There’s plenty of good basketball going on in California. The Warriors are the greatest regular season team in NBA history. The Clippers are rolling right now. And have you seen the Lakers? Of course not, and why would you? They’re trash. But two out of three ain’t bad.
Good teams mean expensive seating tickets, but an easy remedy for that is just traveling to one of Los Angeles’ many outdoor basketball courts. These spots host excellent competition that’s on par with Los Angeles’ beautiful sights. And unlike Staples Center, you can actually play in them if you’re not a pro. For those balling in the winter, here are The Best Outdoor Courts for Playing Pick-Up Basketball in L.A.
Pan Pacific Park
What can spice up a basketball game like an occasional celebrity sighting? Located close to Hollywood, players at the Pan Pacific Park are definitely within star-watching range. Manny Pacquiao ran here before he lost to Floyd Mayweather. But with full-sized courts and a great view of the California hills, Pan Pacific Park still works for those who could care less about celebrities. Hopefully your pick-up games work out better than that bout did for Pacquiao.
Poinsettia Recreation Center
These parts have a little bit of everything: Tennis courts, a baseball diamond, an indoor gym. This is your spot if you want to try some sort of weird, multi-sport triathlon. But you should be good if you only want to stick to basketball. There’s a variety of competition here, so you don’t need to be the best of the best to get a W—although that certainly helps.
Venice Beach will always have a place in history because it hosted a decisive moment in racial affairs. Before he became the second truest detective, Woody Harrelson joined forces with Wesley Snipes to hustle at Venice Beach in White Men Can’t Jump. The courts’ fame doesn’t just come from fiction; it’s also known for the fierce competition brought by its tournaments. Even if your game isn’t quite good enough to hang with the best, you can at least appreciate the beautiful locale. You are in Venice Beach, after all.
Culver West Alexander Park
This is a set of large courts that’s always good for a game of pick-up ball. They’re also lighted courts, which helps prevent injuries after sunset. Stray away from this one if you’re allergic to children and dogs; the nearby playground and pooch path are also put to good use.
Marine Park at Santa Monica
This gem at Santa Monica brings forth solid competition throughout the week. But these courts are right next to the Pacific Ocean, which means that ocean breeze might disrespect your jump shot. Still, you get a view of the Pacific Ocean. So you should be able to forgive a few missed jump shots after looking at that sunset.