Othello Playground Natasha Dillinger

Play Break: Top 10 Transit-Accessible Seattle Playgrounds

Savvy parents understand that keeping kids entertained during a jam-packed day of sightseeing requires some creativity. One tried-and-true trick? Sneaking in a playground pit stop to unleash youthful energy while caregivers grab a well-deserved break. Whether you’re visiting Seattle or a local seizing the day in the city, stash this list of 10 playgrounds near downtown in your back pocket to ensure your family returns home brimming with joyful memories.

Each play area offers something special, whether it’s a must-try coffee shop, an inclusive space for kids with disabilities or close proximity to other Seattle bucket list attractions.

You can access each of the featured playgrounds in about 30 minutes or less using one form of public transit from Westlake Center. Check your maps app for the best route during your visit and use an app like OneBusAway for real-time bus and Link light rail arrival estimates.

Want to see where these playgrounds are? Check out the map below.

A tall and long metal slide and climbing structure are shown on the left and middle of the image. A kid walks across a black net climbing bridge that connects to a silver metal play structure with a green angular roof on the right and middle of the image. Green turf covers the floor of the playground. The colorful MoPOP museum is in the background on the left. The Space Needle rises above the playground in the middle.

Artists at Play Playground Natasha Dillinger

Artists at Play Playground

Neighborhood: Queen Anne at Seattle Center

Time from West Lake Center: About 7 minutes via the Seattle Center Monorail

What you’ll love: Adventurous kids can’t get enough of this playground’s sky-high climber while younger siblings experiment with the fun musical features scattered throughout the park. Accessible swings, a merry-go-round, and turf surfacing also make this a space for kids of all abilities.

What to do nearby: It’s easy to spend a full day on the Seattle Center campus. Ascend the iconic Space Needle for 360-degree views, let little ones explore the Seattle Children’s Museum or immerse yourself in STEM learning at the Pacific Science Center before heading for lunch at the Armory. Don’t forget to check the Events Calendar—there are multicultural festivals, theater performances, and sporting events almost every weekend!

Bayview-Kinnear Park

Neighborhood: Queen Anne

Time from West Lake Center: About 20-25 minutes with several bus options

What you’ll love: Neighboring Kerry Park is a classic spot to capture panoramic views of the downtown Seattle skyline, but most kids could care less about all that. You’ll win time to snap those Instagrammable shots if you promise to skip down the stairs to this small playground afterwards. The slide embedded in the hill is a huge crowd pleaser!

What to do nearby: Queen Anne is known for its hilly terrain—walk 10 minutes to Molly Moon’s Ice Cream or Caffe Fiore and you’ll have earned a post-playground treat.

Cascade Playground

Neighborhood: South Lake Union

Time from West Lake Center: About 15-20 minutes with several bus options, or take the South Lake Union Streetcar

What you’ll love: This park has a little something for everyone including a tot structure, a sand pit with digging equipment, an obstacle-course-filled climber for older kids, a large field, and basketball hoops. With fencing surrounding much of the space, you can relax a bit while kids play.

What to do nearby: Cafe Hagen’s plant-filled oasis is right across the street, serving Scandinavian pastries and coffee with a cute outdoor seating area. You’ll also be within walking distance of the flagship REI store and a 10-minute jaunt to the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and The Center for Wooden Boats. Watch seaplanes take off from Lake Union or catch a boat tour (Ice Cream Cruise, anyone?) to make your day complete.

A long blue tube slide extends from the bottom right of the image. The slide ends on blue rubber playground floor. A white child wearing a blue shirt is at the bottom of the slide. A second, smaller blue slide is to the right of the primary slide. A green field with a walking path, trees, and houses are visible in the background. A large sculpture with orange rings is in the middle right of the photo.

Jefferson Park Natasha Dillinger

Jefferson Park Playground

Neighborhood: Beacon Hill

Time from West Lake Center: 25-30 minutes. Take the #36 bus for the most direct route or hop on the light rail 1 Line and walk from Beacon Hill Station (a great area to grab lunch or coffee before your visit)

What you’ll love: You’ll find a traditional playground at this sprawling park complex, but wait, there’s more! Head around the corner to slip down slides embedded in the hill or cool off in the seasonal splash park. Picnic shelters offer summer shade, and a walking path makes a perfect spot to stroll or scoot for a little extra movement.

What to do nearby: The stretch of Beacon Ave S near Beacon Hill station is chock full of tasty treats. Sip a creamy latte from The Station on a morning visit. For lunch, enjoy CheBogz Filipino specialties like adobo, sisig, and crispy lumpia before satisfying your soft-serve ice cream cravings at Milk Drunk.

A white child wearing a blue and white striped shirt and grey pants walks across a green grass lawn towards a colorful play structure. The Playstructure has towers with wooden roofs, a green metal climbing structure that resembles a tree, blue slides, and wood chips on the ground. Large evergreen trees border the playground.

Othello Playground Natasha Dillinger

Othello Playground

Neighborhood: Othello

Time from West Lake Center: 25-30 minutes on the light rail 1 Line

What you’ll love: Big kids love the challenging obstacle-course-style climber and “elevator” equipment at this South Seattle playground. Clear sightlines also allow parents to keep an eye on siblings at the nearby tot structure, zip line or sand pit. If you have a need for speed, don’t miss the steep slide set in the hill across the park!

What to do nearby: Cafe Red offers vegan coffee, pastries and breakfast items on its heated outdoor patio, or get your Southwestern brunch or dinner fix at Bang Bang Kitchen.

A yellow metal swing structure with a circular swing sits atop a green patch of grass that is shaped in a large circle. Other play structures are within the circle. To the right of the circular patch is a community pea patch, a yellow shed with organic metal details on the side, and a wooden stand. Trees border the park and a cement path winds through the area.

Seattle Children’s PlayGarden Natasha Dillinger

Seattle Children’s PlayGarden

Neighborhood: Central District

Time from West Lake Center: 30 minutes on the #7 bus route

What you’ll love: One of the first inclusive play spaces in Seattle, this completely fenced space features a basket swing, accessible surfacing, and musical elements that welcome playground-lovers of all abilities. Families can visit outside of preschool hours (after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and on weekends).

What to do nearby: Learn about the rich contributions of Black Pacific Northwesterners at the Northwest African American Museum just a block away. If you’re up for a longer walk, cruise by the sculpture honoring musical legend Jimi Hendrix on your way to another great playground at Sam Smith Park.

Volunteer Park

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill

Time from West Lake Center: 20-25 minutes on the #10 bus route

What you’ll love: Shade from tall trees and an adjacent wading pool make this playground a superb spot to spend a summer afternoon. Bring a few toys for the sand pit and let kids roam free on climbers. Resident squirrels know that busy toddlers often drop snacks, so keep food well secured in backpacks or strollers.

What to do nearby: You could spend a whole day in this park! Pick up coffee and a pastry at Volunteer Park Cafe & Pantry to start your day. Stop in the Seattle Asian Art Museum or Volunteer Park Conservatory (both offer free admission on the first Thursday of the month) and catch free concerts during the summer months.

Washington Park Playfield

Neighborhood: Madison Valley

Time from West Lake Center: About 25 minutes on the #11 bus route

What you’ll love: The Seattle Japanese Garden and Washington Park Arboretum offer stunning floral displays that will appeal to adults, but the climbers and swings at this park make for a perfect play break when younger attention spans start to wane. Pro tip: bring your miniature cars for the secret racetrack on the tot structure.

What to do nearby: Grab a coffee and pastry at Belle Epicurean just up the hill or walk a few blocks to Cafe Flora, a vegetarian paradise that’s surprisingly kid-friendly.

A large patch of green turf is the base of a colorful urban playground. An orb climbing structure is in the center of the image. It has orange metal bars, black netting, and a green top. A white child with short blonde hair wearing a blue, white, and red striped shirt and black pants runs towards the orb structure. On the left of the photo is an orange and silver metal slide coming out of the hillside. Other play structures with orange, green, and grey materials are in the background.

Yesler Terrace Park Natasha Dillinger

Yesler Terrace Park

Neighborhood: Yesler Terrace/First Hill

Time from West Lake Center: 15-20 minutes with several bus options

What you’ll love: Yesler Terrace Park takes full advantage of its hillside location with a roller slide and multiple climbing challenges. Bring or borrow some cardboard for the best ride down the turf. Clear days feature views of Mount Rainier, and a seasonal splash park keeps kids cool in the summer.

What to do nearby: You can’t visit this park without crossing the street for a warm welcome and caffeine fix at Tougo Coffee. It’s also a short walk to the delicious food and culture of the Chinatown-International District if you meander through Kobe Terrace and Danny Woo Community Garden (stop to feed the chickens some dandelion leaves!).

West Woodland Park Playground

Neighborhood: Phinney Ridge

Time from West Lake Center: 20 minutes on the #5 bus route

What you’ll love: Alongside traditional climbing structures for toddlers and big kids, this playground offers special features like a hilly labyrinth, a large sand pit, and super high swinging action on the longer-than-usual chains. A large grassy field and spring cherry blossoms make a picnic at the park extra appealing.

What to do nearby: This playground is located adjacent to the Woodland Park Zoo, so it’s a great spot to hang out if you arrive early (with coffee and a pastry from Fresh Flours Bakery) or need a spot to chill after a busy day. Filling up after a day at the park is as easy as pie—choose from Windy City’s deep dish pizza or A La Mode’s sweet pie fillings.

Bonus Stops

Pocket Parks – when your mini adventurers just need a quick downtown spot to stretch their legs, head over to Westlake Park or Pioneer Square’s Occidental Park. Both offer climbing equipment and portable games and frequently host pop-up special events on weekends. Families who find themselves near Amazon’s Seattle Spheres will appreciate the newly completed Urban Triangle Park.

Park to watch – we’re eagerly awaiting the new playground at Pier 58 along Seattle’s Waterfront, with completion currently anticipated in 2025. This marine-themed play space will feature an 18-foot jellyfish climbing structure and slide that’s sure to really reel families in.


Additional Resources

As alternatives to your maps app, check out these transit websites for route-planning guidance and service updates.

Sound Transit (Link light rail, Sounder Train and Express Bus services)

King Country Metro (Bus and Water Taxi services)

About the Author

Natasha Dillinger

Natasha Dillinger is a Seattle mom who paused a career in accounting and finance to focus on showing her two young children around the Pacific Northwest. Follow their adventures near and far on Instagram (@suitcasesinseattle).

More Posts By Natasha Dillinger

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