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BEST TENNIS COURTS Minneapolis 1998 -

As bucolic as free tennis can get this close to the city, these half-dozen clean, well-maintained courts are located half a block south of Highway 55 and just west of Winnetka Avenue: far enough from the highway to keep car noise minimal even at rush hour and close enough to the Brookview Golf Course and adjacent park to allow for green scenery, picnic shelters, and public rest rooms only a few steps away. It gets even better: The courts are wind-screened to prevent undue handicapping and lighted for free until 11 at night. They're often available, too (or at least until this award), but if they should happen to be full on the day of your visit, you might try heading back north on Winnetka about three-quarters of a mile to Plymouth Avenue, taking a left, and driving another quarter of a mile to a small park on the right with three fine (and even quieter) courts. And if those are occupied too...well, you're on your own, 'cause there's no way we're going to divulge three well-kept secrets in one listing.

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