It's all about location.  In one area of Illinois, you can easily find a place to play America's hottest new sport.  But a few miles away, nobody cares about it and few are playing the game.

While you might think this outdoor activity is best suited for the warm weather of the south, the Midwest and Northeast have become booming spots for you to pick up a paddle.

The Hottest New Sport Sweeping America

Seniors Enjoy Group Activities At Florida Retirement Center After Being Fully Vaccinated
Getty Images

Pickleball is not just for grandmas and grandpas in Arizona and Florida anymore.  It's now the fastest-growing sport in America.  More courts are popping up around the country as the game has found players that are both seriously athletic and competitive, to those that just want to get out and play with a couple of friends while having a few drinks.

If you don't know what Pickleball is you can learn more at the official USA Pickleball website.  Or turn on a sports channel during a slow sports time of the year.  Because, yes, they are showing professional tournaments on TV now.

Where Are Pickleball Courts Near Me?


The amount of courts is just one of the factors that looked at when finding the best cities and worst cities in America for "pickleheads"...yes, that is what they call themselves.

The popularity of the sport, access to courts, and community ranked were factors that led New York City to be named the best place for Pickleball.  And the worst place in America is right across the river in Paterson, New Jersey.

In Illinois, we have the same positive and negative cities very close to each other.

ESPN 104.1 FM and 1170AM logo
Get our free mobile app

Chicago was ranked the 4th best city in America for those of you who love to play with your pickle.  Meanwhile, right down the road in Joliet, Illinois, that city ranks as the 3rd WORST for pickleball fans.  Maybe they have all moved to Chicago to unite in their love of pickleball.

The self-proclaimed "Pickleball Capital of the World" doesn't make the list of the best places, but might be worth a visit if you are a fan of the game.  Naples, Florida has invested over $4 million in pickleball facilities. Paradise Coast also hosts the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships, the largest pickleball event in the world, with nearly 34,000 attendees in 2022.

You can learn more about Pickleball and where to play the game here and below thanks to

WOOF: These are the most popular dog breeds in America

Stacker highlights the 100 most popular dog breeds in America based on data released March 15, 2023 from the American Kennel Club.

LOOK: The 25 least expensive states to live in

Here are the top 25 states with the lowest cost of living in 2022, using data Stacker culled from the Council for Community and Economic Research.

More From ESPN 104.1 FM and 1170AM