This list gets harder and harder every year as incredible new playgrounds continue to be built, beloved old favorites are updated, and our readers keep us informed about their favorite spots! For 2022, we’ve shaken things up a bit with some award-worthy newcomers. If one of your faves is missing from the list, don’t worry! You’ll probably spot it on one of our other awesome playground guide articles, or back again in this space next year with some new additions. But for now, drumroll please…
Kidlist’s 15 Best Playgrounds in the Western Suburbs
Please note that this list is in not in ranked order; these are all winners!
Mastodon Island Peninsula Playground at Phillips Park
Mastodon Island Peninsula at Phillips Park
Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, IL 60505
This playground is on its own island! It’s themed after mastodon bones that were found in the area, with cool sculptures, slides, and a dig. Plus, you can easily spend the day in the Phillips Park area. On the grounds, there are sunken gardens, Phillips Park Zoo, and Mastodon Island, as well as an additional playground. A one-mile trail circles the island and playground, too.
Harvester Park, Burr Ridge
15W400 Harvester Drive
Burr Ridge, IL 60527
Harvester Park made the top of the list again! Part of the playground is currently under construction and fenced off, but the rest is still open. (Read all about the upcoming new section, which should open in June!) A small splash pad along with a tree-house, playground equipment, and creative sand area in the front of the park are perfect for younger children. After crossing the bridge (or walking under it) you will find the new Route 66 playground, along with a zip line. There are also close bathrooms and covered picnic area to sit while your little ones play.
Armstrong Park, Carol Stream
391 Illini Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Armstrong Park gets you three playgrounds (and picnic pavilions, and restrooms, and sports fields) for the price of one drive! If you park in the lot by the red caboose, you’ll find a smaller playground right nearby. Walk down the path to find a ship-themed playground that’s perfect for tots and complete with a huge, shady canopy. Keep going to find the biggest, coolest park: KidsWorld! (There’s also parking right by KidsWorld if you’d rather head straight there.) Plaques at the park tell the story of the community coming together to build the playground, which is definitely a fun one with lots of different equipment, including slides built into stone steps.
Central Park and The Sandlot, Oak Brook
1450 Forest Gate Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
There are three playgrounds on the Oak Brook Park District grounds (Central Park)! The surface of the playground at Central Park West is astroturf that bounces back when you walk on it. There’s a pond with fish and a little waterfall too! The Sandlot is a universal playground with wide ramps, modified swings, music stations, and all kinds of climbing equipment and slides. Fun for everyone! Click here to read more about the Sandlot universal playground. There is also a huge playground by Splash Island and the main park district building. Doing a walking playground tour of these three is so much fun that we wrote about it two summers ago. Click here to read about doing a walking tour of the Oak Brook Park District Playgrounds.
Rehm Park, Oak Park
515 Garfield Street
Oak Park, IL 60304
Rehm Park is right across the street from the Oak Park Conservatory, but that’s not the only reason we love it! Recently renovated, the park is big, with some cool playground equipment you don’t often find elsewhere (including hand-powered trains that are available on most weekends). Check out our full review of Rehm Park.
The Glen at Glen Briar Park, Lombard
The Glen, Lombard
21W730 Butterfield Road
Lombard, IL 60148
This area keeps getting better with more and more improvements and places to play! You’ll find a challenge course, a music area, an amphitheater to sit and relax next to a bubbling waterfall, a shady pavilion, winding paths, and more. It’s all part of Glenbriar Park, where the Park District building is. Check out our full review of The Glen to see everything on offer.
Spring Rock Park, Western Springs
Spring Rock Park
4400 Central Avenue
Western Springs , IL 60558
Spring Rock Park now includes two zip lines, rock structures to climb, pyramid with webbing, slides, toddler area, and climbing tower. The park also spans over a large area of land with paved paths throughout, which makes it not feel crowded even when many are there to play. There is also a secondary playground area between the baseball fields and roller hockey rink. You can look forward to a new free splash pad this summer too!
McCollum Park, Downers Grove
6801 Main Street
Downers Grove, IL 60516
McCollum Park has two large playgrounds: one designed for toddlers, the other for elementary school-aged kids. This park is the flagship park of Downers Grove Park District and at 50 acres, it has been the largest recreational park for over 30 years. There is also an 18-hole miniature golf course next to the playground called Miner Mike’s Adventure Golf. Click here to read more about McCollum Park and see additional photographs.
95th Street Community Plaza, Naperville
95th Street Community Plaza
3109 Cedar Glade Drive
Naperville, IL 60564
The playground at 95th Street Community Plaza is right next to the 95th Street library (it shares a parking lot). The equipment is whimsically designed with a storybook theme! There’s plenty for all ages to enjoy, as well as a splash pad and shaded picnic tables.
Discovery Playground, Lisle
Lisle Community Park
1825 Short Street
Lisle, IL 60532
This universally accessible playground includes a club house, double-wide ramps, two ziplines, musical instruments, and more. It’s big and tons of fun for all ages and abilities! (Pro tip: it’s right next to the Lisle Park District’s Sea Lion Aquatic Park, which helps expand a day of summer fun.)
Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground, Schaumburg
Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground
1111 E Schaumburg Road
Schaumburg, IL 60194
Bison’s Bluff is an incredible playground that lets kids test their abilities and play with natural elements. A creek and waterfall add a water play element, while the big fort-themed play structure and giant bison to climb on are always a hit! This is a huge playground that tends to be crowded on weekends during nice weather; you may want to check the website before you go, as occasionally the playground has switched to requiring tickets. The surrounding area of Spring Valley is also beautiful! If you hike the trail, you’ll find marked spots for nature play throughout the woods. Check out our review of Bison’s Bluff.
Hawk’s Hollow Nature Playground at Peck Farm Park, Geneva
Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Road
Geneva, IL 60134
This is another beautiful nature-themed playground! Kids can climb, splash, and test their boundaries. The multi-level nature may make it a bit precarious for toddlers, but preschoolers and elementary-aged kids love to go up and down and all around. The playground is on the grounds of Peck Farm Park, which also has a sensory garden and a butterfly house, among other attractions! See our full review of Peck Farm Park and Hawks Hollow Playground.
Plunkett Park, Elmhurst
186 S West Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
This treehouse-themed playground charmed our hearts from the start. The spinny globe, an Expression Swing you can share with your toddler, restrooms, and a nearby concession stand (open when the leagues play) are just a few gems you’ll find here. It’s also home to Courts Plus, batting cages, and other outdoor recreation!
Berens Park, Elmhurst
493 N Oaklawn Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
This park has many different areas, including a splash pad, miniature golf, concessions, baseball fields, and playgrounds. Be on the look out for a larger area with equipment for elementary school-aged kids. You can enjoy the playground and a round of miniature golf in one trip!
Wolf’s Crossing Community Park, Naperville
Wolf’s Crossing Community Park
3252 Wolf’s Crossing Road
Naperville, IL 60564
With a zipline, arching climbing structure, multiple slides of all heights, poured surface, free splash pad, and tot park, Wolf’s Crossing makes it easy for all ages to play at the same park. Click here for a full overview of Wolf’s Crossing Community Park.
Looking for more fun playgrounds?
We have a great guide to all types of playgrounds, including fenced-in playgrounds for toddlers, mulch-free playgrounds, new playgrounds and more.