Ah, the playground: a magical place, filled with wonder and invention, where children are free to play to their heart’s content — and where parents can sit down and finally finish that crossword! Playgrounds combine the best of social interactions with free-form play, and the best playgrounds can encourage kids to push the limits of their imaginations. Check out the five best playgrounds in D.C. that will expand your child’s creativity and fun.
1900 Anacostia Dr. | Washington, D.C. 20020
Open daily: Sunrise – Sunset
This beautiful riverfront park stretches along Anacostia Drive, providing uninterrupted views of the river. Of course, the real treasure here is the colossal pirate ship and climbing structure that kids love to play pretend on. Plus, you can find a roller-skating pavilion, walking and biking trails, basketball and tennis courts and three other playgrounds in the park.
3500 Woodley Rd., NW | Washington, D.C. 20016
Open weekends, most holidays and weekdays: 5:30pm – dusk
The National Cathedral Elementary School, Beauvoir, graciously allows the public to visit their one-of-a-kind park on evenings, weekends and select holidays. Built with natural materials, the Beauvoir School Playground promotes a love of the outdoors with its special adventure-themed attractions. Climbing towers, rope bridges, monkey bars and even a zip line are just some of the equipment for the wild fun your child can have at one of the best playgrounds in D.C. There’s even a “Little Village” section of the park for the youngest members of your family who aren’t quite ready for the other features.
1743 Lincoln Rd., NE | Washington, D.C. 20002
Monday-Friday: 8am-6:30pm | Saturday & Sunday: Closed
You won’t find another park like this in D.C. or even the country! The Harry Thomas Sr. Playspace combines the mathematical theory of the Fibonacci Sequence (a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two that precede it) into the park’s design using what’s called the “Golden Ratio.” The result is a visually unique playground experience hosting all your favorite equipment: climbing structures, floating steps, swings, slides and a rock wall.
5900 33rd St., NW | Washington, D.C. 20015
Monday – Friday: 8am-6:30 pm | Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Home to perhaps the largest playground structure in D.C., Lafayette-Pointer Park Playground is a big kid’s dream park. Kids call the structure in question “The Elephant” because of its appearance, but it’s really a massive climbing tower with weblike ropes that lead to a gigantic gray tunnel slide. For the little ones, there is a fenced-in area with smaller climbing areas, playhouses and a sand pit. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a nearby Spray Park to cool off at!
5200 Sherier Pl., NW | Washington, D.C. 20016
Monday-Friday: 12-8 pm | Saturday: 9am -1pm | Sunday: Closed
Palisades Playground, perfect for preschool-aged kids, takes you back in time with its Native American and Potomac River-inspired play features. There’s a mountain climbing wall (for the big kids), slides, swaying bridges and even a splash pad where three “fish” pour water down on you. Parents will also say this is the best playground in D.C. for its shaded pavilion, free parking and restrooms on-site.