Are you a new parent in the neighborhood? Maybe you have just moved into the hood with older kids? Or maybe you have been living here for years and just had a kid and have no idea where the playgrounds are! Whatever your situation is you will want to read through this playground and parks primer for our neighborhoods. Not each playground is made equally. There are good ones, greats ones, and one you just need to steer clear of! Check out this list below and explore the playgrounds with hopefully energetic kids who won’t just sit on the bench next to you and ask for snacks the whole time!
+ Pierrepont (Pierrepont St & Pierrepont Place) – The classic Brooklyn Height Playground. It has two separated playgrounds – one that is lower for toddlers and one that is bigger and has an awesome twisty slide for the older kiddos. There are swings (not a lot) for toddlers and big kids. You will likely be waiting in line for the swings. Luckily this playground has a bathroom, but bring your own wipes and hand sanitizer for afterwards. (NOTE: Your kid will be covered it dirt as this playground seems to have a black soot covering it from the BQE. Lovely I know…)
+ Harry Chapin (Columbia Heights & Middagh St) – This cute playground has equipment for the little kids and older ones too. The best part is that it has lots of swings for babies and toddlers, so hardly ever a wait like at Pierrepont. It also seems to be a toy drop off location. People donate their old ride on toys to the park. This is great because your kid can get his fill of riding around in one of those big plastic cars without you having to own it and house it in your apartment. (NOTE: This playground has a water feature in the summer which in turn causes the playground to have loads of mosquitoes.)
+ Squibb Park (Columbia Heights & Middagh St) – a large open asphalt park. Great for scooting and playing kickball. There are bathrooms here too. No playground equipment but a good open space for creating your own game.
+ Adam Yauch (State St and Columbia Place) – This beloved park has playground equipment that is high off the ground, so definitely for older kids. But there is a sweet train and small double slide that is perfect for the younger crew though. There are also basketball courts and a water feature in the summer months. (NOTE: great place to grab a sandwich down the street at Iris Cafe.)
+ Cadman Plaza (Cadman Plaza West & Tillary St) Lots of open space to play at this big (for city standards) park. There is a large turf area and other grassy areas to picnic and play. Bring a ball, a rocket launcher or your toddling baby’s push toy and let her toddle safely on the turf. (NOTE: Dogs are allowed off leash in the morning before 9AM, so if you are there with your early riser you will be there with the friendly Cadman dog crew)
+ Walt Whitman (Cadman Plaza East & Red Cross Place) – This small park has a nice grassy hill to play on and a circular path around the park where your little one can scoot around safely. In the summer there are sprinklers with great shading from the trees. No playground equipment. (NOTE: Dogs can be off leash in this park too – only between 9PM-9AM though).
+ Cobble Hill Park (Clinton St & Congress St) – quite possibly the cutest and most quintessentially Brooklyn playground. This playground is not enclosed but luckily it is on quiet streets. There is a sandbox, a spider to climb, and a slide. Cute oval in the center of the park to scoot around too. The flowers are always beautiful here. So though it may not have a lot to offer in terms of playground apparatus it makes up for what it lacks in beauty!
+ LICH (Henry St & Pacific St) – Two playgrounds for the price of one. Start off your days in the toddler playground that like Harry Chapin is a drop off location for outgrown ride-on and push toys. Be sure to inspect the toys your kids are playing with there. Some can be dangerous and should be tossed in the garbage. But on the other hand there are so many things for your toddling one to play with at this park. And once your little one becomes sturdier and more independent head up Henry St to the big kid LICH playground. Lots of playground slides and swinging apparatus. A nice combination of parks. Now lets hope they stay there with all the changes happening with the buildings at LICH.
+ Van Voorhees Park (Columbia St & Congress St) – Lots of swings for babies and playground equipment that is low for young kids. But there is also a large portion of the playground that is high off the ground and definitely only good for kids who are 5+ in age. Great water feature in the summer and overall very spacious. (NOTE: This playground has lots of BQE noise as there is an entrance onto the high adjacent to the park. City livin’!)
+ Carroll Park (Court St & Carroll St) – This is the large central playground in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Across the street from PS 58, this place can be bustling after school. It has a cute toddler playground with loads of swings and a large kiddo playground across the way so no little kids meddling in big kid games and vice versa. There is a water feature during the summer months. Also the basketball courts are great for getting some scooting time in. There is a bathroom in this park too.
+ Mother Cabrini (President St & Hicks St) – Such a cute and busy playground for the little toddlers. There is a water sprinkler in the warm months. A great local hangout for new moms.
+ Dimattina Playground (Rapelye St & Hicks St) – This place is great for all ages. It has fun playground equipment, water feature for when it is hot, and bathrooms! Check it out when you are in the neighborhood and you won’t be disappointed.
+ Boerum Park (Warren St & Hoyt St) – in the middle of the block of Warren) – This is a much needed spacious playground for the community. It has basketball courts, slides, swings, and a unique water feature.
+ North Pacific (Pacific & Nevins) This small playground is gated and has padded ground – so perfect for toddlers learning to walk. Only hitch is that there are no swings at this place.
+ Pirate ship (Plymouth St & Main St) If you want to be seen this is the playground to go to. I’m pretty sure even Beyonce brought Blue to this one. With the pirate ship as the main feature this playground boasts lots of unique climbing features and cool slides. The bonus is that it has a tire swing (if you are willing to wait in line for it). The only down side of this park is that it’s long. So if your kids grant you the luxury of sitting on a bench while they play it is tough to keep an eye on them as they run around. There are bathrooms close by in the ConEd nature center.
+ Carousel Park (roughly Water St & Dock St, but in the park) – Thank goodness for Jane’s Carousel. This place is so cute and sweet and at two bucks a ride an affordable way to
kill a couple minutes lovingly entertain your child with sweeping views of the city while you hold your cookies as the carousel spins and spins. (Can you tell how much I love this place!) Outside the carousel are steps and grassy areas where you can hang and nosh on some snacks with again views of the bridges and Manhattan skyline that will make your Instagram account blow up.
+ Bridge Park (Jay and Prospect St) – This underused playground has basketball courts (good for scooting) and new playground equipment. Right next to the BQE (but I think almost all playgrounds are in these parts!). Still a good option when you want to switch things up in DUMBO.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
+ Pier 1 – This is a perfect and picturesque playground for your baby of toddler. The ground is covered in a soft material and there are small sized playground equipment. Some baby swings and views of Manhattan that can’t be beat!.
+ Pier 2 – This pier has all the sports you could ask for. There are basketball and handball courts (which are NOT good for scooting because they are usually in use!) Furthest out on the pier are big kid swings and a turf field. Again the views are spectacular.
+ Pier 5 – Along with the turf field on Pier 5 are two baby approved playgrounds. The first is really for ages baby to 4 and then the playground adjacent (though is it really a playground if it has only one climbing apparatus and one now defunct piece of equipment that the BBP has not replaced!) Though it only has one climbing piece my kids still a great place to stop by with older kids.
+ Pier 6 – This pier has it all. Grassy open spaces and lots of play areas. Great slides, sandboxes, swings and huge water park (review of at times daunting water park named The Water Lab found here) . There is something for every age range at this amazing pier. You could easily spend a whole day exploring the various playgrounds on this pier.
And when you are need to find places to cool off try these local pools and sprinklers.