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What are the trending recreational sports to try in New York City, now that the weather is getting warmer? We’ve rounded up 10 somewhat odd recreational sports, from ping pong to pétanque, arriving in NYC along with the details on where to play them this summer 2023.

ready to take up a fairly odd new recreational sport this summer?

As we wade through these last few weeks of spring, we are feeling full of energy. The sun is shining, and for the first time in many months, we want to go out and do things – you know, something other than sit at home watching Netflix.

And if you too are feeling ready to take on the world (or at least ready to have some fun), we have some suggestions.

Why not take up a new sport?

Now, before you panic, we’re not talking about the kinds of sports you played in PE; these sports are the ones you play while wearing a cute outfit, and sometimes while holding a drink in your hand. They’re what make the season memorable. And they’re a great way to make new friends. Before summer gets off the ground, try putting one of these on your calendar.

fairly odd new recreational sports, from ping pong to pétanque, arriving in New York City (NYC) and where to play them in summer 2023

The fairly odd new recreational sports, from ping pong to pétanque, arriving in New York City (NYC) and where to play them in summer 2023

10 somewhat odd recreational sports to try in NYC this summer 2023, and where to play

1. Pickleball at Wollman Rink

Pickleball is the hottest game in town. Even if you’re not athletic – even if you have no interest in moving your body at all – you’re probably at least a little curious about the hype. Well, we’re here to tell you: the game is fun, the game is easy to learn, and we think you should give it a try. And even though there’s probably a court near you, you’ll definitely want to check out the one that recently opened at Wollman Rink. CityPickle has brought fourteen Pickleball courts to the middle of Central Park, and they’re here until October. You can join a league, take lessons, or book a court to play with friends. Prices vary, and paddles are available to rent if you don’t yet have your own. Why not see what all the fuss is about?

2. Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club has long been one of our favorite spots in Brooklyn, and it may be time for another visit. This Gowanus hotspot is a shuffleboard club and a bar, and it also might be the best place to host your next birthday – especially if you’re a summer baby. There’s something about the space that seems to promise a good time, and we haven’t been let down yet. Never played shuffleboard before? Don’t worry, it’s easy to learn. Get yourself a spot under one of the striped cabanas, and prepare for an excellent summer evening.

Recreational sports are the latest trend to enjoy this season that will fit into anyone's lifestyle. 

The fairly odd new recreational sports, from ping pong to pétanque, arriving in New York City (NYC) and where to play them in summer 2023.

3. Swingers Crazy Golf

When you step through the doors of Swingers Crazy Golf, it feels like you’re entering another dimension. Yes, there’s minigolf – and who doesn’t love minigolf? – but there’s also a labyrinthine paradise that includes festive cocktails, a food court, and so much more. You will quickly forget that you’re several stories below midtown – New York will seem like another world. Come to play some golf ($22-$26 a person), or spectate your friends’ game with a frozen margarita in your hand.

4. Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace

First opened as a family-operated roller rink in the 1970’s, Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace made its grand return last summer. And we’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s always a party at Flipper’s, with DJs transforming the rink into an epic dance floor. Tickets are $32 with skate rental, and $22 if you have your own (and what a great excuse to buy an adorable pair of roller skates). Roller skating is the summer’s answer to our favorite winter ice rinks, and we have to admit… we kind of love it.

5. Kick Axe Throwing

Though axe throwing has been around for a long time, we had never given it a try until it came to Brooklyn. Kick Axe opened in 2017, and though there are other, similar spots, this Gowanus bar will always hold a special place in our hearts. And hey, though throwing an axe is not necessarily easy, it’s a good workout, and we promise that it’s fun – and even more fun because you can enjoy the bar’s killer menu while you ready your arm.

Recreational sports are the latest trend to enjoy this season that will fit into anyone’s lifestyle.

6. Spin

We’ve talked about minigolf and shuffleboard… now how about some ping pong?  Spin is a little different than some of the other spots on this list – it’s a ping pong social club, meaning that it’s serious about the game (this is a ping pong club, not a club with ping pong), but also serious about the potential for friendship and connectivity. And if you would rather not participate? You can always come to watch Spin’s nightly ping pong show, Players’ Night, instead.

7. Carreau Club

There’s a good chance that pétanque will be the city’s next big thing; and if you stop by Carreau Club, you can say you tried it first. If you’re unfamiliar, pétanque is considered a “boule sport,” perhaps most closely related to bocce ball. Don’t worry, the lovely people at Carreau Club will explain the rest. You’re even welcome to join their league, or participate in their open melee tournament – which is a great way to make friends. Walk-ins are always welcome, so find a time and make your way down to Brooklyn’s Industry City. You won’t regret it.

8. The Downtown Boathouse

We love sports, we do. But do we love them when it’s ninety degrees out? Well, we do when they’re in the water! When summer hits its first hot day – the first that is truly sweltering – consider making a trip to the Downtown Boathouse. They’re the world’s largest free kayaking program, and they’re here to help you chase those super-high temperatures away. No reservations necessary – but you’ll want to show up early to beat the line.

Recreational sports are the latest trend to enjoy this season that will fit into anyone’s lifestyle.

9. Room N Boards

Room N Boards is a funny name for a bar… and funnier when you see that their tagline is: cornhole at your convenience. But hey, they’ve got beer, boards, and courts galore, and you can rent them at an hourly rate or stop by for open play. Many nights at Room N Boards are themed – think karaoke, or 90’s – so the ice is already broken, and you’ll have no problem getting to know your fellow cornhole players.

10. Trapeze School of New York

Okay, Trapeze School of New York (TSNY) is a little different than the other spots on this list. They’ve been around for a while, and they’re also more of a choice – you can’t show up at eight pm and decide to give the trapeze a try. But TSNY is one of the best places in the city, and if you’d like to spend this summer trying new things… why not sign up for a lesson? TSNY offers classes in Lyra, Trampoline, and Flying Trapeze, and they are all as fun (and as gutsy) as they seem. Summer can be a time for new beginnings, and if you’re looking for one – why not learn to fly?

10 recreational sports to try this summer 2023 in NYC

That’s our roundup of the fairly odd old school and new recreational sports – from ping pong to pétanque – arriving in New York City (NYC) and where to play them this summer 2023. Who’s up for a good game of shuffleboard?

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.