You have your favorite neighborhood playground. It’s close to home, the monkey bars are marked with your kiddo’s handprints, and the tube slide practically calls you by name. But did you know there are more than 500 playgrounds in Chicago? Just imagine what else there is to explore. Go beyond the norm and click through our album of hidden gem spots for new-to-you, non-stop fun.

For Soaking-Wet Fun: Union Playground

Renovated in the summer of 2013, this urban-feeling playground also has ample green space. Second only to Mary Bartelme Playground in innovative (and challenging!) structures, it will surprise and delight you. Check out the domed climbing structure with a rope; cross the bridge over a rolling valley; revel in the traditional toddler structure, and make a splash in water sprayer/mister that's pretty much guaranteed to get you soaked with one run through.

1501 W. Randolph St., between the Lake, Ashland and Ogden triangle in the Near West Side neighborhood. Find park info online at

What is your favorite playground in Chicago? Let us know in the Comments!

— Mistie Lucht

Photos: Playground Pointers & Chicago Park District