The 25 Best Playgrounds in NYC – The Complete Guide for 2024

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Trying to keep the kids busy in NYC and feeling a bit overwhelmed? We’ve all been there, but the good news is that it’s easier than you think. There are so many playgrounds in NYC that are perfect for every age. From hidden gems in the heart of Manhattan to adventurous spots in Brooklyn, there’s so much more to New York than just its famous sights. So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in NYC with kids, keep reading!

In general, all big and popular parks in New York City feature very nice playgrounds – most of these also have bathrooms as well as vendors of snacks and drinks. Smoking and alcohol are not permitted in parks or at the playground. Here are some top playgrounds in the Big Apple that offer a variety of fun activities for kids of all ages.

New York City’s playgrounds are fun locations for kids, but they are also interesting places for parents as they give them a chance to meet other parents and get a better glimpse into the daily life of New Yorkers. At the playgrounds, you will meet young moms, nannies, families, and, of course, other tourists who want to give their kids a break from sightseeing. Given the huge selection: which playgrounds are the nicest? Here we have compiled a list of the best playgrounds in NYC. This way your trip to New York with your kids is sure to be a success!

  1. 01 Adventure Playground in Central Park

    Best playground NYC for school-age children

    Adventure Playground isn’t just any playground in NYC; it’s a world of imagination and exploration right in the heart of Central Park. Designed to inspire creative play, this playground features unique structures like a wood pyramid, a concrete and granite climbing mound with a tunnel and slide, and an elaborate water feature that’s perfect for splashing around.

    Simply put, it’s an adventure-style playground that encourages kids to climb, explore, and interact with the environment in ways they might not elsewhere. So, whether your little ones are aspiring climbers, adventurers, or water play enthusiasts, it’s a must-visit for families seeking a blend of adventure and nature in the city.

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    02 Ancient Playground

    A nice playground in Central Park is the Ancient Playground. Located directly on 5th Avenue at 85th Street, your offspring can really let off steam. And that in the middle of the green! Simply great, especially because it was recently renovated!

  3. 03 Astoria Heights Playground in Queens

    Suitable for kids up to age 15

    Astoria Heights Playground offers a dynamic mix of play and sports facilities designed with input from local schools and the community. The park is split into two main areas: athletic courts on the upper side for tennis, volleyball, or baseball, and then a walking track, playground, and relaxation zones on the lower side.

    It caters to children up to age 15, featuring diverse play equipment and a refreshing spray shower area with 10 jets for cooling off. Parents will appreciate the picnic area and small lawn, perfect for family gatherings or a quiet break. This playground balances active play with spaces for community engagement, making it a versatile spot for families in Astoria.

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    04 Billy Johnson Playground

    The Billy Johnson Playground is another playground in Central Park. It harmonizes perfectly with its surroundings and offers a total adventure zone, built with natural materials such as wood. Some slides are even integrated into rocks.

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    05 Bleecker Playground

    The playground on Bleecker Street in the West Village opened in 1996, is known as the playground of celebrities. This is where you will see Sarah Jessica Parker’s twins as well as Jessica Alba’s kids play on the climbing bars, the swings, and in the big sandbox. What makes this playground special is that unused toys from the nearby residents are donated to the playground, where they are made available to children of all ages. Directly across from the playground is the famous Magnolia Bakery. In any ranking of New York’s playgrounds, Bleecker Playground is always near the top. Address: corner of 8th Avenue and Bleecker Street/bathrooms are available.

  6. 06 Bloomingdale Playground on the Upper West Side

    Great for kids ages 2-12

    Tucked away in the Upper West Side, the Bloomingdale Playground is a welcoming spot for families with toddlers and young children. This playground features modern play equipment, including a climbing structure with a slide, swing sets, and a refreshing spray shower for those hot summer days.

    After its renovation, the space now also includes updated basketball courts and an adult fitness area, making it a great spot for the whole family. The playground’s design focuses on accessibility and safety, ensuring a fun and worry-free visit. With plenty of seating and beautiful plantings, it’s the perfect spot for a family day out, offering a mix of active play and relaxation.

  7. Gantry Plaza State Park

    07 Gantry Plaza State Park Playground, Long Island City

    Suitable for children of all ages

    Gantry Plaza State Park Playground offers more than just play equipment; it provides a panoramic view of Manhattan’s skyline in a 12-acre riverside park. The playground is part of a larger park that includes basketball and handball courts, ensuring there’s something for every age and interest.

    The playground itself has modern equipment that kids of all ages can enjoy, from slides to swings and everything in between. Plus, the park’s unique industrial elements add a neat, historical vibe to your visit. Ultimately, this is one of the best playgrounds NYC, so don’t miss out!

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    08 Governors Island Playgrounds

    Governors Island is one of our absolute favorite places. The island is great for families, as there are not only great playgrounds, but also events.

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    09 Heckscher Playground in Central Park

    Great for all ages

    Heckscher Playground isn’t just Central Park’s biggest playground; it’s a place where kids from toddlers to tweens can find something fun to do. Set against a backdrop of massive rocks and city views, it’s got swings, slides, and a unique water play area that’s perfect for cooling off in summer.

    Yet, what makes it stand out the most is the variety of play equipment and the large, open spaces for kids to run around. It’s also got one of the first large wading pools in the city. So, regardless of whether your kids like climbing, splashing, or just exploring, this playground has it all!

  10. 10 Hester Street Playground on the Lower East Side

    Suitable for all ages

    Hester Street Playground, tucked away in Chinatown’s Sara D. Roosevelt Park, is a hit for families year-round. With distinct areas for older kids and toddlers, it’s a space where everyone finds something fun. The big kids‘ area boasts a challenging jungle gym and tall, twisty slides, while the toddlers‘ section offers safe, engaging play structures.

    In addition, following a $5 million renovation, it now features comfy amenities like restrooms and picnic tables. And since it’s surrounded by basketball courts and a soccer field, it’s an ideal spot for an active day out. Plus, the promise of delicious Chinatown treats nearby makes it even more appealing for a family adventure.

  11. 11 J.J. Byrne Playground in Park Slope Brooklyn

    Suitable for children up to 12 years old

    In Park Slope, J.J. Byrne Playground is a hub of activity for families, offering a rich array of play options. With a large climbing structure, various swings, and a beloved water play area, it’s designed to entertain children up to 12 years old through the warmer months and beyond.

    The playground’s location next to the Old Stone House adds a historical dimension, often hosting events that blend culture with community fun. Furthermore, basketball courts and a community garden extend the playground’s appeal, providing spaces for both active play and learning. For families looking for a place where kids can expend energy, learn, and cool off, J.J. Byrne Playground stands out as the best playground in Park Slope.

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    12 Main Street Playground

    In the middle of the greenery, time can be spent here climbing, sliding and playing, while parents can best relax with a coffee from one of the cafes in the area. The view of the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge from here is awesome!

  13. Moira Ann Smith Playground

    13 Moira Ann Smith Playground in Madison Square Park

    Suitable for children of all ages

    The Moira Ann Smith Playground at Madison Square Park is a lively spot for kids, filled with colorful play structures, water features, and plenty of space to run around. It’s also great for families looking to enjoy the outdoors, with tire swings and slides that keep the little ones busy.

    If that’s not enough, the water-spouting alphabet blocks and a large water wheel add a fun touch for hot days. Plus, it’s near some good eats, like Shake Shack, making it a hit for post-play treats. And when you consider that the playground is named after a fallen 9/11 police officer, it’s a meaningful place for community gathering and play.

  14. 14 Nelson A. Rockefeller Playground in Battery Park City

    Suitable for all ages

    Nestled in the expansive greens of Battery Park City, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Playground is more than just a play area; it’s a slice of serenity in the urban jungle. This playground, which is part of a park filled with wide lawns and picturesque plantings, offers a safe, engaging environment for kids to explore.

    From imaginative play structures to gentle water features, it caters to the playful hearts of all ages. What’s more, the playground’s scenic backdrop and proximity to practical facilities like restrooms make it a stress-free choice for parents seeking a peaceful yet entertaining outdoor escape for their children.

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    15 Pier 1 Playground

    Playing at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is particularly fun, don’t you think? After a stroll across New York’s most famous bridge, or following a tour through the beautiful neighborhood of Dumbo, the Pier 1 playground beckons with adventure for kids. Afterward, the world-famous carousel (Jane’s Carousel) in Brooklyn Bridge Park is a big draw. Parents can enjoy wonderful views: the playground is located on the waterfront and offers great views of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge. Address: Pier 1, Dumbo

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    16 Pier 25 Playground

    The playground is located in Hudson River Park, which also has mini golf, beach volleyball and a snack bar, among other things. In addition to Pier 25, there is also Pier 51 Playground in Hudson River Park.

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    17 Pier 26 Science Playground

    Discover and explore in the 4,000-square-foot marine-themed playground, where children can engage with wildlife and the Hudson River habitat through play. Custom play structures shaped like endangered sturgeon species, designed by OLIN, encourage learning about marine life while having fun. Inside these structures, children can interact with marine-oriented features, learning about local wildlife in the Hudson River Park’s Estuarine Sanctuary. 

    Thanks to the fundraising efforts led by Hudson River Park Friends, this imaginative and educational playground offers a unique blend of science and recreation for all ages to enjoy, supported by the expertise of Monstrum and the River Project team.

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    18 Pier 51 Playground

    Pier 51 Playground in Hudson River Park is the go-to spot for families, especially when the weather heats up. This playground stands out with its nautical theme, offering kids a blast with its water and sand play areas. Recognized as one of NYC’s top playgrounds for its unique features, it includes climbing equipment, slides, and a pretend boat hull, and is crisscrossed by a “stream” filled with bronze aquatic life inlays.

    The water features, which are a hit in warm weather, get kids soaking wet and provide a cool canal for paddling. Although these water elements are seasonal, the playground remains open all year, ensuring fun times whenever you visit. With plenty of seating around, it’s easy for parents to keep an eye out while the kids have a ball.

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    19 Pier 6 Playgrounds in Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Ideal for children of all ages

    Pier 6 Playgrounds in Brooklyn Bridge Park is an excellent destination for families looking for a day filled with fun and adventure. With a variety of playgrounds to explore, children of all ages can find something exciting to do. For starters, the Water Lab is a hit during warm weather, offering kids a chance to cool off and play in water features.

    For the little ones, the Sandbox Village provides endless entertainment with its imaginative play spaces. At the same time, older kids will enjoy the challenge of Swing Valley and Slide Mountain, which offers thrilling swings and slides. Add all this to the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, and you get more than just a playground visit; you get a memorable day out for the whole family.

  20. 20 Seaside Nature Wildlife Park Playground

    Dive into an unforgettable adventure with one of the most imaginative free things to do in NYC this summer – the Seaside Nature Wildlife Park Playground on Staten Island. Envision an oceanfront fishing cove with rustic paths meandering through salt marsh vegetation and leading to the beach. 

    This playground fully embraces its seaside theme, featuring two boat-like play structures, a fierce dragon ship head, a jaw-dropping shark jungle gym, a mini lighthouse, and a gleaming brass horseshoe crab. The sprawling sandy area completes the charming coastal experience, immersing kids and adults alike in the magic of the ocean.

  21. 21 Slide Hill on Governor’s Island

    Fun for all ages, especially thrill-seekers

    Slide Hill on Governors Island is where the fun goes to new heights – literally! Part of the island’s innovative „The Hills“ project, Slide Hill boasts four slides, including NYC’s longest slide, which is a whopping 57 feet long and three stories high. Yet, this isn’t just a playground; it’s an adventure that offers breathtaking twists and turns for an exhilarating ride.

    Besides the thrilling slides, Slide Hill and its surroundings offer lush green spaces, stunning views of New York Harbor, and a chance to lounge back in comfy Adirondack chairs. It’s an ideal spot for families looking to mix adventure with relaxation and enjoy a day out in one of NYC’s most unique outdoor spaces. Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, Slide Hill provides a fun-filled experience that’s hard to beat.

  22. 22 Sweetwater Playground at Domino Park in Brooklyn

    Suitable for all ages

    Sweetwater Playground is a standout feature of Domino Park, situated in the Williamsburg neighborhood. This playground is a nod to the site’s sweet past, designed to mimic the sugar refining process. Here, kids start their adventure as raw sugar cane and transform into molasses or sugar cubes by the journey’s end.

    One of the most unique features is the use of reclaimed materials from the old refinery, which adds a touch of history and sustainability to your visit. Beyond the playground, Domino Park offers a riverside walk with historical factory equipment on display, making it a fantastic spot for families to explore, learn, and play. Furthermore, volleyball courts and water jets add to the fun, making it a top pick for one of the best playgrounds in NYC.

  23. 23 Tarr-Coyne Tots Playground in Central Park

    Specifically designed for toddlers and young children

    Tarr-Coyne Tots Playground offers a cozy and safe environment for the youngest adventurers. Its design focuses on scaled-down landforms and features like sand play areas, swings, and interactive water elements that are perfect for toddlers to explore under close supervision.

    And given that it’s situated next to the more exciting Adventure Playground, it offers more options for families with children of different age groups. So, while the little ones enjoy the calm and safe environment of Tarr-Coyne, older kids can partake in more adventurous activities, ensuring that every family member finds entertainment at Central Park’s playgrounds.

  24. 24 Tom Otterness Playground

    When it comes to unique and whimsical playgrounds, Tom Otterness Playground in Chelsea rises above the rest as one of the most captivating free things to do in NYC this summer. This creative play structure, shaped like a sitting man, offers endless opportunities for climbing, swinging, and sliding, delighting children and adults alike. 

    Don’t miss the chance to snap memorable photos amidst this one-of-a-kind backdrop. Craving more of Tom Otterness’s iconic artwork? Visit the 14th St. Subway Station to admire “Life Underground,” a collection of enchanting bronze sculptures.

  25. 25 Vanderbilt Street Playground in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

    Ideal for toddlers to pre-teens

    After a much-needed renovation, Vanderbilt Street Playground has transformed into a bright and welcoming space for children of all ages. Located near the scenic Prospect Park Lake, this playground offers distinct areas for toddlers and older kids.

    Little ones can enjoy a gated area with gentle slides and interactive features, while older kids have a huge star-shaped rope climbing structure and a jungle gym to conquer. Additionally, the water features and winding water sculpture add a splash of fun, promising a refreshing escape during warmer months. With Uncle Louie G’s and a pizzeria just across the street, it’s a perfect spot for a full day of outdoor adventure and treats.

New York with Children

This list of the best playgrounds in NYC proves that the mega metropolis is more kid-friendly than you thought, right? No matter what their age or what they are into at the moment, kids won’t get bored in the Big Apple. Are you looking for the perfect family hotel? We can help you with that as well.

New York with children – an overview of our articles

All articles and reports on how to have a great time discovering New York with your children can be found here:



What are some of the best outdoor playgrounds in NYC?

Some top outdoor playgrounds in NYC include the Pier 6 Playgrounds at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its massive sandbox and Water Lab, and the Heckscher Playground in Central Park, offering extensive climbing structures and slides. Additionally, Pier 51 Playground at Hudson River Park is also very popular since you can enjoy great Hudson River views.

Are there any indoor playgrounds worth visiting in NYC?

Yes, NYC has several great indoor playgrounds for those cold or rainy days. The Chelsea Piers Field House offers a wide range of sports and activities for kids. Play:groundNYC on Governors Island provides an indoor space dedicated to free play, with materials for building and creating. And for younger kids, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan includes play areas that combine fun with learning.

Where can I find adventure playgrounds in NYC?

Adventure playgrounds in NYC are designed to offer kids more challenging and imaginative play spaces. The Adventure Playground in Central Park and the Imagination Playground at South Street Seaport are standout choices. These playgrounds encourage kids to interact with natural elements and engage in creative play, offering a more dynamic and interactive experience compared to traditional playgrounds.

What are some family-friendly parks with playgrounds near me in NYC?

NYC is home to numerous family-friendly parks with playgrounds. Central Park, Prospect Park, and Riverside Park are just a few examples where families can find a variety of playgrounds suitable for different age groups. These parks not only offer playgrounds but also vast green spaces for picnicking, trails for biking, and ponds for model boating, making them perfect for a full day of family fun.

What other family-friendly activities can I enjoy with kids in NYC?

Beyond playgrounds, NYC is filled with family-friendly activities. Visit the Bronx Zoo or the New York Aquarium for a day of wildlife exploration. Furthermore, museums like the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of the Arts offer interactive exhibits tailored for young minds. For a unique experience, take a carousel ride in one of the city’s parks or explore the High Line for an elevated park adventure.

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