There’s something special about city parks. In one direction, you see concrete jungle, and in the other, the real one. Most major cities have impressive urban parks, but the following list represents the best of the best. Click through to check them out, and tell us about your favorite in the comments.
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1. Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
Parisians — and tourists — from all walks of life have come to experience the beauty and calm of Luxembourg Gardens since the 17th century. Famed for its fountains, statues, outdoor cafes, and, yes, gardens, the park is considered one of, if not the, best urban park in the world.
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2. City Park, New Orleans
City Park is home to the world’s largest collection of oak trees, with some well over 600 years old! The massive park is home to gardens, WPA-era sculptures, an 18 hole golf course, the New Orleans Museum of Art, a stadium, and a century-0ld carousel. The park suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina, but is currently being returned to its former glory.
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3. Forest Park, Portland, Oregon
Perched in the hills of Portland, Oregon, Forest Park is one of the nation’s largest urban forest preserves. With a whopping 5,000+ acres, Forest Park is over five times the size of Central Park. Dozens of species of mammals, birds and amphibians make their home in the park, as well as several creeks, over 70 miles of trails, and patches of old growth forest — all just a few miles from the city’s downtown.
Image Credit: EncMstr via Wikimedia Commons
4. Ueno Park, Toyko
When you live in the biggest city in the world, sometimes it’s nice to get away, and residents of Tokyo, Japan do just that by visiting the famed Ueno Park. Japan’s largest, the park is home to several important museums and temples. But the real star of the show here is the cherry blossoms; each spring, hundreds of the trees blossom, drawing over 2 million locals and tourists alike in the two weeks the trees are in bloom.
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5. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Though it may not be as famous as its East Coast counterpart, Golden Gate Park is San Francisco’s version of Central Park — and it’s bigger, to boot! Central Park was actually the model for the park, with construction beginning just a few years after it opened. The park is home to art and science museums, a Japanese garden, a botanical garden, several lakes, fields, walking trails — and even a herd of bison!
6. Parc Guell, Barcelona
One of the most unconventional greenspaces on this list, Barcelona’s Parc Guell began construction in 1900 as the private garden of the park’s namesake, Eusebi Guell. After it was opened it the public in the 1920s, the park is a showpiece of famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. At Parc Guell, it’s not just the flora and fauna on display, it’s also the spectacular terraces, towers, stairways and buildings, replete with colorful mosaics and sculptures. Parc Guell is an urban park — and art — lover’s dream!
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7. Central Park, New York City
We finish off with the United States’ premiere urban greenspace — Manhattan’s Central Park. After all, what could be more of an urban oasis than 843 acres of ponds, trails, gardens, and much more in the nation’s biggest and most densely populated city? Central Park, the creation of famed landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead, opened in 1858, becoming the United State’s first public landscaped park. Today, it’s the nation’s most visited urban park.