They say that it’s not always about the destination. But when it comes to finding Atlanta’s best playgrounds, we’re not so sure. These epic playgrounds will keep the kids busy from sun up to sun down, because they boast more than just the coolest play structures around. They’ve also got splash pads to keep the kids cool, paved trails where kids can walk or bike and so much more. Some are just a hop, skip and a jump away from our favorite Atlanta attractions and eats. So when it comes to finding the best Atlanta playgrounds, it really is about the destination. Read on to find your new favorite city play spot.
This Buckhead staple has enjoyed renovation upon renovation, and is now a happening hot spot nestled beside the running path, golf course, tennis courts and baseball diamonds. With multiple rolling slides, nest swings, an array of musical instruments your toddlers will love plus a tree house, play doesn't get any better than this. Add in a pavilion and restrooms and you've got a sure-fire win on your hands.
Insider tip: Pack a picnic, because food options aren't within walking distance.
Find It: 4001 Powers Ferry Rd., N. Atlanta
Historic Fourth Ward Park
Atlanta’s first Beltline park is still one of its best. Take in the lake, hit up the playgrounds, cool off in the huge splash pad, and do some people-watching at the skate park right on the premises. We especially love the easily accessible bathrooms that make a change of outfit from all the splashing fun a cinch.
Insider tip: Forgot to pack a snack? Head to nearby Ponce City Market's food stalls for the win.
Find It: 680 Dallas St. N.E., E. Atlanta
Atlanta's very own “Central Park” has everything parents love, like brunch and coffee right around the corner and miles of jogging trails. But this park gets even better when it comes to perks for kids. Head over to feed the ducks, and then play at not one but two amazing playgrounds. First up is Mayor’s Grove, located smack dab in the middle of the park. This all-abilities playground will get your kid ready for a nap in no time with rock climbing, tunnels, bridges and slides galore. Appreciate the arts? Check out the famed Noguchi Playscape by the 12th Street entrance. It's the only playground in the world designed by artist Isamu Noguchi.
Insider tip: This park is huge, so bring along a stroller as even the most energetic of tykes are bound to get exhausted.
Find It: 1320 Monroe Dr., Midtown
With trains that run the nearby track, this small park located in the middle of downtown historic Norcross is a favorite of the train set. There are picnic tables, grills, restrooms, a pavilion and a playground for the kids, along with an Amphitheater, a Gazebo and fun art installations. It's also walking distance to restaurants in case you forgot to pack a lunch.
Insider tip: In the summer, the city hosts free concerts in this park. Check the schedule before you go to find out which act to catch or possibly when to avoid the crowds.
Find it: 93 Park Dr., Norcross
Brook Run Park
Just minutes from Dunwoody and the Perimeter business center, the Brook Run Park playground has distinct playscapes for different ages to explore, so it's great for kids of all ages. The miles of paved trails means you can bring your stroller and enjoy a beautiful day and the child-size creek right next to the playground is good for toe-dipping when it's hot outside. Don't forget to visit TreeTop Quest, a zip line course for adventurous kids, during your play day. There is also a dog park for your furbabies.
Insider tip: Keep your eye out for the skatepark if you have one who likes to shred.
Find It: 4770 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody
Loring Heights Park
This neighborhood oasis is located in the southernmost tip of Buckhead, off Deering Road, and is the product of an active community association that wanted to turn the small duck pond into something a little bit more. Let's just say they were successful. The pond still serves as the centerpiece of the park, and the area has now been landscaped with native plants, bench swings, a deck cantilevered over part of the pond and a picnic area. But the best part is the covered playground built into the slope of the land.
Insider tip: No potties here, but if you're into fishing (and have a license), there are some seriously big ones to bag in the pond.
Find it: Loring Dr. & N. Garden Ln., S. Buckhead
Abernathy Greenway Art Park
This Sandy Springs gem has six art installations that are each unique playscapes for kids to explore. And whether you've got some serious art critics in your crew, or you're just looking for a fun place to play, this park is worth a visit.
Insider tip: Since this hotspot is located alongside a busy road, you might want to check it out for the first time during a mid-week morning, when traffic is a little lighter and the noise is a little less.
Find It: Abernathy Rd. & Brandon Mill Rd., Sandy Springs
Sweet Apple Park
You'll find playground equipment here you won't find at other parks, including a sandbox with plenty of toys and a super cool tandem swing. You'll also find standard slides, swings and playscape that works for kids of all ages. We're particularly fond of the toddler equipment that allows little kids to play alongside older kids, Plus, there's plenty of shade, and that's all you really need on a hot Atlanta day.
Insider tip: You'll find a soccer field near the parking area of this park, so be sure to bring your balls.
Find it: 11850 Crabapple Rd., Roswell
A tiny park nestled near Town Brookhaven, your kids will love this playground for its collaborative community collection of toys, bicycles and scooters, and its awesome view of trains whooshing down the tracks. Parents will love this park for the friendly vibe, lending this little park a very warm neighborhood feel.
Insider tip: Shade is sparse here, so make sure to load up on the sunscreen before heading out. There are restrooms and a water fountain.
Find It: 2980 Redding Rd. N.E., Brookhaven
Morgan Falls Overlook Park
The natural beauty here is spectacular, but it's just one of the reasons this made our best Atlanta playgrounds list. Your kids will go nuts for the sprawling playground with a rock-climbing wall and large spider web to explore. And parents will love the shade awnings, a sigh of relief during the dog days of summer.
Insider tip: Take a hike (or a short ride) to the end of the road beyond that playground parking lot. You'll get an up-close look at a WPA-era hydraulic dam that once helped supply the Atlanta area with electricity.
Find It: 200 Morgan Falls Rd., Sandy Springs
Little Nancy Creek Park
This small neighborhood park is a must-try for its mulched walkways, separate play areas for the bigs and littles, peaceful creek and shaded picnic areas. And did we mention the playground equipment is epic?
Insider tip: Though it has no restrooms, the city does spray this park regularly for mosquitos.
Find It: 4012 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Brookhaven
Bessie Branham Park
Head to Kirkwood for a solid, shaded playground that includes a climbing tunnel, a music area, a slide, a climbing dome and a race car. You'll also find slides, swings and a separate structure for younger kids, too. What you may not find... restrooms, so make sure to plan ahead.
Insider tip: Don't skip a visit to Sun in My Belly, while you're there. It's worth a visit, alone.
Find It: 2051 Delano Dr., Kirkwood
Peachtree-Dekalb Airport Park
The airplane-motif playground here is cute, but the real reason we love it? This park is actually next to a runway. Watch airplanes, helicopters and blimps take off and land while you push your kids in the swing, or hang out at the viewing deck for the best view. Exhausted from all the plane watching? Check out Downwind restaurant next door and recharge.
Insider tip: This park can get super windy, so make sure to bring an extra layer to block the breeze.
Find It: 2000 Airport Rd., Chamblee
John Howell Memorial Park
We love this park as much for its shade trees and great playground equipment as we do for its history. The park is built on the site of 11 houses demolished in the mid-1960s, when the Georgia State Highway Department proposed turning it into an exit off a proposed freeway. Now, it has volleyball courts, a playground, a wrought iron sculpture of a stylized phoenix (the symbol of the City of Atlanta) and a brick-paved circular pathway that's perfect for bikes.
Insider tip: There are no bathrooms, so go before you go, or opt for a port-a-potty in the trunk.
Find it: 797 Virginia Ave. N.E., VA-HI
Nestled in Virginia-Highlands, this neighborhood park is attended by donated children's toys, a playground and a nature trail, just begging to be explored. There's even a sandbox for kids to dig in, if you don't mind them getting a little bit dirty.
Insider tip: There are no water fountains or public restrooms, but it's is about a 2-minute walk to nearby restaurants and shops.
Find It: 774 Brookridge Dr. N.E., VA-HI
Centennial Olympic Park
You could easily spend a bundle and explore the best of Atlanta all located within walking distance from this park. Or... you can head to this playground and have a fun-filled day for free. (We know what we'd do.) Get your play on at the playground by the Georgia Aquarium entrance, and dance in the water fountains that have a free musical show several times a day.
Insider tip: Remember your dry clothes for a post-playtime lunch. Then, be sure to hit nearby Googie Burger for lunch.
Find It: 265 Park Ave. W N.W., Downtown
Mason Mill Park
Pirateers and adventurers, rejoice! Your dream playground complete with pirate ship is here. This playground is so fun and different from all others it even makes us wish we were kids again.
Insider tip: Walk the winding nature trail and take in the funky graffiti art on the abandoned water work building after you're done playing.
Find It: 1340 McConnell Dr., Decatur
—Shelley Massey & Aisha Saeed
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