A. Montgomery Ward Park
Mary Bartelme Park
Swings,slides, climbing structures, mazes: Our favorite playgrounds let kids explore and use up that seemingly never-ending energy. This spring, our little ones tested out these top spots, from old-school (completely made of wood) to modern masterpieces to wheelchair-friendly. And when the mercury rises, check out these favorite spray parks.
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The best playgrounds in Chicago
Commonly known as the "Blue Park" because of its large, blue, kid-friendly surface, this park is beloved by most Lakeview parents. The playground has three large play structures, plus swings, benches, picnics table and more. There is also a basketball court and a gazebo. The large lot is fenced in, so kids can run around safely.Read more
The playground at this park, also known as Erie Park, is only four years old, and you can tell. Everything is in great shape, including the plentiful swings, hugely popular Green Mountain for climbing, plastic climbing structures, twirly slides and patio tables. The whole park is beautiful and scenic. Makes us happy to be city parents.Read more
Located right behind Lincoln Park High School, Oz Park is just what you think: a park dedicated to The Wizard of Oz. Sculptures of the popular characters are scattered around the huge park. The small-ish playground has a fun wooden castle/maze structure filled with windows to look through, things to climb, bridges to run across, etc. There is also a plastic tire swing that bigger kids seem to like. The playground even has equipment for the littlest ones who can barely walk—with a separate slide, rocking animals and a wooden train to climb on.Read more
While this lakeside Evanston playground was designed with the input of therapists to allow children with physical limitations and sensory issues to have a playground they could enjoy, it was also meant for typical kids. “The goal is for everyone to play there,” says Julie Cutter, who (along with her husband, David) helped raise the money to build it in their son’s memory. Highlights include a wheelchair-accessible climbing structure, seated swings and a Braille map. The parking lot, water fountains, picnic tables and restrooms are equally accessible, making this a playground that truly lives up to its name.Read more
The newest addition to Grant Park features a quarter-mile ice-skating ribbon, which wraps around a 40-foot climbing wall on the northern end of the 20-acre plot (now closed for the season). The Play Garden has enourmous slides and whimsical climbing structures. Future attractions include a new fieldhouse.Read more
This South Side beach features amazing views of the Chicago skyline in addition to a harbor for small boats. A nearby park includes a picnic area and a public fishing dock. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lockers, life guard first aid station, playground.
The Seuss-like playground is wavy and curvy with lots of things to climb on: monkey bars, slides, net-like things. Kids love the rail slide, on which they slide down on/between two rails.
The children’s play area at this West Loop park is ADA accessible, which allows for inventive, non-linear play without traditional play equipment, though it does have swings, structures, slides and a lot of cool things to run around on. In the rest of the park, dogs can enjoy a uniquely sunken dog park that is complete with a continuously filling, over-sized dog bowl, ramps, ledges, steps, and artificial canine grass to provide an exercise area. The viewing hill is up to six feet high and provides a stunning view of the entire park with a backdrop of the Chicago skyline.Read more