There are so many great cities to fly to this summer and there’s a very good chance you’ll be visiting at least one hustling, bustling metropolis over the next few months. The historic architecture and modern man-made marvels may astound momentarily, but what about when you need a shady oasis in the hot concrete jungle? Thrillist recently published an article that highlighted some of the best city parks in the US. Our travel-hardened experts couldn’t help put together our very own list of great parks in major cities, so here they are, in no particular order:
Central Park – New York
Our travel junkies thought this was “an oldie, but a goodie”. You’ll feel like you’re in one of the many movies shot here over the decades, passing through familiar pathways and intimate tunnels. A Big Apple icon, Central Park is perfect for running, biking, hand-in-hand romantic strolling, lying about, sunbathing, dog-walking, and much more. The sunny weather also brings out performers of all types – artists, musicians, jugglers – you name it, they’re all out and about in Central Park. The Wollman Rink is open seasonally for skating while the Central Park Zoo and Friedsam Memorial Carousel are perfect for kids.
Boston Common & Public Gardens – Boston
One word that can sum up one of the oldest parks in the nation is “quaint”. This park, in addition to its picturesque beauty, has some historic statues and plaques that reflect the birth of America as a nation and the struggle for independence. The Frog Pond welcomes skaters over the winter months, while over summer, the adjoining Public Gardens will give you the perfect opportunity to ride one of its famous Swan Boats on its tranquil blue pond.
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
Despite being small, it might take you several days to explore all corners of this amazing park. However, you have to go just to see the bison (yes – there’s a herd of buffalo that roams the park!). In addition to its greenery, the park is also popular for the Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, Hippie Hill, the Dutch windmills next to the colorful Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Gardens, and the Chinese pagoda on the shores of Stow Lake, to name just a few attractions.
Griffith Park – Los Angeles
This HUMUNGOUS (almost five times the size of NYC’s Central Park) park’s wooded walkways and running paths are a clean-breathing haven for natives and tourists alike. Horseback riding and biking are activities for young and old alike, and The Los Angeles Zoo is an excellent stop for the whole family. You can also visit LA’s landmark Griffith Observatory, where you can view the night sky and zoom in on the city’s downtown area through the public telescope, as well as check out informative exhibits.
Grant Park – Chicago
Known across the country as Chicago’s “front yard”, Grant Park offers great views of the lake and plays host to a myriad of activities and free concerts throughout the year. When summer begins, you’ll have to catch one of the hourly 20-minute water shows at the park’s Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. Whether you enjoy its lush rose gardens or just want to grab a hot dog and soak up some sun, the park is a must-see when you visit Chi-Town.
Forest Park – St. Louis
Now this urban park flies a bit under the radar, but we believe it’s one of the best in the country because of all the freebies it offers. You can tour the highly rated Saint Louis Art Museum, catch a show at the historic Muny theater (first come, first served), visit the Saint Louis Zoo, peruse the Saint Louis Science Center and Planetarium (you’ll have to pay for special exhibits and shows) all for FREE! Don’t miss out on the impressive Cascades waterfall that makes for the perfect backdrop for selfies.
Klyde Warren Park – Dallas
Connecting Dallas’s neighborhoods with its vibrant Arts District, this 5-acre park is not only a restful environment in the heart of the city, but also host to year-round musical shows, film screenings, dance and exercise sessions, and much more. The park has many kid and pet-friendly areas and is in close proximity to the Dallas Museum of the Arts. You won’t go hungry while walking around, as plenty of food trucks frequent the park, offering visitors a range of mouth-watering delights.
Don’t miss out on visiting these great city parks to cool down in these hot cities this summer!
Do you have a favorite urban park in a major city that you love? Let us know why you think it deserves to be on this list by commenting below.