12 parks and playgrounds in and around Pittsburgh that our readers love
Photo of Aspinwall Riverfront Park above courtesy of Yu-Ling Cheng.
If you’re looking for insider info on great parks and playgrounds in Pittsburgh, ask other parents.
That’s what Kidsburgh did earlier this spring when we surveyed our readers. We got so many enthusiastic responses, with dozens of parents sharing the details on their favorite places and what makes them special.
The folks who shared these insights are frequent users of our city’s green play spaces. Among the 41 people who responded, nearly all (90.2%) said they take their kid(s) to parks or playgrounds once a week or several times each week, weather permitting. Just a tiny portion of people who responded to the survey said they go to parks or playgrounds with their kids less often — a couple of times per month (4.9%), maybe once a month (2.4%) or just a few times per year (also 2.4%).
So which parks and playgrounds in Pittsburgh were their favorites?
Aspinwall Riverfront Park got lots of love from our readers, with one saying this park has “great area for picnicking and running around, being near the water,” and “nice but small playground equipment. Another praised both O’Hara Community Park and Aspinwall Riverfront Park, saying this: “O’Hara is great because we also like to walk the trails, but there is so much at those parks other than the playground. Aspinwall is great to take a walk at as well or have a snack/meal along the river.”
Blue Slide Park in Squirrel Hill is among the most popular playgrounds in Pittsburgh, and several parents mentioned another Squirrel Hill play space: Wightman Playground. “We love the play equipment, the slide built into the hill,” one reader said, “and the track around the perimeter of the playground.”
Another parent described Wightman as “fun for kids and safe for parents.”
Ta’lor Pinkston is another parent who recommends Wightman, and she’s a fan of Bayne Park in Bellevue, as well.
Blueberry Hill Park in Wexford is also extremely popular with Kidsburgh readers. It “has an awesome sandbox, as well as nice playground equipment,” one reader told us. “It’s also fenced in.”
WHAT MAKES A GREAT PLAYGROUND?
Parents told us they had many different reasons for choosing the playgrounds and parks they visit.
One parent likes Deer Lakes Park because it offers lots of slides. It’s especially good for smaller kids, because it doesn’t offer many high climbing areas. Instead it offers young kids safe stairs and ramps.
Reader Clare Heinl tells us she loves taking her two kids to War Memorial Park in Sewickley (see photo) because of the lovely creek.
Also high on the list of beloved playgrounds in Pittsburgh is Highland Park Super Playground, recommended by several readers: “It feels more magical than other playgrounds, and better supports imaginative play with all the nooks and crannies to hide in,” one reader told us. “With my youngest, I also appreciate that it lets little kids climb without a million places to fall off a ledge. There’s great seating for parents to watch the whole well-contained area.”
For summer, reader Cara Jette recommends Arlington spray park and playground. “They just replaced the playground and kids can spend a whole afternoon there running between the playground and spray park. It is a great place to hang out on a hot day.”
Sheila Talarico tells Kidsburgh she loves the Sensory Park and Playground in Zelienople at Glade Run. “It was designed for kids with autism and other disabilities, but all the kids enjoy it. It’s fully fenced in, has a musical sound garden, sandbox, cool equipment, picnic area, water fountain, bathrooms – and it’s not crowded! My kids like the fort best.”
There are definitely crowd-pleasing favorites and hidden gems throughout our region, but some parents told us they wish they had a kid-friendly park even closer to their homes.
“Although the children’s library here in the municipal building is a hidden gem (better than Cranberry), I really have to drive for the better playgrounds,” one Wilkinsburg parent told us. So this parent has searched out great options like Knob Hill in Marshall Township, which they praise for “the zip line, the shade, the bathroom, the climbing things, the semi-containment, the ability to see the kids everywhere” and also soft ground, unique play equipment and the fact that their child “never gets bored there.”
Two more readers also shared the praise about Knob Hill: “It has something for everyone! Big kids and littles alike will love this park. Our boys love the swing zip line,” one said.
“Our family loves the playground at Knob Hill Park in Wexford,” another told us. “The playground is great for both young and older children, and much of the playground is covered by large canopies for extra shade on hot days. There also are nice walking trails near the playground.”
In the coming weeks, we’re excited to bring you more data from our survey about parks and playgrounds in Pittsburgh. In the meantime, check out our guide to spray parks and other places to cool off.)