The best free courts in town that you didn't know about
Freedom Park boasts a dozen tennis courts plus plenty of parking. Come early (before 4 p.m.) or late (after 8 p.m.) if you want to nab a free court during the work week.
Midwood Neighborhood Park
This simple, single tennis court hosts everyone from the family of four (and their dog) to the pair of roommates renting a bungalow down the street. When to go: Court time is limited because it isn't lit, but try right before sunset. 2100 Wilhelmina Ave.
This spot boasts a dozen courts and plenty of parking. The courts closest to East Boulevard were recently renovated and are where you can often find United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA)-certified instructor Kofi Mawougbe teaching his Start Right tennis program (sign up at startright tennis.com). When to go: Courts fill up quickly, so get there before the workday ends (4 p.m.) or after dinner (8 p.m.) if you don't want to wait. The courts stay lit until 10:30 p.m. 2435 Cumberland Ave.
Park Road Tennis Facility
Park Road ties Freedom Park with the number of lighted tennis courts (twelve). The USTA hosts its State Games of North Carolina Adult Championships here later this month, June 26-28. When to go: Try early mornings or midweek during the workday. Several tennis clubs hold tournaments here, so check charmeck.org in advance to make sure courts are available when you want to play. 6215 Park Rd.
Colonial Neighborhood Park
If you make your way uptown every morning through Myers Park on Providence, you've likely noticed two courts off to the right.
When to go: These courts are often open even during peak times. If you find them full and don't want to wait, go around the corner to the single, shady court at Edgehill Park (975 S. Edgehill Rd.). 219 Providence Rd.