12 Best Playgrounds In Vancouver

10 Best Playgrounds In Vancouver

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What do I like the most about Vancouver playgrounds? Not just the varied play structures and the vivid colors, but also the scenic location, the nice picnic areas and other outdoor opportunities nearby. Quite often it’s easy to combine playground time with walking on the oceanfront promenade, playing on the beach or even venturing out on some hiking trails.

Vancouver is a very green city, and it’s not hard to find a park near you. Many have a play structure or two tucked in one of the corners, but some parks have large, well designed adventure playgrounds with a zipline, water slide or pirate ship.

Being a full-time mum who has moved to Vancouver with a two-year-old, I had plenty of time to explore playgrounds in Vancouver in any season. So here’s my list of the best Vancouver playgrounds, for kids of any age, but particularly for younger kids:

Charleson Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The very best playground in Vancouver: Charleson Park playground

Without doubt there’s one playground that I like just as much as my almost-three-year-old toddler (which is extremely rare since parents can’t ever get so excited about playgrounds as little ones): the playground in Charleson Park.

Why would a kid be excited?

Charleson Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

There’s a pirate ship, with a slide, climbing nets, a log bridge and a rubber hammock and a small wooden table with seats below the ship. This alone would have been enough to make kids excited, but there are many other play structures. In addition to several slides and climbers, there’s a rope pyramid and two in-ground trampolines. You can choose from a variety of swings, including belt swings, toddler swings, accessible swing and a tandem swing.

Small kids can play in the large sandbox where they also find a tiny wooden playhouse, a kitchen and a spring rider. Older kids will enjoy the embankment slide where you sometimes mysteriously get very fast, while other times quite slow. But the views of Vancouver Downtown during the slide down is a real treat. Oh, wait, this is the time to talk about…

What do parents like about this playground?

Charleson Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The views! It’s right by the Seaside Greenway and offers excellent views of Vancouver Downtown on the other side of False Creek. The best way to enjoy the views of the water and the city is sitting on one of the benches on the hill where the slide is. Going down the slide with your kid is also an option. Small kids easily get intimidated by the long embankment slide, but fear can turn into excitement when they slide down with you. Speaking from experience here, as both me and my toddler enjoyed these slide rides together.

However, the top of the hill is not an ideal place to sit if you’re watching small kids who play near the pirate ship or in the sandbox. In that case you can use one of the Adirondack chairs near the pirate ship (just make sure not to fall asleep there as some parents do) or the picnic benches next to the sandbox area. Also, beware not to leave open snack boxes lingering around, because seagulls and ravens will get any food they can access.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

Charleson Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

This is one of those that’s great for kids of any age. Small kids can play in the sandbox or use the baby swing, older kids love the climbing structures, the rope pyramid, the trampolines and the hill slide. Most of them are obsessed with the pirate ship. My toddler often got overwhelmed here, because he liked all the playing opportunities so much.

The playground is right next to False Creek Elementary School and they use it during school hours, so it can get busy. But it’s actually not a negative for me, because taking my son to this playground I could always be sure there will be other kids to socialize with.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: small unpaid parking lot and very limited free street parking; a medium sized paid parking lot
  • Toilets: no
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: pirate ship, embankment slide and two trampolines

The best splash park in Vancouver: Granville Island Water Park

I’ve never even heard of such fun (and free!) outdoor water parks as in Metro Vancouver before we moved to Canada. The best of them in Vancouver is certainly the Granville Island Water Park, with several sprays and fountains, and a large water slide. There’s even lifeguard service in the water park. Obviously, this is a summer-only attraction, it usually operates from mid-June until Labor Day. Check the current opening hours and rules here.

Sutcliffe Park playground area

Sutcliffe Park playground, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Is it not summer yet? There’s also a small playground in Sutcliffe Park, right next to the water park. I called it Granville Island playground until I looked up its proper name for this blog post, because it’s the largest playground area on Granville Island and it kind of belongs together with the water park. As it turns out the proper name is Sutcliffe Park playground.

And it has slides, a rope pyramid, a nicely shaded sandbox area, a four seated spring rider, a spinner and a saucer swing. No other swings though – not on this playground, or anywhere else on Granville Island.

Other play areas near Granville Island Water Park

There are two other play areas only a few minutes walk away from the water park. The Granville Island Kids Market courtyard also has some fun wooden platforms, a red rope climbing structure and a small pond where you can see ducks and Canadian geese (and where you need to watch out for your kid). The second place is Railspur Park, tucked behind the Opus Art Supply store, and it’s home to a small, colorful playground with a slide and a few spinners.

None of these playgrounds are extraordinary, especially compared to the water park, but visiting Granville Island, exploring the public market, the quirky shops and art galleries can be a fun activity, anyway, and if you do so with kids, playground stops will be appreciated.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking lots (but parking options are quite limited, it’s best to leave your car at home)
  • Toilets: yes (in the False Creek Community Centre)
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: water slide (operates only in summer)

David Lam Park playground, Downtown Vancouver

David Lam Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

My first impression of David Lam Park was: “Oh, it reminds me of Central Park in New York City!” And it’s quite right. David Lam Park has a large grassy lawn, with the skyscrapers of the business district towering above in the background. By the way, there’s a playground tucked in one corner of that lawn, in front of the Dorothy Lam Children’s Centre.

Why would a kid be excited?

The main attractions here are the slides. There’s a small slide structure for babies and toddlers, and there’s a larger one with several climbing options and different kinds of slides for older kids (including older toddlers). There are baby swings and belt swings, and a huge rope climbing structure. The grassy lawn offers endless opportunities to play ball games.

David Lam Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

What do parents like about this playground?

The scenery. It’s also one of the playgrounds located by the Seaside Greenway, so it’s easy to combine playground time with a family stroll on the promenade or a family picnic on the lawn. This is probably the biggest advantage of the playground in David Lam Park. Because it’s not the most unique or biggest playground in Vancouver, it’s a medium sized, lovely playground, but spending some time there can be a part of a fun morning or afternoon in the area.

By the way, cherry blossoms and magnolia blossoms in April are also lovely sights in this park.

David Lam Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

From babies and toddlers up to the age of 12. At least the larger slide structure is recommended up to age 12, but most kids playing there are 3-8 years old, and older kids might not find it challenging enough.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking
  • Toilets: yes (public washroom in David Lam Park)
  • Picnic tables: no
  • Special features: large scenic lawn

Coopers’ Park playground, Downtown Vancouver

The area directly below a busy bridge might not seem to be the ideal location for a playground, but Coopers’ Park playground actually benefits from being below the north side of Cambie Street bridge. It’s fully sheltered, both from sun and rain. And I think any parent living in Vancouver appreciates a year-round rain-free outdoor playground.

Why would a kid be excited?

Coopers Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

They will be only if they like slides and swings, because this is what they get here. There are two play structures with slides, one for smaller kids and one for older ones. The structure includes a double slide, too, and one of them has that strange bumpy texture that my kid mysteriously likes, but it’s really a hit or miss, because many kids rather avoid that one. The double slide concept could work well though, kids are thrilled to slide down together, so it’s a great first bond to start playing together.

The swing set is in a different area, and it has two baby swings and two belt swings.

For older kids (and adults), there’s a basketball court and ping pong tables behind the bridge columns.

What do parents like about this playground?

The view of the business district is still great from here, and it’s also located by the Seaside Greenway. Pedestrian walkway connects Coopers’ Park playground with Cambie Bridge, so you can combine playground time with a family stroll or bike tour in the area. (Cambie Bridge offers pretty views of Vancouver Downtown and False Creek, as well.)

You find some picnic benches under the bridge, too. I wouldn’t choose them on a sunny day, but definitely on a rainy one, and the reason is the same: they are sheltered from sun and rain.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

The playground is mainly enjoyable for toddlers and younger kids, but older kids might enjoy the basketball court and the ping pong tables.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking
  • Toilets: no
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: fully protected from rain

Emery Barnes Park playground, Downtown Vancouver

In the heart of Vancouver Downtown, surrounded by skyscrapers you quite unexpectedly bump into Emery Barnes Park which is a small green oasis with a lawn, a fountain, pleasant seating areas, an off-leash dog park and a playground.

Emery Barnes Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Why would a kid be excited?

Kids who like climbing (are there any who don’t?) will be spoiled here as several fun climbing structures, even a climbing rock awaits them. There are slides and baby swings, and the other source of excitement in the warmer months is a fountain with a fast-flowing stream. It’s right by the playground, along with countless benches and picnic tables.

What do parents like about this playground?

This park is a pleasant, lively place to hang out, with nice seating areas. If you haven’t grown up in the city, there’s a high chance you’ll be impressed by the surrounding high rises towering above the park, so don’t forget to bring your camera.

Emery Barnes Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The only season I don’t really like visiting Emery Barnes Park is winter, because sun never reaches the ground due to the short days and tall buildings, and I’d like to enjoy those very few sunny winter days. It could be magical on a snowy winter day though.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

It’s ideal for babies and toddler, and probably kids up to about 10 will also find it exciting.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking
  • Toilets: no
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: cool climbing structures

Stanley Park playground & Ceperley Park Playground, Downtown Vancouver

Stanley Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Stanley Park is the largest park in Vancouver, and one of the best urban parks in the world. It has a scenic oceanfront walkway hugging around the park, countless forest trails, beaches and a lake. It’s ideal for families to spend a day outdoors, and there are some playgrounds, too, for the little ones.

Two playgrounds are located near Second Beach, separated by a large grassy lawn. Here you have everything: play structures for both younger and older kids, open lawn to play games, picnic benches to eat, a beach and an outdoor pool to splash water.

Second Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Why would a kid be excited?

The smaller playground, called Stanley Park playground or Second Beach playground, is right behind Second Beach. It has two play structures with slides, including two small tube slides, and a set of baby swings in a sandy area. Two sets of traditional swings are located outside of the fenced sandy area which is a great design, because small kids can’t run under the swings used by their older mates.

Ceperley Park Playground offers more fun for older kids. It has cool rope climbing structures, several longer slides and an old fire engine any kid would admire. The basketball court and the large lawn is ideal for ball games.

Stanley Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

What do parents like about this playground?

Being so close to the ocean is a nice feature itself, and you’re surrounded by so many outdoor opportunities. Visiting the playgrounds is just one of the many things that can fit in a fun day in Stanley Park.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

Cooperley Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Stanley Park playground is for kids up to about 6 years of age, Ceperley Park Playground is enjoyable for older kids, too.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking in Stanley Park
  • Toilets: yes (Second Beach washrooms year-round, Ceperley Picnic Shelter washrooms only in the summer season)
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: fire engine, proximity of a beach and an outdoor pool

Coal Harbor Park playground, Downtown Vancouver

It’s a small playground that seems to be on street level, but it’s actually on top of the Coal Harbor Community Centre’s parkade.

Why would a kid be excited?

Coal Harbor Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

There’s two play structures in Coal Harbor Park playground, but they include wavy and bendy slides, a small bridge and a bendy tunnel to walk through. There’s a small swing set of one baby swing and one belt swing, and two spring riders.

The splash pad at nearby Harbor Green Park is nice to walk to in the summer.

What do parents like about this playground?

From the top of the community center, you’ll get an amazing view of Coal Harbor, the North Shore mountains and the seawall. Yes, it’s also located by the Seaside Greenway, so you can take a stroll and show your kid the yachts, the seaplanes and even the port of Vancouver. This is certainly an exciting area for my vehicle-obsessed son who could watch seaplanes and helicopters taking off and landing for an endless time.

Coal Harbor views, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Stanley Park is also a pleasant walk away from here.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

Mainly smaller kids (probably up to 6-7 years old) will find this playground exciting. Ideal for toddlers.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking
  • Toilets: yes (Coal Harbor Community Centre)
  • Picnic tables: no
  • Special features: overlooking Coal Harbor

Creekside Park playground at Science World

After all the playgrounds in Vancouver Downtown, here’s one that’s not. But it’s also by the Seaside Greenway, and it’s a serious competitor for the Best playground in Vancouver title. Both kids and parents find plenty of things to enjoy, starting with Science World being right next to it.

Why would a kid be excited?

Creekside Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Zipline! It’s one of the few playgrounds in Vancouver that features a zipline, and it’s very popular among kids of age 2+. Older kids will also enjoy the climbing tower and the large tube slide, while there’s a tiny embankment slide for smaller kids. Baby swing, belt swing, accessible swing and saucer swing – you choose. There’s a cool spinner, too, with four seats, and a sandbox with a playhouse for small kids.

The SkyTrain route is directly behind the playground, and that was the first thing my vehicle-obsessed toddler liked about this place: marveling at the trains.

What do parents like about this playground?

There’s a big lawn with benches and views of Vancouver Downtown and the North Shore mountains.

Creekside Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

This is again one of those playgrounds where kids of any age find exciting things.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking
  • Toilets: no
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: zipline, climbing tower

Vancouver’s best playgrounds outside of the downtown

Kitsilano Beach playground

Kitsilano Beach is another area that outdoor lovers can enjoy. (Fair point, Vancouver is a city that outdoor lovers easily enjoy.) It has a large sandy beach, volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, the Seaside Greenway – and a playground. The playground is quite airy, the structures are located further from each other, with benches or picnic tables tucked between them here or there.

Why would a kid be excited?

Kitsilano Beach playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Opportunities here include two play structures with slides, a smaller and a larger one, baby swings, belt swings and saucer swings, a rope pyramid and a sandbox. But the beach itself can be considered a giant sandbox, too, and little ones can splash in the water in the summer. Obviously, be cautious at the beach. Windy conditions, especially at high tide, can be dangerous. But it’s a nice, safe beach for small kids at low tide when the weather is calm and the waves are gentle.

What do parents like about this playground?

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Kitsilano Beach is beautiful! It has distant views of the downtown and the North Shore mountains. It’s also a larger beach than the ones downtown, so it can’t get as crowded. You can continue your way towards Vanier Park, visit the Heritage Harbor or the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

Kitsilano Beach playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Kids up to age 8 would probably find it exciting. The main appeal for older kids is the rope pyramid and the larger structure with the tube slide.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: paid parking at Kitsilano Beach
  • Toilets: yes
  • Picnic tables: yes
  • Special features: close proximity of the beach

Trout Lake Park playgrounds: Trout Lake playground & John Hendry Park playground

Trout Lake Park is another great place with lots of opportunities for families to enjoy the outdoors. It actually has two playgrounds, one beside the Trout Lake Community Centre (this one is the official Trout Lake playground), the other on the other side of Trout Lake (this should be called John Hendry Park playground), connected with boardwalks and a biking path. Oh, and there’s Trout Lake Beach between the two.

Why would a kid be excited?

Trout Lake Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

On Trout Lake playground there’s a treehouse with a slide. The climbing rope dome is a challenge even for older kids. There are monkey bars, spinner, a smaller slide, different swings (baby swing, belt swing, accessible swing, saucer swing) and a large sandbox with water in the warmer months.

John Hendry Park playground on the other side of the lake is similar, but smaller. It has a structure with a slide and swings.

What do parents like about this playground?

Trout Lake Park offers more than just playgrounds. You can take a walk around the lake, even wade or swim at Trout Lake Beach in the summer (if water quality is sufficient), bike in the park or have a picnic on the benches or on one of the huge grassy meadows.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

Trout Lake playground offers something for any kid, John Hendry Park playground is the most exciting for kids up to about age 8.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: free parking
  • Toilets: yes
  • Picnic tables: no
  • Special features: treehouse, rope dome, lake

Beaconsfield Park playground, Vancouver

Beaconsfield Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

It took a while for us to realize this playground exists, even though Beaconsfield Park and its playground is actually quite close to Trout Lake Park. This playground has been reopened in 2021, looks and feels new and offers quite a few interesting features.

Why would a kid be excited?

The most special thing on Beaconsfield Park playground is the huge climbing rope dome, with some exciting additions inside the web of ropes, like a vinyl mat, a plastic seat, a rope ladder or a sliding pole.

There are lots of spinners, the most special being one that has a spherical cage in the middle – I’ve never seen this one before. But it invites kids (mainly older kids) to hang or sit in different ways while spinning. Younger ones will enjoy the more traditional, smaller spinners, the sand area with the small embankment slide and a play hut. There are two trampolines and several swings (baby swing, belt swing, accessible swing) for everyone’s delight.

Beaconsfield Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

What do parents like about this playground?

No views of the skyline or mountains on this playground. But it’s in a quiet residential area, with plenty of places to park on the street, and is surrounded by a lovely park. There’s a community garden with lush beds and fruit trees behind the playground that you can explore.

What’s the ideal age to enjoy this playground?

Beaconsfield Park playground, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The small slide and the sandy area is mainly exciting for toddlers and babies, while the huge climbing dome and the unique spherical overhead spinner is for older kids.

Good to know before you go:

  • Parking: free parking
  • Toilets: yes (in the fieldhouse)
  • Picnic tables: yes (also benches and natural logs to sit on)
  • Special features: climbing rope dome, lots of different spinners

Map of the best Vancouver playgrounds

Click on the picture to see all the mentioned playgrounds on an interactive map.

Best playgrounds in Vancouver

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