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See you On-Court

See you On-Court

  • From a lakeside resort to a military landmark turned recreation hall, here are our top picks for new place to play pickleball in 2021 and beyond.

REC HALL @ THE ARMORY—ST. LOUIS Following this past February’s opening of its first location, in St. Charles, Missouri, Rec Hall is in the process of expanding, with a nearby outpost in a St. Louis landmark set to open in early 2022. The Armory was built in 1938 to house the 138th Infantry of the Missouri National Guard; later it was a concert venue and a tennis facility where Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe trained. After it had spent years in disrepair, developers reconceptualized the brown-brick landmark into a massive games facility with indoor pickleball courts that are slated to host leagues and tournaments. If you need a break from play, there will be plenty of other distractions on-site: an e-sports and virtual reality hub, a green-roof terrace bar, indoor turf soccer fields, darts, table tennis, tailgating games, and live music.

CHICKEN N PICKLE—OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS This popular chain helped pioneer pickleball-centric bars using a formula of wood-fired rotisserie chicken, frosty beverages, and friendly competition. After opening its first location in Kansas City (pictured above) and expanding into San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Wichita, Chicken N Pickle debuts its second location in the Kansas City area this year, featuring six indoor and four outdoor pickleball courts, along with other amusements including lawn games and an ice skating rink. Players and spectators will be able to refuel at a casual restaurant with dishes such as char siu burnt ends (an Asian spin on a KC barbecue specialty), and a rooftop bar will serve cocktails and local beer on tap from breweries including KC Bier Co. and Boulevard Brewing Company. 

PICKLES—HANOVER, MASSACHUSETTS Passionate pickleball players Lisa DeMeritt and Wanda Melampy created this 25,000-square-foot indoor facility with six climate-controlled courts, designed according to the USA Pickleball Association’s specifications, on Massachusetts’s South Shore. The dedicated pickleball venue comes as a welcome addition in New England, where many games are played on mixed-use courts. The result? Players will no longer have to adapt to less ideal surfaces or be confused by lines on the court meant for other sports. Other amenities are two practice dinking courts, a players’ lounge with a viewing deck, and in the future, area food trucks on rotation. 

AUSTIN PICKLE RANCH—AUSTIN, TEXAS Many new pickleball venues are opening in Texas, but this 13-acre sports and entertainment facility will be one of the largest when it launches later this year. Offering 17 outdoor courts, including one with stadium seating and 16 that are shaded from the sun, the Ranch will triple the area’s capacity of dedicated pickleball courts. It will also house the Pickleball Hall of Fame, which will feature sports memorabilia and exhibits on the early history of the game. The recently opened Dreamland in nearby Dripping Springs may be the go-to choice for those seeking recreational options, but Austin Pickle Ranch will hold its own with sand volleyball courts and a pavilion for alfresco Pilates, yoga, boot camp, and Spin classes. For more on the burgeoning pickleball scene in and around Austin, check out to our Go There feature.

THE ANCHOR AT SHANGRI-LA—MONKEY ISLAND, OKLAHOMA What started as a destination golf resort now hosts a lakeside activity park: In May the Shangri-La resort on the Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees welcomed a $10.5 million indoor-outdoor activity center called The Anchor. A replica of the USS Oklahoma’s anchor, displaying the names of those lost in the Pearl Harbor attack, sits across from the center, which boasts six dedicated pickleball courts and an on-site instructor who gives private lessons and runs camps, drills, and clinics. There’s also a basketball court, a fishing pond, and a miniature replica of Fenway Park for Wiffle ball; the interiors house golf and shooting simulators, escape rooms, and shuffleboard. Thirsty? Head to the alfresco bar and lounge or one of the property’s three other dining venues.

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