Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

7 Amazing playgrounds you don’t want to miss

Climb, slide, or swing all day

The Seattle area is constantly building new parks and playgrounds, all of which you don’t want to miss. Visit these seven amazing playgrounds catering to toddlers through elementary school-aged kids. Many are inclusive of all abilities, too. Play and explore at each park, then make a day of it and explore the nearby fun.


Bridle Trails Valley Creek Park (new in 2024)

4432 140th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Visit Bellevue’s newest park—a climber’s dream. Older children can climb through the striking “bamboo forest” and explore many climbing obstacles. Crawlers and toddlers can safely explore the smaller play structure with forgiving turf surfacing and some sensory panels at low heights. A small hill toward the back of the playground begs to be rolled down. A Spinner Bowl and two saucer swings border the back edge of the park. Seat walls surround the playground for places to sit back and watch or have a snack. Bring some balls, frisbees or a picnic to spread out on the green lawn area just outside the playground footprint.

Best for ages: 2-12 years

Amenities: Free parking—only twelve spots (and one handicapped); bathrooms and a covered picnic shelter with charcoal grill are available

Pro-tip: Sometimes parking can be challenging here, so if the lot is full, another one of our favorite all-age climbing playgrounds is less than five minutes away at Grass Lawn Park in Redmond.

Nearby fun: Farine Bakery and Café’s Redmond location is less than 10 minutes away and is a favorite of mine for fresh pastries and coffee. Add a stop at Bridle Trails State Park in Kirkland (3.4 miles away) to walk the 28 miles of maintained trails. Encountering horses at this equestrian-friendly park can be fun for little ones. I like the stroller-friendly Trillium Trail (1.7 miles). A Discover Pass is required to park at Bridle Trails State Park.

Read more about hiking at Bridle Trails Park.



Centennial Fields Playground (new in 2024)

39903 SE Park St, Snoqualmie, WA

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Snoqualmie’s newest playground (but not for long—watch out for the new splash pad at Snoqualmie Community Park opening this summer!) is inclusive for all abilities and almost entirely enclosed by a fence. A We-Go-Round and We-Go-Swing make it possible for all to play. The playground is divided into two sections, with the smaller one designed for 2 to 5-year-olds. On the other side of the sidewalk that cuts through the two sections is the area intended for kids ages 5 to 12. While each side is designated for suggested age groups, my children (ages 3 to 7) darted back and forth, exploring everything each side had to offer. Kids will find engaging musical and tactile elements throughout the playground, such as braille boards, slides, climbing and balance challenges, ramps, and a saucer swing. This playground sparks my children to run the maze of ramps and slides, and they most likely end up in a game of tag.

Best for ages: 2-12

Amenities: Free parking, a large picnic shelter, bathrooms, drinking fountain, paved walking/bike loop

Pro-tip: If you visit in the early morning or around twilight, drive by the neighboring Meadowbrook Farm and see if you can spot the elk herd. Admire from a distance and enjoy a snack or picnic at their tables.

Nearby fun: After a short one-mile drive, stroll the quaint downtown Snoqualmie for coffee at Bindlestick, ice cream at Snoqualmie Ice Cream (currently remodeling after a fire), a meal at Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, and shop the cutest upscale kid’s consignment shop at Mini Treehouse. Visit the Northwest Railway Museum, where you can explore our area’s largest railway museum, get tickets to ride the train, attend a free story time with hands-on activities, go on guided History Hikes, and snag tickets to the popular Day Out with Thomas events.


Mercerdale Park (Est. 2022)

3009 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island

Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

All aboard the M.I. Express! This inclusive train-themed playground engages all abilities with the front and center climbable train, ramps to run on, swings, climbing merry-go-round, spinners, musical elements, scavenger hunts, and fun tactile panels throughout. My toddler likes to discover the play features underneath the playground’s ramps and slides, where the playground utilizes every square inch for creative play.

Best for ages: 1-6

Amenities: Bathrooms are across the park, there is a free parking lot, a drinking fountain, a paved walking/bike loop (1/4 mile) around the lawn, outdoor fitness equipment stations, and a skatepark within sight of playground.

Pro-Tip: Follow Mercer Island Parks and Recreation on Instagram to learn about family-friendly events at Mercerdale Park like their Mostly Music in the Park series. My kids enjoy participating in the community art project, Island Lanterns, where kids paint solar lanterns and they are later installed at Mercerdale Park.

Nearby fun: Visit the Mercer Island Farmers Market at the park on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 2 to September 29. Walk or drive to Island Books (.4 miles away), where they have weekly story time with the professional singer and songwriter Nancy Stewart. Story times are on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and are designed for children ages 1 to 5. Island Books has an extensive children’s book selection, including toys and a play house. The Mercer Island Thrift Shop right next to the playground supports Mercer Island Youth and Family Services; you can donate during accepting hours or look for treasures—it is known to be a good thrift store with reasonable prices.


Totem Lake Park (Est. 2021)

12033 Totem Lake Way, Kirkland, WA

Hours: Dawn till dusk

This colorful playground is sure to brighten anyone’s day. While it may initially look like it’s built for older climbers, younger toddlers can enjoy the small hills, musical components, cone spinner, and tiny swings under the playground structure. They can also walk along the small climbing squares and warm up their skills on the mini structure toward the back of the playground. The circular climbing nets and my kid’s favorite park feature, the “elevator,” are reminiscent of another favorite park of ours—Surrey Downs in Bellevue (built by the same company). Bring scooters or small bikes for the flat paved loop surrounding the playground. The community picnic table is a robust 48-feet-long.

Best for ages: 2-10

Amenities: Family restrooms, benches, drinking fountains for humans and their pets, accessible features, and two-hour free street parking is available.

Pro-Tip: Use the boardwalk trail for a short walk into the wetlands. If you want a longer walk or bike ride, continue east along the paved trail at the playground; this trail connects to the boardwalk leading to the Cross Kirkland Corridor/East Rail Trail.

Nearby fun: Take advantage of your proximity to neighboring businesses at The Village at Totem Lake. 203 Degrees Fahrenheit Coffee Company has kid’s hot chocolate and upscale coffees on its menu. Snapdoodle Toys is a local favorite spot to pick up birthday gifts, especially with their complimentary gift wrapping. Play near the giant dandelions with spinners, space to run around, and comfortable seating options. Salt and Straw ice-cream company borders this small green space, scooping up seasonal flavors and staples like the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons (my personal avorite). The Village at Totem Lake provides free community events, and they are always up to something fun. Check out their Village Fun days every Wednesday from July 10 to August 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the green. Live music will also return this summer every Thursday from July 11 to August 29 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the green. More details will be announced on their website.


Kiwanis Playground, Renton (Est. 2023)

815 Union Ave NE, Renton

Hours: Sunrise to sunset

This expansive park is colorful and inviting. My daughter was first drawn to the large poppy flowers on the smaller play structure and enjoyed peeping through the binoculars near the vibrant monarch butterfly painting. Balance beams and various rope climbing structures posed unique (but fun!) challenges that we hadn’t seen before at other playgrounds. The wavy overhead glider was not working when we visited, but it would be a fun feature. You can explore climbing structures, slides, a merry-go-round, and an inclusive swing set. A vast paved loop around the park is ideal for walking and riding bikes or scooters.

Best for ages: 2–12

Amenities: Picnic shelter with picnic tables, Portland Loos, tennis courts, free parking lot, charcoal grills are all available.

Pro-Tip: The playground is a short walk from the parking lot, but it could feel long if you’re hauling a lot of things and children. Bring a stroller or a wagon to lighten your load. On hot days, the playground’s full sun location could be challenging, but some large trees provide shade behind the swings. For shaded play, bring a blanket to have a picnic, chalk to color the wide sidewalks, or balls to play with in the grass.

Nearby fun: Drive less than 5 minutes to Chuck’s Donuts and experience why this local donut shop has been around for over 50 years. They are most known for their soft and fluffy maple bars. You can pre-order donuts to ensure they have enough for you.


Newport Hills Woodlawn Park, Bellevue (Est. 2022)

11560 SE 60th St., Bellevue

Not all fun playgrounds are rainbows and butterflies. This nature playground blends into the natural landscape, but lots of fun awaits. Climbers will enjoy the unique structures, rope nets, and cone spinner. A slide built into the hillside, scavenger hunt and nature sound panels, and a saucer swing are fun for all ages. The slide looks long, but the waves slow the little ones down. My three-year-old burned lots of energy learning to climb the large rocks to get to the slide.

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Best for ages: 2-12

Amenities: There’s a free parking lot and street parallel parking close to the dog park section; a 3-acre open lawn, 11 acres of forested and loops trails, adult exercise equipment, a picnic shelter with charcoal grills, restrooms, and a large fenced-in off-leash dog park

Pro-Tip: Tennis shoes are recommended because of the woodchips and climbing. In the summer months, you can pick wild blackberries along the edge of the park.

Nearby fun: If you work up an appetite, visit some of the neighborhood restaurants just minutes down the road. Terry’s Kitchen mixes comfort foods with a fusion of Japanese and Pacific Northwest flavors. Their Garlic Chicken Wings and Mix-Ups are solid choices. Resonate Brewery welcomes the whole family with award-winning beer and gourmet pizzas. The Mustard Seed Grill and Pub, a hole-in-the-wall kind of place, has a loyal local following. Try their Wings, Pressure-Cooked Chicken, or Squeekers (breaded white cheddar cheese curds from Wisconsin—need I say more?). They have a typical kid’s menu, too.


The Cove at Ballard Commons Park, Seattle (new in 2024)

5701 22nd Ave NW, Seattle

Hours: 4 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.

A pirate ship has washed ashore at the Commons Park in Ballard. Kids can channel their inner pirate at this nautical-themed playground. Climb aboard using various rope climbers or stairs. The play cannons, binoculars, and spinning steering wheels inspire creative play. Jump ship by gliding on the Track Ride for a thrilling exit. One can also abandon ship by sliding down the fireman’s pole or big yellow slide. A wide age range can explore under the deck, where there are several mini hammocks, a bubble window, and a treasure box. Once off the ship, kids can explore the turf playground by climbing a large rock, sitting in the Spinner Bowl, playing on the smaller play structure with slides, and bouncing on an old-school Springer Sea Lion. This park has excellent sight lines for the skate bowl and spray park. The playground has a partial border of wall seating adorned with metal shells. Cool off at the spray park, starting May 25 through September 2, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.

Best for ages: 2-12

Amenities: Street parking (metered but free on Sundays) and a single Portland Loo with a changing table are available.

Pro-Tip: Have older kids bring a scooter. There’s plenty of pavement and the skate bowl.

Nearby fun: Ballard Commons hosts free family-friendly movie nights from 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays in August. The year-round Sunday Ballard Farmer’s Market is a few blocks away; when it’s sunny, my kids always enjoy getting an all-natural popsicle from Seattle Pops. The National Nordic Museum and Thomas Dambo Troll are .5 miles away, and Salt and Straw Ice Cream is a few blocks away, along with a dense area of shops and restaurants. The Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library is kitty-corner across the street. The popular destination, Ballard Locks, is only .6 miles away.


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About the Author

Krista Tsai

Krista is Seattle area mom of three. Since having her third child, she is taking a break from Clinical Social Work to stay home. She is determined to teach her children her love of biking, skiing and the beach. You can follow her family’s adventures, travel tips, and travel hacking on Instagram: @mamabearintheair