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GAME ON: HERE’S WHERE TO PLAY PICKLEBALL IN DC

10 PLACES

UPDATED JUL 2, 2020

Here in The District, we’re big fans of running, our local sports teams (ever heard of the Washington Nationals?), and a little friendly competition. But our latest obsession? A fast and fun social sport known as pickleball. We’re totally hooked, and after you’ve felt the rush of your first pickleball match, we think you will be, too.

author

MEREDITH O'CONNOR

FITT WASHINGTON-DC CONTRIBUTOR

While there are plenty of indoor pickleball courts in the DMV, a solid spot for an outdoor game is a little harder to come by. Luckily, in 2019, a brand-new pickleball court was installed in Academy Hill Park in Warrenton, VA. But we’re not talking a few lines drawn in between two basketball hoops. Nope, this is a real-deal, pickleball-only court with a permanently-installed net, all surrounded by chain-link fencing. Play on!

If you live or work near the H Street Corridor, you’ll want to bookmark Sherwood Recreation Center for your next pickleball game. Sporting two indoor courts, you can hit up open play (pick-up for pickleballers) on most Thursdays in the afternoon and some evenings, but it’s best to call ahead and check the schedule first. And if you’re just getting started and could use some instruction or need to borrow some paddles, they’ve got you covered.

Conveniently located near the Navy Yard and The Wharf, this is your go-to spot for a weekday pickleball showdown. You can get your game on at one of three indoor courts from 10:30am–1:30pm on Tuesdays. When the weather is nice, take things outside, where you have two courts to choose from. Fitt Tip: if you’re planning to play outdoors, know there’s no lighting, so be sure to get out there while the sun is still up.

Whether you want to mix things up on a Wednesday afternoon or shake off some stress on a Friday, head to Emery Heights Community Center from 10:30am–1pm for some serious pickleball and a whole lot of fun. A few groups are known to meet up regularly for matchups, but everyone is friendly, so feel free to show up with your crew and join in. Though, you’ll need to stick around after to help break down equipment.

With 20-foot ceilings, seven dedicated pickleball courts, a Pickleball Pro Shop, and a snack bar, it doesn’t get much better than this indoor facility in Herndon. Call ahead to reserve a court, or show up on most Saturdays from 5–7pm and pay an $8 drop-in fee to join in on a game. And if you don’t have any paddles or balls of your own, you can rent them. Ready to take your pickleball skills to the next level (and finally nail that spin serve you’ve been working on)? They also offer private lessons.

A University Heights staple, you can dink and volley your heart out on Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. The community space has two indoor courts that offer open play on Tuesdays during the hours of 10am–12:30pm. But if you can’t make it during the day, no worries. It also features two lighted outdoor courts, where you can sweat it out as late at 10pm.

Right outside of DC proper in Alexandria is Charles Houston Recreation Center, your new favorite place for a high-energy pickleball competition. Bring your own paddles, or use some of theirs. Either way, you can enjoy the “thwack” of the ball against your paddle on Thursday and Friday mornings or in the afternoon on the first and third Sunday of each month. Oh, and keep an eye on their schedule for weekly games and quarterly workshops.

Not too far from the H Street Corridor, Rosedale Recreation Center boasts a few indoor courts that are perfect for those looking to take their pickleball game to the next level. There’s no fee to play, but your best bet is swinging by on Wednesday or Friday from 10:30–1pm. But if you can’t make it during the week, try stopping by early on a Saturday or Sunday to get a few matches in before things start to get really busy.

At this four-acre park in Arlington, you’ll find a singular (but totally underrated) pickleball court. And while you might be discouraged to discover that there is no net waiting for you, we’ll fill you in on a little secret: the nets here are actually kept in a nearby storage bin — you just have to call the number on the side to get access to them. Once you do, you’ll be all set for a pick-up game. Two more bits of knowledge to keep in mind: this court is first-come, first-served and doesn’t have lights, so definitely plan ahead.

This 20,000-square-foot facility in Chantilly is expected to open in 2020 and will be home to six top-of-the-line courts. Not only that, it'll also offer everything from drop-in play to classes, clinics, leagues, and more. Yeah, they really outdid themselves. Our suggestion? Start brushing up on your groundstroke and lob so once they open, you’ll be ready to show the other players whatcha got.

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