Best City Parks in the US
American cities are some of the most varied and special in the world, and the country’s city parks are just as unique. If you’re looking to do some metropolitan exploring, here are of the best city parks in the US.
Many tourists looking to experience nature in America make their way to open spaces far from the city, but US city parks offer some gorgeous alternatives right in the heart of metropolitan areas. These are ten of the best city parks in the US to add to your must-see list.
Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia
Forsyth Park is nestled in the historic district of Savannah and covers 30 acres of land. With a farmer’s market held on Saturdays, as well as concerts and recreational sports frequently taking place, there’s always something new to see when you visit this city park. Forsyth’s famous fountain is situated in the north end of the park; it was built in 1858 and provides a historic, picturesque backdrop for your day exploring the greenery. Be sure to check out the Confederate War Monument at the park’s center as well.
City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana
City Park opened in 1854 and is one of the nation's oldest urban parks. It spans a massive 1,300 acres, and its oak trees are famously beautiful. In fact, the world’s largest stand of mature oak trees can be found in City Park. One of the trees is almost 800 years old. Visitors can also check out the park’s Botanical Garden, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, and many biking paths.
Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California
Griffith Park covers more than 4,310 acres of land; it’s the second-largest city park in California and one of North America’s largest urban parks. In addition to the view of the Hollywood Sign, attractions at Griffith Park include miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, the Griffith Observatory, the Greek Theatre, Bronson Canyon, and the Los Angeles Zoo. Many of the sites around the park have been used as film locations for Hollywood movies, so maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the filmmaking process during your visit.
Balboa Park in San Diego, California
Balboa Park is a designated National Historic Landmark and gets its name from Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the famed Spanish explorer. This city park is home to the San Diego Zoo and spans 1,200 acres. You can explore tons of museums and gardens within the park, as well as the Old Globe Theatre, the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre, Balboa Stadium and the Balboa Park Carousel. The park is full of green space, with many rare trees and groves to explore. The Casa de Balboa is a great place for a photo op.
Boston Common and Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Common became America's first public park in 1634. The Public Garden wasn't established until 1837, but it was the country's first public botanical garden. Visitors to Boston can ice skate in the Common in the winter months, or enjoy the Swan Boats when the weather warms up. Check out the varied greenery, the Make Way For Ducklings statues, and that famous bench from Good Will Hunting in this historic city park.
Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois
Grant Park is often called “Chicago’s front yard.” Situated in the city’s business district, this park covers 319 acres. It’s home to several gardens, performance venues and museums. Visitors can check out the Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Congress Plaza, and the Petrillo Music Shell. The Court of the Presidents showcases work by Chicago artists. There are plenty of walking paths to explore and a dog park for animal lovers.
Washington Park in Seattle, Washington
This city park is largely comprised of the Washington Park Arboretum, which boasts a variety of trees and flowers you immerse yourself in (when the famously rainy weather permits). The park is also home to the Seattle Japanese Garden, another beautiful area to explore spanning 3.5 acres. It's one of the oldest traditional Japanese gardens in North America. In the spring, make sure to visit Azalea Way, a section of the Arboretum featuring azaleas in a variety of colors.
Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis' Forest Park covers 1,293 acres and originally opened in 1876. Tis city park is home to the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center, Art Museum, and History Museum. The Muny Opera, the country's largest outdoor theatre, is also found in Forest Park. A biking and walking path encircles the park, and there's plenty of green space to explore. Each spring, the park hosts the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis. Forest Park is the seventh-largest urban park in the United States, nearly 500 acres larger than Central Park.
Central Park in New York, New York
America’s most famous city park, Central Park is also the most visited urban park in the US. It’s one of the world’s most filmed locations and attracts millions of tourists a year. The park was established in 1857 and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962. It covers 843 acres in the middle of Manhattan. Central Park is home to interesting architecture, a carousel, a skating rink, the Burnett Memorial Fountain, the Central Park Zoo, the Rumsey Playfield, Belvedere Castle, Victorian Gardens, and the famous Tavern on the Green restaurant. Central Park is a must-see attraction for any trip to New York City.
Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas
Klyde Warren Park is tucked into the center of Dallas. At only 5.2 acres in size, it was built over the Woodall Rogers Freeway and is known as a “deck park”. Visitors can enjoy public yoga, lectures, outdoor films and concerts at this city park. There are plenty of walking trails to explore, as well as a dog park, children’s park, and game area featuring chess. The Friday Food Trucks program is a city favorite.
With so much to see and do in America’s cities, you should definitely add these city parks to your travel bucket list.