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Recreation Center Guide

Typical hours when school is in session are 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm Monday - Friday. Larger "community centers" are typically open from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Monday - Friday, and Saturday and Sunday programming is offered as well. Centers typically expand summer hours to include weekday mornings and early afternoons.


Today's modern recreation center looks very little like Como Avenue Playground, the first area specifically dedicated to many recreation center goals. The six acre playground was established in 1903 at the corner of Thomas and Marion Streets, bordering Como Boulevard. An estimated 26,000 children played there in its first year, often interrupting their play as stray horses and cows wandered through the area.

A shelter was added in 1904. Arlington, Palace, Lafayette, Langford Park, Margaret, and Colorado Playgrounds opened soon after. Palace and Margaret became the first year-round community center sites in 1916. By 1920, the playgrounds drew over a million people annually, many of whom came for the showers offered there.

Recreation Centers Today

Today's areas are no longer known as playgrounds, but rather as recreation centers. This more accurately describes their role as the community gathering spot, focusing on not only athletics but offering programming to meet Saint Paul's diverse leisure needs. The more than three million visits made annually attest to their effectiveness in meeting those needs.

Each recreation center is different, designed to accommodate the differences in the communities they serve, but they share some similar features: low cost programming and facilities for all ages and interests and staff dedicated to making your recreational or educational activity first rate.

  • All City of Saint Paul facilities are smoke-free
  • Gambling without a proper license is prohibited
  • Food and beverages may be served and consumed in designated areas only
  • Athletic shoes or stockings are the only acceptable footwear for gymnasium use
  • Park Watch Ph: (651) 646-3535
  • Remember, it's your center. Keep it safe and pleasant!

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