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 blown through their high-tech range balls. Who would have thought that combining leisurely golf swings with booze and food would be so enjoyable?

Elm Fork Shotgun 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 Highway. We've checked out a few indoor ranges in the area — we may be pinkos here at the Observer, but some of us are armed pinkos — and have generally found all the places to be well-stocked, about equal in price and staffed by friendly, helpful people. Elm Fork gets our pick not for what it has, but what it lacks: a roof. While shooting indoors is great if you want to avoid rain, cold or sunstroke, if you're like us (cheap, not very good with guns) and prefer to simply do a little plinking with a .22, shooting outdoors lets you avoid the hard, concussive pounding that comes from shooting in confined spaces next to some guy blasting away with a hand cannon. And let's be honest, it's a little intimidating to be in a room full of marksmen with .45s while you're holding a puny little .22. Our Freudian issues aside, Elm Fork also offers a fun mix of steel and paper targets, tactical ranges, skeet and trap shooting, plus a full schedule of gun classes.

Bass Pro Shops - Outdoor World

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, a showroom filled with fishing boats and enough guns and ammo on sale to stock an army (or a small Texas town) is, in fact, awesome. That's what Bass Pro is. Sure, you won't find any bikes or bats or soccer balls here, but that's why God gave us Walmart. Bass Pro is a true sportsman's paradise, loaded with every possible combination of rod, reel, boat, gun, deer feeder, boots and clothing that a real sunburned, hog-shooting, bass-catching, duck-hunting Lone Star sumbitch could want.

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 pleasant weekend of the spring," he might write. Or, "Elvis is like a full trot line after a hearty campfire breakfast. Coleman griddle." Bass' man-crush and his flowery descriptions of it are like an unexpected blossom of literacy in a field of scraggly statistics and overgrown bloviation. Hashtag Elvisball.

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 like he should be looking over his shoulder to see if his water-skiing kid let go of the tow rope yet. A few other favorites: "Cirque Du Soria," "Kitten Face," "Perez Dispenser" and "Church Dad" (though "Cameron" is equally acceptable for David Murphy, who definitely looks like he could be palling around with Ferris Bueller).

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, judgment-free movie theater. Behold: Cardio Cinema. When you take the initial tour at Gold's Uptown, very little is mentioned about Cardio Cinema, and that undersell is why it's fantastic. The theater inside a gym is filled with treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes, but very few people use the thing and the dedicated tribe that does abides by an unspoken code of no talking. Plus, Gold's has a deal in which they show films that aren't quite on video yet and the selection rotates daily, so if you push yourself to jog an extra 10 minutes, you can finally hop into conversations about big budget release junk you'd otherwise know nothing about. It's basically perfect.

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 you want attention from a coach, you have to show some real dedication. But for $30 a month, follow Gene Vivero's cycle and you'll be in fighting shape in no time, whether you intend to become one of his many fighters representing at local and national Golden Gloves tournaments or just want to get in shape and aren't into the whole low-impact workout thing.

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 canyon floor trail that's a half-mile round trip through an ecosystem featuring a stand of flowering dogwoods unique to North Texas. It's 16 miles from downtown, just close enough and far enough for a spur-of-the-moment escape.

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 around the lake is truly the best you'll find in the city limits, with possible stops along the way at the Arboretum and any number of the excellent bars and restaurants that border it (Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House and Cane Rosso come to mind). And the Sante Fe Trail offers a couple miles of actual wooded seclusion before taking you through East Dallas and down to Deep Ellum, the only neighborhood in Dallas where absolutely no one will look twice if you walk into a bar covered in sweat.

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 around the lake is truly the best you'll find in the city limits, with possible stops along the way at the Arboretum and any number of the excellent bars and restaurants that border it (Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House and Cane Rosso come to mind). And the Sante Fe Trail offers a couple miles of actual wooded seclusion before taking you through East Dallas and down to Deep Ellum, the only neighborhood in Dallas where absolutely no one will look twice if you walk into a bar covered in sweat.

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