Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
San Francisco is one of America’s busiest cities, and although it is well known for being a bustling metropolis filled with skyscrapers and iconic landmarks, it is also a haven for little ones thanks to its enticing playgrounds and play areas.
Whether you’re a family visiting San Francisco or a local looking to get your kids outdoors, these ten playgrounds are guaranteed to please all members of the family—plus, they’re free, so what more could you want?
Alice Chalmers Park
Alice Chalmers Playground in San Francisco’s Alice Chalmers Park recently underwent a $3.7 million renovation, transforming it into one of the most popular parks in all of San Francisco. The park’s main feature, a three-boxed stacked tower with a spiraling metal slide, has platforms and internal climbing nets for kids to make use of. There is also a sandbox, a large spinner, and a swing set.
But that’s not all, as on top of the innovative new equipment, Alice Chalmers Park also boasts a baseball diamond, a basketball court, a tennis court, and plenty of seating areas for parents to relax on.
Dolores Park and Helen Diller Playground
Dolores Park is home to the Helen Diller Playground, which features climbing structures, swings, a slide, a sand garden, and a shipwrecked boat. Thanks to the diversity of the play equipment, kids of all ages can enjoy Helen Diller Playground. Plus, as Dolores Park offers 16 acres of green space, families can picnic, kick a ball, and play games under the shade of the park’s beautiful palms.
George Christopher Playground
The George Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights is another San Francisco park that recently underwent a renovation—this time, however, a whopping $5.2 million was spent to transform the play area for kids of all ages to enjoy. The park now features climbing structures, swings, and slides, as well as a playhouse, a bridge, and stepping stones, all of which are made from materials that are meant to last.
Golden Gate Park and Koret Children’s Playground
The Golden Gate Park is home to the Koret Children’s Playground and the Herschel-Spillman Carousel, which dates back to 1914. Who doesn’t love a carousel?
The Koret Children’s Playground has both regular and toddler swings, sand pits, rope structures, and historic concrete slides that you likely won’t find anywhere else. Top tip: take a piece of cardboard with you to save your kid’s clothes from getting ruined.
Margaret Hayward Playground
The Margaret Hayward Playground in Western Addition was also recently renovated, with $28 million spent to transform the 6-acre park into a hub for recreation. The park today features a children’s play area with nets for climbing, as well as a clubhouse and kitchen. While visiting the Margaret Hayward Playground, you can also make use of the athletic fields, baseball fields and diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, and tennis courts.
Noe Children’s Playground
The Noe Children’s Playground is a quaint little playground in San Francisco with plenty of space for kids to run around. As one of the quieter parks in the area, the Noe Children’s Playground is great for families with young children, and its limited but suitable play equipment prevents your littles from getting overwhelmed.
Redwood Grove Playground
Redwood Grove Playground is situated between two picnic areas in McLaren Park and offers a range of activities for kids to enjoy. One of the most popular features of Redwood Grove is the large slide, however, the climbing structures and swings are also a huge hit.
With additional picnic areas and hiking trails to explore, you can spend the entire day at Redwood Grove, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the surrounding nature.
Spanning 34,000 square feet, South Park and its designated children’s play area is a unique and interesting playground in San Francisco. As one of the oldest parks in San Fran, South Park recently went under renovation and now features an interesting climbing frame (suited to older children) and large open spaces for kids to run around.
West Portal Playground
West Portal Playground may just be one of the most colorful playgrounds in all of San Francisco. The playground’s centerpiece, an enormous purple dragon with a red slide for a tongue, makes it one of the most unique parks in the area. Plus, with additional swings, climbing areas, and seesaws, the amount of fun your kids can have is endless.
The Willie ‘Woo Woo’ Wong playground caters to the Chinese community of San Francisco, however, kids of all ethnicities can enjoy learning about the Chinese myth that inspired the park and all its furnishings. The park’s centerpiece, a massive Chinese Water Dragon, features a climbing tower and a slide, as well as tunnels for kids to crawl through.
Families with older children can also make use of the park’s basketball courts, tennis courts, and hard courts before sitting down for a picnic at one of the park’s picnic areas.