The game known as bocce ball has been around since the 200s BC, when it started scoring points with amusement-minded Romans. Bocce ball has been a staple of Italian culture ever since. But if you still think of it as a game only for elderly men in flat wool caps, you haven’t been paying attention. Bocce ball is all the rage now, with players of all ages.
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Bocce ball has blossomed from a little-known game to a popular must-have for at-home players as well as tournament professionals. It’s something like bowling, but played outdoors and on a surface that is not made of hardwood. In fact, artificial turf makes an excellent bocce ball surface, though purists may say you must play on crushed oyster shells.
The weather is slowly getting warmer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now is the time that companies start looking for a fun outing for their employees or clients to enjoy – the summer company gathering. Typical ideas may include company barbecues, picnics, or baseball games.
A low-key sport requiring little to no athletic skill, the game of bocce is enjoyable and fun for people of all ages. Bocce ball sites abound in San Francisco and the Bay Area, and sometimes they come with a generous helping of great food and drink! Explore bocce courts in your own town, or take a day trip and scout out some courts in destination towns like Sausalito or Healdsburg. Either way, you can center your group activity on a game that’s laid back, yet exciting. All you’ll need is a bocce ball set and a court.
Bocce is a great activity for group gatherings like family parties, corporate events, and weekend outings with friends. The San Francisco Bay Area boasts parks, restaurants, bars and more that have bocce courts installed for guests. We’ve compiled a couple ideas here to get you started. This list is in no way exhaustive—check out your town’s local courts today!
Bocce Courts In Outdoor Parks: For a casual family get-together that’s kid-friendly and free, nothing beats outdoor bocce courts in local parks.
-Aquatic Park – Rated the Best Bocce Ball Court in 2007 for the SF Weekly Best Of Award, Aquatic Park Bocce Ball Court boasts spectacular views of the Municipal Pier and San Francisco Bay. You’ll find comfortable benches here where you can relax while waiting your turn. Located on Hyde at Beach, San Francisco.
-Joe DiMaggio Playground – Boasting two bocce courts open to the public, this North Beach Park is perfect for a family outing. The park’s Clubhouse can even be reserved for parties and special events! Located at 651 Lombard Street, San Francisco.
Bocce Restaurants & Bars: You’ll find restaurants and bars offering delicious food and drink along with bocce courts sprinkled around the Bay Area and in San Francisco.
-Make Westing – Think house cocktails, inventive cuisine, a daily Happy Hour and indoor bocce courts open 7 days a week. The cool vibe of this Uptown Oakland spot makes it perfect for enjoying a few drinks while you play a round. Located at 1741 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
- Bar Bocce – Located on the gorgeous Sausalito waterfront, Bar Bocce’s got it all: homestyle food, from pizza and fudgesicles to beers and cask wines, a covered bayfront patio and bocce courts. While reservations aren’t accepted, you can buy out the restaurant on weekdays, making it great for company events or rehearsal dinners. Located at 1250 Bridgeway, Sausalito.
- Campo Di Bocce – With locations in Livermore and Los Gatos, this Italian restaurant-cum-bocce court site is great for family gatherings, birthdays, office parties and more. Enjoy delicious Italian fare with a few rounds of bocce on the side. Located at 175 East Vineyard Avenue, Livermore; and 565 University Avenue, Los Gatos.
Bocce Wineries: There are nearly thirty wineries with bocce courts between Sonoma and Napa alone! The California coast has thousands of amazing wineries, and in our opinion, the best of the wineries have bocce courts. You can find an extensive list of bocce wineries here.
As you scout around for great local bocce courts, keep in mind the type of surface you will be playing on. At Heavenly Greens, we know all about the pros and cons that come with traditional clay, crushed oyster shell or asphalt courts. For an optimal family-friendly experience, Heavenly Greens recommends artificial grass bocce courts. Not only are they soft, lush and more attractive than drab brown courts; they are faster draining and cleaner too. You, your friends and your kids won’t get dusty or dirty with artificial grass bocce courts, and you don’t need to worry about rough ground for little ones.
If you find yourself getting a little addicted to bocce (Trust us, it’s easy!) Heavenly Greens offers commercial and residential installations of artificial grass bocce courts. Visit our San Jose showroom today to find out about the many options we have for your artificial turf installations at Heavenly Greens.