60 Awesome Playgrounds in the Chicago Area (2024)

Chicago is known for its world-class museums, award-winning restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. But, when you’re kid, one of the best ways you can spend your time is playing on an awesome playgound.

Luckily, the Windy City and the Chicago suburbs have some truly special playgrounds that will entertain your kids for hours, and the best part is: most of them are FREE!

Many of these playgrounds overlap with my list of the best splash pads because parks with splash pads tend to be great parks. If you’re looking to top off some playground fun with some ice cream, check out these fantastic ice cream spots.

If the weather is not ideal for outdoor playgrounds, check out some of these great indoor playgrounds.

City of Chicago

1. Maggie Daley Park

Website | 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

climbing structure and slide in Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is undeniably on every list of the best parks in Chicago, and there’s plenty to do for kids of all ages. Located just a short walk from Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the native plants of Lurie Garden, it’s the perfect place for the whole family.

They have different playgrounds for different levels, including a large suspension bridge structure for older children, a boat structure for little kids, and many other unique play structures. There’s also a skating ribbon, a mini-golf course, a tall climbing wall, and picnic areas. If you have younger kids and you’re visiting Chicago, Maggie Daley Park is one of the main attractions you’re going to want to see.

It’s a popular destination in Chicago, especially during warmer months, so the best time to visit is in the morning on weekdays if you want to avoid the crowds.

Nearby Attractions: Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
No, but there are plenty of businesses nearby. Also, the Chicago Cultural Center is free and somewhat close, but the bathroom situation is seriously lacking. RubberYou can park in the ramp which is expensive. Street parking is very difficult and also expensive. Public transportation is recommended. ModerateSomewhat. There are multiple areas that are somewhat enclosed by trees, but this park has difficult sight lines.

2. Oz Park

Website | 2021 N Burling St, Chicago, IL 60614

Oz Park

*Update 5/24-This playground is currently being renovated, so it is currently closed!*

This Wizard of Oz-themed playground is one of the most unique city parks in Chicago. There are character statues around the park of the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy, and it features one of two wooden Chicago playgrounds.  

It’s located in the beautiful residential neighborhood of Lincoln Park, and the surrounding area has countless great restaurants, ice cream shops, and cute stores. 

Nearby Attractions: Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubber/TurfStreet Parking-Moderate/DifficultPlenty. This is one of the most shaded playgrounds in the city. Yes

3. Independence Park

Website | 3945 N Springfield Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

side view of playground with rock and green equipment
Independence Park

Independence Park is a favorite neighborhood park amongst local parents because of the nice playground equipment. The park features rope bridges, a wire zip line with a chair, a cute jungle gym area for younger kids, and several large play structures for big kids.

They also have an indoor pool, a field house, and an open field for sports and playing.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, in the Field House RubberStreet Parking-Easy.Minimal on the playground, but there are some trees on the grass.No, but relatively far from the street.

4. Welles Park

Website | 2333 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Welles Park

This park may not look flashy, but it’s one of the best local playgrounds with a toddler area and a larger play structure for older kids. There’s also a water sprayer, sports fields, tennis courts and a gazeboThey have a great nature play area across the park, and it’s located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. 

It’s just a great place to get some fresh air. 

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, in the Field HouseRubber and wood chipsStreet Parking-Moderate. Minimal on the playground, but there are some trees on the grass.Yes

5. Indian Boundary Park

Website | 2500 W Lunt Ave, Chicago, IL 60645

Indian Boundary Park

Indian Boundary Park is the other playground in the Chicago Park District with wooden climbing structures. It’s a unique and beautiful playground, and the park also has spray features, a lagoon, and on one of the best nature play areas I’ve ever seen. 

The nature play space is only open during certain hours which change seasonally. 

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, in the Field HouseWood chipsStreet Parking-Moderate.ModerateNo

6. Adams (George & Adele) Park

Website | 1919 N Seminary Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

side view of shaded playground in chicago
Adams Park

Adams Playground Park has a large play structure with plenty of climbing and sliding opportunities. It also has one of the best water playgrounds in the city, so it’s perfect for a hot summer day. 

Nearby Attractions: Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberStreet Parking-ModeratePartial ShadeYes

7. Eli M. Schulman Playground at Seneca Playlot

Website | 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

side view of seneca park
Eli M. Schulman Playground

Seneca Playlot Park is a cute little oasis nestled in between skyscrapers in Streeterville. There are two play structures, and one small structure is Chicago-themed!  Located right near Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Seneca Playlot is great for any Chicago parent to remember if they need a playground to break up a hospital visit or medical appointment. 

Nearby Attractions: Water Tower Place, Museum of Contemporary Art

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-Very Difficult.MinimalNo

8. Horner Park

Website | 2741 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Horner Park

This 58-acre park is one of the largest parks on the north side and features many opportunities for outdoor activities. There are baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, a dog park, plenty of picnic tables, a nature play area, and a great playground.

Horner Park hosts many special events including farmers’ markets, movies in the park, an annual pumpkin patch, and a doggie easter egg hunt!

There’s a large parking lot, bathrooms, and occasional food vendors, and the entire park is a great place for some outdoor playtime. 

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chipsEasy. Parking lot and street parking. ModerateNo

9. Walsh Park 

Website | 1722 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Walsh Park

Walsh Park is an awesome playground in Wicker Park, right at an access point for the 606. The 606 is a biking and walking path built on an abandoned rail line. It connects Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park and it’s a great way to explore the city.

The playground features a large modern climbing structure, water features, and more. There’s plenty of shade and places to sit, and it’s within walking distance of tons of great restaurants and shops in the heart of Wicker Park.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoWood chipsStreet Parking-Moderate.Afternoon ShadePartially. It’s not fully enclosed, but street access is blocked by a fence

10. Edwin C. Berry Playground in Burnham Park

Website | 3100 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60616

side view of climbing structure at edwin c berry playground
Edwin C. Berry Playground

Edwin C. Berry Playground in Burnham Park is undoubtedly one of the best playgrounds in the city, especially during the summer months. It’s right next to 31st street beach and features gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. 

Nearby Attractions: Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, by the beach.RubberMetered Parking-Easy/Moderate. NoneYes

11. Ping Tom Memorial Park 

Website | 1700 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

side view of Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown, Chicago
Ping Tom Memorial Park

Ping Tom Memorial Park is a great, enclosed playground in the heart of Chinatown. It has pretty standard play structures, but the rest of the park has a beautiful view of the river, lots of great views of trains, and a gorgeous pagoda.

The water taxi has a stop here, so it’s a fun, unique way to get to the park!

Nearby Attractions: Chinatown

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberPaid Parking Lot Nearby. Street Parking is Moderate. ModerateYes

12. Harrison Park

Website | 1824 S Wood St, Chicago, IL 60608

side view of Harrison Park playground in Chicago
Harrison Park

Harrison Park a large, wonderful park in Pilsen. They have pretty typical playground equipment, but more than the average. park, and they have a zipline! It’s located near the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the park hosts many family-friendly events like Movies in the Park.

Nearby Attractions: National Museum of Mexican Art

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, in the Field HouseWood chipsStreet Parking-Easy ModerateYes

13. Mary Bartelme Park 

Website | 115 S Sangamon St, Chicago, IL 60607

side view of mary bartelme park
Mary Bartelme Park

Mary Bartelme Park is a super unique West Loop park, located right next to Greektown. The playground has a soft rubber surface, a drawbridge structure, and interesting climbing elements.

Nearby Attractions: Greektown, WNDR Museum, Willis Tower, United Center

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-DifficultMorning ShadeYes

14. Brighton Park Community Campus (Park No. 596)

Website | 4800 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60609

side view of park with turf and new equipment
Brighton Park Community Campus

The Chicago Park District Headquarters has an amazing new outdoor playground that will impress your kids. There’s modern equipment on a soft play surface, a play area made from natural materials. splash areas, and a large soccer field.

This is an excellent playground. My only complaint is that it’s severely lacking shade, so be sure to put on some sunscreen!

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot and Street Parking-EasyNoneYes

15. Margaret Donahue Park 

Website | 1230 W School St, Chicago, IL 60657

Donahue Park

Margaret Donahue Park is an adorable Chicago/Cubs-themed playground within walking distance of Wrigley Field. The playground is fully enclosed, and the main playground resembles the Hancock Building and Willis (Sears) Tower.

There are plenty of trees, benches, swings, and a really great free splash pad making it the perfect playground in warm weather.

Nearby Attractions: Wrigley Field, Gallagher Way

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-Moderate/Difficult.Morning ShadeYes

16. Dunbar Park

Website | 300 E 31st St, Chicago, IL 60616

side view of Dunbar Park with water feature in front
Dunbar Park

Dunbar Park in the Douglas neighborhood has two playgrounds, and the south playground is spectacular. It has plenty to do for little kids and big kids, a splash pad, plenty of shade and benches, a soft rubber surface, and it’s fully enclosed.

Nearby Attractions: Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field, the Historic Bronzeville Neighborhood, 31st Street Beach

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-Easy.PlentyYes

17. Mount Greenwood Playground

Website | 3721 W 111th St, Chicago, IL 60655

Mount Greenwood Playground is a huge playground on the far southwest side of the city. The playground is fully enclosed, has a great splash pad, and plenty of playground equipment for all ages. There are nearby bathrooms and a soft rubber surface.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberStreet Parking-EasyMinimalYes

18. Montgomery Ward Park

Website | 630 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60654

side view of montgomery ward park
Montgomery Ward Park

Montgomery Ward Park is nestled on the river between River West and River North, making it convenient if you’re downtown, and the river provides some gorgeous views. There are climbing structures, a water spray feature, swings, picnic tables, and a soft rubber surface.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-DifficultMinimalYes

18. Supera Park

Website | 2522 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

pirate ship themed play structure in park
Supera Park

Supera Park is one of the best little local parks in the city. It’s a great neighborhood gathering spot amidst the beautiful Lincoln Park homes. There’s pirate-themed equipment and plenty of shade.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-ModeratePlentyYes

19. Elizabeth Benton Playground in Lakeshore East Park

Website | 450 E Waterside Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

colorful playground in city
Elizabeth Benton Playground

Elizabeth Benton Playground feels like a little secret. It’s near Maggie Daley Park, but only locals seem to know about it. It’s fully enclosed, awesome, and much less chaotic than Maggie Daley Park. If you’re in the Loop, and you want a playground that’s a bit more chill, I highly recommend this spot.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberStreet Parking-Very DifficultPlentyYes

North/Northwest Suburbs

20. Children’s Grove at Independence Grove Forest Preserve

Website | 16400 W Buckley Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048

side view of brightly colored playground
Independence Grove

This park is in a forest preserve, on the water, and there’s a beer garden! There’s a more standard playground area, and then these cool brightly colored house/cave areas. This playground is super hard to photograph, but it’s awesome.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubber shredsParking Lot-Free for Residents of Lake County
$6 Monday-Thursday for nonresidents
$12 Friday-Sunday for nonresidents

Drivers License is required for proof of residency
ModerateSomewhat. It’s in a forest preserve, very far from cars.

21. Central Park

Website | 9350 Central Park Ave, Skokie, IL 60203

side view of orange and black playground
Central Park in Skokie

Central Park in Skokie has a “lava” theme, that my kids love. Try to avoid the orange parts of the rubber surface. The playground is also fun and there’s something for kids of all ages.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberStreet-EasyModerateNo

22. Meineke Park

220 E Weathersfield Way, Schaumburg, IL 60193

side view of playground with blue and green equipment
Meineke Park

Meineke Park has a great, inclusive playground, a ninja course, and more.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, in the pool building. Turf with some rubberParking Lot-EasyMinimal/ModerateNo

23. Prospect Park

Website | 733 N Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL 60068

pirate ship structure at prospect park
Prospect Park

Prospect Park playground is a super fun pirate-themed playground with a soft rubber surface. There is a larger play structure and a smaller play structure, but both are pretty accessible for all ages.

There is an awesome splash pad next to it, but the splash pad has a fee. There’s a parking lot, clean bathrooms, and a lot of open space to run and play.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyMinimalNo

24. Sunset Woods Park

Website | 1801 Sunset Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035

Sunset Woods Park

Sunset Woods Park is one of the best parks I’ve ever been to for a few reasons. There are 3 separate playgrounds, all right near each other.

There’s a fully enclosed toddler playground with a sandbox, a toddler climbing structure, a soft rubber surface, and several swings. In the swings area, they have an accessible swing, some baby swings, and a grown-up/baby swing combo, which I’ve only seen at one other park. My son loved it, and I wish every park had a swing like that!

They have an older wooden playground with some fun climbing elements and woods chips for the surface.

The new playground is really the star of the show with a great rocket ship structure, a soft rubber surface, some fun merry-go-round features, and more.

There’s ample parking, clean bathrooms, a pavilion. and plenty of shade.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesThe newest playground is rubber, the other two have wood chips. Parking Lot-EasyPlentyThe toddler playground is, but the others are not.

25. Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground

Website | 1111 E Schaumburg Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60194

Bison’s Bluff

Bison’s Bluff is an amazing nature-themed playground in Schaumburg that is particularly fun on warm days when the water elements are turned on. In addition to a climbing/slide structure that is built into the bison rock walls, there are waterfalls, streams, sand, and plenty of ways for kids to dig around and get some mud on their hands.

There’s also a nature trail and center at the Spring Valley Refuge directly next to the playground that can make your trip into a whole day of fun.

There’s easy parking, multiple pavilions, and clean bathrooms.

Tips:

  • Be aware that this playground does cost money. It costs $3 for non-residents and $2 for residents for an hour of play, but when were there the “hour” was not enforced, and we were there much longer. I’ve heard they do enforce it when it’s really crowded, though I though I thought it was pretty busy when we went. My daughter had so much fun at this playground, I definitely think the fee was worth it, but I know it may be a deal-breaker for some.
  • Definitely bring a change of clothes or two. My daughter got so sandy and wet, we had to change her a few times.
BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chipsParking Lot-EasyModerateYes

26. Burning Bush Trails Park

1313 N Burning Bush Ln, Mt Prospect, IL 60056

Burning Bush Trails Park

Burning Bush is a favorite amongst parents, and I think it’s excellent for older kids. They have a toddler structure, but it’s pretty standard, but the main climbing areas and structures (like the one pictured above), were not super accessible for my 3.5-year-old.

It’s a very cool playground with easy parking and some shade, but it’s definitely ideal if your kids are school-aged.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Rubber and wood chipsParking Lot-Moderate. It was small. I believe there’s also street parking.Moderate

27. Earl J. Field Park

Website | 4631 N Overhill Ave, Norridge, IL 60706

Norridge Park

Earl J. Field Park is a gem in Norridge. Not only is this playground super fun, but there is an amazing pool/splash right next to it (but you have to pay for that part).

There’s a rocket ship play structure, and very large younger-kid play structure as well.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Wood chips.Parking Lot-EasyModerateNo

28. Jackman Park

1011 Lehigh Ave, Glenview, IL 60025 

Jackman Park

Jackman Park is one of the best toddler playgrounds we’ve visited. Older kids can definitely have fun, but everything in the playground is accessible for younger kids. They have two play structures, both of which incorporate lots of pretend play elements.

There are plenty of shaded picnic tables, a field with a gazebo, and it’s right across from a metra stop, making it a great place for train sightings.

It’s across from the Glenview Public Library, and there’s a nearby ice cream and donut shop.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
In the train station across the street or in the library.RubberParking Lot- ample parking on the weekends, but the parking lot is not available during the week. I’ve been able to find parking on nearby streets or by the library, but it can be a bit trickier than on the weekend!ModerateYes

29. Fountain Square Park

1751 Gibson Dr, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 

side view of fountain square park in elk grove village
Fountain Square Park

Fountain Square Park has a great playground, a bocce ball court, a bike/pedestrian trail, and a huge splash pad.

The splash pad hours are different than the general playground, so be sure to check the hours before heading there!

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoWood chipsStreet Parking-EasyMinimalNo

30. Bowen Park 

1800 N Sheridan Rd, Waukegan, IL 60085

view of tree and playground with slides built into hil
Bowen Park

Bowen Park is a beautiful playground built into the hillside of the park. There are fun climbing elements, a water spray feature, a gazebo, and plenty of trees.

It’s a perfect stop if you’re on the way up to Milwaukee.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood ChipsParking Lot-EasyModerateNo

31. Deerpath Park 

50 Memorial Dr, Vernon Hills, IL 60061

side view of castle-themed park
Kids Castle Playground at Deerpath Park

Deerpath Park is affectionately known as “Castle Park” because of the main play structure that looks like a castle.

It has a soft rubber surface, bathrooms, a parking lot, and is a great place for your kid to transport to the Renaissance.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-Easy, but a bit of a walk from the playground. Bring a stroller/wagon if you have littles. ModerateYes, on three sides.

32. Clarkson Park

Churchill St, Northfield, IL 60093

side view of clarkson park
Clarkson Park

Clarkson Park is an outstanding playground with great amenities. There’s a nearby parking lot, close, clean bathrooms, a pavilion, a gazebo, plenty of shade, a really fun, free splash bad, and an above average play structure with a soft rubber surface.

This playground is a hidden gem that I don’t hear talked about that often.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateNo

34. Maine Park in Park Ridge

Website | 2701 W Sibley St, Park Ridge, IL 60068

playground with toad stool table

Park Ridge just rebuilt this playground, and it’s fantastic. There’s a zip line, musical elements, toadstools, a giant turtle structure, a water feature, and more. It’s right across the field from the Wildwood Nature Center where you can see some guinea pigs, ferrets, etc. It’s next to the Maine Leisure center, too.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, there is a porta-potty, a nature center across the field with a bathroom, and the leisure center next door that is sometimes open. Rubber, and wood chips under the zip lineParking Lot & Street EasyMinimal. There are some shade sails and trees, but it’s a pretty sunny playground.Partial. There is a fence blocking the street, but the other side is open.

35. Deicke Park 

11419 IL-47, Huntley, IL 60142

side view of playground with sign that says Deicke Discovery Zone
Deicke Discovery Zone

Deicke Park is almost always mentioned when it comes to the “best playgrounds in Chicagoland”, and it’s because of all the unique pretend play elements.

There’s a pretend town area, a school bus structure, a sand box, and more!

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateYes

36. Duke Park

Glencoe, IL 60022

Duke Park

Duke Park is a beautiful little park in Glencoe. There’s plenty of shade, a great play structure, a nice, free splash pad, and the best part is the little hand crank trains.

I couldn’t get a picture because there were too many kids, but it’s awesome.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateNo

37. Warren Township

17801 W Washington St, Gurnee, IL 60031

side view of sandbox with playground in the background
Warren Township Playground

Warren Township Playground tops many lists of best playgrounds. There are different areas of the park, a dinosaur dig/sandbox area, a pirate ship area, and a giant play structure.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chipsParking Lot-EasyModerateYes

38. Stonegate Park

Website | 3425 Whirlaway Dr, Northbrook, IL 60062

Stonegate Park is a new, inclusive playground in Northbrook. This playground has a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, accessible swings, sign language features, and more. It’s great to see more parks being built for all kids!

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, Porta PottiesTurfParking Lot-EasyMinimalNo

39. Emily Oaks Nature Center

Website | 4650 Brummel St, Skokie, IL 60076

Emily Oaks Nature Center is one of our favorite places to go for an afternoon. There is a forest area with paved walking paths that are perfect for scooting, more than one picnic area, a great playground, and a nature center with fun programs. They have a fairy hunt and gnome hunt that we love, and they often host campfires and other great family-friendly programs.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chipsParking Lot-EasyModerateNo

40. Little Bear Park

Website | Glenview, IL 60026

Little Bear Park is a great park for younger kiddos. There’s a rubber surface, bright colors, water fountains to run through, a sand play area, bathrooms, and nothing too high and scary. It’s right across from The Glen, so there are plenty of spots to grab lunch before or after!

*Beware–Google Maps took me to the wrong spot for this at first. It’s on Patriot and Chestnut, right across from the Glen.*

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateYes

41. Festival Park

Website | 132 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120

Festival Park is a super fun park and splash pad in Elgin. They host special events, and it’s right on the river. It’s also located right near the Gail Borden Library which is fantastic.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateNo

42. Wilder Park

Website | 175 S Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126

Wilder Park is a great playground in one of the sprawling parks in Elmhurst. There is an area for bigger kids, a smaller kid structure, a sand play area, nice shade. It’s right next to the library, and the art museum. Elmhurst is super cute and has lots of family-friendly spots.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateNo

43. Oakton Park

Website | 4701 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076

playground with woodchips, shade, and brightly colored equipment
Oakton Park

Oakton Park is one of my favorite playgrounds for a few reasons. First, there’s plenty of shade. It has easy parking, bathrooms, and it’s right next to the Exploritorium and the Skokie Water Playground. There are so many great ways to keep your kids entertained in this one park.

The playground was brightly colored and felt unique.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, in the community center Mixture of rubber and wood chipsParking Lot-EasyPlentyYes, but there is an entrance that is not gated

Western Suburbs

43. Harvester Park 

15W400 Harvester Dr, Burr Ridge, IL 6052

Harvester Park

Harvester Park is truly one-of-a-kind. This awesome park is Route 66 themed, and there are fun play sculptures around the park to represent that. The main play structure is in the shape of the Willis Tower, and the slide is huge.

There are in-ground trampolines, a zip line, a few merry-go-round options, a music cabin area, a pavilion, bathrooms, and a very cool sandbox. This playground has everything, though it is lacking some shade.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyMinimalNo

44. Sensory Garden

2751 Navistar Dr, Lisle, IL 60532 

Sensory Garden

The Sensory Garden in Lisle is designed to be inclusive for kids of all abilities. They are still fundraising for the main accessible play structure, so I imagine it will only get more impressive. They have this tree-house slide structure (pictured above), a structure designed for smaller kids, music play areas, a nature area, and more.

There’s a huge parking lot that is pretty removed from the playground, so parking is easy but you don’t have to worry about runners escaping to the parking lot.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoWoodchipsParking Lot-EasyIt is in a clearing in the woods, so there is moderate shadeYes, by a forest

45. Discovery Playground 

1825 Short St, Lisle, IL 60532

Discovery Playground

Discovery Playground in Lisle is also designed with accessibility in mind, and it’s directly next to the Sea Lion Aquatic Center. There were plenty of musical instruments, zip lines, and rock formations. There’s a nearby skate park, parking lot, and many sports amenities in the area.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyNoneYes

46. Veterans Memorial Park Westmont 

55 E Richmond St, Westmont, IL 60559

Veterans Memorial Park

Veteran’s Memorial Park is an awesome playground with multiple different sections. There’s a more standard play structure that’s desgined for bigger kids that has plenty of trees for shade.

There rest of the. playground is pirate-themed, and the giant sandbox has “buried treasure” elements, and the little kids area features a huge pirate ship!

There are nearby bathrooms and parking, too.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyPlentyNo

47. 95th Street Community Plaza

3109 Cedar Glade Dr, Naperville, IL 60564

95th Street Community Plaza

95th Street Community Plaza is an awesome literary-themed playground, that has cute book elements throughout. There’s also giant splash pad that’s free to use directly next to the playground.

There’s a soft rubber surface, bathrooms, a parking lot, and plenty to do for kids of all of ages.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyMinimal, but there are some shaded pavilions on the side of the playground. No

48. Darien Community Park

7100 Clarendon Hills Rd, Darien, IL 60561

Darien Community Park

Darien Community Park is a beautiful park with two huge playgrounds. One is designed for older kids and features more traditional equipment and large climbing structures.

The other playground is located across the park, and it’s designed to be an accessible playground and a bit more geared towards younger kids. There’s a bunch of pretend play elements, inculding. pirate ship, a firehouse, and more.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
RubberParking Lot-EasyModerateYes

49. Wolf’s Crossing Naperville 

3252 Wolf’s Crossing Rd, Naperville, IL 60564

Wolf’s Crossing

Wolf’s Crossing is a sprawling playground in Naperville with a huge splash pad, lots of interesting playground equipment, an outdoor fitness center, parking and bathrooms. There’s a soft rubber floor, and a shaded pavilion area, but overall the playground is lacking shade. Still, it’s a fantastic spot.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyMinimal on playground, but there is some shade on the sideYes

50. Children’s Garden at Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum Visitor Center, 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532

Children’s Garden at Morton Arboretum

The Children’s Garden at Morton Arboretum is truly special nature playground that will allow your kids to pretend like they are living in a tree house.

There are multiple different sections to this playground, and they are all enveloped by the beautiful trees of the arboretum. There’s some climbing structures, a pond, a water spray feature, an evergreen walk, and more.

Tips:

  • This park requires paid admission to the Morton Arboretum. It can be quite pricey, though it’s cheaper on Wednesdays. If you think you’ll go often, a membership is probably worth purchasing.
BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chips, dirtParking Lot-EasyPlentyYes, it’s in the Arboretum.

51. Rehm Park

1000 S Scoville Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304

shady playground from side

Rehm Park is. a shady oasis in Oak Park. They have a bunch of unique climbing elements, and hand-crank trains!

It’s right across from the Oak Park Conservatory, so you can hit that up before or after your visit.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, the conservatory is right therelTurfModerate-StreetPlentyNo

South Suburbs

Wolf Wildlife Park

53. Wolfe Wildlife Park

W 109th St &, Laramie Ave, Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Wolfe Wildlife Park has a nature trail, and two playgrounds throughout the park. One is geared towards younger kids and the one above is the bigger kid playground. There’s an observation deck nearby, and a parking lot.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyModerateNo
Memorial Park

54. Memorial Park Oak Lawn 

W 103rd St, Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Memorial Park is a solid park with a rocket-themed play structure, a free splash pad, bathrooms, a lagoon, and shaded paviliion. Everything is close together, so it’s a great family destination.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chips/gravelStreet Parking-EasyMinimalNo
Leigh Creek South Park

55. Leigh Creek South Park

1900 Heatherglen Dr, New Lenox, IL 60451

Leigh Creek South Park is one of the most accessible playgrounds I’ve seen. It’s all soft-rubber surface with ramps, and lots of elements that are inclusive for kids with disabilities.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
NoRubberParking Lot-Easy Minimal, there are shade sailsNo

56. Laramie Park

12521 S Kostner Ave, Alsip, IL 60803

Laramie Park

Laramie Park is the best playground I’ve been to in the south suburbs. It’s a turf floor, interesting play elements, basketball hoops, a water spray feature, and a nearby parking lot.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, porta pottieTurfParking Lot-EasyMinimal on playground, but there is a shady pavilion No

57. Bremen Heights

Midlothian, IL 60445

Bremen Heights

Bremen Heights has awesome play structures and a ninja warrior playground.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, nearbyWood chipsParking Lot-EasyNoneNo

58. Firefighter’s Park

1 Manor Dr, New Lenox, IL 60451

Firefighters Park

Firefighter’s Park is a must for kids who love fire trucks! There are two playgrounds, and one is fire engine red, with a pretend fire truck, and other firefighter-themed play elements. There’s a 4 person teeter totter, and some spring animals, too.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
Yes, a porta pottyWood chipsParking lot-EasyNoNo

59. Fort Frankfort

22108 S 80th Ave, Frankfort, IL 60423

Fort Frankfort

Fort Frankfort is a really fun, wooden playground with a “fortress” theme. There are shady pavilions, and a nearby splash pad (for a cost). There’s parking, bathrooms, and it’s a fun, unique playground!

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesWood chipsParking Lot-EasyModerateYes

60. Centennial Park

15600 West Ave, Orland Park, IL 60462

Centennial Park

Centennial Park is mostly on this list because of the other opportunities in the park. The playground is fine. It’s right next to bathrooms, and it’s enclosed. There’s plenty of parking nearby, but the playground itself doesn’t really stand out. There is an amazing pool across the park, a fishing pond, and many sports fields.

BathroomSurfaceParkingShadeEnclosed
YesRubberParking Lot-EasyMinimal on the playground, but there was some shade off to the side. Yes

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