Basketball Courts Near Me: The Best Playground Near You Open Now!
Basketball is a great form of exercise and is also a lot of fun especially when you play with friends. However, finding a suitable court that fits your needs and preferences isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure, you can type “basketball courts near me” in a search engine and get a list of courts in your area, but those lists usually don’t tell you the specific information regarding the court. As you search, keep certain things in mind and look for courts that have features that are important to you.
Indoor Basketball Courts
Most indoor basketball courts are housed in larger facilities like fitness gyms, schools, recreation centers, churches, and sports complexes. All indoor basketball courts have different features but the best courts will have fully-functioning, undamaged playing surfaces and equipment. For example, a good basketball court won’t have warped floorboards or broken backboards. Similarly, the facility itself will be well-kept and properly maintained in terms of safety and health standards.
If you prefer playing with genuine leather basketballs and are used to league-style play, indoor basketball courts are the better option. Genuine leather basketballs should only be used indoors as they aren’t durable enough to withstand the punishment outdoor courts put on a ball. Similarly, outdoor courts can do more damage to your body since moving around on concrete or asphalt is harder on your joints than hardwood or laminate floorboards are.
Outdoor Basketball Courts
If you’re looking for a last minute pickup game or are looking to shoot around on your own, outdoor basketball courts are great. You can find an outdoor court in most playgrounds, parks, and schoolyards. There are also Sports complexes with outdoor courts, too.
Courts attached to playgrounds and parks are usually free and open to the public while schoolyards may only be available during certain times of day and sports complexes might charge a fee to use the court. That being said, these courts are usually more accessible than indoor courts.
When looking for a good outdoor basketball court, you should make sure that it is in good shape. Outdoor courts are open to the elements and are more likely to be damaged from them as well as the wear and tear from use. Since these courts are usually maintained by the local government through a park’s department or similar organization, repairs may take time. This lack of maintenance leaves many courts in such a state that you can’t play on them. Similarly, many are missing backboards, nets, and even hoops in some cases. Before settling on a court, stop by and check it out beforehand to see if it’s up to your standards.
With indoor courts becoming more popular due to their better conditions and controlled environments outdoor courts have fallen slightly out of favor in basketball culture. Instead of playgrounds teeming with players looking to get picked for a game, nowadays, courts are almost completely abandoned with a handful of players shooting around a ball.
This change in culture has a lot to do with the poor playing conditions of the courts. It’s easier to get injured playing on a deteriorating court. Running on cracked asphalt or concrete can lead to trips and falls, turned ankles, and similar injuries that can keep you off the court for weeks. Sadly, basketball courts in bad neighborhoods pose other risks due to gun violence or gang related altercations.
Another reason outdoor courts have fallen out of favor is that more young players are choosing to play in organized indoor leagues in order to gain exposure for college scholarships. This type of exposure and playing environment is simply not available with most outdoor basketball courts where you play more for fun or for “street cred.” Similarly, college basketball players are sometimes told that they can’t play in outdoor summer leagues or play on an outdoor court in their free time due to the increased risk of injury.
Parks with a Basketball Court
There are some parks like national parks or county parks that you have to pay to get into. These types of parks may have outdoor basketball courts that are in better shape than playground courts since they’re regularly maintained. However, you’re less likely to pick up a random game at one so these are best for those people looking just to shoot around by themselves or for those scheduling a game with friends.
Public/free basketball court
Outdoor basketball courts are mainly found in public parks. These can be public playgrounds but they may also be parks attached to schools or churches that might be close to the general public during certain hours. These are free to use on a first come first serve basis. That means that if you get there and the court is occupied you’ll either have to wait your turn or see if you can participate in the game that’s going on. These courts are very accessible and are great for players who don’t want to spend money on court rental fees or similar usage fees. Again, just be aware of the condition of these courts so you don’t hurt yourself while playing.
Gyms with Basketball Courts
There are some fitness gyms that have basketball courts in them for their members to use. These are usually indoor courts that are well maintained by the gym. They’re safer than other indoor courts since members are the only people who can play on them. They’re also less likely to fall into disrepair since they’re properly maintained on a regular basis by the gym.
These courts are only available during certain hours and you usually have to sign up to use it in advance if there are regular games played. You can bring your own equipment if you prefer but there are usually basketballs available to use. Gyms can implement other rules and regulations that they see fit. These rules have to be followed and can be more restrictive than you’d like them to be. For example, there might be a time limit that you’ll have to abide by in order to keep the court available for all members.
24-hour Gyms with Basketball Courts
These are harder to come by than average indoor basketball courts in gyms. Not all gyms are open 24 hours a day and even the ones that are may not keep their basketball courts open for 24 hours. For example, if you have a membership at a 24-hour gym that has a basketball court you may find that the court is only available during certain hours and not all of the time. This can be because they don’t have the staff available at all hours to run that part of the gym or because it isn’t used enough off-peak hours to warrant keeping it open. Always check the available hours of a gym’s basketball court so you aren’t caught off guard.
Hotels with Basketball Courts
There are some hotels that have either indoor or outdoor (sometimes both) basketball courts available for their guests to use. It is unlikely that players who aren’t staying at the hotel or there for a specific event (usually with a formal invitation) will be allowed to use these courts.
These are always maintained well so the playing conditions are ideal. However, there probably won’t be a lot of other players available so if you’re looking to play a game with others these aren’t always a great option. They’re likely only open during certain hours so be sure to check with the front desk of the hotel for the available hours. Not all hotels have basketball courts, though. If you’d like your hotel to have a basketball court you may have specifically look for those that state they have courts on the premises.
Apartments with Basketball Courts
Luxury apartment buildings are being made with more features to attract tenants and to justify higher rental prices. Things like on-premises laundry facilities, fitness gyms, and basketball courts are becoming more common. These basketball courts are for tenants and their guests only and can be used usually at any time unless otherwise stated (some apartments might set specific hours for their basketball courts).
Since these types of courts are usually maintained by the property manager or the building’s superintendent, they tend to be in better shape than public courts or even those indoor courts in community recreation centers since the rent tenants pay goes partially to keep the courts functional. They’re also safer than public courts since they can only be used by tenants and their invited guests.
YMCA Basketball Courts
The YMCA sometimes just called “The Y” is a public, nonprofit recreation center that charges low membership fees to the local community in exchange for use of the facilities including their basketball courts. These courts are a great option for young players as well as adults looking for a safe place to play.
You have to pay a membership fee or a usage fee to play on these courts. There is usually a predetermined schedule that sets times for age groups or reserved times for leagues. Similarly, the facility might have teams or a league of their own that you can join usually for an additional fee. In those instances, you’ll likely have to register in advance on a first come first serve basis.
Every basketball court is different and will have different hours. Some public courts may be open 24 hours a day while others are only open from sunrise to sunset. Indoor courts may only be open during regular business hours. Other courts might have set times for specific age groups. For example, some recreation centers have blocks of time set aside for teenagers, younger children, and for adults. There may also be set times for full-court games and other hours for half-court games. Similarly, leagues may rent courts for a full day or for specific hours which will make the courts unavailable to non-league players.
While public outdoor courts don’t have fees, indoor courts and those outdoor courts housed in larger facilities will likely have a rental or usage fee. These fees vary by location but are usually charged by the hour. For example, if you’re looking to use a basketball court for a company event or for league use, you’ll have to pay a fee to use the court at the given time. You’ll also have to reserve it in advance. Be sure to check with the facility in question to get the exact fee amount and any other relevant information you’ll need to rent the court.
How to Find the Nearest Basketball Court
Nowadays, there really is an app for everything. There are a few different smartphone apps available to help you find basketball courts near you.
One of them is called CourtFinder. This is an app that allows you to search for basketball courts no matter where you are. It’s great if you’re away on vacation or on a business trip and are looking for different basketball courts in an unfamiliar area. You can view photos and videos of the courts to get an idea of how they look and if they’re in good playable condition. There is also a feature where you can upload the location of a new court and add photos of your own to help the database grow. This specific app is available on both Apple and Android devices.
Another similar app is Hoop Maps. This helps you locate local courts while also allowing you to see if there are games actively going on at each court. Similarly, users can use the app to schedule games of their own with friends or other players in the same geographical area. Hoop Maps also connects with social networks like Facebook so users can share their games and invite friends easier. It’s popular across the globe and currently has over 10,000 users. This is currently only available for Apple devices but it is rumored that an Android app is coming out soon.
Besides smartphone apps, you can also find courts near you by doing a simple internet search on your favorite browser. This will give you a list of local options including general information about each court. You can, of course, ask your friends, people in your community, or your social network friends for their favorite court locations.
How to Choose the Best Basketball Court
You want to first make sure that the basketball court in question has a good playing surface. First, make sure there is no damage to the floor or ground. Outdoor courts should be free of cracks and indoor courts should be level with no splintered slates or warped portions. The backboards and hoops should be intact with proper fitting nets, too.
In terms of size, you want to make sure that it’s as close to regulation (94 feet by 50 feet) as possible. The surface can be made of anything from hardwood to plastic for indoor courts and asphalt, concrete, or hard rubber for outdoor courts. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
For example, hardwood and plastic floors are durable but can become slippery during the course of a game. Asphalt and concrete are hard on your joints and can cause injuries especially cuts and abrasions if you fall. Rubber or modular polypropylene tiles have great traction and are gentler on your body and are also more cost effective than other materials. As long as the court is properly maintained, all of these different materials make great playing surfaces.
That being said, some basketball players prefer different types of courts due to their performance. Good traction and a consistent ball bounce are some of the key features that players look for when choosing a court.
If a court doesn’t have good traction because it gets too slippery or there is too much dust or dirt on it, you’ll find yourself slipping and falling while running up and down the court. Uneven courts with cracks or lifting slats can cause the basketball to bounce on an angle making it hard to control or to predict where it will go. This can cause frustration during a game and cause problems on the court.
General Facility Features
If a court is housed in a larger facility, you may want to choose one with different features that make your time there better. For example, you may want a court that has on-site first-aid kits for basic injuries. The general cleanliness and maintenance of the facility of a whole may also play a role in your decision to play there or go elsewhere. For example, if you see that the hallways or other spaces in the facility are unkempt it may mean that the court is similarly neglected.
You may also want to see if the facility has air conditioning or some kind of ventilation system that will keep you cool as you play. Most gyms are properly fitted with HVAC systems that keep them continuously cool but other places that aren’t as well funded like recreation centers might not have air conditioning making it uncomfortable to play a game there.
Finally, the general security of a facility should come into play when comparing basketball courts. Some places require a membership to enter but others are open to the public. The places without membership requirements are less secure since anyone can come and go as they please. More specifically, you may want a facility that has a locker room where you can securely lock up your personal items while you play. If there isn’t a locker room available, you’ll have to keep your things on the perimeter of the court and hope no one walks off with your things while you play. Double check what kind of security the basketball court in question has and choose one that fits your preferences.
How to Prepare to Go to the Basketball Court
You want to gather all of your things prior to leaving your home so you don’t forget anything. Basketball shoes, a basketball, and proper playing attire (a t-shirt and shorts or athletic pants are best) are the basics that you want to have with you when going to play basketball. You may also want to bring wristbands and a headband to help absorb sweat as you play. If you’re prone to injuries or have weak joints, braces or wraps may also be necessary. For example, if you had a knee injury in the past you may want to wear or bring along a knee brace to help you avoid another injury.
If you’re playing outdoors, be sure to use a basketball that is designated for outdoor use (avoid using leather basketballs outside) and choose a basketball shoe that can withstand the rougher terrain of outdoor courts. You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit that contains band-aids, alcohol wipes, and similar things to treat cuts and abrasions that are common when playing on an outdoor court.
Before you begin to play you should also stretch properly. You can do this at the court or do it at home. If you don’t properly stretch your muscles, you risk injuring yourself during your game. Stretching allows your muscles to loosen up gently so they aren’t shocked by your harsh movements during a game or practice.
Alternatives for Basketball Court Rentals
As previously mentioned, certain basketball courts will require a rental fee or a usage fee. If you are unable to or unwilling to pay such a fee, you’ll have to look for spaces that don’t require one to use the court. Public outdoor courts don’t require any usage fees. Similarly, you may be able to talk to your local church or recreation center to see about using their courts for free. Certain indoor courts may have free hours available for open play when they open up their facility to the public at no charge.
You also can buy a suitable basketball hoop (portable, in-ground, or kids basketball hoop), if your home has enough space for it.
Frequently Asked Questions
To help clear up any lingering questions and concerns, here are some of the most common questions that people ask when discussing local basketball courts.
Should I play indoor or outdoor basketball?
This is more a personal preference than anything else. If you prefer to be out of the elements and in a more controlled environment, indoor basketball courts are better for you. However, if you’re looking for a free space to shoot the ball around at your leisure, the convenience of outdoor basketball courts may be better.
If you’re looking to play full games, you may want to find courts that are known for having a lot of players at any given time. Nowadays, indoor courts get more use than outdoor courts so you may be better off looking there for pick-up games.
What are the benefits of joining a basketball league?
If you’re looking to consistently play a full game of basketball, joining a league is a great idea. You’ll be on a team with the same people each game and have regular practices and a set schedule of games to play. You’ll have to sign up in advance and will usually have to pay a registration fee that will usually cover insurance, a uniform, and equipment. If you like structure and consistency, you’ll fit right in with a basketball league.
How do I initiate pick-up games at local parks?
If your local park tends to have a lot of basketball players milling around, initiating a game is as easy as walking up to people and asking them if they want to play a game. If there is a game going on, hang out on the sidelines and wait for them to pick players. You may have to be assertive in those situations especially if you don’t personally know the other players. Simply be personable and say that you’re interested in playing the next game.
What are the benefits of playing basketball?
Basketball is a great form of exercise. You’ll be running, jumping, and throwing a ball for a long period of time allowing you to burn calories and get your heart pumping. Similarly, it helps improve your hand-eye coordination since handling a basketball and shooting it into the distant hoop takes concentration and precision.
It’s also a great form of social interaction since you’re playing with other people who enjoy the game as much as you do. You may form new friendships that can extend outside of the basketball court, too. This is especially beneficial for children who are just beginning to form their own social circles.
If you aren’t satisfied with the aggregate list of results you get by typing “basketball court near me” into a search engine, there are plenty of other things you can do to find the best basketball courts in your area. Try out one of the useful apps mentioned earlier or check out some of the options in your area in person and see which ones meet your standards and preferences. Remember to keep the tips about choosing the best courts in mind when comparing your options, too.