Palisades Tennis Center, La Cienega Tennis Center and UCLA's L.A. Tennis Center are great options for Angelenos who don't want to fork over hefty membership fees for a private club.
CONTACT: (310) 573-1331 or laparks.org
HOURS: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; weekends, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Palisades is a busy eight-court facility where Hilary Swank and Diane Keaton are regulars, and Live Ball is the preferred state of play. “Palisades is the birthplace of Live Ball,” says its inventor and Tennis Channel founder Steve Bellamy, who now is Kodak’s president of motion picture and entertainment. Live Ball is a fast-paced doubles tennis game that rotates in a new set of players after the on-court challengers are beat. “There is a significant flight to organized play,” adds Bellamy. “It melds well with people’s busy schedules.”
RESERVATIONS: (310) 285-6825 or beverlyhills.org/tennis
HOURS: Mon.-Sun., 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
FEES: $8-$15/hour (depending on time and whether you’re a B.H. resident)
There are 16 lighted outdoor hard courts here, 14 of which are situated above the facility’s parking structure. Producer Sara Risher likes to come at sunset: “The courts are up high, so you have a great view.” Kate Upton and Kit Harington also play here. Beverly Hills Tennis runs the teaching program, and also those at nearby public facilities Roxbury Park and Beverly Hills High School. Weekday evenings can get crowded, but weekends after 5 p.m. are easier for walk-ons.
RESERVATIONS: (310) 825-3671 (12-5 p.m., one day prior)
HOURS: Mon.-Sun., dawn-11 p.m.
There are 20 tennis courts scattered across UCLA’s campus in Westwood, but most of the hardcore play goes on here. The eight-court facility originally was built for the 1984 Olympics and has a 5,800-person stadium. It served as the venue for the L.A. Open, before the tournament moved to Bogota, Colombia, in 2012. Timothy Olyphant and Tommy Haas are regulars, as is Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ Colton Gramm, who says it’s free to play but finding a court can be “challenging.” A reservation here requires a UCLA Recreation membership, which means you need to be a UCLA student or patron (a $100 alumni association donation suffices); membership is $58 month or $480 year.