Outdoors & Recreation
2002 Readers Poll
2002 Critics Picks
Best Local Athlete

Lance. He enjoys the first-name recognition that is reserved for Austin’s elite hometown fixtures (think Willie, Leslie, or Stevie Ray). With four Tour de France wins and countless other showings in the racing world, the Plano boy has done us proud time and time again.

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong Foundation
2201 E. Sixth
www.lancearmstrong.com

Best Local Team

Ah, those beautiful orange horns –- what a lovely symbol to rally behind! Those horns are as lovely as our fave Lady Longhorns b-ball player's long legs, as tantalizing as our fave Gentleman Horns f-ball player's cherubic cheeks, as luscious as ... uh, you get the point. Kudos to these awesome athletes –- Austin and the readers of the Chronicle are proud to call you their own.

University of Texas Department of Athletics
326 Bellmont Hall
512/471-4602
www.texassports.com

Best Participatory Sport

Whether drinking beer while tossing a flying disc into a tree or running after a little ball in the Texas heat, our readers seems to love both these sports equally. Maybe we could combine the two and create an even crazier pasttime? Some of your more interesting votes in this category were for "Bush bashing," "sex," and "mackits & wickets."

Pease Park
1100 Kingsbury
512/974-6700
www.cityofaustin.org/parks

Bartholomew Park
5201 Berkman

Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
512/974-6700
www.austintexas.gov

South Austin Youth Soccer
5716 Hwy. 290 W.
512/899-1049

Best Spectator Sport

Whether you are a football fan or not, good times are to be had by all at UT's most popular event. The roar of 80,000 fans, chanting, stomping, and singing at the tops of their lungs all amidst a sea of orange, makes these events truly awesome. Whether hot, humid, rainy, or cold, nothing can stop true Texas fans from enjoying the excitement of the game, especially with this year's odds. Hook 'em Horns!

University of Texas Football
2012 Robert Dedman
512/471-3050
www.texassports.com

Best Basketball Court

Enfield Court on a good and hot July afternoon is as frisky as a made-for-cable Zalman King movie. Those sexy non-hooping hotties are nice eye candy when you’re stopped at the Enfield light. Watching them do their thing kind of makes you wish were one of those old money Mrs. Robinson types, you know? Once you visit the park good and proper, you immediately realize it's wonderfully compact and intimate. The little bambinos can’t get too far out of sight, there’s plenty cool shade, and of course there are those non-hooping hotties.

West Enfield Neighborhood Park
2008 Enfield
www.cityofaustin.org/parks

Best Bowling Alley

Austin's beloved Dart Bowl is King Pin again, courtesy of our readership. Born at a time when that part of town still defined what was considered "Northwest" Austin, the Dart holds true to its mid-20th-century American roots. You can still get some real nachos (not that processed goo), a gin & tonic, plus witness the occasional beehive, if you're lucky. Local disco bowling campus hub UT's Union Underground and the glittery I-35 jewel Showplace Lanes tied for second.

Dart Bowl
5700 Grover
512/452-2518
www.dartbowl.com

Best Gym/Fitness Facility

Even before its expansion a few years back, the Town Lake branch of the Y was a real favorite, thanks not just to a central location, but for fantastic access to one of the best resources our town has to offer: Town Lake's awesome hike & bike trail. Now, it's a state-of -the art facility, along with other Y state of the art facilities across town, with added bonuses like child care. The pools are a real boon for those of us not keen on natural spring water in the dead of winter.

YMCA Town Lake Branch
1100 W. Cesar Chavez
512/542-9622
www.austinymca.org

Best Gear/Sporting Goods

Is it their low prices? Their generous selection? Their catchy jingle? Academy just has that reassuring atmosphere and all the right gear to provide a relaxing atmosphere anywhere we choose. We won't worry about extreme conditions on the speedboat, on the hunt, or even the first day back at school.

Academy
7513 N. I-35, 512/407-6310
12250 Research, 512/506-6000
801 E. William Cannon, 512/486-6000
5400 Brodie, 512/891-4240
1351 I-35 S., Round Rock, 512/246-4600
1104 C-Bar Ranch Trl., Cedar Park, 512/259-6200
www.academy.com

Best Public Golf Course

The grand old dame of Texas duffers, Hancock Golf Course was the original site of the Austin Country Club and the state's oldest course. Designed by Lewis Hancock and constructed in 1899, this subtle, rolling green is typical for courses of her turn-of-the-previous-century time. This past September 11 marked Hancock's 103rd year.

Hancock Golf Course
811 E. 41st
512/453-0276

Best Public Sports Venue

Since Opening Day two years ago, the Round Rock Express minor-league team has consistently thrilled fans with great baseball. Yet it could be argued the aura and comfort of their home stadium contributes to their talent on the field ... and keeps the fans coming back.

Dell Diamond
3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Round Rock
512/255-2255
roundrock.express.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t102

David Brendan Hall

Best Swimming Hole

Year after year, the late-springtime stampede heading toward Barton Springs signals it is time to brave the chilly waters. Jump in, freeze your tush off, and then lay out and relax as natural air conditioning keeps you from heat stroke.

Barton Springs Pool
2201 Barton Springs Rd.
512/867-3080
www.austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool

Best Skating Rink

How long has it been since you strapped on some roller skates and straight rocked it on the roller rink? We don?t mean anything resembling blades, mind you. We mean disinfected rental skates with eight rickety wheels tearing up the high-gloss floor. If it has been too long, you have no choice but to get Xanadu at the Playland Skate Center. With all new carpets, refurbished rink, and a $100,000 light/fog/sound system, you have no good reason not to go hard in the paint.

Playland Skate Center
8822 McCann
512/452-1901
www.playlandskatecenter.net

Bret Brookshire

Tennis, anyone?   Bret Brookshire

Best Tennis Court

Looking for love in the Rod Laver sense of the word? If you have not tried the centrally located historic Caswell Tennis Center, then you are looking in all the wrong places. Boasting a pro shop, new locker room facilities, and (come May 2003, after a well-deserved renovation) eight freshly renovated courts, the Caswell courts have been home to area Louise Brough wannabes since 1946.

Caswell Tennis Center
2312 Shoal Creek Blvd.
512/478-6268
www.lovetennis4caswell.com

Best Bike Ride

If you happen to live in Austin but have never been biking on this trail, take it from those who know: This is the best place to bike! (Note: Nobby tires only! The trail is unpaved, making it tough for road bikes and in-line skates.) The trail/park is also great for jogging, romantic walks, people watching, picnic lunches, photo ops, fishing, and walking your canine pal. Whether you're dragging a short, fat, reluctant, anti-activity purebred or being yanked along by your frisky, freckled, feckless fido, the hike & bike trail is Poochy Paradise. Tons of other pooch-butt for the sniffing. Numerous stamina-challenging (or not) loop possibilities (three to four to eight miles). And, if you're that kind of cheesy, a great place to scope out and strike up conversations with hot bodies drawn toward you by your babe magnet, "Chico."

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
The Trail Foundation, PO Box 5195
855/448-7245
www.thetrailfoundation.org

Best Day Hike

Preservation pays off. A day's relief from traffic in the heart of Austin, the Greenbelt is just close enough to your car, but far enough to forget you're in the big city while you explore caves, climb rocks, or sit in the gentle eddies of the creek.

Barton Creek Greenbelt
Zilker Park to Lost Creek, 512/974-6700
Twin Falls, and off MoPac, south of Loop 360, north of U.S. 290, 512/974-6700
www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/greenbelts.htm

Best Day Trip

These two may have tied, but you can combine them to make one big ol' day o'fun. Hit Fredericksburg for the antique shops and scrumptious German food, not to mention curiosities like the Butterfly Ranch, the dulcimer factory, Cross Mountain, and the Admiral Nimitz State Historical Park and Museum of the Pacific War, then go conquer the giant, round, granite beast that is Enchanted Rock. Either together or separate, an hour's drive is worth it for a day of play at these Texas cool spots.

Enchanted Rock
16710 RR 965
Fredericksburg
830/685-3636
www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/enchanted-rock

Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce
106 N. Adams
Fredericksburg
830/997-6523
www.fredericksburg-texas.com

Best Dog Walk

If you happen to live in Austin but have never been biking on this trail, take it from those who know: this is the best place to bike! (Note: nobby tires only! The trail is unpaved, making it tough for road bikes and in-line skates.) The trail/park is also great for jogging, romantic walks, people watching, picnic lunches, photo ops, fishing, and walking your canine pal. Whether you're dragging a short, fat, reluctant, anti-activity purebred or being yanked along by your frisky, freckled, feckless fido, the hike & bike trail is Poochy Paradise. Tons of other pooch-butt for the sniffing. Numerous stamina-challenging (or not) loop possibilities (three to four to eight miles). And, if you're that kind of cheesy, a great place to scope out and strike up conversations with hot bodies drawn toward you by your babe magnet, "Chico."

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
The Trail Foundation, PO Box 5195
855/448-7245
www.thetrailfoundation.org

 
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