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Sports & Recreation

  • Teemu Selanne

    Best Ducks Player

    Teemu Selanne

    Orange County hockey fans can rest easy knowing that despite all rumors to the contrary, this 40-year-old family man from Coto de Caza by way of Finland isn't retiring just yet. That's good news for the Anaheim Ducks because Teemu Selanne is just about the greatest living hockey player anywhere on the planet. Among the top 20 goal scorers all… More >>
  • Best Angels Player

    Jered Weaver

    The lanky right-hander is Exhibit A in the case against wins and losses as a worthwhile statistic for pitchers. Last year, Jered Weaver went 16-8 in 33 starts. This year, he went 13-12 in 34 starts. So, he had a better year last year, right? Sure, if you're stoopid. Wins and losses are a team stat; a pitcher can't control… More >>
  • Second-Best Angels Player

    Torii Hunter

    In a year when a lack of clutch offense—hell, any offense—was the team's biggest problem (10th in AL slugging percentage; 13th in AL on-base percentage), we just couldn't give anybody who swings a bat on this team our nod for best overall player. Yet Torii Hunter deserves at least a little love. He has, after all, continued to do his… More >>
  • Best Former Angels Player

    Darin Erstad

    During his 10 years with the Angels, Darin Erstad plowed into outfield walls, made hard slides into second base and generally showed more regard for winning than for his own body. Yes, the North Dakotan was slowing down a bit by the time he left Anaheim with a World Series ring, two All-Star appearances and three Gold Gloves, finishing his… More >>
  • Best Missed Opportunity for Heckling

    Mark Prior's Short Stint With the Orange County Flyers

    As far as we know, nobody showed up to any of the eight home games the former USC and Chicago Cubs phenom pitched for our local Golden Baseball League team dressed in a dark sweat shirt, a Cubs cap, glasses and headphones. Which is great, because we here in Orange County are far too gracious to remind a guy of… More >>
  • Best College Player

    Amani Walker

    This is tough because on the same Big West-conference-powerhouse UC Irvine soccer squad is assist machine Corey Attaway, scoring machine Spencer "Freight Train" Thompson and killing machine Andrew Fontein, the goalie. All three are nearing or setting team records and being mentioned alongside top players in the nation as the Anteaters find themselves ranked in the top 20 nationally (as… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Eduard Azarian

    Azarian U.S. Gymnastics Training Center in Aliso Viejo aims to develop grace, strength, flexibility, discipline, coordination, determination, positive self-esteem, a healthy body, time management and respect for others in all the enrollees who pass through the doors—from preschoolers to Junior Olympians. It's run by Eduard Azarian, a second-generation men's gymnastics world champion and Olympic gold-medal winner from Russia. He is… More >>
  • Best Reason to Be Proud of Sports In Orange County

    Cal State Fullerton Baseball

    Yep, the Ducks won Lord Stanley's Cup, and the Angels are a perennial contender for the playoffs—usually—but the greatest success story in the history of Orange County sports is the Titans baseball squad. Its four national championships (1979, 1984, 1995 and 2004) and the 47 alumni who have gone on to play in the major leagues (including All-Stars Mark Kotsay,… More >>
  • Best Park

    Crescent Bay Point Park

    It's easy to imagine that a view not that different from the one provided on a sunny day from the cliff at Crescent Bay Point Park was where so many clichés were invented: The ocean does sparkle, the swooping patch of sand to the south is breathtaking, etc. The park itself is small but perfect, from the gently sloping green… More >>
  • Best Park for Kids

    Mother's Beach Playground

    Thanks to the Port of Long Beach, which has to donate $9 million per year to the city to offset all that crap it puts in the air, this playground, just across the water from Seal Beach, has been transformed into an urban playground that wouldn't be out of place in Paris or Boston—except for the palm trees and speedboats… More >>
  • Best Baseball Diamond

    Pearson Park

    Some other local municipal baseball fields are fancier or better kept. But few can boast a pedigree like that of the main baseball diamond at Anaheim's Pearson Park. It dates back to the 1930s, and the Art Deco-style stands look like a snapshot of Ebbets Field. It's rarely used by organized leagues, which makes the diamond so special—deep center field… More >>
  • Best High-School Football Field

    LeBard Stadium

    It's technically the property of Orange Coast College, but there's a reason why the CIF perpetually schedules championship games at LeBard Stadium, and it's not just because of the massive stands or that Edison High calls it home field: LeBard is as close to a university football experience as we'll get, a stadium seemingly carved into a hill, just off… More >>
  • Centennial Park

    Best Place to Watch Amateur Soccer

    Centennial Park

    In a soccer-mad city, Santa Ana's Centennial Park is the Indianapolis Speedway of the sport, the place where all fútbolistas aspire to play on manicured fields that host seemingly continuous games from sunrise to 10 p.m. (raza plays 72 hours of soccer per week there, according to city officials). But some of the best action isn't even on the park's… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Dog Park in Huntington Central Park

    The dog park within Huntington Central Park has everything you've come to expect: a separation of big and little dogs, disposable "doggie bags," and a large, enclosed area for Fido to run around in. But what separates it from all other dog parks is location, location, location. It's walking distance from Park Bench Café—which has an outdoor dining area for… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Crystal Cove State Park

    While a picnic is fun in pretty much any green space, Crystal Cove State Park elevates eating on a blanket to a whole new level. We're talking over 3 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of woodlands, with offshore waters creating a veritable underwater park. Check out those tide pools for sea urchins and the sandy coves for burrowing crabs… More >>
  • Best Beach In Orange County

    Santa Ana River Jetties

    There are OC beaches with better surfing, less pollution and more unspoiled beauty, but when you've got to hit the beach right now, there is no beating the Santa Ana River jetties. Unlike the state park on the Huntington Beach side of the river and its $10-per-space parking, you can usually find a free slot outside the residential area on… More >>
  • San Clemente Pier

    Best Surf Spot

    San Clemente Pier

    The wide bay at San Clemente's pier has a nice sandy bottom and a reliable east wind—which comes in handy given the swells are mostly west and southwest. The underwater terrain being a gentle upward slope means the waves break long and slow, which is perfect—unless you're a sadist, in which case, get your ass over to the Wedge. There's… More >>
  • Best Way to Surf Guilt-Free

    On a Clone Surfboard from GoGreenSurfboards.com

    In his Santa Ana workshop, Jim Mizell creates green surfboards. Not green in color—although you could probably get one that shade if you insisted—but rather eco-friendly. Mizell strives to educate surfers about respecting the planet as they do the waves. They can do this by riding on one of his boards, which have been made through a commitment to significantly… More >>
  • Best Place to Kayak

    Upper Newport Bay

    One of the most beautiful spots along the coast is the Newport Beach estuary—a place where fresh and salt water meet, as well as where a host of wildlife, including many endangered species, commingles and thrives throughout the year. From your kayak, get up close to the birds, fish and numerous critters quietly coasting along the reeds and taking in… More >>
  • Best Paddleboarding Spot

    Dana Point Harbor

    If you're one of the throngs of beachcombers who've taken up paddleboarding (a derivative of the ancient Hawaiian art of standup surfing), then get thyself and thy board over to Dana Point Harbor. Glide past the boats and meander among tall ships and kayaks in the breezy beauty that is Dana Point. You don't even need to own your own… More >>
  • Best View

    The Dana Point Headlands trail

    No self-respecting Dana Point residents will tell you they're glad developer Sanford Edward, after a protracted battle, is finally paving over the slope above Strands beach to build mega-mansions. But his fight with the city and the California Coastal Commission has led to a few legitimately valuable concessions, including the roping-off of a trail on the part of the Headlands… More >>
  • Best Nature Trail

    Westridge Trail

    Not to be confused with another trail of the same name, the Westridge Trail is the closest you'll get to Coto de Caza without a gardening permit or a few million dollars. Hike east on the Tijeras Canyon Trail for about half a mile, then bear right onto the Westridge Trail. It's well-marked and well-broken for all of its length—and… More >>
  • Best Horseback Riding

    Country Trail & Riding School

    In a county once home to the world's most famous cowboy, our love affair with the horse just isn't what it used to be. We'd wager that a fair number of the county's current residents haven't put a foot in a stirrup (outside of a gynecologist's office, that is). And can a person blame them? The hills are alive with… More >>
  • Best Place to Mountain-Bike

    Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

    This is the most popular off-road-biking destination in the county for a reason. "There are miles and miles of tracks to get up and around on," says Banning Fiber-Ostrow, the owner of Banning's Bikes in Fullerton. "You can do the entire loop of 26 miles or just take shorter rides. There's great climbing and descending, some tricky stuff and switchbacks.… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Lake Arrowhead Village

    In these cash-strapped days, who can afford the posh resorts of La Jolla, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara or our own Orange Coast? Instead, make a day of it in this formerly posh resort community nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains. Oh, there are still signs of opulence around—and if you don't check yourself, you could drop a mortgage… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Temecula

    Sure, there are the more sprawling, subdivisioned parts of Temecula that look like your standard-issue Inland Empire (or OC) build-out, but the city's appeal as a pleasant place to while away a sunny Saturday stems from the gentle beauty of the valley, the town embrace of its frontier-town history, and the grape-growing potential of its soil and climate. The quaint… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Newport Coast Drive

    Exit the 73 South toll road at Newport Coast in your convertible, pay the toll, marvel at the well-manicured roadside landscaping and nearby mansions, and then prepare to sigh in delight as you traverse one of California's most breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean before you come to PCH and Crystal Cove State Park. Toll cost? Two bucks!… More >>
  • Adventures at Sea

    Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Adventures at Sea

    Haven't you always wanted to have an adventure at sea? Not a real adventure—the kind involving big waves crashing onto your head, capsizing, being surrounded by man-eating sharks—but the kind in which you wear nice clothes and drink fine wine while some guy in a pretend naval outfit does the actual sailing? Do you also have a ton of cash… More >>
  • Best Ride at Disneyland

    The Haunted Mansion

    Is it the greatest thrill in the park? No. Does it regularly cash in on the franchise characters the kids are looking to see? It does not, except for around Christmas, when it gets a little lamer with the addition of Jack Skellington and friends. But the Haunted Mansion embodies that which makes it so difficult, despite everything, to hate… More >>
  • Best Thing to See at a Disney Park While on Recreational Drugs

    World of Color

    Disney's latest multijillion-dollar entertainment extravaganza, World of Color at California Adventure has the power to make you feel like you're tripping balls—even if you're stone-cold sober. All your favorite Disney scenes are projected onto a massive wall of mist surrounded by mile-high, dancing streams of water, complete with musical score and a dazzling neon rainbow of lights—it's almost seizure-inducing. Definitely… More >>
  • Best Place to Boost Your Self-Esteem

    It's a Small World

    Does this boat make my butt look big? Not anymore, since Disneyland remodeled the crafts to accommodate the average It's a Small World rider's ass. Which tends to be huge. You'll feel positively svelte by comparison.… More >>
  • Best Batting Cages

    Laguna Beach Batting Cages & Baseball Academy

    It's never out of season to hit a few grounders or fly balls, so why not do so in one of the most pristine settings imaginable? Just say no to those smoggy, inland theme parks, and instead take the brood over to the Laguna Beach Batting Cages & Baseball Academy, where the pinging sound of homers and boo-yahing of middle-aged… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Dad Miller Golf Course

    Years ago, a commercial ran over the Southern California teevee waves that featured Dad Miller, who looked to be about 100, boasting about having earned his first hole-in-one at age 93. That was on hole No. 11 on his course in December 1970. Miller's ace came when his course was seven years old and five years before the birth of… More >>
  • Brea Creek Golf Course

    Best Reason to Not Get Sick of Golf

    Brea Creek Golf Course

    What's that? Giving props to a nine-hole course with a huge flood channel running down the center that snooty golf purists call the Mini-Ditch (adjacent Fullerton Golf Course, where that channel continues, is not-so-affectionately called the Ditch)? Absolutely. For starters, it's only nine holes. Those guys who decided decades ago that you're only playing golf if you're playing 18 holes… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Triathica

    Opened in May 2009, Triathica is the only fitness center of its kind in Orange County, as it is dedicated solely to triathlon, the cringe-inducing sport that mixes a brisk swimming race with a long, torturous bike race and running marathon—all back-to-back-to-back. Various types of training are conducted on the center's indoor cycles, treadmills and "endless pool," and programs are… More >>
  • Best Dance Classes

    Lokelani's Rhythm of the Islands

    Dedicated to preserving the famed dances of the Polynesian culture, Lokelani's Rhythm of the Islands offers a wide range of classes in which to shake your hips, including Hinano, Pikake, Keikis, Tiki and more. Divided into age-appropriate instruction, toddlers, tweens, teens and adults engage in the time-honored traditions of the islands—and lose a few pounds, to boot. Drumming and other… More >>
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