Got a tiny Inner West backyard that can’t possibly accommodate family and friends? Join the club! In this piece we’ve compiled a list of some excellent Inner West parks with some key ingredients for a successful small gathering or party: picturesque surrounds, picnic and barbecue facilities, a playground (or two!), toilets and more. Beginner’s tip: be sure to secure your spot nice and early!
Parramatta Road and Ormond Street, Ashfield
Ashfield Park is one of the iconic parks of the Inner West and a lovely spot for gatherings with family and friends. The fully enclosed, shaded playground is spacious and offers a good mix of equipment to suit littlies and older kids alike. The park has a covered eating area with barbecues available for use. There are also toilet facilities. Shade is also provided by many beautiful established trees. You can access the playground, eating area and toilets via Ormond Street.
Blaxland Riverside Park
Jamieson Street, Sydney Olympic Park
Situated in a beautiful spot overlooking the Parramatta River and with great facilities, it’s no wonder Blaxland Riverside Park is a very popular spot for social gatherings. There’s open grassy space, lots of exciting play equipment, picnic tables, shelters, barbecues, toilets and a cafe, the Armory Wharf Cafe, serving fresh, gourmet food. The playground even includes a large water play area. Please keep a close eye on your children at all times at this expansive, unfenced playground. Also note the riverside boardwalk area is unfenced, so children will need very close supervision in this area. When planning a visit, bear in mind that there is not a lot of shade at this park, and it can get quite toasty during the summer months! Blaxland Riverside Park is generally busy at weekends and public holidays, so if you’re hoping to secure a picnic table or shelter, you will need to arrive early. Read our full review of Blaxland Riverside Park.
Mallet, Fowler, Pidcock and Australia Streets, Camperdown
This large, well-established park has some excellent facilities, which have benefited from major upgrades in the last few years, making it an appealing spot now for social gatherings. There are both sheltered and open picnic tables, barbecues and toilets, all located near the playground on the Australia Street side of the park. The playground area has attractive landscaping and equipment to suit children of various ages. Unfortunately for those with little escape artists, it is only partially enclosed. Dotted with numerous mature trees, Camperdown Park receives good shade and is a pleasant spot throughout the year. The park is in close proximity to several great cafes, with Gather on the Green and Store Espresso on Fowler Street and Acre Eatery on Mallet. Read our full review of Camperdown Park.
Glebe Foreshore Parks
Chapman Road, Glebe
The stunning Glebe Foreshore Parks, overlooking Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay, are a well-known spot for gatherings. Four adjacent parks – Blackwattle Bay Park, Federal Park, Jubilee Park and Bicentennial Park – form the Glebe Foreshore Parks, some 17 hectares of open grass, sporting grounds and harbour access. There are various spots within the Glebe Foreshore area that are suitable for picnics and parties, but for children’s birthdays, Bicentennial Park is your best bet. There are picnic shelters and barbecues located just outside the large fenced playground at Bicentennial Park, which is well shaded by sail cloths. Toilet facilities are available. Read our full review of Jubilee Park.
Constitution Road, Dulwich Hill
A pleasant park with good facilities, Johnson Park is often recommended for children’s birthday parties and other gatherings. The park has multiple play areas, open grassy area, a gazebo, picnic shelters, barbecues and a toilet block. It’s just a stone’s throw from Inner West favourite Sideways Deli Cafe, which offers catering.
Livvi’s Place/Timbrell Park
Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock
The much-loved Livvi’s Place, Five Dock, a playground that encourages children of all abilities to play side by side, is another popular choice for children’s birthday parties. The inclusive playground, upgraded and expanded in 2016, offers a range of fun equipment for kids. A sheltered area with picnic tables and barbecues is located within the fenced playground. There are toilets with changing facilities directly outside the playground. Livvi’s Cafe is situated directly outside the gates of the playground. Beyond the playground, there’s plenty of wide open grassy space for kite flying or ball games in Timbrell Park. Read our full review of Livvi’s Pace, Five Dock.
Mort Bay Park
Mort Street, Birchgrove
Mort Bay Park, in a highly appealing waterfront location with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is a favourite local spot for picnics and parties. There’s an all-abilities playground, open grassy space, picnic tables, barbecues and toilet facilities. The picnic tables are not covered but do receive shade from the surrounding trees. Be sure to supervise your children closely near the water’s edge. Read our full review on Mort Bay Park.
Station, Brighton and West Streets, Petersham
A picturesque and iconic Inner West park, Petersham Park is a favourite spot for picnics and parties. There is ample grassy space, with some parts well shaded by mature trees. There are also several large tables located right next to the playground, which has a range of equipment to engage young and older children. Please note the playground at Petersham Park is not enclosed. Barbecue facilities are also provided. In addition, the beautiful bandstand can be booked through the Inner West Council website. There is a café, Bread and Stone, within the Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre, right next to the playground. Bread and Stone offers catering and can also be booked for parties. Public toilets are situated outside the aquatic centre. Read our full review of Petersham Park.
Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
The harbourside Pirrama Park ticks a lot of boxes for a park gathering – with a word of caution. It is just a short distance from the playground to the unfenced water’s edge, so if there will be young children who are likely to stray this is not the venue for you! The facilities are otherwise excellent, with an engaging playground including a water play area, picnic tables, barbecues and a contemporary toilet block with baby-changing facilities. Popular cafe Jack Bodice is situated within the park and offers catering. In fact, you can even book the cafe for your function. Read our full review of Pirama Park.
Pellisier Road, Putney
With a pleasant outlook over the Parramatta River, two playgrounds, open grassed areas, barbecue and picnic facilities, toilets and off-road parking, Putney Park is a fantastic spot for get-togethers with family and friends. At the northern end of the park there is a large water play area and various play equipment. A second playground is situated at the southern end of the park. Needless to say, close supervision is needed at the splash pools and the river’s edge, which is not fenced off.
531–565 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
Set along the Cooks River, Steel Park is a favourite location for gatherings and parties, particularly during the summer months. The park has a playground, a water play area, a covered picnic area as well as unsheltered tables, barbecues and toilet facilities. Much of the playground and its surrounds receives excellent shade from mature leafy trees. Toilet facilities, including a baby-changing station, are situated next to the water play area. Steel Park is unfenced, so please take care with young children, especially near the car park and also by the river.
Read our full review of Steel Park.
Homebush Road, Strathfield
Locals love to meet at Strathfield Park to socialise and celebrate. There are two playgrounds at this park: an adventure playground on the Homebush Road side and a smaller scale, equal access one on the Chalmers Road side. The Homebush Road playground, one of the most engaging playgrounds in the Inner West, has an excellent range of high-quality equipment for various ages and abilities. The playground is not fenced but it is set well back from Homebush Road and has some dense planting and strategic fencing. There are five small shelters within the Homebush Road playground which are popular for children’s parties and family gatherings. BBQ facilities are available. An additional sheltered table is located at the playground on the Chalmers Road side of the park. Toilets are located in the middle of the park. Please note this park does get quite hot during summer. It also gets busy at peak times during weekends and public holidays, so plan your gathering accordingly. Read our full review of Strathfield Park.
Spanning 40 hectares in St Peters and Alexandria, Sydney Park is a favourite Inner West spot for parties and picnics. The park has expansive open green space, attractive landscaping and an innovative playground that engages young and older children. The playground is not enclosed. There is a picnic shelter within the playground area. You can also book Sydney Park Kiosk, located right next to the playground, for your party. The kiosk also provides gourmet party catering. Toilets are available next to the kiosk and elsewhere in the park. Read our full review of Sydney Park.
War Memorial Park
Moore and Catherine Streets, Leichhardt
War Memorial Park is a lovely, lesser known spot for a picnic or children’s birthday party. The park has wide open grassy space, a spectacular old Moreton Bay fig tree as the centrepiece and an appealing playground that received a significant recent upgrade. The playground area gets plenty of shade from surrounding established trees. While it is not fenced, it is in the far corner of the park, some distance from the two roads. There is a table with seating and a wide bench. The park has toilet facilities which have also been renovated. Please note there are no barbecues.
Read our full review of War Memorial Park.
Call Me Harris image: supplied; Putney Park images © Anita Vitanova; all other images © Ginny Grant
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