Rain or shine, hot or cold, you can count on Atlanta’s playgrounds. Whether they’re into planes or playthings, art, or just the art of swinging, these 17 parks belong on your bitty’s bucket list. Keep reading to find out the inside intel on our favorite neighborhood playgrounds.
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.
Helpful Hint: In the summer, the city hosts free concerts in this park. Check the schedule before you go to find out what act to catch, or possibly when to avoid the crowds.
Find it: 93 Park Dr., Norcross
Loring Heights Park
This neighborhood oasis is located in the southernmost tip of Buckhead, off Deering Rd., and is the product of an active community association who wanted to turn their small duck pond into something a little bit more. And they did! With the pond still the centerpiece of the park, the area has now been landscaped with native plants, bench swings installed, a deck built over part of the pond, an epic multi-tiered playground built into the contour of the ground, and a picnic area.
Helpful Hint: 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. and N. Garden Ln., S. Buckhead
Brook Run Park
Just minutes from Dunwoody and the Perimeter business center, this park has miles of paved trails, a happy playground next to a child-size creek for children, a community garden, and TreeTop Quest—a zip line course for the more adventurous! There is also a dog park for your furbabies.
Helpful Hint: The playground has the distinct playscapes for different ages to explore, and keep your eye out for the skatepark if you have one who likes to shred.
Find it: 4770 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody
Sweet Apple Park
You'll find playground equipment here that aren't at other parks, including a sandbox with toys to play with, a tandem swing, and a zip line (though recent reports are that it's been removed for maintenance with no ETA on its return). You'll also find standard slides and swings and playscapes, and plenty of shade.
Helpful Hint: 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
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?
Helpful Hint: Though it has no restrooms, the city does spray this park regularly for mosquitos!
Find it: 4012 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Brookhaven
John Howell Memorial Park
We love this park as much for its shade trees and great playground as we do for it's 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, perfect for bikes.
Helpful Hint: There are no bathrooms, so go before you go, or opt for a port-a-potty in the trunk.
Find it: 797 Virginia Ave. NE, VA-HI
Our very own “Central Park” has everything you loved before you had kids, like brunch and coffee right around the corner and miles of jogging trails—but with kids, this park gets even better. Head over to feed the ducks, and then play at not one but two amazing playgrounds. Mayor’s Grove, located smack dab in the middle of the park will make 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, the only playground in the world designed by artist Isamu Noguchi.
Helpful Hint: 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
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.
Helpful Hint: There are no water fountains or public restrooms, but Orme Park is about a 2 minute walk to nearby restaurants and shops.
Find It: 774 Brookridge Dr. NE, VA-HI
Peachtree-Dekalb Airport Park
The airplane-motif playground here is cute, but the real reason we love it? This park is literally 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.
Helpful Hint: This park can get super windy so make sure to bring an extra layer to block the breeze!
Find It:2000 Airport Rd., Chamblee
Abernathy Greenway Art Park
This Sandy Springs gem has 6 art installations that are each an unique playscape 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.
Helpful Hint: 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 and Brandon Mill Rd., Sandy Springs
Old 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!
Helpful Hint: Forgot to pack a snack? Head to Ponce City Market's food stalls for the win.
Find It: 680 Dallas St. NE, E. Atlanta
Morgan Falls Overlook Park
The natural beauty here is spectacular! Your kids will go nuts for the sprawling playground with a rock-climbing wall and large spider web to explore, and you will love the shade awnings, a sigh of relief during the dog days of summer.
Helpful Hint: 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
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, musical instruments, a tree house, pavilion, and restrooms, this park is a sure-fire win.
Helpful Hint: Pack a picnic, because food options aren't within walking distance.
Find It: 4001 Powers Ferry Rd., N. Atlanta
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 park and have a fun-filled day— for free! 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!
Helpful Hint: Remember your dry clothes for post-playtime, when you should be sure to hit nearby Googie Burger for lunch.
Find It: 265 Park Ave. W NW, 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 makes us wish we were kids again.
Helpful Hint: Walk the winding nature trail and take in the funky graffiti art on the abandoned water work building.
Find It: 1340 McConnell Dr., Decatur
A tiny park nestled near Town Brookhaven, your kids will love this park for its collaborative community collection of toys, bicycles and scooters, and an awesome view of trains whooshing down the tracks. You will love this park for the friendly parents happy to chat, lending this little park a very warm neighborhood feel.
Helpful Hint: Shade is sparse here so make sure to load up on the sunscreen before heading out, but there are restrooms and a water fountain.
Find It: 2980 Redding Rd. NE, Brookhaven
Bessie Branham Park
Head to Kirkwood for a solid, shaded playground that includes a climbing tunnel, a music area, a slide, and a climbing dome and a race car. You'll also find slides, swings, and a separate structure for younger kids, too, but there were no restrooms on site last time we visited.
Helpful Hint: 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
—Shelley Massey & Aisha Saeed