15 Top Playgrounds with Shade in Los Angeles
You can't spend all summer in the pool (though kids often wish you could), and some days the perfect way to burn off some energy is to head to a playground in Los Angeles! Of course, it's hot in LA during the summer (and spring and fall—even sometimes in winter!), and playing on equipment that is too hot to touch is no fun. Not to mention the sunscreen factor—even when kids let you apply it at the beginning of the day, it can prove impossible to reapply. The solution? Be armed with a list (like the one below) of the best parks that offer shaded play throughout the day.
Keep bodies (and tempers) cool at these playgrounds in LA with plenty of shade. And when the temperature dips, check out our favorite playgrounds that are worth the drive and the best toddler playgrounds in every corner of the city.
Best Playgrounds with Shade on the Westside
1. Coldwater Canyon Park — Beverly Hills
Nestled in the hills above Beverly Hills, Coldwater Canyon Park takes the cake as one of the best parks in the city year-round, but it's extra perfect when it's hot out. Beverly Hills is one of the more temperate parts of the city, and this grassy park is packed with shade trees. The playground has large shade canopies, keeping kids out of the sun as they play (and of equal importance is the fact that it keeps the equipment cool enough to play on!). If your kids are still feeling overheated, Coldwater Canyon Park has a man-made stream that's perfect for splashing around in the sun.
2. Roxbury Park — Beverly Hills
Also located in Beverly Hills is Roxbury Park. Located near the center of the city, this park features two play areas that are fully covered by shade canopies—even the swings! There are trees all around the park's playground, which is far from major streets so parents can relax in the shade while kids play. If it's a particularly hot day, the attached community center has a small library and air-conditioning (plus bathrooms and vending machines with cold drinks).
3. Rustic Canyon Park — Pacific Palisades
Perched atop a hillside just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, Rustic Canyon Park offers mild weather in the summer and loads of shade throughout the year. This park has a fairly simple play structure with swings and slides surrounded by leafy trees that provide ample shade throughout the day. Rustic Canyon Park is far from major roads and has a secluded quality that's perfect for families with small kids. Another draw is its seasonal pool, which is an added treat on a hot day. (Please note that the pool is closed for the summer of 2021.)
Trees provide lots of shade at Glen Alla Park. Photo courtesy of the City of Los Angeles
4. Glen Alla Park — Marina Del Rey
Glen Alla Park in Marina Del Rey is a whimsical, fenced-in playground with a nautical theme. The main play structures are shaded with big canopies and several large trees provide additional shade throughout the day, particularly over the benches around the playground. The one downside of Glen Alla Park is that the swings and sand area are not shaded and can get hot (though the park benefits from its coastal location that doesn't get as hot as other parts of LA).
The shaded renovation at Pan Pacific Park. Photo courtesy of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
Best Playgrounds with Shade from Hollywood to the Eastside
5. Pan Pacific Park — Mid-Wilshire
Pan Pacific Park recently saw its play structure get a renovation and now it's one of the best shaded playgrounds in the city. Located right in the heart of Los Angeles along Beverly Boulevard, near other kid-friendly attractions like The Grove, The Original Farmer's Market, and the La Brea Tarpits, Pan Pacific Park is a must-visit for any Angeleno. The new playground has state-of-the-art structures that keep kids entertained for hours and is shaded by large, colorful shade canopies.
6. Ferndell Playground — Griffith Park
Hidden up in Griffith Park is the Ferndell (also sometimes called Fern Dell) Nature Trail, which is a lush, shaded, and kid-friendly (mini) hike through a historic part of the park. At the top of the trail, across the street from The Trails cafe, is a large newly renovated playground that has shade canopies. They don't cover the entire playground, so the shadiness level will vary throughout the day. Tall, leafy trees surround the playground and provide additional shade throughout. Plus, parents can sip some of the best almond milk iced lattes in town while kids play, so everyone keeps cool.
7. York Boulevard Park — Highland Park
One of the newer parks in Los Angeles, York Park is located along trendy York Blvd. in Highland Park. This small and well-shaded park is located right across the street from Cafe De Leche and the new Bob Baker Marionette Theatre (which has just reopened for performances). The park has a nature theme and has the appearance of being built inside of a giant tree stump. The entire play area is shaded by a large hexagonal canopy and is gated, which is good because it's located on a busy street. Plus, when you get hungry there's almost always a taco or birria truck parked in front of the park!
8. Bronson Canyon Park — Griffith Park
One of the smaller parks on our list, Bronson Canyon Park is perfect for parents of little children who refuse to wear sunscreen. This park is located within Griffith Park near the Bronson Canyon Caves (the Bat Caves!). For those not up for a hike, 2 small playgrounds are located right along the side of Canyon Dr. and both are gated so you don't have to worry about tots running out into the road. Neither playground has a shade canopy but both are surrounded by large trees on all sides, making it shady all day long.
Giant shades and even bigger trees keep it cool at Vickroy Park. Photo courtesy of the City of Burbank Parks and Recreation
Best Playgrounds with Shade in the Valleys
9. Vickroy Park — Burbank
Another small park that has ample shade is Vickroy Park in Burbank—one part of LA where shade is very, very important! This diamond-shaped park is shaded both with a large square canopy tent that covers the play area and the many trees that stretch their branches and cover much of the play area. The trees protect the playground equipment, swings, and young faces from the scorching Valley sunshine.
10. Abraham Lincoln Park — Burbank
Just a few miles south of Vickroy Park is Abraham Lincoln Park, also in Burbank. This park is larger than Vickroy and offers more space to run around, with much of it shaded because the park is thick with mature trees. The playground is located next to several of these large trees, and also gets additional shade from the two canopies that cover the play equipment. Plus, the Buena Vista Branch Library is located in the park so you can take a quick cool-off book break when you get overheated.
11. Chatsworth Park South — Chatsworth
It's hard to beat the scenery at Chatsworth Park South, located just yards from the boulder formations that make up the Santa Susana Mountains. Despite its seemingly remote location, it's less than a mile from Valley Circle Blvd. and Topanga Canyon Blvd. The playground is located right behind the Chatsworth Community Center and while there aren't any trees for shade, much of the playground is covered by shade canopies, a necessity in this very sunny and hot corner of the Valley.
12. Garfield Park — South Pasadena
With its quaint but bustling Main Street, beautiful historic homes, and excellent schools, South Pasadena seems in many ways like the quintessential small town, even though it's less than 10 miles from Downtown LA. Garfield Park contributes to the small-town vibe, as the large grassy park is always full of young families, groups of teenagers, and older residents out for a stroll. At the center of the park are an extremely well-shaded playground area and sandpits. Mature, leafy trees block out the sun so kids can swing, climb, and dig without much interference from the hot Pasadena sun.
13. Tournament Park — Pasadena
Tournament Park is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but it's such a great park we couldn't leave it off the list! Hopefully, it will reopen soon.
One of Pasadena's hidden gems is Tournament Park on the CalTech campus. Technically a part of the prestigious college, it's typically frequented by families that work for or attend CalTech. The playground is located in a secluded area of the park far from any major streets, so while it's technically not a gated playground, you can take a break and relax while kids play on the well-shaded play structure. The only drawback to Tournament Park is that the playground is definitely geared towards the younger set, though there's plenty of shaded grass area and paved paths for riding bikes and scooters.
Keep your tadpoles cool at Polliwog Park. Photo courtesy Manhattan Beach Parks and Rec
Playgrounds with Shade in the Beach Cities and South Bay
14. Polliwog Park — Manhattan Beach
Polliwog Park is the largest park in Manhattan Beach and arguably the most popular. The park has everything, including a botanical garden, a large lake, a pool, an amphitheater, and not one, but two playground areas. While the older playground near Polliwog Lake may be more iconic, it's not very shady. There are a few palm trees ... and that's about it. But the modern playground that was recently constructed near the corner of Redondo Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard has shade in spades. The trees near this playground are a bit more functional than palm trees in terms of providing natural shade, plus the entire structure is covered with several large shade canopies.
15. South Park — Hermosa Beach
The big draw of South Park in Hermosa Beach is its gargantuan slides built right into the hillside, but there's also lots of opportunity for shaded play at this park. While the slides aren't shaded, two playground areas are covered by large shade canopies. The third play area, while not covered with a shade canopy, does have several large trees nearby that provide shade, depending on the time of the day. So come early in the day to slide, then stay to play in the shade.
Places featured in this article:
Coldwater Canyon Park
Glen Alla Park
Fern Dell Trail
York Boulevard Park
Abraham Lincoln Park