Our favorite park sports and games

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults spend 150 minutes each week engaged in some sort of aerobic activity. Kids should get about an hour of vigorous, muscle-strengthening play. One of the best ways to get your daily allowance of exercise is to take advantage of the free facilities available at your neighborhood park. And with four new parks planned for downtown, there’s soon to be more hustling and bustling throughout the city.

Need some inspiration? Here are some of our favorite ways to work up a good sweat while taking advantage of Dallas’ green spaces.


Basketball courts are a fixture in many of Dallas’ parks, including Oak Lawn’s Reverchon Park and Tietze Park, which serves both Lakewood and the M Streets. Whether you’re looking for a three-on-three pick-up game or just want to log some hours perfecting your one-legged fade-away, opportunities abound across the city. Basketball courts will be an important feature of Hargreaves Associates’ designs for Carpenter Park, which also promises to facilitate pedestrian traffic between downtown and near East Dallas.


Dallas’ parks are home to almost 100 individual soccer fields. More than a third of these fields are lit for those who like to get a few shots on goal in after work. Adult fields are available in addition to those reserved for youth play. Contact the Dallas Park and Recreation Department at 214-670-8740 to learn more about where you can set up for drills and matches.


In addition to a number of individual outdoor courts, Dallas Park and Recreation Department maintains five full-service tennis centers: Fair Oaks, Fretz, L. B. Houston, Samuell-Grand and Kiest. These centers are open to the public seven days a week. Not only do the centers provide instruction and host tournaments, but they also assist players of any level of experience with their practice and equipment needs. If you’re not quite ready to occupy Centre Court, however, you can work on your chops and spins in the table tennis alley that will be a signature feature of downtown’s new Harwood Park.

Skating and rollerblading

Dallas’ most celebrated skate park is something of a hidden gem: Lakeland Hills Park in far East Dallas, at the intersection of St. Francis and Hunnicut. Skaters here can bring their boards and enjoy the city’s premier collection of outdoor ramps, rails and pipes. Downtown residents and visitors with a passion for skateboarding can look forward to a more local option when Carpenter Park’s skate area opens. Of course, provided you wear the proper safety equipment and take the necessary precautions, you can always rollerblade along Dallas’ many park trails.


Dallas is becoming a more bike-friendly city by leaps and bounds. White Rock Lake is a veritable mecca for city cyclists, and Dallas’ ever-expanding trails system has much to offer those looking for a leisurely ride as well as those who favor heavier pedaling. And maybe you’ve noticed those dedicated bike lanes lining downtown Dallas’ streets? They will eventually connect with Harwood Park, Carpenter Park, Pacific Plaza and West End Plaza.


The nice thing about getting your exercise in with a frisbee is that doing so comes with a low barrier of entry. All you need is a disc or two and a nice lawn. Pacific Plaza will transform existing parking lots around downtown’s Republic Center into just such an open space. Serious disc golf enthusiasts should definitely check out the full 18 holes in North Dallas’ B. B. Owen Park.


Bocce is the Italian name for a form of street or alley bowling popular all over the world. You can play with as few as two or in teams consisting of as many as four individuals. You won’t be knocking over pins, however; bocce requires as much precision as bowling, but the actual gameplay more resembles horseshoes or even cornhole. (You can read the complete rules for bocce by visiting the website for Dallas’ Major League Bocce rollers.) Petanque, a French game similar to bocce, has really taken off at Klyde Warren Park. Expect for the bocce competition to be fierce at the courts in Carpenter Park.

“Free play”

Sometimes, what kids need most is just the freedom to run around and exercise their imaginations as much as their bodies. Across Dallas’ parks system, you’ll find playground equipment as well as water features that give your young ones plenty of things to push, pull, climb, swing from and paddle around in. Harwood Park will follow in the footsteps of Klyde Warren Park and Continental Avenue Bridge with its children’s area. Harwood Park’s boulder garden, rope jungle, arbors and splash pads will provide hours of entertainment.

What are your favorite park sports and games? Where do you go to enjoy the outdoors and stay fit? Keep the conversation going about what makes our city’s parks great by sharing your thoughts in the comments on Facebook.