Pickleball emerged as a great alternative to boring exercises among Arlington residents, especially during the pandemic when everyone was itching to get active. Pickleball, which can be played both indoors or outdoors and between two or four players, offered the best option.
"It is a fun, active, and accessible sport that is enjoyed by all ages," said Jerusalem Soloman. As the communications manager at Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation, Soloman is keen to get even more people involved locally in pickleball.
In this article, we’ll discuss what pickleball actually is, as well as where you can play pickleball in Arlington.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong to create something entirely new. For one, it’s played with paddles instead of rackets. The size of a pickleball court is exactly the same as a full badminton court, while the ball used is hard and made of perforated plastic.
With the game’s simple rules, anyone can learn how to play pickleball in their first session. It's this accessible nature that has helped make the game so popular. Pickleball courts in Arlington are now on the rise, with new facilities opening up to better cater to pickleball fans.
“Pickleball has been played in Arlington over the past 20 years,” Solomon said, “But during the pandemic, we saw it exponentially grow in popularity.” According to recent reports, there are now more than 36.5 million pickleball players in the US alone.
Where to play pickleball in Arlington
Finding pickleball courts near you can be challenging, but we’ve done the legwork for you and shortlisted six places in Arlington (all public courts!) where you can get started:
Glebe Road Park is a sports-focused public area. The best part is that it has gaming courts for adults and swings for kids, so you don't have to look for a babysitter every time you fancy a pickleball game with your friends.
Out of the three tennis courts, two are retrofitted with pickleball lines. The courts are usually open for use from sunrise to sunset. But in case it's lighted, you’ll be allowed to play until 10 PM. There’s also a separate multi-use court, which can be used if the others are occupied.
Gunston Park is a massive 10-acre area adjacent to the Gunston Community Center. The on-site pickleball courts can be used even at night, thanks to the facility’s good lighting.
At the same time, you can leave your kids to play at the huge playgrounds of Gunston Park, either in the open drop-in field or the multi-use rectangular field (where permits get priority). After a game of pickleball, enjoy a lazy picnic under the well-maintained sheds. In short, the perfect weekend getaway.
The Walter Reed Park is a project under progress and undoubtedly one of the first of its kind. So far, there are no dedicated pickleball courts in Arlington. More often than not, the same court is used for both tennis and pickleball.
However, Walter Reed Park aims to change this by creating a dedicated pickleball playing area. The project is planning to build nine pickleball courts from the existing tennis courts, along with a seating area, shade, and landscaping.
The Lubber Run Community Center is for everyone, from youth and adults to seniors. While it doesn't have a dedicated pickleball court, the multi-use courts are well-maintained and can be used for basketball, volleyball, and pickleball as well.
You’ll also find a gymnasium, fitness studio, and wellness area for pre and post-game relaxation. Another benefit of playing in this area is that it comes with ample parking space. Why not bring all your friends and family together for a huge pickleball tournament?
If you're a fan of beautiful landscaping, Fort Scott Park is the perfect pickleball place for you. The entire 12-acre park is lined with lush greenery and walking trails.
Along with playgrounds and basketball/softball fields, you also get multi-use, lighted pickleball courts. These are open from sunrise to sunset, and if the lights are on, you can play until 10 PM.
This is an all-in-one recreation center. You get a dedicated basketball court, dance studio, art and craft studio, and teen lounge.
While there’s no dedicated pickleball court, the lighted tennis courts can be repurposed for pickleball. Other benefits of this area include well-maintained restrooms, a free parking area, a drinking water fountain, Wi-Fi, and more.
If this is your first time hearing about pickleball, you’re in luck, as there’s plenty to get you involved in Arlington. “Every season, [we offer] classes for youth, teens, adults, and seniors at all skill levels,” said Jerusalem Solomon.
Grab your paddle, head to your local pickleball court, and join the growing community of pickleball players in Arlington.