Urban play is not so much a specific set of actions, places or regimes, but is, rather, a distinctive mode of engaging with people, spaces and built forms, and developing new relationships to them. This mode involves curiosity, a richness of multi-sensory experiences, and active bodily engagement. It is characterized by liminality: freedom, openness, exploration, improvisation, and transformation. While some kinds of play have productive outcomes, achieving them typically involves escaping given social and physical constraints. Participant observation of playful actions within a variety of settings emphasizes users’ creativity in rediscovering and redeploying the spatial and social opportunities that urban conditions present. It also highlights several important physical attributes that tend to characterise play settings: closeness, looseness, variety and limits.