Pickleball is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and California is keeping up with this trend. It’s thriving among residents of all ages who are seeking an exciting and accessible alternative to traditional sports.
Pickleball is a combination between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It involves two or four players hitting a perforated plastic ball back and forth across a net using solid paddles. Unlike other sports, it doesn’t require any expensive equipment.
This sport was invented in 1965, but it didn’t really catch on until the last decade. The game has since become a sensation and some cities have gone as far as dedicating specific courts to it. Pickleball courts can now be found in parks, community centers, and other public and private spaces. For example, there are 27 pickleball courts in Sacramento alone, and there are many more throughout the state.
According to data from the Association of Pickleball Professionals, pickleball continues to see a surge in popularity, with over 36.5 million players in the United States as of 2022. This has established pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in America. The availability of facilities has also grown, with 10,320 courts documented nationally by Pickleheads, a pickleball court data provider.
California is a pickleball hot spot. It has the largest number of pickleball courts in the United States, totaling 794. Surprisingly, the demand for pickleball courts here is outpacing the available facilities. Cities and parks departments are trying to keep up with the huge demand by making more courts available.
Why pickleball is growing in California
Staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a priority for many residents in California. Pickleball fits right in with this, offering a fun and challenging activity that can be played by beginners and seasoned veterans alike.
The state’s diverse demographic makeup adds another element of appeal to pickleball. There are numerous communities, facilities, and clubs that cater to all kinds of players. Whether you’re looking for a competitive environment or just want to hit a few balls around with friends, there are plenty of choices for you to get involved.
If you’re interested in giving pickleball a try, you should check out these top pickleball cities in California.
Where to play pickleball in California
Here are the top five cities in the state where you can find world-class pickleball courts:
Sacramento is a pickleball wonderland, offering 27 courts for players of all stripes, nestled within clubs, parks, and recreation areas. Start your pickleball adventure at one of these two must-see courts:
1. Rusch Community Park – This park is the perfect spot for residents to stay active and have fun, With 12 top-notch outdoor hard pickleball courts. Since 2017, the club managing these courts has been steadfast in its mission to elevate the residents’ pickleball experience through educational and competitive events.
2. Oasis Community Park – Conveniently located less than 30 minutes away from Downtown Sacramento, this park is a great place to unwind, relax, and play pickleball. This facility features six lighted outdoor courts, allowing players to play day or night. The community here is welcoming, always ready to share their love for the game, yet fiercely competitive.
San Diego sizzles with pickleball opportunities, thanks to its year-round warm climate that invites outdoor play. There are at least 27 pickleball facilities here for you to explore. Hit the courts at one of these two top-notch locations:
1. Coronado Marriott Resort and Spa – This resort offers eight lit courts, open to the public seven days a week. A $24 fee grants access to court use and free parking validation. Players may join open play for an additional $6. Private or group lessons and clinics for players of all levels are also held here.
2. Balboa Park Activity Center – This activity center is a first-class sports facility that was built to accommodate a variety of games, including pickleball. Players will find three indoor wood courts here, each with permanent lines. Nets are not provided, so you’ll need to bring your own. When you’re not playing, you can step outside and enjoy the park’s breathtaking beauty.
Pickleball is gaining traction in the Bay Area too, with 15 facilities throughout the region. The city is home to a vibrant pickleball community, which continues to grow bigger each year. in the country. In addition, local groups regularly host tournaments and events that encourage pickleball participation: The two most popular locations here are:
1. Louis Sutter Playground – This facility offers a thrilling pickleball experience with its 6 hard courts, surrounded by lush greenery and the tranquil McNab Lake. Between games, go birdwatching at the lake, or have a picnic with your friends.
2. Lisa & Douglas Goldman Tennis Center – This facility features 5 outdoor asphalt pickleball courts where you can hone your skills or challenge opponents. Simply pay a one-time fee and you’ll have access to the court. The venue also offers food and drinks, so you can refuel when needed. And for those seeking to up their game, lessons are available as well.
Los Angeles is a unique city known for its diverse culture, and stunning beaches, making it a must-visit destination for tourists. But on top of all, this city is known for raising the bar for pickleball, with clubs and major tournaments for players of all ages. It offers 10 pickleball venues to choose from, including:
1. Plummer Park Tennis & Pickleball Courts – This is a popular pickleball venue in LA, featuring 5 hard courts with permanent lines and nets. For just a small fee, you can reserve your spot on these courts complete with lights and restrooms. If you’d like to compete, you may join the fun at the park’s popular open-play program.
2. Montecito Heights Recreation Center – This recreation center offers 2 dedicated hard courts for pickleball enthusiasts looking for an outdoor game. These courts are open to the public and available for free all week long. With convenient access to restrooms and water, your pickleball experience will be as seamless as possible.
There’s no doubt about it. Pickleball is spreading everywhere in the US at a rapid pace, especially in California. So, if you haven’t given it a try already, now is the perfect time to see what the fuss is all about. Head to your local courts today and you might be surprised how much you’ll enjoy the sport.