I’ve lived in sunny San Diego for almost three years. (I can’t even believe it’s been that long!) From nannying kiddos, to watching my boyfriend’s son throw himself around the monkey bars, I know a few of the top spots in this area—that the visitor or local alike—will enjoy.
Regardless of the age or interest of your child(ren), there is something to love at all of these locations! From setting up a picnic lunch on a grassy field, to playing a pickup game of soccer, to watching the sunset from the swing set, here are the best playgrounds in San Diego.
1. Kate Sessions Park, Pacific Beach
This stunning park is one of my favorites. It has one of the best views of the city, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach/Bay, and the ocean. Not to mention rolling hills that are great for dogs and kids alike. Although there’s not a huge jungle gym or climbing area (which may be a deterrent for active kiddos), the grass is wonderful for picnics, pickup sports games, or group events!
Insider Tip: Beat traffic and get there around 5PM for the sunset. Sun typically sets around 7PM starting March-August, and 5:30PM in September.
5115 Soledad Rd.
San Diego, CA 92109
2. Park (At The Ball Park), Petco Baseball Field
Take me out to the ballgame! Whether you’re a local or just visiting San Diego, be sure to head to a Padres game! Petco Park has a 2.7 acre park on the North side of the field. There’s grass, a mini diamond, and a toddlers area, complete with a sand pit. On game days you can buy a park ticket and sit with a blanket to watch the game on the screen! (PS: These tickets may be cheaper, too!)
Insider Tip: FYI: If there’s not a game that day, the park is still open to the public from sunrise to sunset! On game days, the park closes 4.5 hours before game start.
100 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA
3. Waterfront Park, Downtown
Nestled in the heart of Downtown, San Diego, The Children’s Park doesn’t disappoint. Opened officially in Spring 2014, the park has swings, teeter-totter, slide ‘mountain,’ climbing walls, and multiple merry-go-rounds. The park equipment is beautiful, too, looking more like art than for play.
There are water fountains (great for escaping the summer heat!) and because the park is so close to the Courthouse, there is security at all times —making it one of the safest options in the city.
Insider Tip: Easy way to get here is through the trolley, especially if you’re visiting or looking to escape traffic. The little Italy stop is only a couple blocks away! Also, the bathrooms are well-maintained with doors, soap, and showers for rinsing off.
1600 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92101
4. Fletcher Cove Park, Solona Beach
Not only does this park have a playground, but it also has a half-court for basketball, too. Plus, it’s only steps from the beach making it one of the best playgrounds in San Diego! There are only two swings, which may be a downside for smaller kids, but there are plenty of picnic tables and areas to sit with a perfect ocean views.
Insider Tip: Bring your swimsuits because there’s a lifeguard station on the sand. There are outdoor showers, bathrooms, and rinse-off stations as well.
111 S. Sierra Ave.
Solona Beach, CA
5. Sixth Avenue Playground, Balboa Park
Tucked away in the heart of Balboa Park, Sixth Avenue is one of the best playgrounds in San Diego, and most colorful, too! The park has activities and fun for all ages. There is an obstacle area with climbing structures on one side and the other is for smaller kids (5 or younger) with a fire-engine themed ropes, slides, and climbing bars.
Insider Tip: Parking is limited, so park a few blocks away and walk so you don’t have the hassle of finding a spot!
Sixth Ave & Spruce St.
San Diego, CA 92103
6. Ebers Park, Ocean Beach
For the OB locals, this is a preferred park because it’s just steps from the OB Rec Center and Elementary School. Although it’s not boasting anything crazy in terms of jungle gym equipment or slides, it has a great grassy area shaded with huge trees. Plus, the open area is perfect for events! (You’ll often see jumping structures or blow up slides that are open to the community during birthdays and other parties!)
Insider Tip: Before every Christmas break, the OB community puts out fake snow for the kids to play in! It’s a great time for kids to experience their first ‘snow’ while still in the 60-70 degree temperatures.
Saragota + Ebers Intersection
San Diego, CA 92107
7. Mission Bay Playground, Mission Bay
A combination of bayside beaches, fire pits, full basketball courts, walking paths, and jungle gyms, Mission Bay Park truly has it all. There are community workouts and yoga events, bonfires, parties, and other fun happenings all the time. Plus, with miles of flat paths, it makes for a great walk with your little ones.
Insider Tip: If you’re thinking about a bonfire, be sure to get there early and set up campy by your fire pit before they’re all claimed (before 3PM is best)!
1292-1344 East Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
8. NTC Park, Liberty Station
A well-kept secret, this park is tucked behind Liberty Station. Surrounded by walking paths, open fields, Navy memorials and the beautiful restaurant area, this park is space for anything from a picnic, to a sports game, to a family photoshoot (we may or may not have done that! 😂)
Insider Tip: Down the street is The Lot, a fancy movie theatre and restaurant with reclining seats! If you have time — make a day of it! Park in the afternoon and movies at night.
2455 Cushing Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
For More of the Best Playgrounds In San Diego:
We’re always adding to our list! If there are other San Diego locations you know and love, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
PS: Don’t forget to check out some of the best kid-friendly coffee shops in SD, too!
Featured Image Credit: Kelli McClintock