The 10 Best Playgrounds in Bern
The long bus ride to the Elfenau neighbourhood (“Luternauweg” bus stop) is worth it – you’ll want to stay at this playground all day. It is set amidst trees and meadows and one of the prettiest playgrounds in Bern. It has all kinds of fun things: a water feature, slides, balance games, a wooden fort, a sandbox, and swings. Its surroundings, including the Orangerie, are beautiful and definitely worth a day trip. Pop into the Parkcafé, which is open during the summer months, to have a cup of coffee, or try their pastas, salads, cakes, or ice creams. There’s also a box filled with toys and a meadow for running around. On hot days, the fountain in the patio offers refreshment. And don’t forget to go and say hi to the chickens and goats at the nearby farm and daycare centre Elfenauhof.
#2 Monbijou Park
The Monbijoupark is one of Bern’s most urban parks. And although it is set in between two main roads, it is, as the name suggests, a “Bijou” (gem). In the spring and summer, the large meadow is perfect for soccer games, picnics and hanging out, and in the fall, it is a popular place for flying kites. The fountain, the sandbox, Bern’s longest slide and the barefoot path (insider’s tip!) are popular with children of all ages. The adjacent “Chinderchübu”, a kids club (and great for families on rainy – and all other, as a matter of fact – days), is the perfect addition to the playground, as are the pretty food places nearby: the Contact Take Away at 70 Monbijoustrasse, the ice cream parlour La Golosa at the bus stop “Sulgenau” or the Musigbistrot at 48 Mühlemattstrasse, for example.
#3 Dübystrasse Playground
On its way to Köniz, bus no. 10 stops in front of a wonderful playground. Here, on the edge of the Steinhölzli forest, children of all ages will find loads to do and discover: A tower, a large net and a suspension bridge await climbers and balance artists, the hilly meadow with its balancing games, slacklines and funicular is great for older children – and grown-ups, too. There’s also a water feature that’s especially popular on hot days – don’t forget to bring a fresh set of clothes. The Waldbistro (open only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and only when the weather is nice) offers a good selection of beverages, beers, and snacks.
The restaurant Zehndermätteli in the bend of the Aare river near Bremgarten has one of the prettiest playgrounds in town. A giant sandbox, an old tractor, and a stranded rowing boat – this place is a wonderful contrast to all the hyper-designed city playgrounds. If you’ve got enough time, take the ferry to this little oasis near the city centre and enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of cake (or, if it’s a Sunday, a delicious, hearty breakfast). The kids can ride donkeys, go see the pigs and chickens, watch the ferryman or -woman and play all day beneath the large trees. This is also the perfect opportunity to buy seedlings in the gardening shop that is part of Zehndermätteli.
#5 Spielplatz am Schützenweg
The Schützenweg playground, or “Schützi”, as the residents call it, has been like a second home to generations of Bernese children. It is a wild oasis in the middle of the popular Breitenrain neighbourhood, a unique playground that you won’t find anywhere else: with real hiding places, a pirate ship, swings, an old car chassis, a real aeroplane to jump out of, crazy vehicles, a huge sandbox with a faucet, a long slide, a workshop – and the list goes on. The Schützenweg playground is an institution. And a joy for children of all ages – and their parents, who can meet other parents, relax, and let the children run wild.
#6 Spielzone Spitalacker
This playground is not marked as such on any city map (yet), but kids love the area between the Spitalacker sports ground, Viktoriastrasse and Humboldstrasse. The soccer field is public (as long as there’s no practise or game going on) and attracts masses of children from the neighbourhood. The artificial turf makes life easier for the parents: no grass stains to wash out of the clothes afterwards. There are no less than five other small playgrounds within a radius of 200 metres: at the Spitalacker school, at the Spitalacker park, on a side street of Viktoriastrasse and two on Humboldtstrasse – each with their own highlight. Be it a mini trampoline, a wooden train, a sandbox with a faucet, towers for climbing or a fun slide: there’s loads to discover! These smaller playgrounds are especially suited for younger children, as they are all on quiet neighbourhood streets. And the family-friendly restaurant Löscher is basically next door – this area is a little slice of heaven for families.
#7 Gärtnerei Playground
Even many locals don’t know this hidden mini playground on the grounds of a former plant nursery (“Gärtnerei”) in the Länggasse neighbourhood. The small, fenced-in square on Neufeldstrasse is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with toddlers. There’s something for everyone, be it the sandbox, the numerous fun vehicles, the little slide, the swings or the mini train. The highlight of this playground is the abandoned nursery, which is ideal for a game of hide-and-seek. For your “Zvieri” (afternoon snack), you should definitely go to Café Apfelgold, a place that serves great coffee and the best cakes in all of Bern.
#8 Minster Terrace
Here’s what a perfect Saturday morning in Bern looks like: First, a leisurely stroll through Münstergasse to buy fresh produce for the upcoming week and ingredients for a delicious picnic. When the children start getting impatient, leave the “Märit” (market) and head toward the Minster. Kids love it on the large terrace. The sandbox, which can always be seen from the benches, is their territory, while the adults go and get coffees at the Einstein au Jardin (but be prepared for some queueing – half the city meets here). Older children like to play soccer on the grass, watch the elderly men play a game of Petanque or borrow books or toys from the library pavilion (in the summer). Maybe they’ll pick the cute book “Hasefritz u Matten-Edi”, written in the Bernese dialect, which plays, in part, on the Minster’s terrace.
#9 Halen Playground
When you reach the entrance to the huge Bremgarten forest, your kids will start getting excited: A high tower for climbing, and it has a slide! A pump track for riding bikes! A fire pit! A fountain to play in with a little stream that leads to a dinosaur skeleton! And dwarf houses with real doors and chimneys! There’s access to water and loads of shade, so this playground is perfect for hot summer afternoons – or as a starting point for a little trip to the mysterious “Glasbrunnen” (glass fountain). Attention: There are no shops or restaurants nearby, so make sure you bring your own snacks. And an extra set of clothes for the kids – there is a stream, after all...
The Rosengarten (Rose Garden) with its meadow, pond, flowers, and gorgeous views is already a highly popular place for families. The playground – including a dragon for climbing! – is the icing on the cake. It is so cool that we’re not surprised that there’s sometimes even a queue for the swings... Thanks to the restaurant and the many great picnic spots (there’s a supermarket by the Schönburg nearby for snacks), you can easily spend an entire afternoon and evening at the Rosengarten. Many children’s favourite place is under the large trees – perfect for a game of hide-and-seek. In the summer months, a pavilion with games, toys, books, and magazines is open several days a week. Our tip: Take the path that passes the restaurant on your way back and stop by the Eiswerkstatt ice cream parlour at Bern AnimalPark, Bear Park – the perfect end to a great day at the park.