More than 50 of the 160+ public parks in and around Grand Rapids have playgrounds. You can find them all by visiting our Parks page and clicking “Playground” under “Narrow Your Search” on the left-hand side of the page.

Alternatively, you can save yourself some time below and consult the list below, a collection of 12 kid-tested, parent-approved playgrounds in different areas of the city. They’re all close to restaurants, so your kids can fuel up before/refuel after their play date. Or you can get takeout from a nearby restaurant and enjoy a picnic in the park – if you can tempt your kids away from the playground equipment long enough to have a bite, that is.

Most of these parks are also close to other kid-friendly attractions, so you can make a day of it, if you and your kids are up to it. Have fun!

Playground structure surrounded by grass and trees next to a river

Enjoy the river's beautiful view as your kids play at Canal Park.

Photo by Paul Jendrasiak for Experience GR

Canal Park

Nestled along the Riverwalk Trail  along downtown GR’s Grand River, the Canal Park  playground is perfect for the jungle gym lovers in your family. There are primarily climbing structures here, but you’ll also find five blue slides and a pipe telephone, all on a turf surface with a cool teal and blue color palette. You’ll enjoy the beautiful view of the Grand River and historic Sixth Street Bridge as your kids play. Canal Park conveniently connects with Sixth Street Park, includes public restrooms, and gives you access to six outdoor fitness stations along the paved Riverwalk.

Travel Tips: There is a metered parking lot and metered street parking near the playground, so bring some spare change or download the MOTU Grand Rapids app. (This applies to all metered parking in Grand Rapids.) The Embassy Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown  and bus stops for The Rapid’s Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) are also located near the playground.

Close-by restaurants and attractions: City Built Brewing Company SpeakEZ Lounge Field & Fire Cafe Linear Garage Bar & Grill Eastern Kille Distillery , Brickyard Tavern, Chicago Beef Joint, Fish Ladder Park, 555 Monroe Skate Park, Lorrie’s Button.

 

Fuller Park, 2023

Fuller park offers family fun and furry-friendly adventures with easy access to Hillcrest Dog Park.

Photo by Paul Jendrasiak for Experience GR.

Cherry Park

The 100-year-old Cherry Park  is an adorable gem nestled in the southeast side of Grand Rapids on the corner of Cherry Street SE and Eastern Avenue SE, a 10-minute drive southeast of Canal Park. The playground area consists of a wooden play structure, a spiral tube slide and a few other slides, swings, a merry-go-round, geometric climbing dome and a few picnic tables. There’s also a seasonal splash pad on a concrete surface that sprays several water streams plus pickleball, tennis and basketball courts.

Travel Tips: Cherry Park is very accessible regardless of how you’re traveling to the playground. There is a bus stop for The Rapid right in front of the playground along Cherry Street SE, surrounding free street parking (there is no parking lot), and bike racks and a bike lock station in the playground area.
 
Close-by restaurants and attractions: The Parlor at Cherry Hill Market grove Brewery Vivant Furniture City Creamery The Green Well Maru Sushi & Grill Cherie Inn , Partage, KCM, Le Bon Macaron, Hopscotch Children’s Store, Books & Mortar bookstore.

Fuller Park

Fuller Park is a quick five-minute drive northeast of Cherry Park, tucked between the hustle and bustle of Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile and the Eastown area of the Uptown neighborhood. Surrounded by a good deal of green space, the playground includes one large play structure with three slides and lots of climbing structures as well as a green tube slide, swings, a seesaw, geometric climbing dome and a merry-go-round. A free splash pad beats the heat on a summer day, and you can even bring your furry friends along since Hillcrest Dog Park is within walking distance – just follow the paved walking path located south of the parking lot up the hill. 

Travel Tips: There is a free parking lot off Fuller Avenue NE, but you’ll have to walk around the nearby baseball diamond to reach the playground. For those visiting Grand Rapids, Fuller Park is located near Hampton Inn & Suites Grand Rapids Downtown .

Close-by restaurants and attractions:  Cakabakery Van’s Pastry Shoppe Schnitz Deli Harmony Brewing Company-Eastown Wolfgang’s Restaurant Electric Cheetah Outside Coffee Co. Donkey Taqueria , Terra GR, Hancock, Fulton Street Farmers Market .

boy sliding down a blue slide
playground equipment at Grand Rapids Township park

The spiral slide at Grand Rapids Township Park gets rave reviews.

Photo by Paul Jendrasiak for Experience GR

Huff Park

The playground at Huff Park  is a 10-minute drive from downtown’s Canal Park (and about the same from Fuller Park). It’s one of the smaller playgrounds on the list, but no less fun for little ones. The play structures are almost entirely crafted from wood with some parts that cater to fans of obstacle courses, like a spider web of rope to climb and a hanging log balance beam. There are also swings, including a circular, webbed tree swing. This area of Huff Park includes multiple picnic tables under a pavilion, a few baseball diamonds, and access points to the 3,500-foot Cattail Crossing at Huff Park Nature Preserve walking trail. This trail offers a .57-mile short loop and a 1.07-mile-long loop consisting of footbridges, sidewalks, and a boardwalk that was constructed from over 60,000 recycled plastic containers.

Travel Tips: The playground entrance is located on the northwest corner of the park off Aberdeen Street NE, where you’ll find a free parking lot.

Close-by restaurants and attractions: Lucy’s Frosty Boy - Grand Rapids Sparrows CoffeeThe Reservoir Lounge , River North Public House, 616 Kabob Stop, Riverside Park, Northfield Lanes.

Grand Rapids Township Park

A seven-minute drive east of Huff Park, Grand Rapids Township Park  has three large playgrounds surrounded by picnic tables. The smaller playground has a play area specific for younger kids that includes two colorful play structures, swings, a balance beam, merry-go-round, and even a ladybug and a snail that are large and springy to ride. The playground is near tennis courts, a baseball diamond, public restrooms, and a pavilion with plenty of picnic tables.

Bonus: The Township building adjacent to the park houses engines for the local fire department, so your kids may get a glimpse of an occasional fire truck!

Travel Tips: This park has a large and free parking lot next to the playground. When you arrive and turn right off the East Beltline, turn right again to follow the road and playground signage around the township hall to find the playground.

Close-by restaurants: James & Shirley Balk Café at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park , HopCat Knapp’s Corner Kitchen 67, Morning Belle, Celebration Cinema! North and IMAX Theatre, TreeRunner Adventure ParkThe Village at Knapp’s Crossing (shopping/dining).

Dwight Lydell Park

About 10 minutes north of downtown’s Canal Park, the play area at Dwight Lydell Park  in the heart of Comstock Park has two playground structures that include a maze, swings, rock-climbing wall, concrete slide, rope obstacle course for older kids and play/activity structures shaped like a tree, police car and birdhouse. Beyond the playground, the park includes 39 acres of recreation space with natural areas, two open picnic shelters for group reservations, multiple pavilions, a paved trail two-thirds of a mile long that encircles the main recreation area and partially runs along Mill Creek, and a historic train depot that houses the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society.

Travel Tips: Dwight Lydell Park offers easy access to and from U.S. 131 and there are three free parking lots nearby — one next to the Kent District Library Comstock Park Branch, another at the corner of West River Drive NE and Leland Avenue NE, and another near the train depot. This park is also near Tru by Hilton - Comstock Park .

Close-by restaurants and attractions: Dairy De-lite , AJ's Family Fun Center Mill Creek Tavern Mad Dogz Vitale's of Comstock Park , Fluff Buckets Cotton Candy , LMCU Ballpark  (home of the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team).

Richardson-Sowersby Park & Pickett Park

Downtown Rockford, which is about 15 miles north of downtown Grand Rapids, offers a two-for-one playground experience with these two popular playgrounds a stone's throw away from each other off the White Pine Trail ,on either side of the Rockford Dog Park .

Richardson-Sowersby Park  is tucked along the Rogue River with a playground on a wood chipped surface that includes one large play structure with multiple slides, a big slide shaped like a dinosaur, a small, metal play structure shaped like a car and swings. This play area also offers a pavilion with picnic tables and public restrooms. Pickett Park  is located west of Richardson-Sowersby Park and it also includes a car as well as swings, a play structure with a red tube slide, and climbing bars.

Travel Tips: Pickett Park has a free parking lot you can access by taking Gaylord Drive off West Division Street NE. There is no parking lot attached to Richardson-Sowersby Park, so you can park at Pickett Park and take a very short walk east or find free parking in the parking lot of Rockford Brewing Company Epilogue Books , and Flavors on the Promenade  off East Bridge Street NE. There is also a free lot on Towers Drive – you can park there briefly walk south on the White Pine Trail to Richardson-Sowersby.

Close-by restaurants and attractions: Rockford Brewing Company Custard by the Dam Dam Dogs The Corner Bar Rogue River Tavern Rocky’s Dairy Depot Aunt Candy’s Toy Company Rockford Lanes .

going down the slide at a playground

Colorful playgrounds, lots of greenspace make the Cascade Township Park worth the drive.

Photo by Paul Jendrasiak for Experience GR

Manhattan Park

Manhattan Park , Grand Rapids’ largest city park, is located off Cascade Road SE just west of the East Beltline, about 10 minutes from downtown’s Canal Park. It’s home to two play structures, a separate spiral blue slide, swings, a four-person seesaw and a unique rock arch for older kids to climb, all on a wood chipped surface. A soccer field, sand volleyball courts, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, public restrooms (near baseball diamonds), a pavilion, a few under-the-sun picnic tables, and some nice, shaded areas created by large trees surround the playground area. Manhattan Park also has a seasonal sledding hill you an access by walking a very short nature trail from the playground.

Travel Tips: There are two ways to enter Manhattan Park – the first is an entrance off Cascade Road SE near the East Beltline and the other is on Manhattan Road SE. The latter gives you access to a free parking lot that’s right next to the playground (the entrance sign reads Manhattan Recreation Area). You can also get to the playground from the Cascade entrance’s free parking lot, but it requires a bit of a walk.

Close-by restaurants and attractions:  Rose’s on Reeds Lake Gaslight Kitchen Asian Cuisine Jersey Junction Ice Cream Parlor Carolina Lowcountry Kitchen Jose Babushka’s , Reeds Lake/Reeds Lake Trail Woodland Mall .

Cascade Township Park

Cascade Township Park  is 15-20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, but it’s well worth the drive. The Marion and Claude Robinson Children’s Playground looks like it was pulled straight from a Dr. Seuss' book with its blue, orange, red, purple and green hues, and it’s filled with lots of twists, turns and fun angles. The playground, all on a soft turf material, includes a unique “jam box” that plays music plus multiple climbing elements, a “rocking boat,” plastic leaf steps leading up to two slides and an orange tunnel. There is also a giant roped web climbing structure, a small sandbox and swings, including some double swings so parents or older kids can swing with little ones.

The 55-acre Cascade Township Park also offers ample lush green space, a dog park, a one-mile pedestrian path, a multi-purpose field for soccer/football, an 18-hole disc golf course, tennis and basketballs courts, two softball/baseball diamonds, a sand volleyball court, four horseshoe pits, and a large hill perfect for winter sledding. There are public restrooms, a shelter adjacent to the play area, a pavilion, a gazebo, and picnic tables scattered throughout the park.

Travel Tips: Cascade Township Park includes free parking lots, and as a bonus for travelers or any kiddos who love airplanes, it’s about 10 minutes away from the  Viewing Area at Gerald R. Ford International Airport . You’ll also be near the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Rapids Airport  and Hampton Inn & Suites Airport .

Close-by restaurants and attractions: Thornapple Brewing Co. The Gathering Place Frosty Boy of Cascade , Fowling Warehouse .

Millennium Park
Millennium Park

Millennium Park has one of the biggest splash pads in the nation, perfect for your little ones.

Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR

John Ball Park

John Ball Park is just a seven-minute drive southwest of downtown’s Canal Park. It has four individual playgrounds, more than any other location on our list, and it offers easy access to John Ball Zoo, Michigan’s fourth most attended cultural facility.

The universally designed playground at John Ball Park, located on the corner of Park Street SW and Valley Avenue SW, includes something for kids of all abilities. This play area was constructed using mostly natural materials and it incorporates sensory features for kids with visual impairments. The focal point is a giant play structure consisting of a metal slide, a big green tube slide (that is only reachable by climbing a rock wall), rock climbing elements on the exterior, and a rope bridge. Swings and wooden/rope climbing structures surround the tower for additional fun.

The Valley View playground is closest to John Ball Zoo’s entrance and includes plenty of picnic tables under ample shade. This area’s one big play structure is very toddler-friendly, with four slides, climbing walls, swings, signage that teaches some sign language and Spanish, and a separate wooden climbing structure with ropes and elevated steps. Plus, it’s within walking distance to restrooms in the Zoo’s administration building.

The other two playgrounds at John Ball Park tend not to get as busy. Picnic Acre, which can be found south of the Zoo on the corner of Park Street SW and John Ball Park Drive SW, includes a fun play area with swings, two slides, a climbing structure, picnic tables and benches, and, conveniently, its own public restroom. Hilltop Playground, also known as “The Hidden Playground,” is accessible by driving up and around the access road off Butterworth Street. There, you’ll find a picnic pavilion, restroom and a play structure with treehouse vibes, three slides and a few climbing options.

Travel Tips:  There is ample free parking in the John Ball Zoo lots, but they get congested at times, so see if you can find free street parking along Valley Avenue SW east of the Zoo if you’re only visiting the playgrounds. There’s also a stop for The Rapid’s Laker Line at the corner of Fulton Street W and Valley Avenue SW.

Close-by restaurants: Rise Authentic Baking Co. Mercadito Mexican Eats & Treats, Joey’s Tavern Putt Putt’s, Fulton Street Pub & Grill Bitter End Coffee House Vito’s Pizza  .

Millennium Park

One of the largest urban parks in the United States is less than a 10-minute drive southwest of John Ball Park. Millennium Park, with portions stretching into Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville and Wyoming, is a must-see destination for any Grand Rapids visitors or locals. The 1,400-acre property includes six miles of frontage along the Grand River, 18 miles of trails, a six-acre beach, boat rental facilities and a large playground with three different areas.

One area is designed for younger kids (2-5 years old) and features on play structure with various climbing elements and two slides. Another area is perfect for older kids (or fearless youngsters) and includes monkey and other climbing bars, a large spiral slide, swings and a rock-climbing wall. The third area has multiple obstacle courses and climbing structures for Ninja Warriors in training. There are a few covered picnic shelters, restrooms, and plenty of open-air picnic tables around the playground area.

Millennium is also home to one of the nation’s Top 10 Splash Pads, as ranked by USA Today. The beach and splash pad require paid admission, but the playgrounds (and trails) are free to use.

Travel Tips: The parking lot with signage marked “Section B” and “Playground” is closest to the playground and splash pad/beach. If you’re biking to the park, the Fred Meijer Millennium Trail Network connects with Kent Trails and with a City of Grand Rapids trail along Wealthy Street SW. You can access the trail across Butterworth Street from John Ball Park and ride it to the Millennium Park playground.

Close-by restaurants and attractions: Westside Social, TwoGuys Brewing Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts Lombardo's Pizza of Wyoming , Stan’s Tacos, Uccello’s Ristorante, Kent Trails hiking/biking path, Johnson Park, Farmhaus Farms.