Sports & Recreation

  • Best Dog Park

    Irvine Regional Park

    Yes, we know it's not a traditional dog park. But it is the best place to take your dog. After all, it's named for a dog-lover, James Irvine Jr. Not far from the boathouse, on land that used to be his "picnic grounds," stands the iconic statue of the onetime landowner, whose name is on, well, an entire city, with… More >>
  • Best Beach

    Muddy Creek at Crystal Cove State Park

    The cliff behind silences Coast Highway, so all you hear are waves, the wind flapping at your umbrella and an occasional gull outburst. If not for swimsuit styles, it could be 1918, when the first film was shot here, or 1970, when it was common for people to ride horses bareback by the surf. Time passes, 21st-century tensions vanish, and… More >>
  • Best Nature Trail

    Badlands and Seaview Trails at Badlands Park

    These trails overlap to provide a raucous mix of steep canyon plant life, gnarled geologic formations, an ancient beach, and helicopter-high views of the coastline and ocean. You get all that, plus an excellent—okay, 50/50—chance of seeing a roadrunner on an easy-to-moderate hike of less than 3 miles. Wild local kids of the '60s and '70s called the area Sands… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Ocean's Eleven Casino

    If it's a resort you want, spend the weekend at Harrah's Rincon, they have "adult swim" Saturdays and a long, lazy river, in addition to single-deck blackjack. But they don't have $5 blackjack tables—not even close. For that, it's Ocean's Eleven, baby. Close by in Oceanside, it has long been a favorite destination for poker players. You'll see a lot… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Inspiration Point

    On a narrow strip of land, above Corona Del Mar State Beach, sits a grassy knoll, upon which you can spread your picnic blanket and feel the majesty of Inspiration Point. Graze on your delicious feast as you survey the ever-changing landscape that are the million-dollar homes across the street. (When do they stop renovating? Ever?) Look down upon the… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Meat Market

    Tin Lizzie Saloon

    One of the few silver linings to Orange County's depressingly mediocre gay-bar scene is its egalitarianism. There aren't enough gay bars for specialization, so everyone goes to those that do exist. At the Tin Lizzie, perhaps the best known of the five, everyone has a chance to find Mr. Right Now: twink or bear, jock or chub, or anywhere in… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

    Set aside your memories of being 19 and stupid in crappy bars on Calle Coahuila, and ignore the media frenzy over the violence that happened in 2008; Tijuana is blossoming, and you're the last one to realize it. Shop in the artisan markets, browse the central food market, then wander the newly gentrifying Avenida Revolución. Have a mind-blowing dinner at… More >>
  • Best Ducks Player

    Viktor Fasth

    Goaltender Viktor Fasth's inaugural season in the NHL may have been only half a season, but he seemed determined to make up for lost time. Seriously, he's not a goalie; he's a man-shaped wall in a goal net, racking up a 15-6-2 record after spending the lockout playing hockey in his native Sweden. Fans everywhere were stunned when Fasth wasn't… More >>
  • Best Unlicensed Nutritional Adviser

    Frank Fitzpatrick

    There is a man who resides by the creek, under the shade of many oaks, and his name is Frank Fitzpatrick. The owner of 5 Bar Beef is the only grass-fed-beef rancher in Orange County. As well as being a flirtatious bachelor and a no-apologies hard ass, he is also the best unlicensed nutritional adviser—and his methods are completely unorthodox.… More >>
  • Best Bowling

    La Habra 300 Bowl

    There's something kind of awkward about an upscale bowling alley. No matter how many velvet couches where people can lounge while drinking a cocktail and listening to some kind of music that's supposed to get them laid there are, the place still smells like feet and you're still sharing shoes with strangers. That's what is so awesome about La Habra… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pool

    Games Plus Billiards

    Pool ought to be played in the kind of bars you see in the movies under low light, late at night and with a regular crowd. Games Plus Billiards gives you just that. It's essentially a laid-back dive bar, serving beer and wine for cash only, but with enough pool and game tables to fill up a Dave and Buster's.… More >>
  • Best Collective


    This is probably the most problematic of all Best Of contests, thanks to the Obama administration's "Potpocalypse," both aided and abetted by your friendly local officials. In the past year, thanks to a combination of raids, citywide bans and threats to seize property by the feds, dozens of storefront dispensaries have closed throughout Orange County. Med-Aid, which had only opened… More >>
  • Best Beach Parking

    Seashore Drive, West Newport Beach

    When there is absolutely no parking near the beaches of Balboa and Huntington Beach, drive along Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, near the Surf City border, turn toward the ocean at Prospect Street, then quickly onto Seashore Drive, where you'll find city-metered lots at 58th Street (39 spaces) and 61st Street (21 spaces). The cost is $1.50 per hour… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Meadowlark Golf Course

    According to the august Golf Digest, the best Orange County golf course is Shady Canyon in Irvine. Beats us if that is true because that course is private, and even if we could afford to, we wouldn't belong to a club that would have us as a member. The next best, according to the bible of golf, is the Ocean… More >>
  • Best Angels Player

    Mike Trout

    If anyone expected the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year to experience a sophomore slump, "Trouty" blasted that notion into oblivion by hitting (as of Aug. 13) .333 with 148 hits, 20 homers and 73 RBI. Having struck out 20 more times than he has been walked (92 vs. 72) is a concern, but his .425 on-base percentage is… More >>
  • Best College Player

    Michael Brinkley

    The 5-foot-10 Michael Brinkley from Edison High School in Huntington Beach entered his junior year as a veteran on the UC Irvine men's volleyball team, which has won the past two national championships and four of the past seven. The libero position is that of a defensive specialist in indoor volleyball, one who must wear a different-colored shirt than his/her… More >>
  • Best Place to Spot a Local Powerbroker


    It must just be a huge coincidence the bar area of this Newport Beach dispenser of classic seafood and eclectic American cuisine draws both Orange County powerbrokers and desperate single ladies watching their youth and chances for secure financial futures slip by if they don't get their treadmilled asses in there right now. Getting a chance to rub, uh, shoulders… More >>
  • Best Surf Spot


    Ask a surfer his favorite spot, and he or she will likely tell you Trestles or Surf City's pier—any place that's already packed with people. So in that spirit, we want everyone reading this to head to Blackie's, a wonderful spot on the north side of Newport Beach pier where you can meet all kinds of interesting people who, like… More >>
  • Best Ride at Disneyland

    Jungle Cruise

    The lavish eight-minute ride time through Walt's man-made ecosystem feels downright decadent, allowing you to rest up for the inevitable line-waiting you'll be doing during the remainder of your time at Disneyland. The current roster of Jungle Cruise skippers seems to be the best in recent memory, and whether you get to enjoy the park-mandated script or the late-night ad-lib… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Orange County

    Why bother with a gym pass when you have the beauty of Orange County to guide you? Our epic trails? Our fabulous beaches? Our soft, bouncy asphalt streets? Our muggy, pollutant-filled air? Sure, a gym membership gives you access to hot guys and ladies, but if you can survive our apocalyptic landscape, then you're ready for the world.… More >>
  • Best Mud Run

    Irvine Lake Mud Run

    A bunch of locals writhing around in mud in the county's wilderness—how can you not love that? Plus, its organizers are moving on up in the world, putting on runs at the Santa Fe and Prado dams this fall. Have fun, and don't forget to cover up your orifices so you don't have to dig out any inconvenient pebbles.… More >>
  • Best Yoga

    Enerji Fitness

    This Tustin studio hosts an array of classes, from kickboxing to something called Barre and Tabata, along with general exercise classes. But when you want some solace from the ruckus, try Enerji Fitness' yoga classes, portraits in namaste. Classes only last an hour, but you'll notice immediate payoffs—more flexibility, calmer mind, better flow. And afterward, you can enjoy a pick-me-up… More >>
  • Best Boot Camp

    OC Fitness Boot Camp

    The problem with most boot camps is they're so damn packed that you can never get a slot. That's never a problem with OC Fitness Boot Camp, one of the local pioneers of the workout genre. Oh, your classes will be filled with fat bodies and weaklings such as yourself looking to unleash the inner parkour in you, but if… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Beto Duran

    The pride of Carson High School is a real Mexican of a sports reporter, and not just because he's the son of zacatecanos. Beto Duran is a ubiquitous presence on the Southern California sports scene—as a reporter for KSPN-AM 710 covering the Lakers and Dodgers, as a pretty face on Time Warner Cable's Lakers broadcasts, and on his wildly popular… More >>
  • Best Place to Get High

    Anaheim Kush Expo

    Gotta love Anaheim, a city that invited the DEA to come in and raid any cannabis collective that dared to operate within city limits, even cooperating with the feds to threaten landlords of said clubs with the loss of their buildings. Meanwhile, since 2008, the town has raked in handsome funds each year by renting out the Convention Center to… More >>
  • Best Place to Smoke Weed at Disneyland

    The Designated Smoking Areas

    There are a fair amount of hidden nooks and crannies where you can get high at the Mouse Kingdom, but you risk isolating yourself for the cameras, and the smoke and smell become obvious. In the smoking section, on the other hand, you're just another dude in among a pool of mostly middle-aged parents who are so happy to feel… More >>
  • Best Place to Make Out At Disneyland

    Little Dock on Rivers of America

    This was going to be "The Best Place to Schtup at Disneyland," but the truth is that even if you found such a secluded area and managed to do the deed without Mickey thumping you on the head with a Bible, it still means someone watched you schtup on camera, and you're just one cast member away from your exploits… More >>
  • Best View of the County That's Not In the Canyons

    Cannon Street and Via Escola

    As Cannon Street turns into Imperial Highway at the intersection of Via Escola in Anaheim Hills, your Orange County life is suddenly transformed. Around sunset, as you descend, the valley appears through the trees for a moment. The last remains of sun dust the hills in hazy gold, the streetlights begin to twinkle in the distance, and you can see… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Classic Video Games

    The Last Arcade On the Planet

    Deep in the bowels of industrial SanTana stands a warehouse in which a private collector keeps more than 50 classic arcade games. About once a month, said collector throws a giant party with food and DJs spinning '80s tunes, and there are hot nerd girls who just might be dressed up in cosplay. All this costs just $5. You do… More >>
  • Best Gym to Become an Ultimate Fighter

    Team Oyama

    Colin Oyama knows about mixed martial arts. Two of his former protégés—Tito Ortiz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson—are two of the sport's legends. And he has stocked his Irvine gym with two trainers—Ian McCall and Shane Delrosario—who happen to be respected fighters in the MMA world. But you don't have to be an aspiring fighter to reap the benefits of Oyama's… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Ping-Pong

    2000 Points Billiards

    In Garden Grove's Little Seoul district, most pool halls also host ping-pong tables, given the sport is huge in Korea and across Asia. The most famous place is 2000 Points Billiards, which has a neon paddle at its front door to entice young Korean-Americans full from bulgogi, drunk on soju, and ready to spend six bucks an hour for the… More >>
  • Best Place to Hit People With Balls and Inhale Foam

    Sky High Sports

    There's a certain je ne sais quoi about trampolines. Sure, they seem like a kid thing, but after a few hops? There's no way you can't have at least a little bit of fun. So what's to say about Sky High Sports, a building in which the walls are lined with trampolines? It's billed toward kids, but it's open until… More >>
  • Best Place to Take 18-year-old College Students Who Have Never Experienced OC Before

    Corona Del Mar State Beach

    The fire pits at Corona Del Mar State Beach have been a first-week stop for Orange County-transplanted college students for generations. There, new friendships have been built, young love has bloomed and withered (often in the same night), and numerous resident advisers have gone gray in the noggin a little early as their gaggle of 18-year-olds finally learns to not… More >>
  • Best Bike Trip

    Newport Back Bay Loop

    Oh, Newport Back Bay Loop. The trail branches off from Harvard Avenue's separate bikeway and loops completely around the Back Bay. The majority of the 10.5-mile loop is an easy ride protected from traffic and flanked by salt-tinged ocean waters and refreshing sea breezes. It can be done in one go, or with multiple rounds along several vistas and educational… More >>
  • Best Romantic Stroll

    Lago Santa Margarita

    Sure, it's a man-made pond created expressly for lakeview homes, but as the sun sets and the lights come on, grab your lover's hand and take a stroll around the lake, beginning and ending at the plaza, where you can have a bite to eat and a glass of wine. You might almost forget where you are—you know, Rancho Santa… More >>
  • Best Place to Stand-Up Paddle Into a Nuclear Intake Valve

    Old Man's Surf Beach

    Why wave at the late, never-great San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station from the freeway when you can stand-up paddle right past it? Start from the south end of Old Man's Surf Beach (a.k.a. San Onofre State Surfing Beach), and you can get a pretty close look at SoCal's grand experiment with nuclear energy. Of course, after the plant's ignominious closure,… More >>
  • Best OC Sports Name

    Faith Venus Amsterdam

    The goddaughter of successful Thai boxer/trainer Ajarn Sommai Chuennirun, Faith Venus Amsterdam is a Muay Thai promoter for Roy Englebrecht Promotions' Fight Club OC. So, this beautiful lady is named after a concept, a planet (as well as a mythological god) and a European city. Try to top that memorable moniker, folks.… More >>
  • Best Least-Hyped Public Attraction

    Mile Square Park

    In a county with Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, famous Pacific Ocean beaches and harbors, acclaimed malls, and the Honda Center, there's a quiet jewel called Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. This tree-loaded property offers tennis courts, a golf course, picnic spots, basketball courts, softball fields and tiny lakes, all made more pleasant when you realize vast portions surrounding it… More >>
  • Best Spot to Watch a Sunset

    Dana Point Headlands

    You can't top the panoramic views along Orange County's gorgeous coast as seen from the Dana Point Headlands. It's particularly breathtaking in the direction of San Diego, as you overlook the sailboat-stocked Dana Point Harbor. The Nature Interpretive Center also offers visitors a glimpse at the notable history of this particular piece of real estate. Take a date for the… More >>
  • Best Cheap Night Out

    OC Roller Girls

    A blonde in a uniform, wearing a helmet with a star on either side, puts on a serious face. A whistle blows; a pack of women from a competing group tries to keep her back. The jammer, though, is not fucking around. Get in her way, and she'll muscle right past you, and if you fall, well, don't you dare… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Activists

    The Bicycle Tree

    At least once a month since 2006, members of the Bicycle Tree collective have done something downright revolutionary in this cycling-crazed county of ours: set up a tent somewhere in OC and offered their services free of charge to anyone who needs it. It could be a vintage Schwinn or a unicycle, a BMX or some graphite pro shit, or… More >>