Located on Alameda island, right on the edge of the Bay is the beautiful Washington Park. It’s adjacent to Crab Cove and Alameda Memorial State beach, both of which are awesome places to picnic and build sand castles. Stay and play awhile: Washington Park is a popular spot with a lot going on.
Where to play at Washington Park
The playground has a side with a smaller structure and bucket swings for tiny kids. There’s a covered sandbox for the littles as well. The other side of the park contains a much bigger structure with two super tall slides, monkey bars, and a fireman’s pole. There’s also a swing set for bigger kids, but it’s set further back in the soccer field, not directly in the playground.
Sports facilities at Washington Park
Two well-kept baseball diamonds offer a great place to learn to hit a ball. Basketball courts are in use more often than not. One could teach little kids how to dunk or dribble, but there’s a definite chance they (or you) might get run over by an enthusiastic tall guy. A tennis court, also likely to be busy with adults serious about getting the ball over that net, can serve (see what I did there!) your family as well, if you want to teach kids to play tennis.
On the other side of the tennis courts is a fenced in dog park. My little kids are kind of scared of dogs and don’t want to be licked or knocked over, but they enjoy watching them run, safely through the gate.
Summer Camp at Washington Park
Alameda Recreation & Parks Department (ARPD) hosts summer camps at the park from June through August. My 5-year old attended last year and it was a lot of fun. They ate lunch under the big beautiful trees at the picnic tables next to the play structure every day after a morning spent digging in the sand and sliding and swinging.
Picnics or birthday parties at Washington Park
Washington Park is shaded on one side by lots of big old trees, offering cover to the picnic tables, bbq pits, and all the benches on that side of the playground. The little kids' playground is often shaded from the direct sunlight.
Know before you go: Because of how close this play area is to the beach, even in the summer it’s more likely to be chilly than too hot. Plan for sweater weather, especially in the late afternoon.
There’s a half moon of gate around the park, which does keep kids from tumbling down the hill to the lower level. Not enclosed enough to keep kids who want to run off from heading towards the busy street, they do have to cover a fair amount of field before they hit traffic. I’ve got a little kid who moves like a ninja and I had to sprint to keep him away from the street.
The stairs down to the lower soccer field and parking lot are brutally steep and sketchy for toddlers. Hold hands for safety.
A restroom beside the picnic tables is close to the playground, however, there is no changing table and it’s pretty bare bones. While there with my kids last week a woman had her dogs in the stall with her, and they were going nuts! You get the idea: it’s not pristine.
Pro tip: I advise visiting with a blanket or fold-out pad to lay down in the grass for diaper changes.
Soccer at Washington Park in Alameda
The big green fields that border two sides of the park are used in the afternoon by Kidz Love Soccer programs. My 3- and 5-year olds took the classes last year. It’s a beautiful field, but there is a lot of goose poop around. And if you’re registered for an evening class it can often get chilly as the fog and wind comes in right off the Bay. (Their favorite part of soccer class was definitely that they got to play on the playground afterwards.)
Food options near Washington Park
Just a half block down Central Street from the park, Webster Street offers lots of food and coffee shops for snack time. Unless there's an event, there's a decent amount of street parking.
The bottom line on Washington Park
There’s tons of space to play sports and get your wiggles out. So next time the kids have a good sugar buzz and need to be let outdoors, Washington Park is a great choice. Bring layers for warmth and plan on hitting Nation's Burgers on Webster for dinner and most importantly, pie!
Washington Park is located at 740 Central Avenue in Alameda.