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Here’s where to watch and play bocce this summer

It may not have originated here, but bocce ball is an extremely popular Philly activity.

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It’s hard to walk around Philly in the summer without running into a game of bocce ball. Whether it’s the groups of friends playing it down at Bardascino Park in the hot sun, the 20-somethings enjoying a beer as they throw the bocce balls at your local bar, or even just the BBQ in a buddy’s yard (with the game a constant in the background), it’s safe to say bocce is very popular in the city.

The game, which involves throwing bocce balls as close to the main ball (called the pallino) as possible, can take a lot of skill to get right (and a lot of plays to learn all the rules). That’s why it’s a good idea to grab some food, pop open a beer (if you’re in a place where that’s allowed) and observe the game. Once you feel like you’re ready, grab a few friends and go play. There are plenty of leagues and groups around the city that would welcome new players, and even more places where you can just play with zero pressure.

We’ve put together a list of some of the places where you can enjoy the game around the city. We can’t get all of the courts, of course (there are a lot), but if we missed one that you think is essential, let us know in the comments. Happy playing!

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1. Spruce Street Harbor Park

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301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-2386
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Spruce Street Harbor Park (yet another iconic Philly summer happening) has a ton of different sights, including hammocks, an oasis, and very Instagrammable lights but one of the most beloved is the bocce on the boardwalk. There’s a court overlooking the river, and you can actually sign up to play with Major League Bocce on Tuesdays for around $50. If you’re not eager to join a league, come with a few friends on another day, or just grab some food at a nearby stall and watch.

2. East Passyunk Community Recreation Center

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1025 Mifflin St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 685-0008
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The East Passyunk Community Rec Center just opened their bocce court back in 2017, and you can call or email to sign up for a game.

3. North Bowl

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909 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 238-2695
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Northern Liberties’ North Bowl has a bocce court outside (which makes sense, given the game’s similarities to bowling). Head up on Thursdays in the summer to watch Major League Bocce play.

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4. Clark Park

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4300-4398 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Okay, so this isn’t technically bocce, but pétanque is so close (and popular in Clark Park) that we felt like we had to add it. Even if you’re a bocce absolutist, this game, which originated in France in the 1990s, is so similar that you’ll probably pick up some bocce skills. Philadelphia pétanque plays every Sunday at 11 a.m., so you can go to just watch, or join in.

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5. Cafe Michelangelo

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11901 Bustleton Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19116
(215) 698-2233
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For some fun, evening bocce (and a drink) head over to Cafe Michelangelo in Northeast Philly. The court is open to anyone over the age of 18, and you can get the bocce balls by putting down a $20 deposit. The restaurant’s website even has rules for the game if you’re new to playing.

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6. Bardascino Park

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1000 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Bardascino Park in South Philly has become so synonymous with bocce that it even has its own bocce league. With a massive court, sun, and a canopy of trees overhead, Bardascino Park is probably one of the most casual, outdoors places to sit back and enjoy the game on this list. The Bardascino Park Bocce League has a permit to play there Monday through Wednesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m., so you can pull up a chair and watch. All other times are fair game (no pun intended) for you and a few friends to just stop by and play.

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7. Veterans Park

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Lawrence Rd
Broomall, PA 19008

A few years ago, this park in Marple Township opened up a bocce court, to the delight of local residents, who set up a spring bocce league. The league wrapped up their 2018 spring season in late June, but you can still head over to the park to play with friends or watch pickup games.

8. Dilworth Park

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1 S 15th St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 440-5500
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Right in the middle of the city, Dilworth Park has a ton of summer activities, and yes, bocce is among them. There’s a grassy green patch of the park next to the fountains and that’s where the bocce league plays on Wednesdays, so you can come to watch or start your own game on another day. Afterward, cool off with a jump in the fountain.

1. Spruce Street Harbor Park

301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Spruce Street Harbor Park (yet another iconic Philly summer happening) has a ton of different sights, including hammocks, an oasis, and very Instagrammable lights but one of the most beloved is the bocce on the boardwalk. There’s a court overlooking the river, and you can actually sign up to play with Major League Bocce on Tuesdays for around $50. If you’re not eager to join a league, come with a few friends on another day, or just grab some food at a nearby stall and watch.

301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

2. East Passyunk Community Recreation Center

1025 Mifflin St, Philadelphia, PA 19148

The East Passyunk Community Rec Center just opened their bocce court back in 2017, and you can call or email to sign up for a game.

1025 Mifflin St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

3. North Bowl

909 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Northern Liberties’ North Bowl has a bocce court outside (which makes sense, given the game’s similarities to bowling). Head up on Thursdays in the summer to watch Major League Bocce play.

909 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

4. Clark Park

4300-4398 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Okay, so this isn’t technically bocce, but pétanque is so close (and popular in Clark Park) that we felt like we had to add it. Even if you’re a bocce absolutist, this game, which originated in France in the 1990s, is so similar that you’ll probably pick up some bocce skills. Philadelphia pétanque plays every Sunday at 11 a.m., so you can go to just watch, or join in.

4300-4398 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

5. Cafe Michelangelo

11901 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19116

For some fun, evening bocce (and a drink) head over to Cafe Michelangelo in Northeast Philly. The court is open to anyone over the age of 18, and you can get the bocce balls by putting down a $20 deposit. The restaurant’s website even has rules for the game if you’re new to playing.

11901 Bustleton Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19116

6. Bardascino Park

1000 S 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Bardascino Park in South Philly has become so synonymous with bocce that it even has its own bocce league. With a massive court, sun, and a canopy of trees overhead, Bardascino Park is probably one of the most casual, outdoors places to sit back and enjoy the game on this list. The Bardascino Park Bocce League has a permit to play there Monday through Wednesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m., so you can pull up a chair and watch. All other times are fair game (no pun intended) for you and a few friends to just stop by and play.

1000 S 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

7. Veterans Park

Lawrence Rd, Broomall, PA 19008

A few years ago, this park in Marple Township opened up a bocce court, to the delight of local residents, who set up a spring bocce league. The league wrapped up their 2018 spring season in late June, but you can still head over to the park to play with friends or watch pickup games.

Lawrence Rd
Broomall, PA 19008

8. Dilworth Park

1 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Right in the middle of the city, Dilworth Park has a ton of summer activities, and yes, bocce is among them. There’s a grassy green patch of the park next to the fountains and that’s where the bocce league plays on Wednesdays, so you can come to watch or start your own game on another day. Afterward, cool off with a jump in the fountain.

1 S 15th St
Philadelphia, PA 19102