Best Playgrounds in DC

Below are the best playgrounds in DC that we’ve visited in the last year. I’ll be adding to this list as there are many we still need to visit and review!

All 10 playgrounds are FREE and organized by Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast. I put a Google Map of all the locations at the end of this post or go directly there here.

At the playgrounds where there are no restrooms, I link to a couple of car travel pottys that we use and highly recommend from Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no extra cost to you.

Best Playgrounds in DC
Our Favorite Playgrounds in DC!

Northwest – Best Playgrounds in DC

Note: Beauvoir Playground remains closed to the public and I will update this page when it is opened again.

1)  Guy Mason Community Center – Glover Park

Kids and caregivers love this playground! Tons of cool features plus a large free parking lot at the Rec Center!

Unique features: Sandpit for littles and more challenging ropes and climbing features. Also the parking lot borders the Vice President’s residence which is so cool to see as you drive up! (What other playground can say that?!)⁣

🚻 Restrooms are at the rec center but not open yet to the public. We use this car potty for my 8 and 4 year olds and loved this toddler car potty when they were younger. Also, lots of great restaurants and Trader Joes close by.
😷 We went on a weekday afternoon and wasn’t busy but even if busy, lots of different areas to explore.
🅿️ Free parking lot at 3600 Calvert St NW DC⁣.

Location: 3600 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20007

DC Parks Website: Guy Mason Community Center

2)  Palisades Rec Center

Tucked in the neighborhoods of the Palisades, this wonderful Potomac themed playground is really fun! Huge climbing rock structure for big kids and tons of little kid areas to explore too.

Unique features: Potomac themed with long houses, the Potomac river and a canoe slide!

🚻 Restrooms are at the rec center but not open yet to the public. We use this car potty for my 8 and 4 year olds and loved this toddler car potty when they were younger.
😷 This was one of the busier parks we visited this winter. I would try to visit before school lets out if possible. There is a field next door to play in if too busy.
🅿️ Free parking lot!

Location: 5200 Sherier Pl NW, Washington, DC 20016

DC Parks Website: Palisades Rec Center

3)  Macomb Rec Center – Cathedral Heights

I recommend this playground to many as its one of my personal favorite playgrounds in DC! It isn’t too busy with separated big kid and little kid fenced areas, beautiful trees over the picnic area and a huge baseball field. It has a great neighborhood vibe.

Unique features: Super tall slides for big kids, merry-go-round and swings for little kids. Love that they are separated by fences which I’ve only seen at Takoma and here. Also there is a unique “conveyer belt” feature that my kids loved!!

🚻 Restrooms are at the rec center but not open yet to the public. We use this car potty for my 8 and 4 year olds and loved this toddler car potty when they were younger.
😷 We went on a weekend once and wasn’t even that busy!
🅿️ Only neighborhood street parking available. We parked closer to the Cathedral for a 2 for 1 visit!

Location: 3409 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

DC Parks Website: Macomb Rec Center

4)  Takoma Playground

My kids LOVE this playground! Nature woodland themed with a skateboarding area, fenced off big kids and little kids areas and TONS to do!

Unique features: 4 person (or 5!) sea saw, huge playhouse, triple slide great for races PLUS you can watch the metro 🚇 zoom by!

🚻 Restrooms are at DC Parks are not open yet to the public. We use this car potty for my 8 and 4 year olds and loved this toddler car potty when they were younger.
😷 Purely anecdotal but having visited dozens of playgrounds in the DMV this winter, DC has the highest % of ppl masking. 💯 at Takoma Playground when we went! Also different spots + fields to play in if one area gets too busy. ⁣
🅿️ Free street parking was easy to find on a weekday afternoon.

Location: 301 Van Buren St NW, Washington, DC 20012

DC Parks Website: Takoma Park Playground

5)  Stead Park – Downtown

Great park to check out with your kids if you are downtown! 6 blocks north of the White House with a medium size playground, basketball court and huge soccer field.

Unique features: 2 different climbing walls for little and big kids and standard playground. Note some of the equipment is old but good news is that there is a $15 million renovation project which will start Summer 2021 to modernize the facility and bring it up to ADA standards.

🚻 Restrooms are at DC Parks are not open yet to the public. We use this car potty for my 8 and 4 year olds and loved this toddler car potty when they were younger.
😷 Went on a weekend and were the only ones there! (it was cold?)
🅿️ Metered street parking only.

Location: 1625 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036

DC Parks Website: Stead Recreation Center

Northeast DC Playgrounds

1)  RFK Stadium – The Fields

The Fields Playground at RFK Stadium has been on my bucket list for a while now and it lived up to the hype! Located near soccer fields along the Anacostia River, all 3 of us loved this playground!⁣ Toddler area is off to the side of the bigger kids area which is great for multiple age kiddos.

Unique features: Orb Merry Go Round was so cool! Hammock thing that we later learned from a very talented preteen, is meant for practicing surfing 🏄‍♀️ ! Tons of climbing structures and hills.

🚻 Restrooms are open!
😷 They are limiting the playground to 30 kids and have a fence around the whole structure so there is just one entrance/exit.
🅿️ Tons of free parking spots in Lots 6 and 7.

Location: 401 Oklahoma Ave NE, Washington, DC

RFK Fields Website here.

2)  Rosedale Rec Center Playground

One of the most unique playgrounds in DC with a mini version of the National Mall including the Capitol, White House, MLK monument, Hirshhorn, Air and Space and Natural History museum. They also have a cool musical instruments space that actually worked! And a huge picnic pavilion.

Please note: I spotted some unsavory drawings on the mini Lincoln monument…kids didn’t notice just a heads up!)

🚻 Restrooms are at DC Parks are not open yet to the public. We use this car potty for my 8 and 4 year olds and loved this toddler car potty when they were younger.
😷 Not busy at all even on a weekend.
🅿️ Found lots of street parking (free 2 hour) even on a Saturday afternoon.⁣♿️ Playground is accessible with wide lanes and ramps!

Location: 1701 Gales St NE, DC⁣

DC Parks Website: Rosedale Recreation Center

3)  Fort Lincoln Park (Non traditional)

Fort Lincoln Park is fantastic and a bit of a non traditional “playground.” I’m including it here because there is so much to explore, especially from ages 3 and up.

🚻 1 portable restroom in the fort (2 restrooms by the tennis courts but locked)⁣
😷 The Fort was empty on a weekday morning. Saw some people walking their dogs in other parts of the park. ⁣
🅿️ Free lot put plug in Theodore Hagans Cultural Center into maps for the parking lot. Once you park, go up the stairs behind the bathrooms to find the fort! ⁣Cultural Center is at: 3201 Fort Lincoln Dr NE, Washington, DC 20018

Location: 3201 Fort Lincoln Dr NE, Washington, DC 20018

Wikipedia page on Fort Lincoln’s history and DC Parks page on new projects at Fort Lincoln.

Southeast Washington DC Playgrounds

1)  Pirate Ship – Anacostia River Park

The Pirate Ship Playground just across the river is a great, unique spot! It’s located in Anacostia Park SE right off 295, easy to stop by on your way into Maryland or DC. ⁣

Unique features: My kids loved playing on top and inside this super cool pirate ship! I loved the views of the river and an outdoor fitness station with 18 machines for adults to use while their kids play. The only downside is that since its only 1 play structure, we left a little earlier than our normal play time when the pirate ship got busy. ⁣

🚻 Bathrooms right next to playground (although I didn’t try them so cannot vouch for cleanliness!)⁣
😷 Was pretty busy on a weekend but room to spread out.
🅿️ Free parking lot! Type in “Pirate Ship Playground at Anacostia Park” into google maps to find the right parking lot. Don’t just go to Anacostia Park. There is no street address but the parking lot is off Nicholson Street SE. ⁣

Google Maps Link to Playground here.

National Park Service Website for Anacostia Park Pirate Ship Playground

Southwest DC Playgrounds

1)  Hains Point – East Potomac Park

If you are looking for a playground with wide-open spaces, easy parking, restrooms and 2 playgrounds… check out Hains Point! It is located on East Potomac Park and is perfect for an outing with playground plus climbing trees, watching planes and going for a walk or bike ride.

Unique features:

🚻 Restrooms are open in the brick building behind the playgrounds. 
😷 Lots of space to distance. 2 playgrounds right next to each other so when one got a little busy (7 or 8 kids) we went to the smaller one)⁣⁣
🅿️ We drove all the way to the southern point of the park and parked in front of the 2 playgrounds near restroom #2. There were dozens of free parking spots available.

♿ Paths are paved and 2 lane one-way roads around the 3ish miles so would be great for strollers or wheelchairs. ⁣⁣

Location: Just type in Hains Point into your maps.

National Parks Website for East Potomac Park: Hains Point

Map of the Best Playgrounds in DC:

Playground Gear We Love:

Favorite sun hat we’ve used for 6 years! (Originally from REI bought found on Amazon) 2,700, 5 star reviews with UPF 50 and Smart Strap.

Love these 3 layer kids masks from Dr. Talbot’s brand, very breathable but also 3 layers for my peace of mind and come in two different sizes for ages 2-5 year olds and 6-12 year olds.

We loved this travel potty for both my kids. You can use a grocery plastic bag or two instead of buying the expensive liners.

Fun to have a sand bucket and shovel in the car for the playgrounds that have sand pits (and this one has great carrying case)

More Lists of DC, VA and MD Playgrounds

  1. Best Northern Virginia Playgrounds – 22 and counting in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax!
  2. Best Maryland Playgrounds – 10 playgrounds and counting in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
  3. DC Parks and Recreation maintains over 100 playgrounds in Washington DC and has a Google Map of all of them here!
  4. And finally, if you are looking for more Parks to explore that are great for kids but without playgrounds, check out my 26 Social Distancing Spots in the DMV!

Would love to hear in the comments below if you have been to any of these DC playgrounds or if you have any I should add?

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