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The Inner West’s Best … Parks with Cafes Nearby

Let’s face it, park visits are always more fun with a coffee in hand! Here’s a selection of our favourite inner west parks and playgrounds where caffeine and other goodies are within easy reach.

Many of these playgrounds have a decent amount of greenspace, as well as play equipment. So if you’re avoiding playgrounds due to the Covid-19 situation, bring a ball or the bikes and scooters, and let the kids do their lockdown exercise in other parts of the park.

And keep on top of the NSW Government’s Covid restrictions and how local authorities are implementing them. At the time this article was updated on June 28, 2021, the playground at Blaxland Riverside Park was closed but parks in the Sydney City Council and Inner West Council local government areas remain open.

Blaxland Riverside Park, Sydney Olympic Park 
Jamieson Street, Sydney Olympic Park
Set on three hectares, this park has so much to offer: a glistening riverside setting, wide open space, winding paths for walking and bike riding, exciting play equipment, picnic tables, shelters, umbrellas, barbecues, toilet facilities, bike hire and, importantly, a cafe! The play equipment includes a huge swing set, numerous climbing nets and walls, a tunnel system and slides, a spinning dish, a double flying fox, a tree house climbing structure and the ever popular waterplay area. The park and playground can get very busy at weekends and during holidays. Unfortunately there is not a lot of shade at this park.

Nearby cafe: The Armory Wharf Cafe is located in Blaxland Riverside Park on the boardwalk. Note the boardwalk area is unfenced, so children will need very close supervision there.

Burwood Park, Burwood
Park Avenue, Burwood
A picturesque historic inner west park, Burwood Park boasts many facilities: a playing field, tennis courts, an outdoor chessboard, rotunda, barbecues, picnic shelters and toilets. For families, however, the main drawcards are the shaded, fenced playground, which has a selection of equipment to challenge all ages, and the duckpond.

Nearby cafe: The Picnic, conveniently located in Burwood Park
Camperdown Park, Camperdown
Australia Street, Camperdown
Camperdown Park is a large, well-established park, including a sports oval, picnic tables, outdoor gym and a recently refurbished playground. The play area has been thoughtfully planned with attractive landscaping and equipment for young and older children. The climbing net with a look-out at the top is a favourite with the older kids. Sadly for those with toddler escape artists, the playground is now only partially enclosed.

Nearby cafes: Gather on the Green at 15 Fowler Street and Store Espresso at 17 Fowler Street

Darrell Jackson Gardens, Summer Hill
Smith Street, Summer Hill
It’s easy to understand why locals love Darrell Jackson Gardens, situated in the heart of the Summer Hill village. There’s a good range of facilities, such as an oval, tennis courts, a skate park and two playgrounds. The more popular of these is the fully fenced and shaded one which has interesting equipment, including a slide built into the hillside and a tunnel slide, that appeals to a range of ages.

Nearby cafe: Envy Deli Cafe, 109 Smith Street, Summer Hill
Enmore Park, Marrickville
Black Street and Victoria Road, Marrickville
Enmore Park is an expansive heritage park with beautiful trees, gardens and grassy open space on the border of Enmore and Marrickville. There are both picnic tables and barbecue facilities, making the park a pleasant spot for a picnic or party. The playground offers a range of play equipment, including a thrilling space rocket … parents with toddlers: you have been warned!

Nearby cafe: Petty Cash Cafe at 68 Victoria Road, Marrickville

Gladstone Park, Balmain
Darling Street, Balmain
Gladstone Park is an expansive park in the heart of Balmain with beautiful trees and gardens. There’s ample open grassy areas for a picnic. The play equipment provides lots of opportunities for a broad range of ages to climb, swing and slide. There is also a public basketball court. The park has toilet facilities.
Nearby cafe: Bourke Street Bakery at 1A Booth St, Balmain (takeaway only)

Hinsby Park, Annandale
Between Piper streets North and South, Annandale
Hinsby Park is a favourite spot for local families to meet for a picnic or early takeaway dinner. And with the arrival of Cornersmith directly across the road a few years ago, this park got a whole lot more exciting. The play equipment is suitable for littlies through to bigger kids. A low stone wall surrounds the park but unfortunately won’t impede adventurous toddlers!

Nearby cafe: Cornersmith at 88 View Street, Annandale

Livvi’s Place (Timbrell Park), Five Dock
Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock
Livvi’s Place is a much-loved award-winning playground that encourages children of all abilities to play side-by-side. A joint initiative of the Touched by Olivia Foundation, the City of Canada Bay and Leighton Contractors, the fenced playground was upgraded and expanded in 2016. The inclusive playground offers a range of seriously fun equipment. A highlight is the dual all-abilities flying fox. Another popular piece of equipment for young children is the spinning teacup. A customised merry-go-round was out of action on the day we visited (and has apparently not been working for a long time). There are also two sandpit areas and a water play feature. Shade is provided by a series of sail cloths and established trees. Barbecues and sheltered picnic tables are located within the fenced area. Toilet facilities are located directly outside the playground. Beyond the playground, there’s plenty of open grassy area for kite flying or ball games and paths for bikes.

Nearby cafe: Livvi’s Cafe is situated directly outside the gates of the playground.

Petersham Park 
Station Street, Petersham
The historic Petersham Park (pictured at top) is one of the iconic parks of the inner west. With advanced Moreton Bag fig trees, palms and jacaranda trees, it’s stunning throughout the year. It’s always vibrant too, with playground equipment that suits a wide span of ages, sports on the oval and of course the adjacent open-air Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre. Petersham Park is a popular choice for picnics and parties, with ample grassy areas, picnic tables, barbecue facilities and a rotunda available for hire. Toilets are on site.

Nearby cafe: Bread and Stone is set within Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre, adjacent to the playground. Local favourite The Pig and Pastry Cafe at 1 Station Street, Petersham, is just on the other side of the park.

Pirrama Park
Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Pirrama Park is an attractive harbourside park that ticks a lot of boxes: engaging playground, grassy space, paths for riding bikes and scooters, contemporary toilet facilities and a great cafe. The playground includes a water play area, large sandpit, a castle-style climbing structure with slide for younger ones, an equal-access spinner, four swings and a huge climbing net for older children. Warning: the harbour frontage can be tricky with curious children! Toilets are on-site.

Nearby cafe: Pirrama Park Kiosk will be re-opening soon within the park.

Sydney Park
Princes Highway, St Peters
Widely recognised for the historic brick kilns on site, Sydney Park is a great space for families to play and relax. The park boasts rolling hills, grassy open space and the duck ponds. The children’s play area has been cleverly landscaped with meandering paths and sculptures.  There’s a selection of slides of varying heights built into a hill, several climbing structures and multiple swings. There are picnic shelters, barbecues and toilets. And there’s even a scooter and bike track for kids, as well as the recently opened skate park.

Nearby cafe: Sydney Park Kiosk (conveniently located within the park, next to the playground)

All images © Ginny Grant

This article was first published in October 2016 and updated in June 2021.

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