Sports & Recreation

  • Best Place for an After-Work Jog

    Buffalo Bayou Art Park/Eleanor Tinsley Park/Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade

    Though it looks like we can't decide which one of these places is best, the truth is their connections make them all winners. The trails running through Buffalo Bayou Art Park, Eleanor Tinsley Park and the Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade allow off-the-jobbers from many locations — including Montrose, Memorial and downtown — a chance to get their jog on without traveling too… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Bell Park

    Bell Park, a tiny slice of green space on Montrose just north of Hermann Park, is both romantic and soothing. A wall of lush, well-kept greenery keeps the traffic out of sight and cuts down on the noise, giving visitors a respite from the busy hustle-bustle of everyday life. Tall trees provide shade, while the soft lawn is a perfect… More >>
  • Best Comet

    Tina Thompson

    Forward Tina Thompson was the first-ever draft pick for the WNBA, and she's been proving why ever since. Part of the 2004 gold-medal-winning Olympic team, the 6-foot-2-inch Thompson was key to the Comets' sweep of the first four WNBA Championships (1997-2000). Thompson has earned a slew of MVP and All-Star nods, including MVP for the 2000 All-Star game. She holds… More >>
  • Best Aero

    Ryan Stokes

    Ryan Stokes is a tough, physical defense man for the Houston Aeros, not afraid to pile up the penalty minutes or take on the other team's banger in a fight. But he also has another title: Reigning Connect Four Champ at the Aeros' Power Playroom. The playroom is in Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Stokes is a constant visitor, taking… More >>
  • Best Astro

    Craig Biggio

    This hasn't been Craig Biggio's finest year. The 41-year-old has struggled in the batter's box and on the field, and sports-talk has been filled with calls for him to be taken out of the lead-off position. But Bidge, in 2007, broke into the ranks of one of baseball's most select groups: players who've gotten more than 3,000 hits. While the… More >>
  • Best Sports Moment

    Biggio's 3,000th Hit

    Taking nothing away from the Coogs' C-USA championship night, Houston was host to another athletic night to remember for all time this year. The 2007 Astros season opened with all eyes on ­second-baseman Craig Biggio as he chased the storied mark of 3,000 career hits; unfortunately, Bidge struggled at the plate and on the field, making the drama more of… More >>
  • Best Dynamo

    Dwayne De Rosario

    While Brian Ching was away representing the USA during the World Cup, Dwayne De Rosario proved why he should have been there, too. Of course, the Canadian native would have to play for his own country's team, but still, he should have been there. Instead, the six-year MLS veteran gave a terrific show during nearly every game of the season:… More >>
  • Best Rocket

    Shane Battier

    It's been a long, long time since the Houston Rockets have done anything in the playoffs, but hope springs eternal. Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are the Rockets' superstars, but when it comes to quiet, solid contributions to the team, forward Shane Battier is the real superstar. Rarely out of position or outhustled on defense, he's long been considered an… More >>
  • Best Houston Texan

    DeMeco Ryans

    DeMeco Ryans was the Texans' second pick in the 2006 NFL draft. If that's news to you, chances are you never got over the team's bizarre decision not to pick Vince Young or Reggie Bush in the first round. Ryans, a linebacker, averaged almost ten tackles a game and wound up as the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, taking… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Wayne Graham, Rice baseball

    Who ever thought the small school out on South Main would ever develop a sports dynasty? Rice's best athletic days were thought to be mere nostalgia, but that's changed big time, thanks to coach Wayne Graham. College baseball has evolved into a sport for rich white kids (players who are poor and/or minority tend to head to the minor leagues… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Downtown YMCA - CLOSED

    It's fun to stay at the YMCA. It's fun to stay at the YMCA. It's also fun to exercise there, in the no-nonsense weight-machine area downstairs and the austere classroom areas upstairs. This isn't the place to see and be seen. It's a place to work out for real. You can even toss around a medicine ball if you want… More >>
  • Best Public Pool

    Emancipation Swimming Pool

    The city's best and perhaps most-used public pool can be found in Emancipation Park, set in the Third Ward just east of downtown. During the segregation era, Emancipation was Houston's lone municipal park for African-Americans. Today it's a hub for athletics and all kinds of fun and friendly neighborhood activities. The popular pool and water slide attract thousands throughout the… More >>
  • Best Park for Kids

    Fire Truck Park

    Houston's best playgrounds — Fire Truck Park and Karl E. Young Park — are set less than two miles apart. Both have the requisite slides, swings, monkey bars and sandpits. But Fire Truck Park, located in Southside Place, has the edge thanks in part to its ultracool, kid-friendly 1935 fire truck. And it boasts an abundance of a certain something… More >>
  • Best Gun Range

    American Shooting Centers

    Texans love to blow up stuff, and we take serious pride in doing it. Naturally, then, it's important to us to have the best facilities. And when Houstonians feel the need to start shooting, there's no better place to do it than American Shooting Centers. This 563-acre adult playground of a gun range is like Pebble Beach for NRA members… More >>
  • Best Place for a Pickup Game

    Fonde Recreation Center

    The Fonde Recreation Center, set along the Buffalo Bayou just west of downtown, is the city's premier spot for pickup basketball. Dozens of NBA legends, from Clyde Drexler to Hakeem Olajuwon, have graced the courts, and many of the old-timers still occasionally show up to run the floor. The gym is free and open to the public, but you better… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Millie Bush Bark Park

    Last year's winner returns victorious! To its credit, it is a darn fine dog park; to the city's shame, it's not like there are a bunch of great, centrally located dog parks to choose from. This is quite a hike for Inner Loopers, but if you want to give Fido a really sweet treat, this is the place. Its 13… More >>
  • Best Place for Judo

    Diamondback Judo Club

    Martial arts schools that teach styles ending with chi or fu far outnumber those that specialize in ones ending with do in Houston. Chalk it up to large Chinese and Vietnamese populations and the better commercial viability of their flashier fighting techniques (the Jackie Chan factor). Those looking to study the Land of the Rising Sun's most sublime style of… More >>
  • Best Stadium Announcer

    Bob Ford, Houston Astros

    The voice booms and echoes through the stadium. The names are announced clearly. And with authority. The man behind the microphone at Minute Maid Park never fails to let you know who's batting. Or pitching. Or coming in from the bullpen. Bob Ford's the one constant with the Houston Astros. ESPN once said that he had the voice of God,… More >>
  • Best Play-By-Play Announcer

    Bill Brown, Astros

    Let's be blunt here: Take away a few legends like Vin Scully, and there's no better way, anywhere in the country, to follow a major-league baseball game than with Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies in the TV booth. Deshaies is funny as hell, has insight into the game and isn't afraid to speak his mind. It might seem that Brown… More >>
  • Best Commentator

    Jim Deshaies, Houston Astros Television

    The sports commentator ­doesn't give the facts. He fills in the lines that connect the facts. He helps the fans, serious and casual, understand what's happening in the game, and why it's happening. No one in Houston does this better than Jim Deshaies. The former Astros pitcher latched onto the Astros broadcast crew after retiring, and he's never looked back.… More >>
  • Best Sports-Talk Host

    Charlie Pallilo, KBME

    Houston has more sports-talk stations than any fan really needs, but far fewer good sports-talk shows than anyone would like. There's a slew of hosts who don't know basic stuff but prefer going for cheap laughs talking about babes and movies. On the other hand, there's Charlie Pallilo of "The Sports Animal," KBME 790. No one in town — no… More >>
  • Best Cheap Seats

    Houston Aeros at Toyota Center

    Hockey's a sport that truly needs to be seen in person. And the Houston Aeros make it possible to see the games while sitting in great seats with the best prices in Houston. The Aeros aren't a major league club. The team plays in the AHL minor league. But the team offers something that one doesn't see most nights with… More >>
  • Best Little League Concession Stand

    West University Little League

    Yes, you can still get hot dogs, Frito pie and snow cones at West U Little League's concession stand, but there are also a few more upscale items on the menu. Let's see...How about Thai Spice spring rolls? Check. Beef and chicken fajitas from Skeeter's? Got them too. And yes, there's pizza, and not that DiGiorno fake delivery stuff either… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Fútbol

    Bayland Park

    Now don’t get us wrong, the Dynamo and their rowdy, loyal fans kick ass. But watching pickup games — played on fields with more dirt than grass, where trash barrels are used as goal posts, all while swaying in a hammock right next to the action — is a great way to enjoy the sport without having to deal with… More >>