Do you remember those horrible metal slides that would bake in the sun, scorching your skin on the way down? I don’t think I will ever forget them and not just because they left permanent scars on the backs of my legs (kidding!) Those are the playground slides I grew up with and they’ve come a long way since I was a kid.
Around Chicago, you can find all kinds of slides geared towards kids of all ages, but where are the best ones?
Kid me would tell you that “the best” slide is the tallest, fastest, fiercest playground structure around, but as an adult, my opinion has shifted a bit. Now, “the best” slide is the one that doesn’t make me panic when my two-year-old tries to climb up to it. It’s the one within walking distance to our home so I can fit in some time in the park before I have to pry his tiny fists off the playground equipment and bring him home to go to bed.
But not all slides are created equal, and when we have the time to get out and play a little longer, there’s one playground with the best slides in the city that wins us over every time, and that’s Maggie Daley Park.
Located near the Lake Michigan shoreline in northeastern Grant Park and spanning 20-acres, this public park is pure heaven if you’re a kid in the city and just as much fun for adults. There’s a climbing wall, mini golf, and roller blades and scooters for rental. There’s a Play Garden broken into age-appropriate play spaces. But nothing will captivate your kids’ attention quite like The Slide Crater.
This giant area of the playground touts the best slides you’ll find in the city. At the very center is the Tower Bridge, outfitted with a suspended walkway and equipped with knobs to turn, tubes to talk into and a viewing scope. Everything else is slides. There’s spiral slides, rail slides and slides that emerge from a Play Pyramid. There’s skinny slides and slides wide enough to fit your whole family so you can hold hands and go down at the same time. Technically, the area is geared towards 5-12 year olds, which is a good age to let them explore more independently, but a toddler-age kid will do just as well with a little extra help and it will keep them busy and entertained for hours.
If you’re a Chicago native or just planning visit with your family, I would definitely put Maggie Daley Park on your list of things to do while you’re downtown. Plus, this park sits right along the lakefront, and near the Art Institute and Millennium Park, so you can knock out visiting a few of the best sites in the city while your kids get a little slide time.