PickUp USA takes the infamous pitfalls of pickup basketball—uneven teams, sloppy play, and incessant arguing over fouls and whose mama gives the best hugs—and replaces them with officiated and organized game play without the restrictions of a league. Its members hit the courts in a pristine 17,000-square-foot space, which features a lounge, a stretching area, and courts built by the designers who create them for the NCAA and NBA. Here, California Basketball Officials Association–trained referees officiate one-on-one to five-on-five games every day and night of the year. Though they are unscheduled, the matchups unfold in an organized, staff-guided fashion, a scoreboard keeps track of points, and a constantly running clock keeps games rotating.
With more than 50,000 square feet of collective climbing surfaces, Hangar 18 Indoor Climbing Gyms's four locations, including its newest in Long Beach, offer ample terrain for climbers of all skill levels. From first-timers just learning to belay to seasoned climbers seeking a vertical challenge, athletes of all stripes can find suitable terrain and helpful assistance from experienced staff members. At the Riverside location, top ropes and lead routes circle around a freestanding boulder that tops off at 20 feet. The Southbay location's large training section gives adventurers prep time before they embark on the facility's challenging crack climbs, and the Upland location's 40-foot roof climb lends a scenic vantage point for those honing their skills on the ceiling-spanning rope or trying to spot a lost contact lens. After traversing 70-foot routes through lead caves and descending towering boulders, climbers can decompress in a yoga class.
In the 1998 remake of Godzilla, a mutant lizard famously destroyed Manhattan—and at Hollywood Sports, visitors can do the same. The 23-acre sports center's paintball fields are each designed to mimic sets from classic movies, ranging from Godzilla to Saving Private Ryan; as they battle with their rented markers, paintball players live out their own twist on those film's battle scenes. Matches occur day and night thanks to the fields' stadium-style lights, which also ensure no one finds themselves in a shootout with a really aggressive bat. In addition to paintball, the park hosts other sports—rock-climbing walls, beach volleyball courts, and BMX racing tracks complement the movie-themed battlefields.
Epic voyaging need not be reserved for classical heroes who speak in dactylic hexameter. Just as Odysseus slayed the hurricane from aboard his inflatable raft, you too can conquer vengeful waters with today's Groupon to Gold Rush Whitewater Rafting. For just $50, you'll go on a heart-pumping, rapid-raging tour of the South Fork of the American River (44% off a $90 value).
Whittier Narrows trains and nurtures novice and advanced tennis players with its roster of iTennis lessons, USTA adult league teams, and well-kept courts. Each of Whittier Narrows’ 16 courts are painted U.S. Open shades of blue and green to emulate professional play and increase ball visibility, and are fully lighted for nighttime and solar eclipse play. Tennis center memberships entitle players to complimentary perks such as a one-hour drill clinic, a racket demo program, weekly stroke clinics, and free ball machine rental (during off-peak hours), as well as a 10% discount in the pro shop and discounts on classes. After rinsing away sweat and lingering grunts in the men’s and women’s locker rooms, an airy member lounge invites athletes to relax on a leather couch and enjoy wireless Internet, a flat-screen television, and refreshments.
A Broadway-style extravaganza set aboard a replicated 18th-century Spanish galleon, Pirates Dinner Adventure is one of the only theater performances to require a 250,000-gallon water tank outside of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Manatees. While the dastardly Captain Sebastian the Black lords over his feasting crew of rapscallions, guests get to dine from the deck of one of the six ships surrounding the galleon—and cheer on the plucky pirate representing their vessel in the show. What unfolds is a swashbuckling spectacle of stunts, songs, magic, and acrobatics punctuated with as many fired cannons as belly laughs. Pirates dangle precariously from silk off the 40-foot mast. Treasure chests overflow with booty. Heroes rise from the ranks—and select members of the audience might even be invited by Captain Sebastian to come aboard the stage. Delicacies such as oven-roasted chicken keep up audiences' strength as they cheer on their mascot and hiss at the captain's gleeful villainy and questionable bookkeeping practices.
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