While the best playground is the one within walking distance of your apartment, these fabulous spots are worth a trip.

Most playgrounds are open dawn to dusk - click through to the park website or the latest hours.


Diana Ross Playground

📍W 81st Street & Central Park West

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.

Named after the  famous singer, who funded the construction of the playground following her concert in 1983 on the Great Lawn.

No bathrooms, but across the street from the Natural History Museum (where all city kids should be members, not just for the bathroom usage).

Adventure Playground

📍W 67th Street & Central Park West

Climb a wood pyramid and a concrete and granite climbing mound with a tunnel and slide at this small adventure-style playground, well-known for its design and distinctive play features. In warmer temps, splash in elaborate interactive water features.

Heckscher Playground

📍Sixth Avenue & Central Park South

Central Park’s largest playground features a shaded area with swings and slides, large, maze-like climbers, sloped turf, a large sandbox area, low monkey bars, tunnels, ramps and (our favorite) giant rocks to climb. Plus a spacious bathroom (the one inside the playground has a shorter line).

In warm weather, water flows through the  elevated walkways, animated by sprinklers and connected to the ground with ladders and slides.

Face painters, musicians and giant bubble makers often congregate near the entrance. Wear sturdy shoes in case a kid disappears over a boulder.

Hippo Playground, Riverside Park

📍Riverside & W 91st Street

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.

Ancient Playground

📍Fifth Avenue & E 85th Street

This big playground invokes an ancient city with climbable pyramids, an obelisk and a sundial  plus 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 bridges plus bucket, tire and strap swings are perfect for adventurous fun and imaginative play.

Look for animals in scenes from Aesop’s Fables in ornamental bronze gates at the entrance to the playground.

Billy Johnson Playground

📍E 67th Sreet & Fifth Avenue

This rustic playground inspired by the nearby landscape features unique elements made of natural materials like plants, stone, and wood. Explore wooden shelter, plantings and trails, a kid-size version of Gapstow Bridge, and two granite slides (one of them 45-feet long!) that re-create the experience of sliding down the Park’s rock outcrops.


Desalvio Playground

📍44 Spring Street at Mulberry Street

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.

Battery Park & Playscape

📍State Street & Battery Place

Explore a multi-level discovery landscape for play, inspired by nature. Experience five ecology zones: Bluff with five granite slides; Riverbed and Marsh with vast salt-tolerant gardens, elevated tree houses, and sand/water play; and Dune and Meadow presenting ShowBox, the first improv/puppet theater in a NYC playground.

Created post Storm Sandy, the innovative design fosters environmental and cultural awareness through innovative contemporary design driven by sustainable and water-conscious features. 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.

The newest addition to the  historic Battery’s 25-acres of public parkland at the southern tip of Manhattan managed by The Battery Conservancy, founded to revitalize New York’s birthplace park and its major landmark, Castle Clinton National Monument. Enjoy breathtaking harbor views, vast perennial gardens, bike paths, grand lawns, an organic urban farm, and the enchanting Seaglass Carousel.

Pier 25

📍227 West St

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.


Brooklyn Bridge Park

📍99 Plymouth St

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 or get a picnic at nearby Time Out Market.

🚻 Restrooms at Piers 2,5 & 6.

Domino Park

📍15 River Street

Find cool design and amazing bridge/Manhattan views at a large waterfront park on the site of a former Domino Sugar factory.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.