Play outside at fabulous destination playgrounds. Also check family fun outside the city, plus our guides to Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Most playgrounds are open dawn to dusk - click through to the park website or the latest hours.
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Frolic and splash with beloved hippo statues in this well maintained playground in lovely Riverside Park featuring swings, wooden and metal play equipment, slides, a spray shower, picnic tables, benches, sand pit, a drinking fountain, bathrooms and summer weekday art projects.
River Run Playground
A shady large playground nestled in pretty Riverside Park is just big enough for range of ages but small enough not to lose wanderers within its fences. Play on all sorts of equipment including see saws, swings, multiple jungle gyms, and monkey bars and a large sand pit.
On hot days, sprinklers create a replica…
Diana Ross Playground
Summit Rock, the highest natural point in Central Park, provides a shady (climbable) backdrop to this pretty playground. A large wooden climbing structure with multiple levels of platforms and decks links to ladders, slides, and tire swings, all set in a naturalistic sand area. Also enjoy toddler swings and spray showers in the summer.
This big playground invokes Egyptian themes with climbable pyramids, a large sand lot and a spray shower that represents Egypt’s Nile River in reference to the ancient Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art next door. Lots of slides, tunnels and concrete bridges plus bucket, tire and strap swings are perfect for…
Billy Johnson Playground
This rustic playground hosts an amazing 45-foot granite slide nestled into a rocky hill, bucket and tire swings, and an amphitheater and miniature stone bridge made of natural materials like plants, stone, and wood at a child’s scale.
Explore nature and art on a unique floating green space on the Hudson River.
* Enjoy diverse horticulture, welcoming seating lawns, winding paths leading to spectacular views, and a variety of spaces for performing arts, relaxation and play. Make music on a variety of percussion installations and play with a spinning optical illusion.
* Restrooms are on the southern edge by The Glade.
* No playgrounds on the island, but colorful Chelsea Waterside Playground and Pier 62 Carousel are both short walks away. Lots of art & food to explore in nearby Chelsea/Meatpacking.
* Free seasonal programming includes art, music, theater, storytime and more for kids at weekday Creative Breaks and Sunday family shows.
🍽 From May to October, fresh, locally-sourced food available throughout the day, from local baked goods with coffee in the morning, salads or sandwiches throughout the day, and evening signature drinks and snacks for sharing. Gluten-free & vegan options availble; see menu.
Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground
Toy soldiers welcome kids to this brightly colored playground featuring water fountains, tire-swings, water-spouting alphabet blocks, turrets, slides, and a large water wheel in the northeast corner of charming Madison Square Park..
Named after Officer Moira Ann Smith, the only NYPD policewoman to be lost on September 11, 2001, the playground stands as a loving tribute to this community hero and mother.
See our complete guide to Flatiron/Gramercy.
Chelsea Waterside Playground
The newly designed play area features a giant, multi-colored, one-of-a-kind, Robinia wood pipefish plus water features incorporating limestone cattle head sculptures reclaimed from historic meatpacking district business New York Butchers’ Dressed Meat Company.
Near the new must-see Little Island and Pier 62 Carousel.
Central Park’s largest playground features a shaded area with swings and slides, a large, maze-like climbers, seasonal water features, sloped turf, a large sandbox area, low monkey bars, tunnels, ramps and (our favorite) giant rocks to climb. Plus a spacious bathroom.
Face painters, musicians and giant bubble makers often congregate at the entrance.
Bella Abzug Park
Climb on rope webs in a colorful structure surrounded by undulating soft surfaces. Communicate through underground pipes, relax on tables and chairs, splash int he fountain and admire the Hudson River view.
Pier 25 Playground
The longest pier in Hudson River Park hosts an awesome playground with eight different water features (including some very unpredictable fountains), rock climbing walls, swings, monkey bars, a big sandbox, geodesic-dome-shaped climbing net and more. Also explore an 18-hole miniature golf course, a snack bar, sand volleyball courts, berthing areas for historic ships and a large artificial turf lawn.
Explore a new playground with five ecology zones—Bluff, Marsh, Dune, Meadow, and Riverbed– in resilient design, post-Superstorm Sandy when the park survived the full force of the 15-foot storm surge and became a focal point of sea level rise. Lyrical patterns of water illuminate the portal, fence, and custom seating. Daylight filters through the punctuated surfaces to showcase Manhattan island’s tides and currents. A unique portal to the 1.4-acre playground ensures children’s safety as they wander and explore among 40,000 square feet of gardens.
Next to the enchanting Seaglass Carousel. See our guide to Fidi.
This magical interactive, transformable playground lets kids create their own play space with sand, water, giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric, and crates at their fingertips. Great view of the East River. Near lots of cool public art. Bathrooms available.
Nelson A. Rockefeller & Teardrop Park
Frolic on wide waterfront lawns and explore multiple playgrounds plus gardens, public art pieces, and a sheltered pavilion.
In Rockefeller Park, climb large jungle gyms with swinging bridges, netting, slides, poles and more. Ride a pedal-powered merry-go-round and dig in multiple sandboxes and a handicapped-accessible sand table. In warm weather, be sprayed by an elephant hippopotamus, three puppies and sprinklers. Babies can enjoy infant swings and a gentle dodo-bird sprayer
Nearby naturalistic Teardrop Park (tucked behind a Battery Park City high-rise) features a magnificent “Ice Wall,” artwork a children’s slide, rocks for climbing, one of the longest slides in the city and an impressive summertime water play area.
Lots of shade and picnic tables. Find restrooms and friendly BPC Parks staff at the Park House, plus lots of all-ages programming.
This small park has cool design, a big includes a big jungle gym with monkey bars atop rubber matting, lots of shaded seating area, a basketball court (with two hoops), checker board tables and sprinklers.
play:groundNYC’s The Yard
Get creative at a 50,000 square-foot adventure playground stocked with loose parts, tools and space for kids to play, imagine and dream big.
See our compete guide to Governor’s Island.
Gantry Plaza State Park/Hunter’s Point Park SouthQueens: LIC
Visit two Long Island City playgrounds within walking distance of each other set in a large riverside oasis with spectacular Manhattan views.
Lots of places to climb and spin (and splash in the summer) at the playground at Gantry Plaza State Park with a cushioned rainbow floor and groovy design. Stroll along the park’s four piers or through the park’s manicured gardens and unique mist fountain and check out restored gantries, industrial monuments once used to load and unload rail car floats and barges.
Head south to the well equipped Hunter’s Point Playground and explore the city’s new park with large fields, benches, trees, the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign and a 30-foot-tall cantilevered platform for viewing the skyline and waterfront. Pizza, burgers, coffee, ice cream and more available at outdoor LIC Landing Cafe.
Travel to and from Manhattan and Brooklyn on the East River Ferry.
Jurassic & Triassic PlaygroundQueens: Corona/Flushing
Dino lovers can climb and play on an dino-inspired equipment at two playgrounds on opposite sides of Meadow Lake created to commemorate the Sinclair Oil “Dinoland” exhibit at the 1964-65 World’s Fair. In addition to swings and jungle gymes, find dinosaur footprints and art throughout the playground. Learn about flora and fauna from the Triassic Period, on a geologic time scale and get wet in spray showers in the shape of palm trees.
Unisphere & Fountain of the FairsQueens: Corona/Flushing
Splash beneath the iconic Unisphere from the 1939 World’s Fair in recently renovated sprinklers showers and mist rising from the reflecting pool.
J.J. Byrne Playground & Old Stone HouseProspect Park/Park Slope
Enjoy lots of modern climbing equipment juxtaposed with colonial themes inspired by the adjacent Old Stone House, site of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn. Explore a submarine periscope and interactive panels depicting the historic battle among natural stone and rustic pavement, then attack your enemies with water cannons.
A gated toddler area features bucket swings, farm animal cutouts, and a tot size climbing structure. The park also hosts a multipurpose synthetic turf field, a skate park, two new basketball courts, eight handball courts, and a dog run.
See a beautiful, interactive exhibit about the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War and what it was like to live in Brooklyn from 1776 – 1783 as well as contemporary exhibits featuring work by emerging artists at the historic Old Stone House (open by appointment Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from Noon-3 pm). Discover gardens vibrant with native and useful plants and shop at Farmers’ Market (Sunday 10 am – 4 pm year round). Any day, get quality fresh frozen yogurt combined with artisanal toppings as well as hot chocolate, coffee and baked goods from nearby Culture NY.
Find cool design and amazing bridge/Manhattan views at a large waterfront park on the site of a former Domino Sugar factory.
* The playground, designed by the artist Mark Reigelman, has fun features like spinning valve wheels cast from Domino Sugar originals and a 26-foot-high silo with ladders, webbing and slides pay homage to the manufacturing process of the refinery.
* Pick up tacos, margaritas and more from counter-service Tacocina with colorful outdoor seating.
* Stroll on an elevated walkway cantilevered off of 21 columns preserved from the Domino factory’s original Raw Sugar Warehouse for pretty perspectives of the river, skyline and park. ADA/stroller access by ramp near the Gantry Cranes.
* Shop fresh, local produce and products back at the Domino Park Greenmarket every Sunday 9 am to 3 pm.
* In warm weather, frolic in waterfront fountains, near remaining elements of the former Domino Sugar Factory. In the evening, the fountains are illuminated in pretty colors. Try artisanal popsicles from Mom & Icepops.
* Take the NYC ferry from Wall Street, East 34th Street and elsewhere to the North Williamsburg landing for a special arrival. The L train Bedford Station is a 15-20 minute walk away.
Brooklyn Bridge Park PlaygroundsDUMBO, Downtown & Heights
This expansive park has great attractions and a gorgeous only-in-NYC view. Explore refurbished piers, most of which host playgrounds (our favorites are at Pier 6 including giant Slide Mountain, Sandbox Village, Swing Valley and the splashy Water Lab). Play in the sand and admire tide pools at Pier 4 Beach (no swimming/wading).
Find a variety of yummy concessions throughout the park and restrooms at Piers 2,5 & 6.
See our guide to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Zucker Natural Exploration AreaProspect Park/Park Slope
Strategically placed branches and stumps of trees damaged by storms and other materials from within Prospect Park invite engagement nature and unstructured play in this magical playground. several areas to explore including sand for digging and water features for pumping and splashing.
See our complete guide to Prospect Park.