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  • Mistie Lucht

    7 best Chicago playgrounds for climbing

    As your kids get older, perhaps playgrounds are not their first choice for outdoor playtime anymore. Before they retire their sliding and swinging skills, check out these playgrounds that have more challenging climbing structures. Get in on the fun yourself and challenge them to a climb – you’ll be amazed how interesting these playgrounds can be for even you!

    Union Park Playground

    Union Playground

    Location: 1501 W. Randolph St., Near West Side

    Challenge Details: From the huge dome climbing structure to the hanging rope bridge, Union Playground has challenges even adults will love! Enjoy the suspended “swings” and climbing wall. Got little siblings?  No worries, there is also a traditional structure suited for toddlers. A gentle, circular water sprayer WILL soak you.

    [Related: Best playgrounds close to El stops]

    Merrimac Playground

    Location: 6343 W. Irving Park Rd., Dunning

    Challenge Details:  Gentle slopes within the playground, recycled rubber walkways and unique structures are some of the offerings here. Even the uniquely designed toddler structure has some new challenges your older kids will love.

    Humboldt PlaygroundHumboldt Playground

    Location: 1400 N. California Ave., Humboldt Park

    Challenge Details:  Difficult climbing structures are plentiful here. Multiple circular structures as well as an Eiffel tower rope structure offer modern climbing fun! Again, a small toddler structure can keep little siblings happy.

    Dean Playground

    Location: 1344 N. Dean St., West Town/Wicker Park

    Challenge Details: This sunny playground with a water sprayer has circular monkey bars and a slide without sides – both tough to navigate and a challenge to accomplish.  Bring some soccer balls, lacrosse sticks, and anything else the oldest siblings would love to play outside in the adjacent field.

    Jefferson PlaygroundJefferson Playground

    Location: 1640 S. Jefferson St., Lower West Side

    Challenge Details:  This sun soaked playground has it all:  a challenging circular climbing structure, a traditional structure with slides, swings and a water sprayer for those hot summer days. Lots of space and picnic tables to make it a destination for all ages.

    [Related: Best Chicago playgrounds for the potty-training toddler]

    Mary Bartelme Playground

    Location: 115 S. Sangamon St. West Loop

    Challenge Details:  No list would be complete without this playground. The climbing structures, many made from recycled rubber, offer many challenges for older kids and even for adults. The slopes and angles in this playground create challenge and adventure at every turn. After some hard playtime, enjoy water mist from the sculpture nearby.

    Edwin C. "Bill" Berry PlaygroundEdwin C. Bill Berry Playground

    Location:  31st and Lakeshore

    Challenge Details: Space-age looking climbing structures and unique challenges fill this playground. There is also a tall climbing wall with three options – easy, harder and hardest! Enjoy the beach, bathrooms and lakefront path nearby, as well as two water-spray areas.

    Mistie Lucht

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