North America

If you do ONE thing in Chicago – make it Whirlyball!

Imagine the scene, my friend and I are enjoying a nice cold beer in a trendy dive bar around Logan square, bothering the bartender for local tips and tricks to do around the city. He mentions the usual jaunts; favourite pizza spot, top places for live music and where to find the best view of Chicago. He wanders off to serve someone else, but comes running back with sheer excitement in his eyes. “Dudes”, he screams. “Forget everything I’ve just said, if you do one thing in Chicago – make it Whirlyball”….

Described as a mix of lacrosse, hockey, and basketball all played whilst driving bumper cars. We were instantly intrigued, and scraped the next day’s plans to find out what it was all about.


Located in Bucktown, we discovered a hidden gem of a playground! This unknown ‘Whirlyball’ court also unveiled laser-tag, bowling lanes, arcade games and craft beers on draft (which also become a strictly 21+ only venue after 5pm!) Bounding to the front desk, we excitedly ask to play – only to find you need a minimum of 4 people! *Something to consider if you turn up. So, we unashamedly turned to Tinder to get people to join us, copy and pasting the same ‘do you want to come to Whirlyball message?’ We got two willing companions to join us, and finally won a game of Tinder! Handing over our $15 bucks per person to play, John, our professional referee filled us in with the rules, and a bit of back history.


Invented in the 1960s by Stan Mangum, who was looking for a new and absurd game involving bumper cars. Stan designed ‘whirlybugs’, ‘whirlics’ and ‘whiffles’ and saw his new game spreading over Chicagoland. The premise is simple, you drive around in your Whirlybug, chasing a whiffle ball and use lacrosse sticks to scope up the ball and propel into your opponents targets; scoring a whirly! Games last 10 minutes, and you get three games. Complete bargain if you ask me! The bugs were a little difficult to grasp at first, and we (the girls!), unfortunately lost. But this was one fantastic game, and could not be recommended more!

So what are you waiting for? If you are in Chicago, or heading there soon – head on over to Bucktown and get a taste of this amazing playgroud.