bally's and Your Body Center. What makes her classes so enjoyable is her positive attitude and playful approach: She likes to get feedback from her students, but… More >>
  • Best Place to Canoe

    Armand Bayou Nature Center

    At high water or low, there's no place better for a human-powered boat to put in than Armand Bayou Nature Center. Early risers can watch deer, reptiles and waterfowl as they start their day in the wetlands. At any time, though, attentive visitors can enjoy abundant native wildlife in the water and along the muddy beaches of this briny estuary.… More >>
  • Best Water Park

    SplashTown

    With Six Flags theme parks going the way of the World's Fair, it might not be long before SplashTown becomes a parking lot. So pay homage while you can to the Texas Freefall, one of the oldest spots in Houston where you can get a colossal water-slide wedgie. Remember all those relaxing days in the Lazy River dodging kids who… More >>
  • Best Place to Bike

    Terry Hershey Park

    In the '60s a handful of forward-thinking people strove to save the bayous from being paved over for the sake of "progress." Luckily for us, Terry Hershey and her husband were able to make some political strides back then, because today we have more than ten miles of bike trails at the 500-acre park named for Hershey's efforts. The trails… More >>
  • Best Park

    Donovan Park

    To get the full effect of Donovan Park, go in the company of a four-year-old. Watch his eyeballs bulge out of his head and stand back as his little motor revs up for the expansive fantasyland of castles and trains, bridges and climbing structures. The park and playground, built in the late '90s as a community effort, is an old-fashioned… More >>
  • Best Kiddie Pool

    Garden Cove Swim Club

    When you have kids, your recreational choices change. For one thing, you forgo a pool packed with hard bodies for one that's safe for your non-swimming toddlers to splash around in. But despite Houston's heat, it's hard to find a kiddie pool inside the Loop. The Garden Cove Swim Club pool, however, is designed with families in mind: The depth… More >>
  • Best Sports Columnist

    John P. Lopez

    If there's one thing that annoys a fan of the U.S. national soccer team, it's when someone criticizes the players after watching just one World Cup match. Thankfully, Houston readers have a columnist who's on the ball: John P. Lopez covered this year's World Cup in a way newcomers could understand and die-hard fans will never forget. The highlight of… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Palacios

    Palacios is the shrimp capital of Texas. So what, you say? Well, we'll tell you. Hundreds of crusty old sea dogs deliver big, fat, still-jumping fresh shrimp to Palacios's restaurants every day, and you can sit on the deck of one of the town's many seafood restaurants, eat a delicious $7 fried shrimp dinner with all the fixin's and chitchat… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Jeff Van Gundy

    In Houston, sports championships -- in sports that people actually care about -- are rarer than Matthew McConaughey's Oscars. So getting a nod as Best Coach is not about the win-lose record, it's about how you explain the (not good enough) win-lose record. And no one does it better than the perpetually hangdog Van Gundy, who has mastered the art… More >>
  • Best Astro

    Craig Biggio

    For years we've been the slightest bit put off by Craig Biggio, who seemed to be working far too hard on his all-American-boy image and has never, as far as we can tell, given an interview that wasn't a dull string of "one game at a time" clichés. But with the exit of Jeff Bagwell, Biggio is the only real… More >>
  • Best Cheap Seats

    Astros Coca-Cola Double Play Tuesdays

    It's been a long, long time since baseball was a cheap date, as Astros fans can tell you. Even before you start spending crazy money on food and beer at a game, buying a pair of seats hugging the foul pole will set you back almost $75. But there are ways around the madness -- very cheap ways, in fact.… More >>
  • Best Aero

    Curtis Murphy

    If you want flash in hockey, you look for a speeding, preening wingman. If you want solid dependability, you look for a defenseman. And on the Houston Aeros, you look for Curtis Murphy. Murphy, who returned to Houston this season after a year of competing in Russia, seemingly never misses a game. And the 30-year-old has proved his worth by… More >>
  • Best Fans

    Houston Aeros' Tailgunners

    Face it: Being a hockey fan in Houston can be tough. Mention the Rangers to someone, and they think you're talking baseball. Give a Texans fan five chances to spell Jaromir Jagr, and he'll still be tossing Y's at you on his fifth try. But there's plenty of upside: The Aeros play entertaining hockey at a high skill level, the… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Millie Bush Bark Park

    Millie Bush Dog Park, named for the spaniel that roamed the White House under George and Babs, isn't just the best dog park in Houston. According to the editors of Dog Fancy Magazine, it's the No. 1 bark park in the USA. We haven't scoped out the country's other 700 dog parks, so we'll just have to take their word… More >>
  • Best Place to Fly a Kite

    Rice University

    Though Houston is nothing like Chicago in terms of wind, the occasional gusts coming in off the Gulf can make flying a kite here an exhilarating experience -- especially at Rice University. In addition to the great view of the neighboring Medical Center, the beautiful campus has many wide-open grassy fields with no overhead wires or obstructions to fry your… More >>
  • Best Rocket

    Yao Ming

    As fans are painfully aware, the 2005-2006 Houston Rockets season went from hopeful to hateful, from "Just Do It" to "Just Kill Us." Free agents Derek Anderson and Stromile Swift were a bust and a disappointment, respectively. Tracy McGrady, despite putting forth a stalwart effort, succumbed to back spasms and had to cash in early on in the season. The… More >>
  • Best Sports Hairdo

    Gary Kubiak

    An NFL coach's hair says a lot about him. Does he sport a pretty-boy tousled look, such as Tampa Bay's John Gruden (a reflection of youthful flashiness)? How about a NASCAR-crew mullet, á la Tennessee's Jeff Fisher, reminding everyone that a good ol' boy can survive despite a 4-12 season? Examining the grooming habits of first-year Houston Texans coach Gary… More >>
  • Best Franchise Owner

    Bob McNair

    Unless you were trapped under a large rock for the past eight months, you know that the Houston Texans have shaken things up a bit. Gone are oft-maligned GM Charley Casserly and oft-confused head coach Dom Capers. And though the changes appear to be for the better, the transition hasn't been without controversy. There was the whole picking-Mario Williams-over-Reggie Bush… More >>
  • Best Tiger Woods Creator

    The Clubs of Kingwood

    The phrase "family-friendly course" is enough to send avid male golfers running. Last we checked, most guys hit the links to escape the pressures of work and family. But here's hoping the adult members of The Clubs of Kingwood see the business sense of buying into the club's golf program for kids. Savvy parents can nurture their own blossoming Tiger… More >>
  • Best Play-by-Play Announcer

    Milo Hamilton

    For a true baseball fan, it's not just the image of the triple play or the stolen base that makes it memorable; it's also the sound of the announcer's voice. For 21 years, Milo Hamilton has led fans through the Houston Astros' regular-season bumbles and postseason heroics with his velvet timbre. Who can forget last year's 18-inning, NLDS Game Four… More >>
  • Best Stadium Announcer

    Bob Ford

    It's not the bouncy organ music or seven seconds of a metal-pop tune that calls Houston Astros fans to order at Minute Maid Park. No, it's the booming pipes of Bob Ford, who, as he checks names off the starting lineup, sounds as if he's listing horsepower and torque stats on a Chevy truck commercial. In the lull of a… More >>
  • Best Texan

    Dunta Robinson

    On a team that boasts the inhumanly powerful and blazingly fast wide receiver Andre Johnson, it would seem blasphemous to name anyone else Best Houston Texan. But Andre the Giant, while ever fearsome, was felled by a lackluster offense last season. Truthfully, there were few obvious standouts in the 2005-06 campaign. But without question, Dunta Robinson was one. The second-year… More >>
  • Best Cheerleaders

    Houston Texans Cheerleaders

    We love football on TV -- and we love twins. And, thanks to the Houston Texans and the Houston Texans Cheerleaders, we have both. While the football team didn't dazzle anyone last year, the cheerleaders most certainly did, with members such as Larisa and Marisa, the identical -- ahhh -- twins. A few of the lovely ladies (including our fave,… More >>
  • Best Putt-Putt

    The Putting Edge

    Maybe it's the trippy mushrooms and butterflies. Perhaps it's the gaping mouth on the great white shark. Or maybe it's just that everything around you is glowing: The funky neon murals and figures at The Putting Edge seem like they're straight out of a Tiger Woods acid trip; black lights splash on the neon set, casting a weird glow and… More >>
  • Best Place for a Pickup Game

    Fonde Recreation Center

    It looks like a friendly neighborhood city parks department recreation facility, but local ballers know that the Fonde Rec Center is a hallowed hall for hoopers. For years NBA stars past and present have run pickup games on the center's basketball courts. The facility isn't far from the Toyota Center, so it's not uncommon to catch Rockets players running the… More >>
  • Best High School Team

    Klein High School
    football team

    Who just won the Pro Staff of Greater Houston (PSGH) High School Football Sportsmanship Award? Who just sent its former coach, George Kirk, to the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor with an 89-43-5 record? The Klein High School Football team, that's who. Actually, that should be teams. Plural. The school has varsity, junior varsity and freshman Bearkat… More >>
  • Best Pitching Performance

    Roy Oswalt, Game 7 of the 2005 National League Championship Series

    Admit it -- upon watching Albert Pujols's titanic bomb off Brad Lidge in Game 5 of last year's NLCS, you had that sick feeling that you were witnessing yet another in the Astros' long history of dismal postseason choke-jobs. With the series returning to the soon-to-be-imploded Busch Stadium, the cosmic script seemed all but written for the Cards to go… More >>
  • Best Candidate to Be the Female Larry Bird

    Adrian McGowen

    Goodrich, Texas -- about an hour north of town up in the Piney Woods of Polk County -- is little more than a wide spot in a logging trail, home to a mere 243 souls. Their high school had only 70 students, one of whom was Adrian McGowen, a five foot ten guard on the basketball team. Admittedly, the class… More >>
  • Best Candidate to Be the Next Hakeem Olajuwon

    DeAndre Jordan

    Standing just a shade under seven feet, this Jordan is not of the Michael mode. Instead, he's a shot-blocking machine, recently described by one national basketball recruiting junkie as "a black hole for runners, floaters, short jumpers and lay-up attempts" who "makes Ben Wallace look lazy and meek." Jordan, who recently announced plans to transfer from Episcopal High School for… More >>

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