Sports & Recreation

  • Best Dynamo

    Ricardo Clark

    If the soccer pitch were an interrogation room, there would be no question about Ricardo Clark's role: bad cop, with some badness to spare. Clark, the defensive backbone of the Dynamo midfield, is an indefatigable enforcer. While teams from more temperate locales prune in Houston's humidity, this Georgia native motors around the field as if he gets a bonus for… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Gary Joseph, football, Katy High School

    Rockets coach Rick Adelman had a great year, leading Houston to the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Still, you can't ignore Katy High School football coach Gary Joseph. In 2007, Joseph led the Tigers to a perfect season, capped with a state championship. Then he lost almost every starting player to graduation.… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Brazos Bend State Park

    It takes about an hour to drive from downtown to Brazos Bend State Park, but the trip is well worth it, because the park is a great way to burn an afternoon. In fact, you could probably burn an entire week hiking through the park's 24 miles of trails. A good route is the one-mile-long Pilant Slough Trail, which starts… More >>
  • Best Place to Walk Your Dog

    Spotts Park

    Wedged between the boarded-up YWCA and Allen Parkway, Spotts Park has the winding sidewalks and leafy trees a good dog walk requires. But the real treat is the freedom to play some good, old-fashioned fetch. Beyond the sidewalks and picnic tables is an expanse of green that's rarely populated aside from the occasional sunbathers and game of ultimate Frisbee, and… More >>
  • Best Place for an After-Work Jog

    Buffalo Bayou Park

    Go when it's dark and park your car in the lot at Eleanor Tinsley. Then make your way to the little brick circle on the eastern edge of the lot to stretch with one of the best views of the cityscape around. You can run straight across the grass (there should be just enough light), past the volleyball court on… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Downtown YMCA - CLOSED

    There is a fitness oasis smack in the middle of downtown. The YMCA is well equipped enough, with benches, squat racks and treadmills aplenty, yet somehow devoid of that bane of the typical gym experience: other people. Those who just want to work out and go home can do so without wait times, predatory personal trainers or testosto-grunting. If you… More >>
  • Best Skatepark

    Southside Skatepark

    Southside means different things to most parents and kids. Parents may see it as "the place where emergency room bills and hassles come from," and young skaters see it as "heaven." For years now, the venerable indoor skatepark has been servicing the board lust of skate kids in the Houston and Pasadena area. Saturdays and Sundays get pretty hectic, with… More >>
  • Best Pedal Boats

    Hermann Park

    There might be other places in the greater Houston area to chill on a pedal boat, but they're probably in wading pools in some sketchy dude's backyard. Regardless, they wouldn't be as pretty as the lush, green Hermann Park surroundings anyway. For $8, you get to spend a peaceful 30 minutes on clean water and in fresh air — think… More >>
  • Best Urban Nature Spot

    Terry Hershey Park

    Way out west amid the tract developments, strip malls and freeways of Houston's upper-middle-class suburbia is this hidden sliver of primordial bayou land, where you can wind back the geologic clock to the Cenozoic Era. On a typical hike or bike trip through the park's 12 miles of Buffalo Bayou-hugging trails, you'll see startled turtles sliding down sandy banks and… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Fútbol

    Richmond Arms Pub

    How do we know this place is for real? For one, the doors will open at 6 a.m. when necessary for the local fanatics to catch Arsenal and Man U live on the giant projection screen. (Worry not, latecomers: There are enough smaller TVs scattered around to provide every seat with a view.) And the edge of the manly bar… More >>
  • Best Cheap Seats

    Houston Astros

    There's a certain kind of shock that comes when you luck into a friend's great Astros ticket and you look at the price. Fifty bucks? For a single night at the ballpark? But the truth is, you can have yourself a great night at Minute Maid Park and not put much of a dent in your pocket at all. (We… More >>
  • Best Texan

    Eric Winston

    Eric Winston is the right tackle for your Houston Texans, which normally means you don't hear a lot about him. But the dude is funny, insightful and outspoken, so he has become a hit on sports-talk stations in town and on the Net. He tweets ("Do you think Best Buy puts something in the a/c vents that makes you buy… More >>
  • Best Golf Pro

    Matt Schewe

    Whatever your game is, or whether you're simply trying to get game, Professional Golf Association member Matt Schewe can meet your level. He's taught Sally Field, Kurt Russell and, We've seen him work with 20-year victims, er, veterans, of golf — and in one case, he got a golf virgin ready for a tournament in two-and-a-half months. Matt emphasizes… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Wildcat Golf Club

    One of the best views in Houston does not require you take an elevator or a helicopter. How can that be, you ask? Grab your Big Bertha and get thee to Wildcat Golf Club. From the driving range, you can see several H-Town high-rises, along with Reliant Stadium, the beautiful water hazards in the Lakes course, some Longhorn steers and… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Palace Lanes

    The sights, the sounds, the smells — who doesn't enjoy a good bowl every now and then? Well, from 8 a.m. until midnight, Sundays through Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, you can get your bowl on at The Palace. Reasonable prices, automatic scoring and kid-friendly bumper-bowling make this alley a winner. Plus, we love the… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Congressman Bill Archer Bark Park

    What dog wouldn't love 17 acres of wide-open space, including large ponds and an agility course? And what dog-lover wouldn't want to treat his pooch to this canine oasis? If you don't feel like walking the expansive grounds, you can park on one of the many benches and sit a spell while Rex gets rid of all that pent-up energy… More >>
  • Best Gun Range

    Top Gun

    With the recent surge in gun sales due to the perceived fear that President Obama is "gonna take our guns away," places like Top Gun near Richmond have been seeing an increase in traffic. They offer a wide array of weapons and ammo that would make a sportsman drool with glee, from brand-new AK-47s to the latest offerings from Bushmaster,… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Messina Hof Winery & Resort

    Messina Hof Winery, just two hours away, makes for the perfect all-in-one weekend getaway. The Villa Bed and Breakfast has ten luxurious, antique-filled rooms. There are plenty of extras to make your stay special — champagne breakfasts, in-room massages, beds strewn with rose petals and, of course, all the wine you can drink. The Villa is just a short walk… More >>
  • Best Day Trip


    It doesn't matter if art, food or music is your thing — Beaumont's got it. Beaumont's 1901 Spindletop gusher made ordinary oilmen overnight millionaires and gave birth to the companies that would eventually become Texaco, Chevron, Mobil and Exxon. Over the years, that oil money has benefited Beaumont's arts community, including the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, making it one… More >>
  • Best Rocket

    Shane Battier

    Ever since Michael Lewis branded Shane Battier "the No-Stats All-Star" in The New York Times Magazine, the six-foot-eight forward has been one of those guys who is so often called underrated that he might be just a tad overrated. And it's true. After all, even after both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady went down with injuries, Battier couldn't take the… More >>
  • Best Aero

    Matt KassianHunter Pence

    Any respectable hockey team needs an enforcer — especially in the minor leagues, where fisticuffs are much of the draw. Luckily for the Aeros (and speedy scorers such as Corey Locke and Krys Kolanos), they've got one of the best in six-foot-six ice-boxer Matt Kassian. Like many a good enforcer, Kassian isn't much of a skater, but his fists have… More >>
  • Best Sports Moment

    Rockets Beat Blazers

    This has not been a banner year for Houston's top pro sports teams. The Dynamo failed to win the MLS Championship for the first time in the team's history; neither the Texans nor the Astros made the playoffs (though at least the Texans appear headed in the right direction); and the Houston Comets topped them all in ignominy by vanishing… More >>
  • Best New Astro

    Ivan Rodriguez

    When baseball veteran Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez signed a one-year contract with the Astros back in March, we didn't know what to expect out of the 37-year-old. We'd just lost longtime backstop Brad Ausmus to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he was no doubt a key part of our sometime spotty success. But with his veteran hustle and steely glare, Rodriguez… More >>
  • Best Sports Radio Talk Show

    John & Lance, 1560 AMThe Game

    When we gave John Granato and Lance Zierlein this award last year, their show had only just started. Hell, their station had only just started. Fed up with the corporate stranglehold at KILT 610, Granato convinced investors to start up an independent sports-talk station in a market already crowded with sports-talk stations, and he convinced Zierlein to come along. Many… More >>
  • Best Astro

    Hunter Pence

    A reporter once questioned the "athleticism" of Philadelphia Phillie John Kruk. "I ain't an athlete, lady," Kruk growled. "I'm a baseball player." Many of the Astros fit that bill — you need look no farther than left field, where Carlos Lee stamps his pasture nightly, to see a classic example. Hunter Pence is one of the rare exceptions. Despite last… More >>
  • Best Sports Talk Host

    Charlie Pallilo, 790 AM The Sports Animal

    We sometimes get some grief for our sports-radio picks: Our Best Show is one that features a lot of raucous humor; our Best Host leans more toward stat-heavy analysis. But Charlie Pallilo offers real insight along with his seeming ability to come up with every ERA since 1935 at the drop of a hat. He utterly respects the callers, and… More >>
  • Best Place for a Pickup Game

    Fonde Recreation Center

    "To play here," reads the plaque on the gym wall, "your game has got to be established, your desire must be proven, and your love for the game had better be pure." Anyone is welcome on the court during free play, but this is the place that serious ballers — including local NBA players during the off-season — flock for… More >>