As parents, we are constantly searching for new ways to engage our children in outdoor activities. Fortunately, Denver is blessed to have one of the best park systems in the nation. Most of our parks have fantastic playgrounds you can take your kids for an afternoon of fun in the sun. Below is our list of the best playgrounds in Denver. Did we leave any off the list you think should have made it?
Criteria For Making The List
These playgrounds are a blast for the kiddos. When you leave, they’ll beg to come back.
Safety is a top criterion, so don’t worry about taking an eye off the little ones for a minute. You deserve to relax while they play.
Burning off all that energy at the park will mean it’s time to fuel up. These neighborhoods offer great restaurants and waterholes.
Wash Park is 161 acres of entertainment in the heart of the city. This massive outdoor space has almost everything you’d desire in a park, from volleyball to tennis, basketball to paddleboards, and even an indoor recreation center.
But, most importantly, for the kids’ enjoyment, on the east side of the park, you’ll find a large playground containing several slides, a tire swing, a climbing station, and a miniature bike path. After the kiddos finish sweating it out, cruise over to Old Gaylord Street for lunch or grab coffee at Wash Perk (making our list of best coffee shops in Denver).
Central Park, located in the neighborhood formerly known as Stapleton, is one of the most desirable and child-friendly areas in northeast Denver. Central Park is a design masterpiece, with natural vegetation co-existing next to sports fields, sand areas, and even a sensory area filled with chimes and drums.
It’s a showcase for some of the fantastic modern trends in playground design. For a post-park bite to eat, walk over to Stanley Marketplace – a collection of over 50+ independently owned Colorado businesses.
This 25-acre park is a must-visit that won’t disappoint! The play area is quite diverse, with a village of playhouses, a hillside slide, an observation tower, and a flower and sculpture garden. It’s a gorgeous park that showcases a well-thought-out design, resulting in a fantastic area for kids to have fun and parents to relax.
Bring your sports equipment because you won’t want to miss out on pickleball and basketball. Afterward, take a short drive over to YaYa’s Euro Bistro and sit outside by the artificial lake overlooking Greenwood Village.
Gates Crescent Park
Located on the western bank of the Platte River, Gates Crescent Park is ideal for younger kids. The suspension bridge is the main playground feature, filled with ropes and climbing ladders. There’s also a trolley that goes around the outside of the park. Your kids will love climbing on a handful of giant rocks and playing on the traditional playground resting below the suspension bridge.
Parents can enjoy a picturesque view of Mile High Stadium and Elitch Gardens Amusement Park. If the kids aren’t quite worn out after a couple of hours of play, take them to The Children’s Museum – located just a couple of blocks away. You can grab a bite to eat inside while getting a respite from the sun.
City Park Denver
City Park is the most historic park in all of Denver. It’s central not only in location but also in its cultural importance to Mile High City. Here you’ll find the Zoo and the Natural History Museum, along with a wide variety of events taking place every weekend, from Jazz in the Park to art festivals.
However, it’s also a wonderful place to take the kids, filled with open spaces, numerous playgrounds, and a beautiful lake where you can rent paddleboards. It’s the perfect oasis from the hectic pace of city life. Afterward, take a stroll down 17th Ave for a bite to eat at countless local favorites, including Dos Santos, White Pie, or Olive and Finch.
Denver Premium Outlets
OK, we may have cheated a bit with this one. It’s not technically a city park; it’s a playground at an outlet mall. However, it’s a sprawling, fantastic playground with so many slides, swings, and climbing areas your kids will be busy for hours. It’s also ok to bring the kids here even if you’re not doing any shopping.
After your kiddos have finished jumping and climbing around, check out the outlet mall, littered with an abundance of fantastic shops such as Under Armour, Kate Spade, and Hugo Boss. We recommend dining at Rise Pies, Charley’s Philly Steaks, or Sachi Sushi for a little post-play fuel. Thornton is a delightful unknown suburb of Denver that you’ll be sure to want to return and explore more.
Denver Rock Park
Many parks end up having very similar layouts and attractions. However, some have some excellent options off the beaten path, like this Central Park neighborhood favorite. It’s smaller in size than some of the other options on our list, but it offers some unique opportunities for rock climbing. So if you think your kids might be interested in this outdoor Colorado activity, this is an excellent place for them to try rock climbing safely.
Central Park, formerly known as Stapleton, is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Denver and filled with excellent dining and shopping options. We recommend cruising over to Stanley Market Place or Northfield Shopping Mall. We promise your children won’t go hungry after burning energy on the rock climbing wall!
This Golden park has an elevation of over 6,000 feet with incredible views of the Foothills and Downtown Denver. The centerpiece is a skyscraper-esque slide sure to delight any adventurous kid. There are also tennis courts at the park, so be sure to bring rackets and balls.
Downtown Golden is a short drive away for a quick bite to eat. Stroll down Washington and Ford street and take in all this cute little Colorado town has to offer.