Awesome Chicagoland Playgrounds to Explore with Kids

Get ready for your next playground adventure!

Families who want to spend more time outdoors can take advantage of the great playgrounds around Chicagoland. The Chicago area has plenty of playgrounds but if you’re looking for something a little more than just a swing and slide, these parks provide plenty of cool features to get your kids excited.

Ready to embark on your next playground adventure? Add these unique spots to your park-hopping playground list.

City

Photo Credit: Park No. 574/Chicago Park District

Maggie Daley Park

This ultimate playground, located in the heart of downtown Chicago, offers an urban oasis of fun. The popular destination offers something for everyone. A variety of play structures can be found here with different themes.

Pretend to sail the seas on the metal play ship complete with ladders and nets, traverse the suspension bridge, cool off at the animal-theme spray area, swing away on the unique swings, pretend to be Alice in Wonderland at the whimsical Enchanted Forest and so much more. Have more time? Scale up the rock-climbing wall, go mini-golfing or skate on the ribbon.

Park No. 574

Located on the West Side, this park is for climbers. The wire zip line, huge hillside slides, and pommel horses are popular park favorites. Kids aren’t the only ones that can get their exercise on. With fitness stations and a walking path, adults can get in on the fun too.

Seneca Playlot Park

This Downtown Chicago park recently went through renovations to provide playground fun for kids of all ages. Kids will love the big slide! The location, just off the Mag Mile, makes it a perfect place for a quick break when you’re shopping.

Ward (A. Montgomery) Park

This River North playground’s “Green Mountain” rubber climbing structure is a favorite among city kids. Non-climbers can have a blast, too, on the swings, slides or hanging at the splash pad on warm days. Situated along the river, the park offers unparalleled city views, perfect for people watching or snapping casual family photos.

North/Northwest Suburbs

Bison’s Buff Nature Playground

Photo credit: Schaumburg Park District

Located just outside of the Spring Valley Refuge, Bison’s Buff Nature Playground is anything other than a typical playground. Custom designed, this playground incorporates natural materials, such as boulders, logs, sand and water. It features rock formations, a stream running through, and other nature-inspired elements meant to encourage creative play in a contained, safe space. Other activities include bison rock walls and ropes, balance beams, slides and monkey bars. Note: There is an entry fee for children older than 2 and visits are limited to one hour.

Photo credit: Cheryl Eugenio

Bowen Park

This multi-level playground built right into a hillside gets cool points. Add in a double-decker spider web and a super long tunnel slide (one of the longest in the Chicago suburbs) and you now have a playground adventurous park-goers will love. Little kids will adore The Forest Meadow, a much safer space (read: everything low to the ground). On a steamy day, everyone will appreciate the free splash pad.

Central Park

Central Park
Photo credit: Skokie Park District

This “Floor is Lava” themed playground, which was redone last year, welcomes kids with its electric blue and neon orange hues. The structures cater to climbers with various rock, rope and ladder structures to climb on. Friends of all ages will love riding in a double decker merry-go-round and a life raft seesaw where they can move in multiple directions. This playground also puts parents’ fears about injuries at ease, as it sits on a padded rubber surface.

Challenge Course at Meineke Park

Photo credit: Schaumburg Park District

If your kid wants to be the next ninja warrior, then the “Ninja Course” at Meineke Park is meant for them. The course features obstacles like U-turn ramps, ropes and traverse walls that will help mold your future American ninja warriors. When they need a break, head to the two playgrounds with zip lines and those fun “mommy and me” swings.

Deicke Park

Add this Huntley playground to your “must visit” parks list for little ones. Kids will delight in this colorful playground village complete with a variety of school-themed play structures they adore: little houses, school buses, a train (there’s even a working railroad crossing signal!) and a fire truck.

Basketball fans should bring their own ball to shoot hoops on the basketball rims of varying heights. Parents, everything you could want in a park is here. Enjoy a completely gated playground with a rubber ground, imaginative play options and picnic tables for a snack break.

Goose Lake Park

Located a little outside of Schaumburg in nearby Roselle, Goose Lake Park is an awesome playground known for its long, tunnel slides. Here, climbers will love making it to the top of a large multi-level tower. Younger kiddos will enjoy an equally impressive play structure that boasts everything the big kids have (slides, stairs, bars) on a much smaller scale. A large swing set area houses big swings, baby swings, accessible swings and buddy swings for parents and kids to ride together.

Oakton Park

Oakton Park
Photo credit: Skokie Park District

If you’ve got kiddos of varying ages, Oakton Park Playground is the perfect place for them to hang! With robust big and little kid structures, siblings will enjoy this multicolored play space with various levels, slides and climbing structures. Bring a bucket and some shovels – the tots will love uncovering dinosaur bones in two large sandpits.

Sunset Woods Park

Future paleontologists in tow? They’ll have a roaring good time at the archaeological dig with a T-rex. Other things to do include a two-story treehouse and rocket ship play structure. Expect to see a modern and renovated playground in the near future.

For more playground fun in the north suburbs, check out these great parks near Skokie and Schaumburg

South Suburbs

Centennial Park

Photo credit: Village of Orland Park

The popular south suburban park offers something for everyone. Take a stroll on the walking paths, master your tricks at the skatepark, bring your pup to the dog park or skate around on the ice rink during the winter months. Don’t forget to bring the fishing poles. Kids can choose from two fun playgrounds on artificial turf or one of that is fenced (perfect for your little runners!).

Freedom Park

Freedom Park
Photo credit: Tinley Park Park District

Freedom Park encompasses 6,000 square feet of a child’s interactive paradise and we love this spot because it caters to every type of young playground lover! Whether your kiddo loves to climb, swing, slide or explore, there’s a play structure for it. Fan favorites are the swing and spin and various mini rock-climbing walls.

Harvester Park

Located on over 37 acres, there is plenty of fun to be had at Harvester Park. Choose from walking trails, basketball and volleyball courts. The highlight for kids is no doubt the “Tree of Life” play area with a huge climbable tree. Find zip lines, climbing opportunities and a music area. Bring a change of clothes — the kids will want to play at the splash pad and sand area.

Leigh Creek South Park

Located behind the Lincoln Way Special Recreation Association building, this inclusive playground is sure to be a winner. Highlights include the wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round and the seated zipline. In addition to the fun playground structure, making music and playing on the multiple basketball hoops with different heights add to the excitement.

Michael J. Sutter Playground

Sutter Playground
Photo credit: Tinley Park Park District

Named after local hero Staff Sergeant Michael J Sutter, this astroturf playground is home to sensory-friendly amenities including colorful, textured surfaces to explore, lots of wheels and trinkets to spin, and musical stations that play a variety of sounds. Kiddos will especially enjoy competing against each other on a giant tic tac toe board, lifting themselves into the air on a four-person seesaw or bouncing until their heart is content on a spring rocker.

Volunteer Park

Here, park-goers will find Tinley Park’s only playground zipline! Big kids will love soaring through the air — so hold on and fly! In a large play structure, they can also unleash some energy by climbing up and over bars and ropes. Swings cater to all ages and the littlest kiddos can enjoy adorable pretend play in stations that resemble a house and car. A mini playset with a slide and smaller climbing features will make them feel just as important as their older friends.

Looking for even more places to go your play on in the south suburbs? Check out these exciting playgrounds in Tinley Park

Western Suburbs

Photo credit: Naperville Park District

95th Street Community Plaza

Located next to the library, this Naperville playground gets major points for its adorable storybook theme. As you walk up the steps made of books or climb through the whale or apple, both kids and adults are reminded of their favorite stories. Climbers will love the wavy climbing web. During the warmer months, bring your swimsuits to cool off at the fenced splash pad.

Sensory Garden Playground

This thoughtfully-designed playground offers plenty of options for individuals of varying abilities. Follow the walking path to find different areas. Explore the horse-themed playground or the fully-accessible treehouse, listen to the music at the Sound Garden, stop and smell the flowers at the Fragrance Garden, or get your art fix as you view the sculptures. 

Soehrman Park

This newly remodeled park has a splash pad and unique playground equipment for kids of all ages. Tall slides and brightly colored climbing structures will keep older kids playing for hours, and there is a dedicated play area just for littles. The park also has a soccer field, a basketball court and exercise equipment.


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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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