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Candlepin bowling in Boston: 10 alleys for the New England original

Who needs the bulkiness of tenpin?

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Candlepin bowling—that cousin to tenpin bowling, with lighter balls and slenderer pins—was first played in Worcester in the 1880s. No surprise, then, that it’s become a staple of New England play (it’s also big in northeastern Canada).

Here are 10 top options for candlepin bowling in the Boston region. Get your string on.

More for Play Week: Downtown Boston’s 6 best places for public art :: 12 quaint Boston-area towns to visit this summer, mapped :: Lighthouses near Boston that you can visit, mapped :: 9 beginner bike rides in the Boston area :: Boston walks: 10 perfect ones for warmer weather :: Boston hikes: 10 superb ones in and around the city, mapped :: 5 Boston-area hikes that end in great beer :: Boston’s 10 friendliest parks for strollers, mapped

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Needham Bowlaway

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The eight-lane alley goes back more than a century.

Zack S./Yelp

Flatbread Brighton & Brighton Bowl

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This relatively recent outpost includes a lot of pizza options.

Ron's Gourmet Ice Cream and Twentieth Century Bowling Alley

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The name kind of says it all: Wholesome fun with bowling and ice cream.

Lucky Strike—Fenway

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This alley is part of the Jillian’s/Lucky Strike complex near Fenway Park: 70,000 square feet of all sorts of fun.

Kings Dining & Entertainment

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The Back Bay location of this chain has dining and other gaming options.

Kings Dining & Entertainment/Yelp

Lucky Strike Social Somerville

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This Assembly Row outpost of Lucky Strike opened in April 2018.

Boston Bowl

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This alley is open 24 hours and touts itself as particularly family-friendly. There are also outside batting cages.

Boston Candlepin

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Southie. Candlepin. Not much else to say about this family-run joint.

Central Park Lanes

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This Eastie standard comes with few frills, though that’s kind of the point.

Voravut/Yelp

Sacco's Bowl Haven

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This bowling-and-nosh spot predates World War II.

Tim Sackton/Flickr

Needham Bowlaway

The eight-lane alley goes back more than a century.

Zack S./Yelp

Flatbread Brighton & Brighton Bowl

This relatively recent outpost includes a lot of pizza options.

Ron's Gourmet Ice Cream and Twentieth Century Bowling Alley

The name kind of says it all: Wholesome fun with bowling and ice cream.

Lucky Strike—Fenway

This alley is part of the Jillian’s/Lucky Strike complex near Fenway Park: 70,000 square feet of all sorts of fun.

Kings Dining & Entertainment

The Back Bay location of this chain has dining and other gaming options.

Kings Dining & Entertainment/Yelp

Lucky Strike Social Somerville

This Assembly Row outpost of Lucky Strike opened in April 2018.

Boston Bowl

This alley is open 24 hours and touts itself as particularly family-friendly. There are also outside batting cages.

Boston Candlepin

Southie. Candlepin. Not much else to say about this family-run joint.

Central Park Lanes

This Eastie standard comes with few frills, though that’s kind of the point.

Voravut/Yelp

Sacco's Bowl Haven

This bowling-and-nosh spot predates World War II.

Tim Sackton/Flickr