Playing pinball across America
Back in 2011, when we sold our home and jettisoned our possessions to start our global odyssey, one item we missed was our Genie vintage pinball machine. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to play pinball across America, one of which is not too far from our former hometown of Philadelphia. We’ll even show you how to find your favorite pinball games to play around the world.
Pinball Hall of Fame, Las Vegas, NV: For a break from the flashing lights of the casinos, head two miles off the strip to the National Pinball Hall for some flashing lights of a different nature. Aficionado Tim Arnold has over 250 vintage pinball games on display and, best of all, they are in tip-top playing condition. Tip: To really stretch your playing time seek out the older machines where you still get five balls for 25 cents. www.PinballMuseum.org
Seattle Pinball Museum, Seattle, WA: Located in Seattle’s Chinatown district, this museum is run by the husband and wife team of Cindy and Charlie Martin. More than 50 games are available for a single admission fee. www.SeattlePinballMuseum.com
Level Up Arcade, Eugene, OR: This combination arcade and bar is popular with students from the nearby University of Oregon. Although it’s a bar, those under 21 are allowed to play until 9 p.m., after that it’s time for the grown-ups to act like kids on the 25 pinball machines. www.LevelUpArcade.com
Free Gold Watch, San Francisco, CA: Maybe the odd name of this pinball arcade has something to do with its funky location in the heart of Haight-Ashbury. This is a popular venue for local pinball leagues and tournaments. Free Gold Watch
Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda, CA: Located in the shadow of San Francisco on Alameda Island, this arcade takes the title of museum seriously by offering classes on the cultural history and unique artwork of pinball in America. To make all this learning fun, five rooms are packed with 100 historic machines on which to play. www.PacificPinball.org
D & D Pinball, Tucson, AZ: In Tucson’s hip “Fourth Avenue District,” 29 games are set up for play. A popular hang-out for University of Arizona students. It’s worth the trip to see the very cool pinball-themes murals painted by Nicolas Sanchez. 331 E 7th St, Tucson (NW corner of 4th Ave & 7th St) D & D Pinball
Silverball Museum Arcade, Asbury, Park, NJ: Closer to home, the Silverball Museum Arcade provides a festive time right on the Asbury Park boardwalk. While it’s billed as a museum, it’s definitely of the “please touch” variety as you can play the more than 100 games (and Michael can play his beloved Genie) for a reasonable hourly fee; so there’s no need to keep reaching for quarters. And since this is the Jersey Shore after all, you can also feast on funnel cakes and salt-water taffy from the café. Note: They’ve also opened an arcade called the Silverball Museum in Delray Beach, Florida. We haven’t been to that one yet but it’s on our list. www.SilverballMuseum.com
Whether you’re traveling from Soho or down to Brighton and you want to play them all, here’s a handy website to find pinball machines around the world during your travels: pinside.com/pinball/map
We’re your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive monthly updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.