New York City offers many adventures for younger tourists as well. Kids’ faces always light up at the mention of the word “playground”. A playground in New York City for a kid sounds great, even if its exactly the same as the one back home. It is of course very exciting to play on climbing bars, sit on the swing, or dig in the sandbox in the middle of Central Park or in the Village at Bleecker Playground among New York’s elite.
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.
New York with Children – Tips for Parents
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The Top 10 Playgrounds in New York
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 to 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 New York for kids aged 0 – 12. This way your trip to New York with your kids is sure to be a success!
1. Bleecker Playground in the West Village
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.
2. Central Park’s Heckscher Playground
Central Park alone offers numerous playgrounds. The Heckscher Playground near Fifth Avenue, west of Columbus Circle, is one of the oldest. Newly renovated, it is truly a kids paradise. The playground offers a huge sandbox, several slides, and a climbing feature in the form of ropes. It is also a nice gathering spot for parents – the views of the skyline are amazing. This is not a bad place to hang out for a while! Address: Central Park, near 7th Avenue and 61th Street / bathrooms are available.
3. Pier 1 Playground in Dumbo
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. Afterwards, 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 onto lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge. Address: Pier 1, Dumbo
4. Gantry Plaza State Park Playground in Long Island City
Long Island City is a popular destination for many New York tourists. Why? The area boasts great restaurants, a vibrant arts scene, and moderately-priced accommodations. Your entry point to Long Island City is the Gantry Plaza State Park. Here, little ones will find a very modern and new playground complete with climbing bars, several swings, a splash park, and a pirate ship. Adults can enjoy the views and fresh coffee, snacks, and cold drinks sold at the playground. It doesn’t get any better than that! Address: 4 – 09 47th Rd on the East River, Hunter’s Point in Queens
5. Battery Park Playground / Nelson A. Rockefeller Park
Like Central Park, the beautiful Battery Park also offers several nice playgrounds. One highly recommended playground is the one at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City). This playground is in lower Manhattan and gives you great views of One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. The playground at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park provides everything kids dream of: a large, multi-level climbing feature, many swings, and everything is divided by age group – there are special areas for big kids, toddlers, and even infants. Your kid is guaranteed to fall asleep quickly following a visit to this playground! Address: River Terrace, Chamber Street.
6. Tribeca Playground / Pier 25
Tribeca is one of the best quarters for families in Manhattan. Its location directly on the Hudson River and its many playgrounds make Tribeca a very popular choice for family outings. It is also common for local families as from here dads don’t have to travel far to reach Wall Street and moms have ample opportunity to entertain their kids outdoors – something worth its weight in gold in a big city like New York. Just a short distance south of popular Battery Park at Tribeca Pier is a paradise for kids of all ages. Swings, sandboxes, exciting climbing walls, and a skate park for older kids ensure an exciting day on the Tribeca playground. This is a great spot to get a feel for the life of New Yorkers. Nowhere else will you find more moms, nannies, or young families than in Tribeca. Address: Hudson River Park between Harrison and North Moore Streets
7. Union Square Playground
The playground at Union Square is a perfect stop during a tour of Manhattan. This New York playground is also well equipped. Kids can enjoy climbing, sliding, and swinging while the parents soak in the vibe of the big city. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase at the Union Square Green Market on weekends. In light of its central location in Manhattan, the Union Square Playground is a welcome stop after tours through the Village, Chelsea, or a shopping spree at Herald Square. Address: South of 16th Street / western part of the park.
8. Madison Square Park Playground
Only a few steps from the famous Flatiron Building, in beautiful Madison Square Park, you will find this small, but wonderful playground. The backdrop is simply amazing, and your little ones will get their dose of playtime. The carefully designed climbing castle, complete with slides and swings, will make your child’s eyes light up with joy. Especially on hot summer days, the water jets are a big hit with kids. Madison Square Playground has won many awards, and rightly so. Address: Madison Avenue / 25th & 26th Streets.
9. Billy Johnson Playground in Central Park
The Billy Johnson Playground is located near the pond in Central Park and it is one of the most beautiful playgrounds in the park. The playground is one-of-a-kind as it was constructed from primarily natural materials. It also features a stone bridge that is reminiscent of the pond’s Gapstow Bridge. Wooden climbing features, bridges, as well as a slide perfectly integrated into the rocks of Central Park are just a few of the highlights this playground has to offer. Address: East Side at 67th Street
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10. Hudson River Park’s Pier 51 Playground
The playground at Pier 51 is the perfect destination on hot summer days because here, it’s all about water. Water jets, boats, buckets, and climbing features with sprinklers ensure a well-deserved break from the heat on hot days. The beautiful Hudson River Park also offers gorgeous views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. Reminder: Don’t forget to bring some towels! Address: Hudson River Park at Jane Street
New York with Children
This list of the Top 10 playgrounds in New York 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:
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!