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Sports & Recreation

  • BEST SPORTS RADIO STATION

    KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket

    Here's a testament to the power of The Little Ticket: At least one of us at the Observer didn't give a rat's ass about sports until one day more than a decade ago when, bored with the blandness of Clear Channel-dominated music radio, we scanned through the AM frequencies and stopped at what sounded like a half-dozen smartasses talking at… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE

    Stevens Park Golf Course

    These days, it seems like everything awesome is happening in Oak Cliff. Restaurants, bars, entertainment venues; it's all there. Add golf to that list as well, with Stevens Park Golf Course embracing the effortless cool of the city's southern tip. A couple years ago, an $8 million overhaul was done on the course to shake it out of a dormant… More >>
  • BEST BATTING CAGES

    D-Bat

    With the traditional outdoor batting cage slowly fading away from our landscape, one joint has the balls and bats to take things to the next level. D-Bat in Addison offers a slew of indoor cages where you can slug to your heart's content. The rates are pretty cheap and the baseballs are the real deal, so you can do your… More >>
  • BEST KAYAKING

    White Rock Paddle Co.

    There are dozens of ways to enjoy the serene expanse of White Rock Lake, but one of the best is renting a kayak from White Rock Paddle Co. and taking it for a spin on the water. Challenge a private-school crew team to a sprint or just go for a leisurely aqua trek by The Bath House Cultural Center, Filter… More >>
  • BEST HIKING TRAILS

    Cedar Ridge Preserve

    Here in the city, it's easy to forget there are places within a short drive that are green, quiet and wild. Roughly half an hour from downtown, Cedar Ridge Preserve is 600 acres of pristine hills shot through with some nine miles of surface trails and occasionally challenging terrain. It's densely thicketed with cedar and some huge red oaks. The… More >>
  • BEST SWIM LESSONS

    Fish Factory at Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center

    The toss-'em-in-and-let-'em-figure-it-out method of swimming instruction, while appealingly free, is ineffective for many children. That's why swimming lessons exist, and you'll be hard-pressed to find someplace better at coaxing your young child out of his beloved Thomas the Tank Engine shirt and into swimming proficiency. The classes are small, with three kids per teacher, each of whom demonstrates a level… More >>
  • BEST PLAYER WE HATED TO SEE LEAVE

    Delonte West

    Delonte West was, for a time, the most interesting man in professional basketball. He was the anti-star — a dogged defender, an able ball handler and an often clutch outside shooter who compensated for his lack of physical size and God-given talent by busting his ass during every second of court time he got. He brought depth and experience to… More >>
  • BEST USE OF $1

    Dollar Days at Lone Star Park

    You don't have to like gambling to enjoy Dollar Days at Lone Star Park. You don't even have to like horses, really. You just have to be able to enjoy the incredible fact that you can get into a fun and relaxed entertainment venue for a buck. It also helps if you appreciate a bottomless supply of hot dogs and… More >>
  • BEST REDEMPTION (WE HOPE)

    Dez Bryant

    We'll probably never know exactly what happened in July 2012, when Angela Bryant, mother of the Dallas Cowboys' prodigiously talented wide receiver, told DeSoto police that she'd been assaulted by her son and then later recanted. Since then, however, he's given Cowboys fans reason to hope he's turned over a new leaf. He's now gone more than a year, including… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR WALK AROUND WHITE ROCK LAKE

    Don't go near the "free advice" people.

    Those harmless-looking older folks sitting in folding chairs somewhere around the lake? Yeah, all their "free advice" is about Jesus. If you're not careful, they'll try to pray the demons right out of you, and then what will you be left with? Lately they've taken to hanging out near the Porta-Pottys and buttonholing people who just have to pee, which… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC SPOT

    Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

    You thought you knew how to picnic until you visited the Dallas Arboretum. No other swath of greenery boasts more professional picnickers per square foot. Come to think of it, no other spot in Dallas offers this much greenery or natural beauty. No wonder so many people commit an afternoon here, grazing al fresco while sitting on Grandmother's heirloom quilt.… More >>
  • BEST MMA FIGHTER

    Johny Hendricks

    The welterweight division is perhaps the most talent-stacked division in Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest show in town when it comes to mixed martial arts. And the next challenger to that division's long-time champion, Georges St-Pierre, makes his home here in North Texas, in humble Mansfield. Former NCAA champion wrestler Hendricks packs the strength of a heavyweight into a 5-foot-9-inch,… More >>
  • BEST PARK

    Klyde Warren Park

    Since it opened a year ago, the new 5.2-acre deck park over the freeway at the north end of downtown has become a lot of things to a lot of people, from quiet refuge to raucous meeting ground, but it has also offered one thing Dallas really didn't have before: a place where everybody gets along. It may be a… More >>
  • BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR

    Dale Hansen, WFAA Channel 8, weeknights 6 and 10 p.m.

    It takes a long time to become Dale Hansen, 30 years in fact. That's how long the bombastic, wisecracking dean of Dallas sportscasters has been doing his shtick at WFAA Channel 8, a career that has produced a million one-liners, like his description of Mark Cuban as Son of Frankenstein: "If he just had a couple of bolts stuck in… More >>
  • BEST SAILBOAT WATCHING

    White Rock Lake

    Two boat clubs and ample public launching facilities keep White Rock lake full of sails in fair weather, and the weather is fair enough for sailing for at least a few days in all but the hottest months of the year. Both clubs host regattas, races and training exercises, so on a good weekend day you're likely to see white… More >>
  • BEST BRIDGE TO NOWHERE

    Santa Fe Trestle Trail

    This summer, the city of Dallas opened a pavilion and amphitheater at a revamped Moore Park, which sits on the western end of the Santa Fe Trestle Trail. It's a nice enough addition, not enough to lure many bikes or pedestrians but a far sight better than the scrap yards and rundown gas stations that anchor its downtown side three… More >>
  • BEST PRO COACH

    Ron Washington, Texas Rangers

    There was a time, years ago, before 8-foot-long hot dogs and nachos in plastic pink helmets, when a Rangers playoff run was a fleeting wish. These days, thanks to the wild gesticulation and inspiring attitude of Ron Washington, it's an expected reality. With every single member of his starting rotation spending time on the DL this year and a late-season… More >>
  • BEST PINGPONG

    Klyde Warren Park

    One of the greatest developments in our city over the past year has been the public's instant love affair with Klyde Warren Park. Its free outdoor gaming area offers easily the finest table tennis for miles. Since the park is so new and its namesake is so young, pingpong is the ideal fit. We're excited for about a decade down… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS COLUMNIST

    Jamey Newberg

    Though not a columnist in the traditional sense, there are few who provide as much depth and pour as much into their subject matter as Jamey Newberg, who covers the Texas Rangers with amazing aplomb when his lawyerly pursuits become tiresome. Newberg, who's built his subscriber empire on the strength of his quasi-daily email blasts and annual bound Rangers preseason… More >>
  • BEST DRIVING RANGE

    Top Golf

    There are tons of the traditional driving ranges around, but none of them are nearly as fun as Top Golf. This two-story golf-meets-darts dream complex gives the Happy Gilmore in all of us the chance to hate-shank golf balls into the giant targets in the fairway. There's even live music and themed parties to keep people hanging around after they've… More >>
  • BEST GUN RANGE

    Elm Fork Shooting Sports

    Our readers' pick for best gun range, DFW Gun Range, was still renovating after a fire in February, though an employee told us it will be up and running again come November. In the meantime, if you have the hankering to go pepper something, you might try our favorite shooting spot, Elm Fork Shooting Sports, on Luna Road off Northwest… More >>
  • BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE

    Bass Pro

    A British native on our staff remarked recently that he found the notion of a sporting goods store displaying a live rattlesnake in a glass box to be "ridiculous." We set immigration on him, of course, because as any good Texan knows, a sporting goods store with a live rattler, a 30,000-gallon fish tank loaded with native species, a waterfall,… More >>
  • BEST DESCRIPTIONS OF ELVIS ANDRUS

    Sean Bass

    We all love Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, but few of us express that love with the eloquence of KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket personality Sean Bass. @sbass1310 is a must-follow for Rangers fans during games, especially when Andrus is on a streak. "Elvis Andrus is the satisfaction a man feels after building a deck with his father over the first… More >>
  • BEST RANGERS NICKNAMER

    Michael "Grubes" Gruber

    Another must-follow during baseball season is @tweetgrubes, if for nothing other than the nicknames he comes up with for Texas Rangers. Sometimes they're obscure (Josh Lindblom is "Nirvana," because his last name kinda sounds like "In Bloom"), sometimes they're dirty (Jurickson Profar is "Circle Jurickson") and sometimes they hilariously nail a player's appearance — Lance "Lake Dad" Berkman indeed looks… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WORK OUT

    Gold's Gym: Cardio Cinema

    Extreme nerds need to be bribed to work out at a gym. We need dark lighting so that nobody talks to us or smirks at our dirty Converses. We want it heavily air conditioned, too. Oh, and if you could project films on a big screen we'd be super into that. Basically, we want to jog in a cool, dark,… More >>
  • BEST BOXING GYM

    Vivero Boxing Gym

    It isn't much to look at. The roof leaks, the interior is decorated with faded, autographed fight posters and a huge stained Mexican flag, and the sparring ring appears to be made entirely of duct tape. The workouts are throwbacks from a previous century, just running, shadow-boxing, skipping, jumping rope and hitting the heavy, double-end and speed bags. And if… More >>
  • BEST NATURE WALK

    Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center at Cedar Hill

    You don't have to be a birder to enjoy Audubon center. After paying a small fee, all you need for a lovely, quiet, relaxing afternoon hike are a bottle of water, a decent pair of shoes and an appreciation for the great outdoors. The 205-acre forest offers a 1.1-mile trail that includes some hilly but manageable terrain and a wheelchair-accessible… More >>
  • BEST BIKE TRAILS

    White Rock Lake Trail to Sante Fe Trail

    There wasn't much competition for the best bike ride in the city, to be honest. Riding on two wheels here is mostly an adrenaline-fueled game of dodge the angry truck. But the path around White Rock Lake, continuing onto the Sante Fe Trail down to Deep Ellum, could compete with those of many metropolises with functioning recycling programs. The scenery… More >>
  • BEST BIKE TRAILS

    White Rock Lake Trail to Sante Fe Trail

    There wasn't much competition for the best bike ride in the city, to be honest. Riding on two wheels here is mostly an adrenaline-fueled game of dodge the angry truck. But the path around White Rock Lake, continuing onto the Sante Fe Trail down to Deep Ellum, could compete with those of many metropolises with functioning recycling programs. The scenery… More >>
  • BEST TENNIS COURTS

    Cole Park

    Free tennis courts are great. On a drive through any Dallas neighborhood, you're likely to happen upon several pairs of them, as they dot our city like rectangular freckles. That said, there's no worse feeling than getting all dressed up for tennis and pulling up to a full tennis court. Hitting a ball against the fence just doesn't cut it… More >>

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