Chicago is home to more than 20 adult athletic leagues, offering sports such as softball, volleyball, basketball, hockey, and more. Most activities are offered year round, thanks to a great network of indoor facilities. Each season lasts about 8 weeks and costs ~$100 per person.
The first section of this guide discusses several recreational league systems, which encompass over 20 sports. These are a great option for those seeking a social (and coed) experience. The second section covers sport-specific leagues, which typically offer a more competitive experience.
Chicago has six recreational leagues encompassing over 20 activities. Most are coed and cater to 20 and 30-somethings. These leagues are ideal for participants who want light competition in a fun, social atmosphere.
Chicago Sport & Social Club is the city’s largest organizer of coed recreational sports leagues with over 70,000 annual participants. CSSC offers 15 different sports and a variety of special events, such as the Turkey Bowl, Mustache Bash, and even a New Year’s party. Prices range from $90-130 per individual.
Players Sports and Social Group is the city’s second largest organizer with over 55,000 annual participants. PSSG offers 10 different leagues and special tournaments such as the Big Dig, Sandkicker Cup, and more. They also organize several bar crawls throughout the year. Prices are comparable to CSSC.
Sports Monster offers adult recreational leagues in Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, and several other cities across the country. They also provide social outings through their Social Monster affiliate company. Unfortunately, they are one of the worst reviewed leagues in Chicago. We would recommend exploring other options.
The Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association is the largest not-for-profit gay and lesbian sports organization in the Midwest, offering recreational leagues in 12 sports. Annual membership is usually required to join a league ($21/year), but rates are generally affordable. Leagues are open to all who wish to play, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, etc.
S3 Leagues caters to participants who are “single and ready to mingle”. Activities include bowling, whirlyball, dodgeball, skeeball, and volleyball. They also organize “simply social” leagues for bowling and matball (indoor kickball). S3 is on the smaller side with 900 participants, but the leagues are popular and usually sell out.
Chicago Park District is a low-cost alternative, offering a variety of sports at public facilities throughout the city. They also provide instructional classes in archery, bocce, cheerleading, and a range of other interesting activities.
The most competitive adult leagues in Chicago are those that focus on a single sport. Such specialization often translates into better facilities and a higher level of competition. These leagues typically attract participants that have athletic experience at the high school or collegiate level. That being said, beginner skill levels are available for some sports.
- Gladiator Tennis provides singles competition for adults across six skill levels. Each of the three seasons features seven weeks of games (plus playoffs). Matches are played at public courts throughout Chicago. Registration is $35 per person.
- ChiTownTennis provides competitive tennis leagues, ladders, tournaments, and partner programs. The organization is affiliated with Tennis League Network, which has several franchises across the country. Registration is $35.
- Second City Tennis provides competitive tennis leagues for the gay and lesbian community in Chicago. The singles program is played in the summer and consists of six coed ladder divisions. Doubles are played year round.
- Windy City Wanderers provides year-round soccer leagues affiliated with the Chicago Fire professional team. Men-only and coed options are available across four skill divisions. Registration is $110 per person.
- National Soccer League is the local affiliate of the United States Adult Soccer Association. NSL operates three divisions on a relegation-promotion system. The top division has a $10,000 first place prize. Seasons run Apr-Oct and Nov-Mar.
- Chitown Futbol is an indoor soccer facility that provides in-house leagues for men, women, youth, and coed participants. Chitown offers three seasons of play (summer, fall, winter) structured as 13 weeks of league play + 3 weeks of playoffs.
- Johnny’s IceHouse is the largest adult hockey system in Chicago, with six divisions encompassing more than 120 teams. Johnny’s also provides leagues for beginners and adults aged 40+. Games are played in two Chicago indoor facilities owned by Johnny’s.
- Chicago Outdoor Hockey League is an adult coed league that runs from late November to early March. The organization offers 5-on-5, 4-on-4, and pond hockey formats across multiple skill levels. Games are played in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
- Masters Hockey League was established over 20 years ago for novice and skilled players aged 30+. The league is the smallest in Chicago, encompassing four teams: Lawyers, Patriots, Democrats, and Republicans.
- The Midwest Suburban Baseball League is the 4th largest men’s adult baseball league in the country. The league has over 50 teams split across three skill divisions. Games are played in the northwest suburbs.
- Chicago North is an adult baseball league consisting of five different age divisions (25-60+). It is affiliated with The Men’s Senior Baseball League, a national organization with 325 regional affiliates. Games are played in Chicago suburbs.
- Windy City Golf League provides individual, team, and corporate leagues at several public and private courses. The league format is flexible, with each player deciding who, when, where, and how much they want to play. Points are tracked on a central leaderboard.
- Ultimate Chicago offers several outdoor and indoor ultimate frisbee leagues split across men’s, women’s, coed, and youth divisions. The organization also tracks tournaments, pickup games, clinics, and more.