Bring Your Sneakers to These Famous Basketball Courts

If you’re a hoops fan, then these destinations need to be on your bucket list

Grab your ball and go to these great sporting sites across the country.


Basketball was born in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts (where today the Basketball Hall of Fame is located), but few of us would recognize the game as it was originally played. Peach baskets? Soccer balls? No dunking? The sport has grown by leaps and bounds since that time. Accordingly, famous basketball courts nationwide, from the hometowns of beloved professional players and college teams to storied pickup courts, can make a fantastic itinerary for traveling hoops fans.

Explore Cameron Indoor Stadium and Dean Dome, two sites of the Tobacco Road rivalry

School spirit combined with fierce competition is what makes college basketball so fun—especially when both teams are so reliably good and, quite frequently, champions. In North Carolina, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University are only separated by a few miles of road, but each team’s fans may as well be from different planets. Check into a hotel in Durham to visit the land of the “Cameron Crazies,” and experience historic Cameron Indoor Stadium (in use since 1940), home of the Duke Blue Devils. Or book a hotel in Chapel Hill, where the spirit of late, great coach Dean Smith lives on in the Dean Dome, the home of the Tar Heels. No matter which team you support, there’s a famous basketball court waiting to be explored!

Visit a national historic landmark and movie location at Hinkle Fieldhouse

Hinkle Fieldhouse, home of the Butler Bulldogs in Indianapolis, Indiana, has also been host to seven U.S. Photo Credit: Hinkle Fieldhouse

Hinkle Fieldhouse opened in 1928 and has been played in since, making this Indiana arena one of the oldest and certainly one of the most famous basketball courts in the country. Home of Butler Bulldogs basketball, this facility was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and is also well-known as the site of the climactic game in the 1986 film Hoosiers. You can check it out for yourself—free guided tours are available—when you stay at a hotel in Indianapolis.

Meet up with hoops history in the Midwest at Allen Fieldhouse

Allen Fieldhouse was voted as the top must-see stadium in the country by a 2018 USA Today Readers’ Choice poll. Photo Credit: Allen Fieldhouse

Speaking of college ball, the Kansas Jayhawks aren’t messing around—they’ve won more than 87% of their home games since Allen Fieldhouse was dedicated on March 1, 1955. Their home venue is named for F.C. “Phog” Allen, who coached the Jayhawks for nearly 40 years. Allen was mentored by the inventor of basketball himself, James Naismith (who started the Kansas basketball program). The famous basketball court in Allen Fieldhouse is named James Naismith Court. So, whichever team you back in the NCAA, booking a hotel in Lawrence, Kansas should be part of your hoops journey.

Go big in the big city at Madison Square Garden

Follow the signs to one of the most well known sports and entertainment venues in the world.

Madison Square Garden has been called “the mecca of basketball” and without question is one of the most famous NYC basketball courts in the world. It’s the home of the New York Knicks, as well as the site of a number of legendary NCAA tournaments. And if you take a behind-the-scenes tour, you’ll discover the venue has a diverse entertainment history to share—even for those who aren’t sports fans. It truly is one of the biggest stages in America. If you love to play, you might also know pickup hoops is a favorite pastime in the Big Apple. New York City's hundreds of courts include iconic ones like Rucker Park in Harlem and “The Cage” in Greenwich Village. Just be sure to bring your A-game.

Dive into pickup games on the West Coast

There’s nothing quite like shooting hoops under the blue skies and palm trees of Venice Beach, California.

You may know Venice Beach, California, for its bodybuilders and roller skaters—but don’t forget about its top-notch ballers. You’ve seen Venice Beach basketball courts celebrated in movies like White Men Can’t Jump, and thought, “Hey, if Woody Harrelson can dunk, then maybe I could hold my own in a pickup game.” Want to test that notion at one of the many famous basketball courts in Los Angeles? Grab those sneakers and book a hotel in the Los Angeles area to find out!

Walk the paths where a legend soared

To see Michael Jordan play ball was to see a man defy gravity (a dunk from the free-throw line? How is that even real?). During his storied career with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan’s famous basketball court was the home floor of the United Center. Today, although public tours are not available, a statue of the living legend stands outside this Chicago arena, where visitors can snag a picture of themselves with Air Jordan.

See where a “King” was born

LeBron James exuded basketball greatness as a teenager in Akron, Ohio. Today, the high school arena where he famously gained national attention bears his name. While you can’t just drop by the school to check out this famous basketball court (but you can take a virtual tour of the arena), honor the town that molded “King James” by catching one of the high school matches at his alma mater. You can also play pickup at one of the courts he funded the updating of, such as the two courts at Patterson Park.




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