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Let's Have Some Fun!

Livable places have spaces where people of all ages can get out and play

  • Members of a Red Hat Ladies chapter in central Virginia
    Location: Culpeper, Virginia

    Ladies Day Out

    The Red Hat Society describes itself as "a playgroup for women," typically women age 50+. (Younger members are welcome but wear pink hats.) These women, from a chapter in Virginia, met up for lunch and shopping at a country market. 

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  • A dad and two children play giant chess in Rehoboth, Delaware
    Location: Rehoboth, Delaware

    Giant Chess

    A toddler too young to play chess can enjoy the game when the pieces aren't a choking hazard and the players keep her occupied with a captured knight and trio of pawns.  

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  • The board games area in New York City's Bryant Park
    Location: New York City

    Board Games Prevent Boredom

    Everyone is free to take a seat and play chess — or any of several other available games — for free in the table games sections of downtown Manhattan's Bryant Park.

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  • Sidewalk chess tables in National Harbor, Maryland
    Location: National Harbor, Maryland

    Bring Your Own

    The tables and chairs in the center median of this work-play-live development enable visitors to bring food for outdoor dining or game pieces for playing checkers or chess. 

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  • Public pingpong in New York City's Bryant Park
    Location: New York City

    Pickup Pingpong

    While only two, maybe four, people can play at once, Bryant Park spectators have fun watching friends, family and complete strangers complete in impromptu games of table tennis.

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  • A Washington, D.C. playground
    Location: Washington, D.C.

    An Urban Jungle Gym

    Nestled behind street trees at the bottom of a hill sits a play paradise for children (seating for parents) at the Guy Mason Recreation Center Playground in the nation's capital. 

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  • A playground in downtown Miami
    Location: Miami

    Miami Nice

    Until recently, downtown Miami was home to businesses, especially banking, but not babies. Residential development brought the need for shopping and family-friendly places, like the Lee and Tina Hills Playground in Bayfront Park.

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  • A rooftop athletic field in Philadelphia
    Location: Philadelphia

    On Top of It All

    Once off-limits, city rooftops are frequently being turned into shared outdoor spaces, such as sun decks and gardens. At the Friends Select school, a rooftop is an athletic field for team sports and simple fun (no matter the weather).

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  • A rock band performs on the sidewalk outside Smashburger at LA Live in Los Angeles
    Location: Los Angeles

    Street Songs

    The LA Live entertainment complex is a walkable downtown district in an otherwise sprawling, car-required city. Sidewalk performances by musical groups are a no-cost attraction. 

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  • Movie theater in Bar Harbor, Maine
    Location: Bar Harbor, Maine

    Downtown Movies

    Before movie-viewing meant a trip to a mall multiplex, renting a video or going online, people went to local, downtown movie theaters. Some small-scale cinemas still thrive.

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  • 620-MiamiBeach.jpg
    Location: Miami Beach

    Outdoor Movies

    Drive-in movies aren't as common as they once were. Outdoor movie screenings — such as those projected against a wall of the New World Symphony building — are today's equivalent.

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  • The traffic viewing area on the High Line in New York
    Location: New York City

    A New Kind of Drive-In

    Visitors to the High Line along Manhattan's West Side can walk the elevated promenade without worrying about being struck by a car or truck. In fact, fast-moving and traffic-snarled vehicles are a source of entertainment and relaxation.

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  • The Reading Room area of Bryant Park in New York City
    Location: New York City

    A Public Reading Room

    Another corner of Manhattan's Bryant Park serves as an outdoor reading room. Didn't bring a book? Don't have money to buy today's paper? No problem. A variety of free reading materials are available.

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  • A downtown plaza in Portland, Maine
    Location: Portland, Maine

    A Place to Sit in the City

    Well-maintained, centrally-located plazas with places to sit are useful for people of all ages. That's particularly true for Congress Square Park, located in a city that's snowy or chilly for much of the year. Another benefit of this particular spot: Free Wi-Fi!

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  • Village Green in Bar Harbor, Maine
    Photo: Bar Harbor, Maine

    A Place to Sit in Town

    Residents and tourists can relax, read and reflect in this seaside community's Village Green. For those who don't want to fully disengage, this outdoor public space is — like the Downeast one in the previous slide — Wi-Fi equipped. 

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  • A family has a picnic on a green lawn with an ocean view in Puerto Rico
    Location: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

    A Place to Fly a Kite

    The streets of historic Old San Juan are narrow and busy. But this expansive lawn, part of the U.S. Park Service's San Juan National Historic Site, offers a stunning ocean view, warm breezes and a softly rolling lawn. 

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  • A splash fountain in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Location: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

    Cooling Off in the Tropics

    An interactive spray fountain in the El Morro area of Old San Juan helps visitors of every age beat the heat.

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  • A splash fountain in Phoenix, Arizona
    Location: Phoenix

    Cooling Off in the Desert

    Sometimes the adults outnumber the kids in downtown splash pad fountains, such as this one in the downtown CityScape complex. In the winter months (with lows of about 50 F), an outdoor ice rink opens nearby. 

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  • A plaza splash fountain outside the Philadelphia City Hall
    Location: Philadelphia

    Cooling Off in the City

    When tempers heat up in City Hall, the hot and bothered can cool down in the spray fountains of the adjacent Dilworth Park, a space recently transformed from "an inaccessible, multilevel, hard-surface plaza" into a gathering place. 

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  • Sidewalk chalk art in Loveland, Colorado
    Location: Loveland, Colorado

    Ready, Set, Color!

    Loveland loves the arts. The city has housing for artists. Scupture is scattered about the downtown and displayed in a 10-acre sculpture garden. The Pastels on 5th chalk art festival invites people of all ages to draw on the sidewalks.

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