Garibaldi Playground Park is located in the Near West Community. The park features a playground with a seating area, shaded green space and the Giuseppi Garibaldi Monument, which dates back to 1901. The playground was renovated in 2015 as part of the Chicago Plays! program. Garibaldi is an active community park.
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Sheridan Park for recreation in the gym, swimming in the indoor pool, classes in the Fitness Center or baseball on the artificial turf.
In 1901, the Special Park Commission began transforming city-owned land into a municipal playground in the congested Little Italy neighborhood. The park was originally named in honor of John McClaren (1836 -1916), a prominent Chicago businessman who served on the Board of Education.
The site included a small fieldhouse, playground equipment, a basketball court, and a playing field that was flooded in winter for ice skating. By 1905, nearly 180,000 people used the park annually, and McClaren Playground teams competed in baseball, football, and basketball.
In 1959, the city transferred McClaren Playground to the Chicago Park District. Within a few years, the park district demolished the fieldhouse, upgraded the playground, and re-planted the landscape.
In 1979, the park was renamed in honor of Giuseppi Garibaldi (1807-1882), the Italian general known for the conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1860. (The city had recently vacated a nearby street named for Garibaldi.)
Neighborhood residents, the park district, and the city's Department of Urban Renewal together arranged to move the statue of Garibaldi, which had been unveiled in Lincoln Park in 1901, to the recently-renamed Garibaldi Park. The monument was installed at its new location in 1982.
For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.