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“For very young children, all important learning takes place within the context of play. Play is exploration. Play is trying things. Play is trying to kind of figure out when you do one thing, something else happens.” — Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Here at Playground Equipment, we are passionate about advocating for the importance of play and how it contributes to every aspect of health and happiness for children. This means providing insights into the most playful places in America where play opportunities are abundant and accessible. What is the most playful city in the United States? How about the best cities for children in America? One metric that can help answer those questions is discovering the cities with the most playgrounds per capita! Without further ado, let’s dig into the data!

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U.S. Cities With the Most Playgrounds per Capita - - Infographic

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Here are the top 10 places with the most playgrounds per 10,000 people:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada playgrounds – 13.95
  2. Cincinnati, Ohio playgrounds – 8.11 
  3. Norfolk, Virginia playgrounds – 6.90 
  4. Madison, Wisconsin playgrounds – 6.86
  5. Arlington, Virginia playgrounds – 5.28
  6. Virginia Beach, Virginia playgrounds – 5.28
  7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin playgrounds – 4.86
  8. Plano, Texas playgrounds – 4.84
  9. Detroit, Michigan playgrounds – 4.78
  10. Toledo, Ohio playgrounds – 4.76

What about the cities with the most inclusive playgrounds? Every child deserves access to fulfilling play opportunities. The city with the most accessible playgrounds is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with 3.28 inclusive playgrounds per 10,000 people. 

What are the benefits of playgrounds?

Playgrounds may seem simple, but they can be profoundly enriching for the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social growth and well-being of children. Playgrounds offer all the benefits of play in one dynamic, social place. Some playground benefits include:

  • Development of fine and gross motor skills as children navigate obstacles, climb, swing, slide, and build in sandboxes. 
  • Physical exercise is invaluable for children – the CDC recommends that children ages 6 to 17 engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.
  • Children develop social skills by interacting, sharing, and playing with other kids on the playground. If conflict emerges, children can learn how to handle it comfortably and confidently.
  • As children take healthy risks (such as climbing higher on structures, taking on longer slides, making it further on the monkey bars, etc.), they develop confidence that can enrich their lives into adulthood.

U.S. Cities With the Most Playgrounds per Capita

Cities With the Most Park and School Playgrounds per 10,000 People


Las Vegas, NV


Cincinnati, OH


Norfolk, VA


Madison, WI


Arlington, VA


Virginia Beach, VA


Milwaukee, WI


Plano, TX


Detroit, MI


Toledo, OH



Cities With the Most Inclusive Park Playgrounds per 10,000 People



Pittsburgh, PA


Albuquerque, NM


Arlington, VA


Lincoln, NE


Irving, TX


Baton Rouge, LA


St. Paul, MN


Atlanta, GA


Irvine, CA


Plano, TX




Learn about the author: Ben Thompson