Best Playgrounds in Scottsdale & North Phoenix {interactive map!}

parks, playgrounds, scottsdale, phoenix

Are you new to the Scottsdale/Phoenix area or visiting from out of state? Welcome! Maybe your wee babe has grown into a busy toddler who is ready to explore our local parks and playgrounds, or your regular park routine needs freshening up. Either way, this post is for you.

Here are six playgrounds in the Scottsdale/North Phoenix area that my kids and I visit regularly. I’ll give you the scoop on each – from how close the bathrooms are (hello, VERY important for pregnant mamas and newly-trained toddlers, right?!) to whether the swings make that awful squeaking noise.

Below my list (which moves from north to south in the North Phoenix/Scottsdale/PV Mall-area) is a map you can bookmark for future use, and I’ll be inviting my fellow SMB contributors to write up the playgrounds in their own parts of town so we can add to the map!

Best Playgrounds in Scottsdale
{North Phoenix / PV Mall-area}

Aviano Community Park (40th Street between Deer Valley and Pinnacle Peak)

What I love: I love the actual play equipment at this park, which has some new/different stuff like a zip-line, the “rocking boat thingy” (as my kids call it), and cool ride-on dinosaurs and “diggers”. The bathrooms are right next to the playground and they’re relatively clean (for public restrooms). The circular path around the playground is good for bikes.

What I don’t love: The park gets crowded in the afternoons because it’s so close to nearby schools, and despite the canopies that are supposed to provide shade, the lack of trees means the sun is almost always in your eyes.

Desert Horizon Park (56th Street and Paradise Lane)

What I love: My kids love the tire swing, which many playgrounds don’t have. I love watching the collaborative muddy sand play that always happens near the water spout, and my five-year-old insists that there are good climbing trees at this park.

What I don’t love: The park gets really crowded with a lot of big kids in the afternoons – big kids who need and deserve a playground, of course, but can sometimes change the vibe if you have toddlers running around. I don’t love the big play structure for all its gaping holes and possible falls, nor do I like the distance between the little kid and big kid play structures. Finally, the bathroom is too far from the playground for my taste.

Paradise Cove Park (40th Street and Paradise Lane)

What I love: This playground is really quiet and off the beaten path, which I love. There is a bike path that leads to a basketball court paved area that is usually empty, so it’s great for bike riding. The playground has one of those “spider web” climbing structures, which my kids love.

What I don’t love: No bathroom at all – boo. It’s worth mentioning that the neighborhood surrounding the playground is a little iffy, but I’ve never felt unsafe.

Sereno Park (56th Street and Sweetwater, between Thunderbird and Cactus)

What I love: Horses! There’s a public/free corral in the southwest corner of the park where you can watch riders work their horses. I love how close the playground is to where you park your car, because it makes it easy to pop back to the car for a diaper or sand toys. The bathrooms are right next to the playground, and the whole area gets a ton of shade.

What I don’t love: For some reason the swings for big kids and the baby swings are at total opposite ends of the playground, which makes it hard to push all your kids at once. The big play structure always makes me nervous with adventurous toddlers because there are some pretty big slides and holes to potentially fall through.

Cactus Park (Scottsdale Road and Cactus)

What I love: This playground got a total facelift in 2012 and I love all the new equipment. It’s fun without seeming dangerous for littler kids. I love the big covered picnic table area and grassy space to run.

What I don’t love: I’d rather drive home than take a kid across the parking lot and up into the aquatic center to go potty.

Cholla Cove Park (Cholla and 42nd Street)

What I love: This small neighborhood park has become a favorite because one of my close friends lives nearby. There’s nothing extraordinary about the playground itself, but it is rarely crowded and we always have a good time.

What I don’t love: No bathroom here either. The playground is relatively small, so there are only a few swings and not a ton of fancy climbing stuff.

See you at the playground! 

PS: Want more on local playgrounds and parks? Check out the links below:

About Sarah Powers

Sarah Powers is a freelance writer, sporadic blogger, and mom of three who now lives in Southern California after nearly a decade in Scottsdale. She is Managing Editor for The Happiest Home and has been published in Raising Arizona Kids magazine and online at The Huffington Post, Babble, Scary Mommy, and Mamalode. You can find Sarah on Twitter, Instagram, and at her blog, Powers of Mine.

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3 Responses to Best Playgrounds in Scottsdale & North Phoenix {interactive map!}

  1. Daniela January 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    This is great! I’m always looking for awesome parks to do play dates!
    Thank you for sharing

    http://www.aznannies.com

  2. Ben at ParkGrades January 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Thank you for mentioning ParkGrades.com! Another great playground in the area is Sonrisa Park: it’s small, but there’s a tire swing!

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