Sports & Recreation

  • Best Public Works Project

    KaBoom! playground at the Salvation Army Temple Corps Community Center

    Playgrounds often serve as keystones for a community. A good, safe playground enhances the social and physical development of a community's children. A lack of good, safe playgrounds means a community of kids with idle hands and nowhere to go — which is far too often the case in St. Louis. But the tide is starting to turn, thanks to… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Wrestling at South Broadway Athletic Club

    It's a rite of passage for any south-city dweller to partake in the monthly hot mess that is South Broadway Athletic Club's wrasslin'. For a measly $8 ($7 in advance, $4 for a child), you get the opportunity to take in the "stars of the MMWA-SICW" (wha?) and watch them bark, cuss and hiss at each other as equally impassioned… More >>
  • Best Batting Cage

    Tower Tee

    Tower Tee is truly the baseball/softball junkie's batting cage. Not only can you listen to the Cards take on the Cubs while viciously swinging at pitches, but you get to do so while listening to the visiting team's announcers via satellite radio, just to mix things up. Are Cubs' mouthpieces Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland annoying the hell out of… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Turtle Park

    Eclectic and fun, though definitely not for the chelonaphobic, Dogtown's Turtle Park has plenty of the namesake concrete creatures lounging lazily in the grass or forever scaling the sides of hills. Big (Sally, Richard, Tom) and small (David, Adam, Emily, Antonio), the Bob Cassilly-designed turtles provide plenty of places to climb, dine and recline — the wide, gently sloping shells… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Lewis Trail or Clark Trail

    Point your car away from the St. Louis area, and an hour's drive in any direction will enable you to leave the city and the suburbs behind and get your nature on. But if you're looking for the biggest bang for your time-and-gas-mileage buck, the Weldon Spring Conservation Area delivers top dollar. Off Interstate 64/Highway 40 just across the Missouri… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Fantasy Sports

    Hooters

    Fantasy football is awesome because people take it way too seriously, even while knowing that they're taking it way too seriously. It's a self-consciously ridiculous activity. So what better place to hold a fantasy-football draft than Hooters, the most self-consciously ridiculous restaurant in America? Hours and hours of crude football-related jokes are best spent among topnotch chicken wings and women… More >>
  • Best Place to Skate

    Ramp Riders

    Inside the old Falstaff brewery warehouse, 30,000 square feet of space for skating and BMX racing await urban daredevils. The first indoor skate park in St. Louis, Ramp Riders is the brainchild of Chad Hehner, who has been riding BMX since he was ten years old. Now 36, Hehner is still skating and built his BMX haven to teach the… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course

    Tapawingo National Golf Club

    With three different 9-hole courses to choose from, Tapawingo National Golf Club offers 27 extremely well-manicured holes to appeal to the weekend warrior and avid golf junkie alike. Between the tight-playing Woodlands, the long-as-hell beast that is Prairie and the more straightforward, target-shooting Meramec, you get the luxury of essentially playing three entirely different courses over the span of 27… More >>
  • Best Public Pool

    Springdale Park & Pool

    As the ruthless heat of the summer brings St. Louis to a lethargic crawl, Springdale Park & Pool offers an answer. Just outside of the city, the summer oasis boasts a one-acre pool surrounded by a fifty-acre park. A chainlink fence surrounds the pool, allowing patrons to drive right up and crack open a few beers (BYOB permitted!). The large… More >>
  • Best Local Boxer

    Devon Alexander

    Devon Alexander reps his city, and his city loves him right back. Sure, new talent has emerged from local boxing gyms: The undefeated Ryan Coyne has become one of the top cruiserweight contenders in the nation, and twenty-year-old Stephon Young finished second in the 114-pound class at this year's Golden Gloves tournament. But the hopes of St. Louis boxing still… More >>
  • Best High School Athlete

    Durron Neal - DeSmet Jesuit High School

    Under the YouTube video of Durron Neal's highlight reel, a commenter accuses the video's creator of "speeding it up." Except there are no special effects here: Durron Neal really is that fast. The first team All-Metro selection did it all for the De Smet Jesuit High School Spartans last fall, taking snaps at wide receiver, running back, quarterback, cornerback and… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Broemmelsiek Park

    A dog's life is full of waiting: waiting for the human to get home, waiting for the human to remember it's dinnertime, waiting for the human to get up off the couch and play. Any other animal — say, a cat — would say the hell with it and go off somewhere to plot revenge. But the dog? The dog… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Brandon Rogalski - Washington University

    Unless you follow Division III college baseball, you've probably never heard of Brandon Rogalski. Let this be your introduction: Brandon Rogalski might be the most dominating college baseball player in the nation. Proof? Just check out his trophy rack: He has won first team All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association, the University Athletic Association and D3Baseball.com, as well… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Tony La Russa

    He's an ornery sonofabitch. He inflames the local sports-media corps and enrages John Q. Cardinals Fan. His grim intensity and rigid, anal-retentive approach to managing the game and his players has run some of the latter literally out of town (and, not inconceivably, into counseling). But while fans and analysts throughout the world may tend to undervalue, ignore or dismiss… More >>
  • Best Yoga Studio

    Urban Breath Yoga

    "Have you ever seen Enter the Dragon, with Bruce Lee?" instructor Jee Moon asks a class full of yogis looking to perfect their inversions. She wants everyone to think of the martial-arts star flaring his magnificent lats. The yogis need to be aware of those muscles, not for Lee's ass-kicking purposes, but in order to support themselves upside-down. Pop-culture references… More >>
  • Best Cardinals Player

    Albert Pujols

    Eleven seasons. One World Series championship. Two National League pennants. Five NL Central division titles. Rookie of the Year. Three MVP awards. Nine All-Star Game selections. 400-plus homers. 2,000-plus hits. Career OPS above 1.000. Seven-time NL leader in wins above replacement. Please, sir, don't leave.… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Rocheport 65279

    About twelve miles west of Columbia lies the tiny historic village of Rocheport. Life here glides by as slowly as the Missouri River, which rolls past the southern edge of town. Maybe you've come by car, wishing to browse the small shops for antiques, crafts and art. Or maybe you've rolled in on your bicycle after a dusty day on… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    River Des Peres Greenway to Christy Greenway to Carondelet Park

    The River Des Peres is not St. Louis' answer to the Danube. It's not even our answer to adequate storm drainage. But a ride along the River Des Peres Greenway feels European, as you cross bridges, roll through glades, coast down green corridors and trace a nineteenth-century park. Start at the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station to begin this twelve-mile round-trip trek,… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Hudlin Tennis Center

    So, these six courts can be a bit difficult to find. Harder still is to figure out who actually owns them. They lie in the shadow of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, just east of Kingshighway and north of Interstate 64, but calls to Forest Park Forever, the St. Louis Parks Department and Barnes-Jewish Hospital all resulted in different answers about their provenance.… More >>
  • Best Reason to Look Forward to Winter

    El Monstero at the Pageant

    What's better than one reason to look forward to winter? How about six? Indeed, the six best reasons to look forward to the beginning of the frigid season in St. Louis involve extravagant sets, pole dancing and sold-out shows. The premiere Pink Floyd tribute band and spectacle specialists, El Monstero (www.elmonstero.com) plays six nights at the Pageant every December, making… More >>
  • Best Reason to Look Forward to Summer

    Free Stuff on Fridays

    Look, we know how summer goes. Come August, you realize that you've been on a three-month bender and didn't partake in any of the cultural stuff you swore you'd try. (No, the Rib America Festival does not count.) So knock out everything on one day and make it a Friday: That's when you'll take in the city's cultural landmarks for… More >>
  • Best Public Park

    Carondelet Park

    Carondelet Park was born as a bribe. In the 1870s, the only way politicians could sell skeptical south-city taxpayers on the creation of Forest Park was to sweeten the deal: Sure, Forest Park will be far away, officials conceded. But how would you like 180 acres of your own green space? They were sold, and to this day, they clearly… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    South City Rehab District

    No, it's not a real place you can find on a map. We made it up — while jogging. But the South City Rehab District is hereby christened. It's around south city where cool old houses are being made even cooler: Cherokee Street, Benton Park, Soulard, Lafayette Square. You know: red brick, gardens, maybe even some city chickens. You can… More >>
  • Best Place to Bird-Watch

    World Bird Sanctuary

    The name "World Bird Sanctuary" makes this place sound like a too-obvious winner for this category — if only it weren't the most obvious place you've never heard of. Located on the outskirts of the city in what is technically Valley Park, the 305-acre sanctuary was founded in 1977 by an ornithologist in league with the Saint Louis Zoo. Focused… More >>
  • Best MMA Gym

    Finney's HIT Squad

    Founded by UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, the HIT Squad has established itself as a premier MMA training facility. Now known as Finney's HIT Squad after being purchased by local fighter and promoter Jesse Finney, the gym still boasts some of the best training opportunities in the region. Forget those Tuesday and Thursday classes: The HIT Squad offers aspiring… More >>
  • Best Local MMA Fighter

    Lance Benoist

    Local fighter Lance Benoist has just broken into the big leagues of mixed martial arts. After racking up sixteen wins and no losses as an amateur fighter, Benoist made the jump to pro on January 30, 2010. He won his first fight in just 53 seconds, after submitting his opponent via triangle choke. Since then, Benoist has racked up four… More >>
  • Best Bowling Lanes

    Moolah Lanes

    We can only think of one place where Freemasonry and bowling leagues intersect, and it's on Lindell Boulevard. Moolah Lanes might be the perfect mix of new and old: U-shaped red leather couches encircle the eight lanes, with history coming not from smelly bowling shoes that have been worn over and over, but from the building itself. Housed in the… More >>
  • Best Hole at a Golf Course

    No. 9 at Annbriar

    This is a nice dogleg, par five on one of the region's best public courses. If you can cut the corner on the drive, you have a shot at the green in two. But if you hit the dreaded "straight ball," chances are you'll be out of bounds. Hook it off the tee, and you're sunning yourself on the beach.… More >>
  • Best Gamble

    Lance Berkman

    Lance Berkman began last season on the fifteen-day disabled list recovering from knee surgery and never really returned to form before being traded from Houston to the Yankees to serve as a designated hitter. During the entire 2010 season Berkman (a.k.a. Big Puma, a.k.a. Fat Elvis) hit just fourteen home runs and 58 RBIs while batting .248 — the lowest… More >>
  • Best Fishing Hole

    Jefferson Lake

    To most fishermen, their favorite spot is sacred; it holds magical powers that must be protected at any cost. Anglers may pretend they're revealing their most beloved site when asked, but don't believe it: Another spot is still hidden in their minds, a spot that, once tainted by another man's reel, may never be so lucky again. Fortunately, though some… More >>
  • Best Disc Golf Course

    Jefferson Barracks Park

    A relatively new sport, as far as these things go, disc golf is rapidly gaining popularity. In St. Louis alone there are more than eighteen courses. One of the most popular and challenging is housed in Jefferson Barracks Park, only twenty minutes from downtown in Mehlville. The course boasts eighteen holes, with three tees each and three rotating pin placements.… More >>
  • Best Basketball Court

    Fairground Park

    This is where the ballers go. This is where St. Louis street legends are made and egos are broken. They play in the afternoons and evenings at Fairground Park, on weekdays and weekends, after they clear off the trash blown onto the blacktop from the swirl of passing cars on Natural Bridge Avenue. Fairground Park is a place to test… More >>
  • Best Athlete's Butt

    Steven Jackson

    Even the most dedicated heterosexual loves Steven Jackson's ass. It is robust, meaty and often seen in the act of hauling. The Rams star's butt received plenty of, um, face time amid Jackson's six-season streak of 1,000-plus rushing yards. But it looks best in the act of anticipation, in those seconds before the snap, the nylon-spandex blend stretched over the… More >>
  • Best Sports Figure Not Named Pujols

    Stan Musial

    Consider this: We might look back on the 2011 "Best of St. Louis" issue as the last ever to contain the "Best Sports Figure Not Named Pujols" category, a mainstay that dates all the way back to 2007. It's a sobering thought indeed. But it presents a suitable occasion to pause and ponder what brought us here, and what the… More >>
  • Best Sports Broadcast Personality

    Mike Shannon

    Is it possible to dislike Mike Shannon? Sure, the veteran Cardinals radio broadcaster isn't always the most focused announcer (earlier this year he spent a whole at-bat talking about players' sunglasses), but few people in baseball or any other sport have as much personality as Shannon. For all his merits, could you see Joe Buck saying something like, "Well, folks,… More >>
  • Best Sports Bargain

    Taking a shuttle to the game

    How would you like to never pay an arm and leg for downtown parking again? If you're going to a game, wouldn't it be nice to have a comfy bus, trolley or van available to drop you off and pick you up...for the cost of a beer? No more paying $20 just to park in a lot and walk ten… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    The Post Sports Bar & Grill

    Warning: There is a chance, small but perceptible, that a complete stranger will hug you at the Post Sports Bar & Grill. And we're not talking about some half-assed "bro" hug, either, but a full-fledged, diaphragm-crushing bear hug. It happened to a friend of ours. He'd come to the Post on a Sunday to watch his hometown football team play… More >>
  • Best Blues Player

    David Backes

    When the smoke cleared from another promising-turned-disappointing St. Louis Blues season, 27-year-old Minneapolis native David Backes emerged as the team's best player and new leader. He has always demonstrated leadership and heart, and last season was no exception: No. 42 led the Blues in goals, points, plus/minus and hits and was one of only two players on the team to… More >>
  • Best River for Float Trips

    Huzzah Creek

    When it comes to float trips, everyone knows the first, and most important, decision is what to put in the coolers. The second-most important decision is choosing which river to float. We recommend the uncrowded, clear, cool waters of the Meramec River's runaway child. The guttural-sounding Huzzah (pronounced HOO-za) Creek, a tributary of the Meramec that winds northward through Crawford… More >>
  • Best Rams Player

    Sam Bradford

    The collective-bargaining agreement struck this summer between the NFL and its players all but ensures that no rookie will ever receive as much guaranteed money as Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford, the first choice in the 2010 draft — $50 million, more than twice as much as 2011's top pick, Cam Newton. But Rams officials and fans alike still should feel… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Arizona Mini Golf

    That's not a mirage in the middle of Arizona Action Park's desert-themed mini-golf course. It's a real, live waterfall, emptying into a pond — the most distinct feature of the place, according to operations manager Michael Hawkins. The mini-golf mecca has a kitschy Southwestern motif, with a Native American statue welcoming patrons to the green and teepees and faux rattlesnakes… More >>
  • Best Move

    St. Louis Blues

    Although the Cardinals' signing of Lance Berkman is working out better than anyone could have predicted, the Blues' blockbuster four-player trade in February is by far the best move a St. Louis team made this year. The acquisition of Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk paid immediate dividends as the two racked up a combined 40 points in the last 26… More >>
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