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Where and how to play pickleball in Austin
(USA Pickleball/Twitter)

Austin is soon to be home to Texas' biggest pickleball facility, and for good reason. With leagues cropping up around the city, the sport is quickly being embraced by Austinites of all age ranges and skill levels.

If you haven't quite caught onto the new pickleball craze, here's a breakdown of everything you need to know before picking up a paddle.

What is pickleball?

A mixture between ping-pong, badminton and tennis, pickleball is a hybrid sport played on an indoor or outdoor badminton court with a slightly adjusted tennis net. The paddles are pickleball-specific but resemble ping-pong paddles, and a pickleball that resembles a wiffleball is used to play the game.

It's fun because it was designed to be. Three Seattle-area dads created the game to satisfy their easily bored kids in the summer of 1965.

The dads, Washington state Congressman Joel Pritchard and businessman Bill Bell took to an old badminton court to pass time during the dog days of summer and eventually became more into the game than the kids. Using ping-pong paddles and a wiffleball, the two improvised a new game heavily influenced by badminton and brought in Barney McCallum as their accomplice.

Their purpose: providing "a game that the whole family could play together."

What do I need?

Aside from a paddle and a wiffleball-esque pickleball, not much. As long as a pickleball or badminton court is nearby, everything's pretty much all set, and portable pickleball nets are also available. Pickleball does not require special uniforms or extra equipment, so the most important element to the game would be the pickleball paddle itself.

Here's a list of the 15 best pickleball paddles in 2021.

Where can I play?

Pretty soon, Austinites from all around will have access to Texas' largest pickleball facility.

Austin Pickle Ranch, which is expected to be finished this summer, will have 32 pickleball courts as well as non-pickleball facilities for sand volleyball, concert venues and outdoor pilates.

Until then, the city of Austin has a dozen pickleball locations dotted across the city.

Here are a few city locations alongside a some other community courts:

  • Alamo Recreation Center, 2100 Alamo St.-three outdoor, covered courts, with open play on Thursdays from 3–4 p.m.
  • Austin Tennis Center, 7800 Johnny Morris Road- eight lighted outdoor courts with permanent nets.
  • Bouldin Acres, 2027 South Lamar Blvd.- a hotspot for the city's pickleballers, Bouldin Acres is a restaurant and bar with two pay-to-play pickleball courts.
  • Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center, 808 Nile St.- one indoor court, with open play pickleball on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-5:45 p.m.
  • Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road- four indoor pickleball courts, with free open play from 12-3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, 2803 Loyola Lane- two outdoor courts and one indoor, with open play from 2-5 p.m. on Wednesdays.
  • Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 East Rundberg Lane- One indoor pickleball court, with open play from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Hancock Recreation Center, 811 E. 41st Street- one outdoor court shared with basketball, no net provided.
  • Little Zilker Neighborhood Park, 2016 Bluebonnet Lane- some outdoor courts, no net provided.
  • Mt. View Neighborhood Park, 9000 Middlebie Road- two outdoor courts shared with tennis courts, no net provided.
  • Pan American Neighborhood Park, 2100 E. 3rd Street- three free-lighted outdoor courts.
  • Rosewood Neighborhood Park, 2300 Rosewood Ave.- two outdoor courts shared with tennis courts, no net provided.
  • South Austin Recreation Center, 1100 Cumberland Road- four indoor courts, with open play from 6-9 p.m. on Mondays. Two additional lighted outdoor courts.
  • Bethany Lutheran Church, 3701 W Slaughter Lane- Two indoor courts, $2 admission fee.
  • Cedar Park Rec Center, 1435 Main St.- Six indoor courts, $5 admission fee, with beginner's play from 9-11 a.m. on Mondays and open play from 8:30-12 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Jewish Community Center, 7300 Hart Lane- Four indoor courts, $10 admission. Schedule: (JCC members free) 6:30-9:30 p.m Thursdays, 10 a.m.-1p.m. Fridays, 8-11 a.m. Saturdays.
  • The Quarries, 11400 N. Mopac Expy- three indoor courts, with open play at scheduled times throughout the week.
  • Veteran's Park, 2200 Veterans Drive- four outdoor courts, with open play from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Some schedules may be subject to change.

If you're looking to make it more competitive, several leagues of all skill levels are in play right now. Some leagues feature scheduled games and teams, provide equipment and uniforms, while others, called ladder leagues, have people play others of similar skill levels until they reach the top.

Here are a few leagues:

  • Greater Austin Pickleball- For a $25 yearly fee, you can join the Co-Ed Winter League, going on now.
  • The Austin Sports & Social Club- No league going currently, but co-ed leagues of all skill levels meet later in the year.
  • Pickleball Ladder League at Hill Country Indoor- For $60, you can join a spring league, but it is already underway. The league began on Feb. 26 and will continue through April 30, with members playing with players of similar skill levels and moving up the "ladder" if they do well. Access to the pickleball courts at the club are $40 monthly and offer unlimited access to courts even if not a league member.
  • 2021 Top 100 Pickleball League- players who register can challenge any player in the league at any point, with scores tallied up at the end of 2021.
If not in Austin, USA Pickleball has a list of over 500 clubs across the U.S. to choose from.

More leagues and locations can be expected as pickleball mania continues. As Austin waits impatiently for the highly-anticipated Pickle Ranch, there's still plenty of pickleball to go around in the capital city.

For more information, check out this Austin Pickleball Facebook group or USA Pickleball.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway