Serious pick-up artists who call a basketball court nirvana travel far and wide to reach The City of Angels for competitive games all over this sprawling city. Don’t just expect to find the right venue for your dunking needs without first learning the lay of the land; all sorts of pick-up basketball competition sare bouncing in the Southland on any given day. To wisely choose, consider these, some of the best games in the area, each singled out for its ability to provide great pick-up basketball for every player.

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Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park
14201 Huston St.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 783-5121

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Basketball courts at this large valley venue come lit and unlit, so choose accordingly when you pick up a ball for an impromptu game here. While not as many opportunities are available during weekends when families and kids take over the park, any time through the week is fair game for taking part in a game on either court when the mood to dunk strikes.

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McCambridge Park Recreation Center
1515 N Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91504
(818) 238-5378 

Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Above average players tend to drop by this Burbank mainstay for a game of hoops in the outdoor courts on just about any day of the week. As for the indoor facilities, Sunday at 1 p.m., pick-up players hit the floor for what one participant calls civilized street ball. Indeed, there’s even a sign-in sheet to avoid fights over the line-up. A great pool and regulation ping pong tables keep everyone entertained while they wait.

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Studio City Recreation Center
2621 Rye St.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 769-4415

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Studio City Rec Center, also known as Beeman Park, attracts basketball vagabonds looking for a serious game with its lighted court and regulation-height hoop. Also on site is a smaller rig for kids to play ball on their own, so make this a family outing if you want to include the little ones. Afterward, if hunger strikes, barbecue grills on the premises are ready to keep that fire you started on the court going all day.

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Hollywood Wilshire YMCA
1553 Schrader Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 467-4161

Hours: Mon to Thurs — 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri. — 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.;  Sat to Sun — 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: $15 adults daily rate/$15 children 11 years and older/call for membership prices

The small gym on the premises of this Hollywood Y is where all the pick-up action takes place. While there is no set schedule for this particular pastime, the evenings seem to be when all the better ballplayers hit the court. Games are free as long as you’re a member, so sign up and get going.

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Culver West Alexander Park
4162 Wade Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 253-6650

Hours: Mon to Sun – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Situated at the intersection of Wade and Washington, this compact, 3-acre outdoor place draws pick-up basketball talent looking for a game after school with lights that stay on until 7 p.m. Even better, at Culver West Park the kids can play on the jungle gym and the rock climbing wall, and your dog may sniff out fresh territory on the pooch path while you dream up new dunks. Call it win-win all the way around.

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Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on