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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Place to Skateboard

    Ramp Riders

    Although hardcore street skaters may scoff at the idea of an indoor park as the best place to skate in a city filled with steps, rails and the usually dry River des Peres, the multilevel warehouse known as Ramp Riders, with its excellent plywood half-pipes, bowls and BMX jumps, is the ideal space for practicing your ollies, impossibles, sex changes,… More >>
  • Best Cardinal

    Albert Pujols

    Obscured by all the drama, melodrama and misery of this baseball season, from the deaths of Jack Buck and Darryl Kile to the barely avoided work stoppage, there is Albert Pujols. The season isn't finished, and Pujols already has more than 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored, both for the second straight year. The ridiculous part of that statistic is… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Playground for Chronic Weekend Inebriates

    The public park with the two twisty slides at Fourteenth and Lindell

    With the ever-expanding, über-hip Washington Avenue club scene pouring more and more gassed-up boozehounds out into the streets of downtown each and every Friday, it is not a stretch to assume that a renaissance in late-night public-park usage is afoot. If you would like to contribute to such a renaissance, get on down to the supercool playground(s) at Fourteenth and… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Missouri Botanical Garden

    Yes, you can always take your out-of-towners to the top of the Arch, but how predictable is that? How many times can you hunker down in a Kubrickian white bubble car and inch to the top? How about a walk among the roses instead? The Missouri Botanical Garden is world-class, considered one of the most prominent and respected gardens in… More >>
  • Best Bike Trail

    Katy Trail

    Early morning. You're riding through a wildflower pasture under the power of your own two legs. The first beads of sweat begin to form. Reach for the water bottle, take a swig. Shift to a lower gear for a better workout. You're alive. The Katy Trail -- its name taken from the now-defunct Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, one of whose routes it traces… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Maryland Plaza in the Central West End

    No, it's not because the people are "different" from the bland Land's End suburbs -- colorful, flamboyant, maybe even ho-mo-sexual. We're praying St. Louis has passed that junior-high gawking stage. Maryland Plaza's best because everybody is watching and being watched -- and knows it. A juggler plies his spheres, arms aching, and nobody looks up from café conversation. A woman… More >>
  • Hottest/Sweetest Outdoor Beer Vendor

    Saturday Corona Girl, Fairmount Park

    Although it remains a mystery as to why the Lou's closest haven for pony bettors has night racing on Saturdays and Sundays and daytime racing during the week (should be the other way around, friends), one thing's for certain: Sarah Tomer, the brunette who cracks the coldies at the Corona kiosk on the walkway between grandstands, is a bombshell --… More >>
  • Best Ram

    Aeneas Williams

    The best part of picking cornerback supreme Aeneas Williams as Best Ram is that it avoids all that Kurt Warner/Marshall Faulk back-and-forth. Who's more important to the Rams, Warner or Faulk? Which sight scares a Rams fan more, Jamie Martin or Trung Canidate? Yikes. The Rams are by far the best NFL team to watch, and that's because of the… More >>
  • Best Pro Coach

    Tony La Russa

    Let's make this short and sweet. La Russa has actually won the Big One and a division title or three. True, his championship ring dates back to 1989, with the Oakland Athletics, where he coached those true testaments to better bodies through chemistry, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. But who cares? The lawyerly La Russa has World Series wins on… More >>
  • Best Coach to Return to High School

    Marvin Neals, Cardinal Ritter Prep

    Marvin Neals has been through this before. In the '70s, several of the basketball teams he coached at Soldan High School won twenty or more games. He coached David Thirdkill, who played at Bradley University and in the NBA. Neals quit coaching more than ten years ago, ending up with 328 victories. He's a retired principal who last year came… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Vertical Indoors

    Upper Limits

    Tucked behind Union Station, Upper Limits has approximately 10,000 square feet of climbing, and although the wall isn't the highest -- about 35 feet -- set routes run from near-vertical to seriously overhanging, and the textured concrete walls could pass for real rock, were it not for the multicolored climbing holds that rise to the ceiling. If you don't have… More >>
  • Best Weekend Excursion

    Great River Road

    If the only hand-holding that takes place in your house is when the TV remote is passed back and forth, it may be time for a weekend getaway. In October, consider a road trip on the Great River Road in Illinois. No television, just breathtaking views of yellow, orange and red set against the backdrop of the Mississippi River. In… More >>
  • Best Bowling Lanes

    Arcade Lanes

    OK, so you can't bowl in a hard rain -- the roof leaks. Nor is a game of tenpins much fun in the summer -- there's no air conditioning, or, at least, not enough that you'd notice. And call ahead in the winter so they'll turn on the furnace. But if you want a glimpse of what bowling was like back… More >>
  • Best Gym/Fitness Club

    South City YMCA

    Opened in January 2001, the South City YMCA attracts a wide array of hard, semihard and, yes, soft (but soon-to-be-hard) bodies. It's nestled between a fire station and police substation, so it the attracts off-duty police officers and firefighters, as well as a diverse mixture of singles, couples and families. This sparkling Y, built new from the ground up, provides… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Weber's Front Row

    Australian-rules football, sumo wrestling, surfing, the Tour de France, bass fishing. Friggin' World Cup soccer, man! All this in addition to the standard fare of football, baseball, basketball, hockey. Weber's Front Row in Old Orchard is a sports-lover's all-you-can-eat: thirteen televisions, nothing but sport -- save one, reserved for Beth the bartender's CNN, which she deserves for having to endure… More >>
  • Best Weekend Excursion for Families

    YMCA of the Ozarks Trout Lodge

    "Don't make me pull this car over; stop wiping boogers on your brother, keep your hands to yourself; stop breathing on your sister." If your idea of family fun on a road trip doesn't involve listening to these statements in an endless loop, a trip to Trout Lodge fits the bill. About an hour-and-a-half south of St. Louis, this YMCA… More >>
  • Best Sports-Broadcast Personality

    Mike Shannon, KMOX (1120 AM)

    There is a new addition to the walls of Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood, the sports-memorabilia-choked downtown eatery owned by the former Cardinal and longtime game-caller. The addition is a holographic portrait of Shannon, and it's hilarious. Holograms, like tailfins and nuclear-powered dishwashers, are part of the future-culture that will never be. Shannon, however, is so old-school that a portrait… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Another Major Sporting Event While the Cardinals Are on TV

    The sofa in your living room

    One would think that, in the midst of the NBA finals, a certain Soulard watering hole with three television sets might take the proactive step of having the Lakers-Nets on just one itty-bitty boob tube while the Cardinals take on the Royals in a meaningless early-season game. Wrong. After much arm-twisting, this hoop dream might become reality, but come on… More >>
  • Best Sports Arena or Stadium

    Family Arena

    Yes, there are fancier places: the Jones Dome, Savvis Center, Busch Stadium. But there's nothing like the Family Arena for a low-key good time. We fell in love with this place last winter when motorcycle racing on ice came to town. Beer prices were about half what you'd pay the bigger places, and exhaust fumes and a few Buds combined… More >>
  • Best Blue

    Scott Mellanby

    Maybe it's antithetical to name Scott Mellanby "Best Blue" on the basis of his performance in the playoffs. The playoffs are usually where the Blues go to disappear: first round, second round, surely before the finals. For Mellanby, the playoffs were where he appeared and wouldn't go away. Always thought of as a gamer, Mellanby gave the Blues what they… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Arizona Maxi-Golf

    Arizona Maxi-Golf offers way too much to deserve the usual diminutive "mini." Nothing about Hugh Taylor's Concord Lanes is understated. He's transformed a bowling alley into a family-fun empire by expanding it to include batting cages, beach volleyball and a climbing wall. But the Maxi-Golf -- constructed over a three-year period at a cost of more than $3 million --… More >>
  • Best Place to Have Sex in Public

    Anywhere in Jefferson County -- as long as you're not gay

    Yes, under the Arch is exciting, especially with a full moon. Our sources say home plate at Busch Stadium is unforgettable, but that doesn't really count because you can't do it during games. These places have one big downside, however. You could get arrested. But in Jefferson County, prosecutors can't quite figure out what to do with folks caught doing the… More >>
  • Best Farrier

    Dusty Kraus, Kraus Farms

    "Perfection is demanded in this job," says Dusty Kraus. After 25 years spent shoeing an average of 40 horses a week and watching his father and his uncle, both farriers, as he grew up, Dusty knows: "No foot, no horse." From Lipizzan to Thoroughbred, from trail riding to barrel racing, the demands on the horse must be considered, along with… More >>
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