A birthday party in a Chicago park is a great way to host a kid's birthday party without spending thousands of dollars. We’ve compiled a list of some great parks in Chicago that have field houses and party rooms to rent, or just great grassy and picnic areas available for a free kid’s birthday party. Many of these spaces also allow you to bring in outside food and entertainment. Chicago parks are great for a small birthday party where you want to decorate a few picnic tables and let the kids enjoy the playground.
While almost all parks and playgrounds in Chicago allow small gatherings for free, the City of Chicago does require a permit for gatherings of 50 people or more or those serving adult drinks. If you’re unsure, call the local field house manager of the park you’re considering. We’ve also noted below which park has a free public pool available for those summer birthday kids.
For more great free parks in Chicago, visit this guide for the Best Tot Lots and Toddler Playgrounds as well as our round-up of the Best Playgrounds in Chicago. And don't forget to check our Kids' Birthday Party Places in Chicago Guide, too.
Best Parks in Chicago for Birthday Parties
Hamlin Park is located in the North Center community. This park is over 9 acres, complete with a playground, a field house, gymnasiums, a kitchen, and clubrooms all available for rentals. There is also a free outdoor pool that’s open to the public. In addition to renting a facility at Hamlin Park, you can also set up tables and host a small party in the park. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Your park birthday party can also be a pool party. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Park District
Holstein Park in Logan Square features 3.25 acres. There is a field house with 2 gymnasiums, an assembly hall, and clubrooms that are available for rent. Outside you'll find a playground with a spray water feature as well as a swimming and wading pool. You can rent one of the facilities or host a small gathering outside the park or pool in one of the grass areas. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Some parks offer rentals for birthday parties, and sometimes you can set up on a picnic table for free. Photo courtesy of Chicago Playgrounds
Located in the Old Irving Park neighborhood, Independence Park is just over 8 acres. There is a playground as well as a water spray area for kids to play in. There is also a field house with an indoor pool and party room. In addition to the party room and field house, there are also several great shady spaces near trees that are great for small events at the park or spray ground. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Maplewood Park in West Town/Logan Square has a recently renovated park and field house. Although this park is smaller at 1.32 acres, it’s a great neighborhood park to host a birthday party. Call the field house supervisor about hosting a party indoors at Maplewood Park. There are also plenty of great spots near the park and the fields to host a small gathering. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Plenty of shade for an outdoor birthday party. Photo courtesy of Chicago Playgrounds
5. Oz Park - Lincoln Park
Oz Park is the spot for any Wizard of Oz fan. This 14-acre park is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Dorothy’s Playground is an awesome park for birthday guests. There are also sports courts, fields, and a community garden space. There is plenty of space near the park for small birthday parties in addition to facility rentals. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Portage Park is a massive 38-acre park in the Portage Park neighborhood. This park is beautiful and often the home of wedding ceremonies. On a smaller scale, there are plenty of great places near the park, the field house, and the Olympic-size pool to host a birthday party. You can also rent several of the facilities or indoor spaces for private events. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Pulaski Park is located on the West side of Chicago in West Town. This 4-acre park has private rooms, 2 gymnasiums, and a massive public swimming pool and spray ground. In addition to the free, open green space, many of the facilities here are available for rent. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.
Union Park has a free outdoor swimming pool. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Park District
Union Park on the Near West side has over 13 acres of public fun. In addition to the playground, you’ll also find a field house, a gym, a theater room, a pool, and baseball fields. Many of the rooms and facilities at Union Park are available to rent. There is also plenty of space to set up tables and host a party. Note, any gathering of 50 people or more requires a city permit.