If you follow our Instagram, you know we love to travel with our little JJ. Travelling with him and seeing the destination through his eyes is truly rewarding… as is giving him to the grandma for a day or two once we come back. (Sheesh, rewarding but so tiring, too!)
Anyway, while we want to do the things we want to do when we travel, we try to make sure he gets what we call his “executive time” – a good hour of juts pure playtime at a playground where we travel. Some cities do playgrounds really well (Paris, for instance, or Kyiv was great, too), while some lag slightly behind (we’re looking at you, Barcelona and Rome).
Luckily, Prague clearly belongs among the cities that do playgrounds really well. So if you’re traveling to Prague with your kids, here’s our favorite kids’ playgrounds in (the historical centre of) Prague.
Children’s playgrounds don’t come more beautiful than this: you can just sit on the Žofín island, enjoy the views of the river and the beautiful buildings of the river bank, and just bask in the sun and get in the breeze. The playground is not huge but has everything you need. Plus there’s a little train for the smallest ones right next door. The Žofín and Mánes buildings are both a part of Prague’s history, and the former actually runs nice Sunday brunches that are very family-friendly.
We’d get our coffee at Supertramp Coffee nearby, maybe add the stupid simple yet delicious Love Balls at Artic Bakehouse. Another great tip is a porchetta sandwich or something equally as yummy from The Real Meat Society at Náplavní – this is one of the best, organic butcher shops all around. Ice-cream at Créme de la Créme on Národní is a great option, too. Finally, you can continue on across the river for pasta at Pastař, pastries and Czech classics at Café Savoy, coffee at Kofárna, or ice-cream at Angelato a little further on.
Also, we know it’s cheesy, but you kinda have to get one of those paddle boats for rent on the other side of the island, especially on a warm summer day.
One of the biggest playgrounds in Prague – they don’t call it the “Children’s Island” for nothing. You have to cross a small bridge to get there but then it’s a whole arena dedicated to kids of all ages from the smallest ones (slides, see-saws and such) to bigger ones, incl. a zip line and outdoor work out equipment. The island includes a tennis court, basketball court and a small 5-a-side football/soccer field.
This is also a good place to explain how water locks work to your kids – the lock in between the island and the bank is very busy, always helping a boat or two navigate the river. To eat, just go to The Bowls for a Buddha bowl or a Poke bowl. Mezi srnky on Arbesovo náměstí is also a great option, and we’d get our coffee at Kofárna again.
Talk about a playground with a view – the playground at the foot of the Petřín hill offers some nice views of the Prague Castle, and when the cherry trees in the park blossom, it’s one of the most beautiful sights in Prague. The playground is fairly big with some 15 attractions, mostly for smaller kids, offers tables to sit at, toilets and nappy-changing facilities. Mostly sand-covered.
Where to go from there? The ice-cream at Angelato nearby is a must, but expect a line in the summer. For a truly local feeling, take the funicular up to the lookout tower (optional) and have a look at the hall of mirrors next door. While adults may come out unimpressed (the whole thing is one small room full of distorting mirrors and – bizarrely – a depiction of the Swedish army pillaging through Prague during the 30-years war. But kids absolutely love that place, trust us.
One of the most popular playgrounds in one of the most popular spots in Prague – the Franciscan Garden may be central and just a few steps off Wenceslas Sq, but you kinda have to know about it, since it’s covered by buildings from all sides, so you’re getting a local experience here, too. There’s benches around the whole playground, plus many more in the park where locals come to enjoy the weather, ice-cream or chlebíček open-faced sandwich from Ovocný Světozor, a local icon. Not the biggest playground but it has everything you may need.
Where to go in the vicinity? We have mentioned the ice-cream at Světozor, so we must add the coffee at Café Truhlárna right next to the playground (Headshot coffee in another corner of the park is also a good choice). The nearby streets offer many pastries at Myšák, Erhart Café or IPPA Café. You can also shop for pencils at the Koh-i-noor pencil store in Vodičkova. And there’s one secret tip: if the weather is not great and your kid is below, let’s say five, the top floor of the Juliš hotel on Wenceslas Sq is home to an indoor playground with one of the most stunning views of the Old Town and the Prague Castle.
Tucked away at the end of a quiet dead-end street behind Haštalské náměstí, this is not the biggest or the most beautiful playgrounds in Prague. Actually, it’s quite small. But the selling point here is seclusion – it is rarely crowded, super quiet, and far away from any traffic. So if you need to let your kid just play, not worry about it and spend half an hour browsing Instagram to retain any sense of sanity, this is your place. Also, it is partly a community-based urban gardening site, so it will be fun to discover what they grow there during the season.
Anything nearby? Yes – for the adults, you get your coffee at onesip coffee at Haštalská, and getting a meatloaf sandwich at Naše maso nearby to go is also a great idea. (They give cold hot dogs to kids for free – they love them.) For the kids, the courtyard of the St Agnes Convent (which is amazing if you love Medieval Arts, btw) has room for the kids to run, and tiny “hobbit houses” in the corner to explore.