You may have heard about a new activity sweeping the country. From seeing it on shows like Ellen to hearing about it being the fun new destination for team building or bachelor parties, axe throwing is becoming more well known in the US. But how did the axe throwing trend get started?

In September of 2016, Urban Axes Philadelphia opened their doors to a completely unsuspecting city. Philly, already known for its incredible restaurants, excellent art scene, and insanely passionate sports fans, had something to prepare for: axe throwing. The sport had existed in Canada for years, but Urban Axes was the first to bring it to the United States with its first location in the Fishtown/Kensington neighborhood.

Urban Axes introduced axe throwing to the U.S. and set the bar very high in the process. Conversations quickly went from “what’s axe throwing?” to “OMG – I’ve been there and it’s awesome. I’m way better than I thought I’d be!” Since opening in 2016, Urban Axes has expanded to five other cities: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, and Durham with Houston, Phoenix, with a second Philly location on the horizon.

So, what should you expect when you book an event? The Philly location is bring-your-own beer and wine (no hard liquor), so grab your favorite drinks ahead of time and bring them with! When you get there, the staff checks you in and assigns you a coach. The coach goes over some important, but very easy to follow safety rules. Then the fun starts. The coach will take people into the arena and start teaching them how to throw. At first, it’s just the basics, but everyone quickly learns the movements that work best for them. After everyone’s been taught how to throw, the coach goes over gameplay—how to actually play a match. And then? A tournament commences. A few hours later, you walk out of Urban Axes a champion, potentially with a trophy under your arm.

In addition to group events, like birthdays and bachelor/bachelorette parties, Urban Axes also hosts larger parties – anything from team building events, corporate retreats, and university class reunions, to rehearsal dinners (yes, really!) and unique fundraisers. For those that get hooked on hitting bullseyes, there’s a thriving league community (groups who compete for seven weeks, culminating in an incredible tournament on week eight), home to some of the best competitive axe throwers in the United States. It gets even bigger than eight-week tournaments though.

This July, Urban Axes Baltimore is hosting its second annual Urban Open. This open tournament will attract axe throwers from all over the world to compete for the $10,000 prize pool. Attendees and competitors can stay at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn in Fells Point to get a great taste of Baltimore while they’re in town for the Open. Needless to say, Urban Axes has certainly grown its following and axe throwing as a legitimate competitive sport in the U.S. since their opening their doors.

It’s really pretty simple as to why axe throwing took off the way it did. It’s addictively satisfying. Throwing an axe feels like something you shouldn’t be doing, but there’s something very rewarding and delightfully forbidden about hearing an axe sticking into a wooden target. Talk to almost anyone who has been axe throwing and they’ll tell you the same thing: it’s something you have to experience to understand just how fun it is.

And don’t forget, Hilton guests get 20% off open throwing on Sundays with the Weekend Like a Local package!

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