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Major cities with the most accessible public parks

Major cities with the most accessible public parks

Parks play a pivotal role in the health and well-being of city dwellers. There’s evidence that green spaces help create safer neighborhoods, stimulate community engagement, help children learn, promote exercise, and even bring economic prosperity to a neighborhood.

However, parks can only provide these benefits if they’re accessible to the people who they were designed to serve. National data from the Trust for Public Land shows that on average, only 55% of people in any given city live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and around 100 million people don’t have easy access to a green space. Part of the problem is that by and large, only a small share of land in cities is typically set aside for these natural escapes. The median share of city land devoted to parks and recreation is just 15%, according to the Trust.

Depending on where you live, you may have an abundance of parks to choose from—Washington D.C., for example, has more than 600 parks within its city limits. Or you may need to drive pretty far to reach a green space, like in North Carolina’s Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, where just 37% of residents have a park within a 10-minute walk from their homes.

To learn more about park access in urban zones across the U.S., The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore rates America’s 100 biggest cities on four key metrics: park access, park acreage (or size), park investment through public and nonprofit spending, and park amenities. You can read more about ParkScore’s methodology here. For this story, Stacker pulled each city’s four key park ratings for 2020 (released in May 2020), as well as the city’s share of residents who live near a park, the share of city land used for parks and recreation, and the total parks in the city. All ratings are based on a score of 100. Please note that three large cities are not included in this story because they were not ranked by ParkScore: Fort Wayne, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Gilbert, Arizona. To learn more about the most popular parks in each city, we also consulted local tourism boards and travel media outlets like TripSavvy, the Culture Trip, Time Out, and U.S. News & World Report.

Wondering how your city’s green spaces compare with other urban areas? Click through to see the rankings of major cities with the most accessible public parks.

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#97. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

- Park access rating: 5 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 38% (30.9% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 32
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 209
- Park investment rating: 26
- Park amenities rating: 32

According to the Oklahoma City Parks Master Plan, the park system has not kept up with the level of growth the city has experienced in recent decades. The city announced in 2019 that it would direct $140 million in capital funding to new parks, gardens, and tennis and basketball courts. One of the city’s most notable parks, Route 66 Park, features wetland boardwalks, a mile of walking trails, and the largest playground in Oklahoma City.

#96. Mesa, Arizona

- Park access rating: 48 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 66% (20.0% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 20
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 4% (73.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 287
- Park investment rating: 32
- Park amenities rating: 16

One of the crown jewels among the parks in Mesa, Arizona, is Usery Mountain Regional Park. The 3,600+-acre park features 29 miles of trails, scenic wind caves, camping, and archery. The city is located in Maricopa County, which has one of the country’s largest regional park systems.

#95. Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

- Park access rating: 3 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 37% (32.7% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 63
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 332
- Park investment rating: 26
- Park amenities rating: 27

Mecklenburg County has a variety of parks, ranging from small neighborhood green spaces to sprawling regional parks. Some of the most notable parks to visit include the 98-acre Freedom Park, which has a range of athletic facilities; Thomas McAllister Winget Park, which has a gymnasium, soccer fields, and a disc golf course; and Reedy Creek Park, a 146-acre space with a lakeside meadow, fishing pier, nine picnic spots, a dog run, and horseshoe pits.

#94. Fort Worth, Texas

- Park access rating: 40 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 61% (10.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 49
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 287
- Park investment rating: 26
- Park amenities rating: 10

Fort Worth, Texas, has set aside more than 12,300 acres of land for parks and trails. During the pandemic, Visit Fort Worth has been encouraging people to explore the city's less-visited parks, such as Riverside Park, Gateway Park, and Anderson-Campbell Park. One of the most notable parks in the city, the Fort Worth Water Gardens, features a “stunning modernist landscape of pools, fountains, and terraced escapes,” says TripSavvy.

#93. Lubbock, Texas

- Park access rating: 33 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 56.% (1.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 50
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 3% (80.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 89
- Park investment rating: 13
- Park amenities rating: 30

Lubbock’s Parks and Open Space Master Plan recognizes that the city needs more small neighborhood parks, walking trails, picnic areas, and upgraded playgrounds. According to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular parks in the city is Prairie Dog Town. The area, located within Mackenzie Park, is home to a colony of adorable prairie dogs.

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#92. Fresno, California

- Park access rating: 51 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 67% (21.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 17
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 4% (73.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 263
- Park investment rating: 17
- Park amenities rating: 42

The Fresno City Council announced on Oct. 20 that it was infusing another $5 million into its parks budget, which was already earmarked to receive a portion of the $35.6 million reserved for parks, recreation, after-school programs, and community services. The city currently has some 1,500 acres of open space. Fresno’s biggest green space, Woodward Park, is a highlight, with ponds, a large lake, and wooded areas.

#91. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

- Park access rating: 30 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 54% (1.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 24
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 3% (80.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 97
- Park investment rating: 19
- Park amenities rating: 55

Baton Rouge contains a variety of popular green spaces to slow down and soak up the beauty of nature. Independence Community Park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Its 96 acres feature picnic areas shaded by oak trees, tennis courts, walking paths, and even a theater, according to the Culture Trip.

#90. Hialeah, Florida

- Park access rating: 52 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 69% (25.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 21
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 2% (86.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 31
- Park investment rating: 11
- Park amenities rating: 48

The City of Hialeah Department of Parks & Recreation divides its parks into three categories: recreational facilities, water parks and pools, and passive parks (open green spaces that help preserve natural habitats). The popular Amelia Earhart Park features five lakes that can help visitors cool off under the Florida sunshine.

#89. Irving, Texas

- Park access rating: 45 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 64% (16.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 25
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 103
- Park investment rating: 36
- Park amenities rating: 30

The city of Irving, Texas, has been giving its parks greater attention lately. In July, the city council approved $51,500 for architectural design services related to a renovation for Senter Park Recreation Center and $350,000 to upgrade the facilities at West Park Playground, per the North Dallas Gazette. Residents enjoy hanging out at Northwest Park, which has a lake and waterfalls.

#88. Memphis, Tennessee

- Park access rating: 17 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 46% (16.4% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 57
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 194
- Park investment rating: 38
- Park amenities rating: 25

Tom Lee Park in Memphis is undergoing a facelift over the next three years that will give residents access to a 20,000-square-foot “civic canopy” and plenty of trails along the riverfront, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. In the meantime, people can explore other popular parks including Shelby Farms Greenline Park, Overton Park, and Mississippi Greenbelt Park.

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#87. Stockton, California

- Park access rating: 60 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 74% (34.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 33
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 3% (80.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 84
- Park investment rating: 1
- Park amenities rating: 46

Parks in Stockton, California, range from mini two-acre sites in neighborhoods to a large 64-acre community park with lots of sports facilities, swimming pools, and picnic areas, according to the city government. Stockton Treasures calls Oak Grove Regional Park “the star of recreational open spaces” for its 10-acre lake with aquatic activities, two nature trails, and an 18-hole course for disc golf.

#86. Laredo, Texas

- Park access rating: 31 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 54% (1.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 20
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 2% (86.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 82
- Park investment rating: 28
- Park amenities rating: 63

Laredo’s city government has been making an effort to render parks more accessible to residents. Within the last year, it granted veterans and people ages 62 and up free membership to recreational facilities. Lawmakers also announced that they would try to upgrade playgrounds and exercise facilities in certain city parks.

#85. Santa Ana, California

- Park access rating: 63 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 36
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 4% (73.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 60
- Park investment rating: 24
- Park amenities rating: 23

People in Santa Ana who want to spend their days bouncing between city parks can do so by bike. Many of the city’s popular parks, including Pacific Electric, Maple & Occidental, Thornton, and Riverview, are located just off the city’s established bike trails.

#84. Tucson, Arizona

- Park access rating: 44 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 63% (14.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 30
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 3% (80.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 224
- Park investment rating: 24
- Park amenities rating: 50

Tucson offers residents a mix of urban parks with recreational facilities and access to rugged national parks with amazing views. You can see thousands of saguaro cacti at Saguaro National Park, see the city twinkle at night after a hike up Sentinel Peak Park, or cool off in the sprinklers at Catalina Park, per USA Today 10Best.

#83. Garland, Texas

- Park access rating: 43 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 63% (14.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 63
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 7% (53.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 63
- Park investment rating: 26
- Park amenities rating: 18

The pooches of Garland got their very own green space after the city opened its first-ever dog park over the summer, according to the Dallas Morning News. The city has plans underway to improve its aquatic parks, develop a skatepark, and update the master plan for its trails and bikeways.

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#82. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

- Park access rating: 4 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 37% (32.7% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 54
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 87
- Park investment rating: 41
- Park amenities rating: 55

The parks in Winston-Salem contain at least 25 basketball courts, 51 picnic shelters, eight swimming pools, 10 splash pads, two golf courses, and a whopping 109 tennis courts. Bethabara Park, one of the most popular in the region, dates back to the year 1753 and features 183 acres of preserved nature, historic buildings, and birding trails.

#81. Louisville, Kentucky

- Park access rating: 6 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 38% (30.9% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 54
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 169
- Park investment rating: 34
- Park amenities rating: 62

Louisville Future has criticized Louisville for having “too few parks, parks that are run down, too small, and not really convenient for anyone to use.” A spokesman for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department blames the inaccessibility of area parks on Louisville’s urban sprawl, per WFPL.

#80. Wichita, Kansas

- Park access rating: 29 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 54% (1.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 61
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 139
- Park investment rating: 33
- Park amenities rating: 34

In an effort to improve its green spaces, Wichita made a $55 million investment in capital improvements to the park system in 2015, which will be spread out through 2025. The city says it will need to improve undeveloped land and annex development areas in order to provide enough parks for its growing community.

#79. Jacksonville, Florida

- Park access rating: 1 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 35% (36.4% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 64
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 14.% (6.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 416
- Park investment rating: 32
- Park amenities rating: 61

JMagazine has encouraged the city of Jacksonville to create more green spaces in its downtown area, which “doesn’t really have any go-to parks.” It also stated that “no one seems very happy with” Hemming Park and that Main Street Park “lacks identity.” Despite the criticism, Jacksonville claims a large city park system.

#78. Houston, Texas

- Park access rating: 40 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 61% (10.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 50
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 12% (20.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 627
- Park investment rating: 42
- Park amenities rating: 28

The Parks and Recreation Department of Houston isn’t keeping up with its goal of providing a green space within a 10-minute walk (or a half-mile) of every resident, said the Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research. While there are many neighborhoods in the city with high or very high levels of need for a park, the department says that the majority of its resources are reserved for renovating or improving current parks.

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#77. Toledo, Ohio

- Park access rating: 72 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 81% (47.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 39
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 156
- Park investment rating: 16
- Park amenities rating: 33

Toledo’s city council has been considering a proposal to invest more money in its parks, which have seen an uptick in visitors during the pandemic, according to WTOL11. Toledo recently received a $23.6 million federal grant to improve the downtown riverfront and create a multi-use trail.

#76. Corpus Christi, Texas

- Park access rating: 63 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 34
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 222
- Park investment rating: 27
- Park amenities rating: 39

After determining it had more parks than it needed, Corpus Christi’s parks and recreation department put 14 parks up for sale in 2015. The city ranks below the national average for the number of splash pads, recreation and senior centers, and dog parks per capita, according to the Trust for Public Land.

#75. San Antonio, Texas

- Park access rating: 13 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 43% (21.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 75
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 11% (26.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 346
- Park investment rating: 46
- Park amenities rating: 29

Most residents of San Antonio need to hop in their car and take a drive if they want to access one of the city’s parks, per the San Antonio Report. Despite the development of new parks, like the 505-acre Pearsall Park, in recent years, San Antonio has slipped a few spots from its standing in the 2016 ParkScore rankings, where it took 71st place.

#74. Glendale, Arizona

- Park access rating: 62 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 33
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 98
- Park investment rating: 18
- Park amenities rating: 51

One of the most popular and unique parks in Glendale, Arizona, is Sahuaro Ranch Park. The 80-acre property traces its roots back to 1886 and is home to a rose garden, orchard, and peacocks. Thunderbird Conservation Park is also among the city’s most-visited parks. It includes 1,185 acres with multi-use trails and preserved Sonoran desert landscape, per Visit Glendale.

#73. Detroit, Michigan

- Park access rating: 70 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 80% (45.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 22
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 356
- Park investment rating: 41
- Park amenities rating: 31

Park advocates are encouraging the city of Detroit to develop “more accessible and inclusive neighborhood pocket parks,” according to Model D. While the share of land reserved for parks is limited, the city does have some beautiful green spaces, like Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park with a natural wooded area preserved as a habitat for small animals and birds.

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#72. Durham, North Carolina

- Park access rating: 26 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 51% (7.3% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 46
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 4% (73.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 120
- Park investment rating: 38
- Park amenities rating: 56

People in Durham have expressed concerns that their parks are not as safe or well-maintained as they would like, which may discourage visitors, according to the Durham City-County Planning Department. However, advocates and the parks department have teamed up to clean up some parks in the Braggtown neighborhood throughout 2020.

#70. Nashville, Tennessee (tie)

- Park access rating: 50 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 43% (21.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 50
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 11% (26.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 226
- Park investment rating: 18
- Park amenities rating: 49

You can’t talk about parks in Nashville without mentioning The Bicentennial State Park. It features a World War II veterans’ memorial, a granite map of Tennessee that spans 200 feet, 31 fountains, and an amphitheater, according to USA Today 10Best. Other popular parks in Nashville include Love Circle, Warner Parks, and Radnor Lake Natural Area.

#70. Chula Vista, California (tie)

- Park access rating: 13 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 67% (21.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 76
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 99
- Park investment rating: 42
- Park amenities rating: 35

The eastern part of Chula Vista has more than thrice the number of parks per capita than the west side, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. There is limited land and little funding for parks on the west side, which makes development of new green spaces a challenge. However, the city does have plans to add parkland as part of the bayfront development plan.

#69. Newark, New Jersey

- Park access rating: 91 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 94% (70.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 15
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 88
- Park investment rating: 24
- Park amenities rating: 37

Newark offsets the glass and concrete of its city with a few-dozen green oases scattered throughout its neighborhoods. It’s home to the country’s first county park, Branch Brook Park, along with the popular Independence Park, among others, according to Culture Trip.

#68. Reno, Nevada

- Park access rating: 63 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 76% (38.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 35
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 145
- Park investment rating: 23
- Park amenities rating: 50

Reno’s largest park, Rancho San Rafael Park, spoils park-goers for choice of activities, including playgrounds, jogging paths, an arboretum, and exercise equipment. It also hosts the annual Great Reno Balloon Race every year, which draws 100 hot air balloons to the skies. Other popular parks in Reno include Truckee River Whitewater Park, Wingfield Park, and Idlewild Park, per USA Today 10Best.

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#66. Greensboro, North Carolina (tie)

- Park access rating: 38 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 63% (14.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 62
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 243
- Park investment rating: 26
- Park amenities rating: 46

Nearly half the people in Greensboro said they don’t use the city’s parks because they aren’t aware of the facilities that are available, according to a city survey. The local parks department believes that creating a strong parks brand is a winning strategy to get the community out into its green spaces.

#66. El Paso, Texas (tie)

- Park access rating: 44 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 59% (7.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 48
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 19% (26.7% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 319
- Park investment rating: 33
- Park amenities rating: 47

Residents of El Paso can escape modern life and travel back in time at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, which is home to ancient pictographs and petroglyphs. Its popularity is rivaled by that of Franklin Mountains State Park, a 40-square-mile nature preserve with renowned hiking, rock climbing, and biking.

#65. Chandler, Arizona

- Park access rating: 43 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 62% (12.7% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 46
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 4% (73.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 83
- Park investment rating: 38
- Park amenities rating: 46

Paseo Vista Recreation Area, ranked as one of the top parks in Chandler, Arizona, was once a working landfill before residents revamped the 60-acre property into a stunning green space with hiking trails, picnic spots, and climbing areas, per Visit Chandler Arizona. Another popular park in the city is Veterans Oasis Park, which is home to a butterfly and hummingbird habitat and a solar system walk.

#64. Miami, Florida

- Park access rating: 81 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 87% (58.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 26
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 7% (53.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 176
- Park investment rating: 21
- Park amenities rating: 46

Parks have been pegged as a key part of recovering Miami’s tourism sector after the pandemic, reported the Miami Herald. In September, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau received $5 million to help promote the city’s popular parks and outdoor spaces, such as David T. Kennedy Park, Matheson Hammock Park, and Margaret Pace Park.

#63. Bakersfield, California

- Park access rating: 18 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 46% (16.4% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 56
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 93
- Park investment rating: 45
- Park amenities rating: 56

The vast majority of parks in Bakersfield contain playgrounds and barbecue grills, while many also include courts for basketball, tennis, and volleyball. The city is considering placing a new park at the corner of Brahma and Linnell Streets.

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#62. Lexington, Kentucky

- Park access rating: 29 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 54% (1.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 53
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 2% (86.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 113
- Park investment rating: 40
- Park amenities rating: 54

Even though around half of people in Lexington don’t live within a short walking distance to a park, 86% say they have plenty of access to many amenities, including recreational areas, according to a 2020 study from the Knight Foundation and Urban Institute. The city is currently constructing the Town Branch Commons, a new public-private park system that will include dedicated paths for bikers and pedestrians.

#60. Riverside, California (tie)

- Park access rating: 26 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 51% (7.3% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 66
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 7% (53.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 77
- Park investment rating: 39
- Park amenities rating: 26

The city of Riverside, California, has room for improvement when it comes to its playgrounds—it ranks in the 10th percentile of playgrounds per capita among cities across the country, according to the Trust for Public Land. The southern part of the city has wide swaths of spaces with moderate, high, and very high need for parks.

#60. North Las Vegas, Nevada (tie)

- Park access rating: 45 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 64% (16.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 83
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 26% (73.3% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 64
- Park investment rating: 24
- Park amenities rating: 47

While North Las Vegas devotes a large portion of its land for parks and recreation, its park amenities are lacking compared with other cities in the country. According to the Trust for Public Land, it has just 1.9 basketball hoops and 1.8 playgrounds per 10,000 residents and 0.2 recreation and senior centers for every 20,000 people.

#59. Arlington, Texas

- Park access rating: 36 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 58.% (5.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 68
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 101
- Park investment rating: 55
- Park amenities rating: 23

Geology lovers in Arlington, Texas, can get their fix of marine shales, mudstone, and siltstones at Crystal Canyon Natural Area. According to the city’s Visitors Bureau, other popular parks in the city include Richard Greene Linear Park, which offers a combination of art and nature; Veterans Park, which has a famous disc golf course; and River Legacy Parks, which has 10 miles of nature trails.

#58. Baltimore, Maryland

- Park access rating: 81 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 87% (58.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 25
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 294
- Park investment rating: 37
- Park amenities rating: 41

One of the biggest trends in green spaces in Baltimore in the last decade has been pocket parks—mini nature escapes in neighborhoods—according to The Baltimore Sun. Proponents say that pocket parks help reflect the culture of their neighborhoods, increase accessibility to nature, reduce crime, and improve the value of communities.

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#56. Tampa, Florida (tie)

- Park access rating: 43 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 63% (14.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 37
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 194
- Park investment rating: 21
- Park amenities rating: 84

Tampa gives residents plenty of amenity-packed parks in which to enjoy the Florida sunshine. Al Lopez Park, for example, features ball fields, jogging areas, picnic spots, play courts, a dog park, and a playground, while the historic Ballast Point Park offers grills and a boat ramp, along with incredible views of the city, per TripSavvy.

#56. Phoenix, Arizona (tie)

- Park access rating: 22 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 49% (10.9% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 88
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 15% (0.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 217
- Park investment rating: 47
- Park amenities rating: 28

Phoenix’s popular Margaret T. Hance Park may be relatively small compared with other regional parks, but it boasts a ton of global cultural activities. It contains the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Irish Cultural Center, and it hosts a range of events like Oktoberfest, yoga festivals, and concerts, per AZ Family.

#55. Tulsa, Oklahoma

- Park access rating: 39 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 60% (9.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 63
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 7% (53.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 180
- Park investment rating: 49
- Park amenities rating: 36

Tulsa ranks higher than most other cities in the country for the number of park splash pads it has per capita, according to the Trust for Public Land. In 2018, it opened the Gathering Place, “the largest public park ever built with private funds,” according to Curbed. The 66-acre park, which cost $465 million, includes a variety of playgrounds and play structures, a skate park, and desensitized spaces designed with children with autism in mind.

#54. Dallas, Texas

- Park access rating: 56 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 71% (29.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 59
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 441
- Park investment rating: 58
- Park amenities rating: 19

Residents of Dallas have more than 21,000 acres of parkland to explore in their city, according to USA Today 10Best. One of the top-rated areas, Klyde Warren Park, has something for people of all ages, including a butterfly garden, fitness sessions and dance classes, yoga, film screenings, and food trucks.

#53. Colorado Springs, Colorado

- Park access rating: 61 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 74% (34.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 52
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 216
- Park investment rating: 41
- Park amenities rating: 39

The parks in Colorado Springs brim with natural wonders. Garden of the Gods, for example, has earned status as a National Natural Landmark for its red rock formations. Residents can also check out beautiful waterfalls at Helen Hunt Falls and Seven Falls and marvel at the vibrant flower gardens of Monument Valley Park.

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#52. Orlando, Florida

- Park access rating: 45 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 64% (16.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 29
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 238
- Park investment rating: 65
- Park amenities rating: 55

Orlando may be best known for its amusement parks, but the city also contains more than 200 great green spaces for residents and visitors alike. The 45-acre Loch Haven Park is tucked between three pretty lakes and has an oak tree that’s reportedly older than the Constitution, according to Culture Trip. For a more active park experience, check out Park of the Americas, with its five workout stations that allow users to perform 120 exercises.

#51. Oakland, California

- Park access rating: 83 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 89% (61.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 37
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 12% (20.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 158
- Park investment rating: 31
- Park amenities rating: 45

Residents of Oakland who are looking for something unique to do in nature should consider a visit to the popular Sibley Park Regional Preserve. There, you can hike up a 10-million-year-old volcano right in the center of the city, according to 7x7. Lake Merritt is another popular green space in Oakland that offers a great combination of bird- and people-watching, along with beautiful lakefront views.

#49. Los Angeles, California (tie)

- Park access rating: 51 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 62% (12.7% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 56
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 644
- Park investment rating: 49
- Park amenities rating: 43

Los Angeles has hundreds of lush green spaces throughout its sprawling city limits. The perpetually popular Griffith Park has an iconic observatory and some of the best views of the whole city. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is another popular park, with a fishing lake, lotus pond, and more than seven miles of hiking trails. There’s also Los Angeles Historic Park, a 32-acre space with drought-tolerant landscaping, according to Time Out.

#49. Columbus, Ohio (tie)

- Park access rating: 42 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 68% (23.6% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 54
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 529
- Park investment rating: 73
- Park amenities rating: 30

In the spring and summer, the gardens in Columbus’ Franklin Park bloom into a colorful oasis and draw visitors from around the state. Another popular park, Goodale Park, has an attractive fountain, tennis courts, a gazebo, and amazing views of downtown, according to TripSavvy.

#48. Norfolk, Virginia

- Park access rating: 63 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 17
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 5% (66.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 175
- Park investment rating: 43
- Park amenities rating: 77

Norfolk’s parks system not only offers dozens of traditional neighborhood green spaces and community parks—it also includes two “festival parks.” Ocean View Beach Park and Town Point Park both offer waterfront entertainment venues for concerts and cultural events, ultimately helping draw more residents and visitors into the parks.

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#47. Jersey City, New Jersey

- Park access rating: 91 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 94% (70.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 48
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 18% (20.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 78
- Park investment rating: 11
- Park amenities rating: 50

One of the major draws of some of the parks in Jersey City are the views they offer of Manhattan. Hudson River Waterfront Walk, an 18-mile walkway that’s open 24/7, offers incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, as does Liberty State Park, which also provides access to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

#46. Chesapeake, Virginia

- Park access rating: 13 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 43% (21.8% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 84
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 26% (73.3% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 132
- Park investment rating: 53
- Park amenities rating: 59

The Chesapeake area has been campaigning to create a new national park in the region dubbed the Chesapeake National Recreation Area, according to The Southern Maryland Chronicle. The city itself already has dozens of public parks, offering residents leisurely walks in nature, horseshoe pits, large-scale event spaces, paddle boating, and cycling trails.

#45. Anaheim, California

- Park access rating: 50 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 67% (21.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 76
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 15% (0.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 83
- Park investment rating: 63
- Park amenities rating: 21

Parks in Anaheim, California, run from petite green spaces that are no larger than 3 acres to 27-acre community parks, giving residents lots of choice when it comes to getting outside. The city also has beautiful hiking trails, like those at Oak Canyon, which also includes a butterfly garden, waterfalls, and caves.

#44. Scottsdale, Arizona

- Park access rating: 9 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 40% (27.3% below national average)
- Park acreage rating: 100
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 27% (80.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 46
- Park investment rating: 59
- Park amenities rating: 43

Scottsdale has worked to make sure it has park options for people of all abilities. Its Chaparral Park, for example, offers a fully accessible playground with adaptive equipment for kids with disabilities, according to KJZZ. The 100-acre park also includes a dog park, six ball fields, volleyball courts, a 10-station exercise course, and a pool.

#43. Buffalo, New York

- Park access rating: 85 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 90% (63.6% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 21
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 346
- Park investment rating: 44
- Park amenities rating: 62

Parks in Buffalo offer the opportunity to experience a more scenic side of the city, according to Only In Your State. The more than 20-acre Riverside Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has a gorgeous lighthouse monument, public pools, and waterfront views. Delaware Park, which contains a Japanese garden that explodes with cherry blossoms in the springtime, is another popular destination.

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#42. Las Vegas, Nevada

- Park access rating: 62 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 53
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 20% (33.3% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 357
- Park investment rating: 43
- Park amenities rating: 56

Beyond the Strip, Las Vegas brims with a surprising amount of natural green spaces for the public. One of the city’s largest parks, Sunset Park, regularly wins awards as the top spot for nature in the city. There, visitors can enjoy softball fields, a dog park, a fish-filled lake, jogging trails, playgrounds, and shaded picnic areas.

#41. Honolulu, Hawaii

- Park access rating: 69 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 79% (43.6% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 67
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 15% (0.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 446
- Park investment rating: 39
- Park amenities rating: 40

You don’t have to shell out big bucks for resort accommodations to get access to the stunning nature around Honolulu. The city has a ton of parks that are open to the public, including beach areas, botanical gardens, and a skate park. The City and County of Honolulu also have plans to renovate Geiger Community Park, Aina Koa Neighborhood Park, Lanakila District Park, and Waimanalo Beach Park after receiving $653,036 in federal funding, per the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

#40. Atlanta, Georgia

- Park access rating: 58 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 72% (30.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 26
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 6% (60.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 417
- Park investment rating: 85
- Park amenities rating: 50

Atlanta spends $151 per resident on its parks every year—significantly higher than the national average of $89, according to the Trust for Public Land. That has allowed the city to create a number of wonderful outdoor spaces like Freedom Park, a sculpture- and artwork-filled linear park; Grant Park, Atlanta’s oldest municipal park, which is surrounded by Victorian mansions; and Piedmont Park, a 180-acre park with a greenmarket, community garden, and playgrounds.

#39. Anchorage, Alaska

- Park access rating: 62 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 71
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 84% (460.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 311
- Park investment rating: 49
- Park amenities rating: 38

Anchorage has channeled the majesty of its natural landscape into hundreds of city parks. Locals love Westchester Lagoon for its birdwatching, small cafe, boardwalk, and serenity, according to Visit Anchorage Alaska. Earthquake Park gives a fascinating look at an important event in state history: the 9.2-magnitude 1964 Earthquake. Evidence of the quake can be seen at the park’s sharp dropoff and rippling hills.

#38. Omaha, Nebraska

- Park access rating: 72 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 81% (47.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 64
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 276
- Park investment rating: 40
- Park amenities rating: 49

The city of Omaha spent much of 2019 making major improvements to some of its parks, including the Dewey Dog Park, Miller Park, and Flanagan Lake Playground. The city has almost 11,000 acres of parkland, along with three marinas and 120 miles of paved walking trails.

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#37. Austin, Texas

- Park access rating: 39 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 60% (9.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 64
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 369
- Park investment rating: 82
- Park amenities rating: 44

Life in Austin revolves around its beloved Zilker Park, according to Thrillist, which has dubbed it one of the best parks in the country. Its Great Lawn is the go-to spot for pickup soccer matches, slacklining, and picnicking. The park’s hiking and biking trails can also take you to Barton Springs, a temperate natural swimming pool where you can cool off from the stifling summer heat.

#36. San Jose, California

- Park access rating: 74 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 82% (49.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 53
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 15% (0.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 442
- Park investment rating: 58
- Park amenities rating: 47

While San Jose takes a respectable 36th place on this list of cities with the most accessible public parks, the city’s residents face disparities in taking advantage of the outdoor spaces, reported the San Jose Spotlight. It cited a Knight Foundation study from summer 2020 that found that Blacks and Latinos in the city had greater difficulty accessing recreational spaces than their white counterparts.

#35. Albuquerque, New Mexico

- Park access rating: 81 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 87% (58.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 69
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 23% (53.3% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 384
- Park investment rating: 30
- Park amenities rating: 61

The city of Albuquerque has recently identified a big problem at dozens of its parks: aging irrigation systems, which waste water and come with costly repair needs, according to KRQE. The city’s parks department is seeking a state grant to help cover the costs of upgrades to the irrigation at Phil Chacon Park and Netherwood Park, as well as the relining of the Ladera Golf Course’s pond.

#34. Des Moines, Iowa

- Park access rating: 55 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 70% (27.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 82
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 158
- Park investment rating: 50
- Park amenities rating: 56

The parks department of Des Moines is currently working on a multipurpose bike trail to “bridge a 3-mile gap between the Carlisle Nature Trail and the rest of the Greater Des Moines Regional Trails,” writes the Des Moines Register. Bike trails aren’t the only option when it comes to enjoying green spaces in Des Moines, though—the city also has a number of other traditional parks such as Gray’s Lake Park, Buxton Park, and Union Park.

#33. Fremont, California

- Park access rating: 54 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 70% (27.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 80
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 49% (226.7% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 67
- Park investment rating: 62
- Park amenities rating: 47

Central Park is a perennial favorite in Fremont, California. Located in the heart of the city, the 450-acre green space has lovely views of Lake Elizabeth and the Mission Peak Hills, along with kid’s play areas, a waterpark, fishing, boat rentals, and tennis.

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#32. Kansas City, Missouri

- Park access rating: 54 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 70% (27.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 72
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 471
- Park investment rating: 73
- Park amenities rating: 48

Whether you love lush gardens, waterfront green spaces, open fields, or playgrounds, Kansas City has a park for you. Popular options in the city include Loose Park, which has a colorful rose garden, and Penn Valley Park, which has a fitness trail, several memorials, and views of downtown, according to Culture Trip.

#31. Raleigh, North Carolina

- Park access rating: 36 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 58.% (5.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 64
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 351
- Park investment rating: 88
- Park amenities rating: 60

Raleigh is home to one of the most-visited state parks in all of North Carolina: William B. Umstead State Park. The 5,000+ acre park has 13 miles of multi-use trails, rolling hills, and plenty of gorgeous scenery. Another popular park in Raleigh is Dorothea Dix Park, an expansive space with large green fields.

#30. Sacramento, California

- Park access rating: 75 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 83% (50.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 46
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 259
- Park investment rating: 67
- Park amenities rating: 60

Residents can make the most of Sacramento’s sunny days at one of the city’s cherished parks. Del Paso Regional Park is one option—with 93 acres, there’s plenty of room to spread out a private picnic. Another popular spot is Bannon Creek Park, which has a paved path, off-leash dog park, and a horseshoe court.

#29. Cleveland, Ohio

- Park access rating: 75 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 83% (50.9% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 32
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 7% (53.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 186
- Park investment rating: 76
- Park amenities rating: 65

Cleveland offers lots of green spaces where residents can stretch their legs and appreciate nature. Rockefeller Park, the largest in the city, has a cultural garden, greenhouse, and walking paths. The elevated boardwalk at Shaker Lakes Park is great for people looking to explore a woodland area, and the Sandy Ridge Reservation has a snaking trail that takes you through the wetland and wildlife preserve, per CBS Cleveland.

#28. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

- Park access rating: 86 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 90% (63.6% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 44
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 242
- Park investment rating: 61
- Park amenities rating: 64

A beer garden, farmers market, grassy picnic areas, and playground are among the reasons South Shore Park is one of Milwaukee’s most popular parks, says TripSavvy. Another favorite city park is Lake Park, which has a six-hole golf course and a lighthouse that dates back to 1855.

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#27. Henderson, Nevada

- Park access rating: 38 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 60% (9.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 60
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 118
- Park investment rating: 78
- Park amenities rating: 80

Families in Henderson, Nevada, who are looking to cool off from the heat can enjoy the splash pads around the city’s beloved parks. Acacia Park has a water fun area, along with a lighted ball field, grassy space, playground, and picnic shelters. Saguaro Park also has a splash pad, as well as a walking course and barbecues.

#26. Virginia Beach, Virginia

- Park access rating: 51 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 68% (23.6% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 70
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 18% (20.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 381
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 37

With more than 4,000 acres of parks and a 9,000-acre national refuge, Virginia Beach is a nature-lover’s paradise. False Cape State Park has 6 miles of pristine beaches and “an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat,” according to Visit Virginia Beach. Another popular park, First Landing State Park, takes you through a diverse array of natural terrain including beach, dunes, cypress swamp, and freshwater ponds.

#25. Lincoln, Nebraska

- Park access rating: 88 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 92% (67.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 46
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 7% (53.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 225
- Park investment rating: 58
- Park amenities rating: 67

More than half the parks in Lincoln are considered neighborhood and mini parks, making it easy for residents to get a dose of nature therapy close to home. Hartley Park is one such green space, which houses a playground. The 6-acre Kahoa-Jaycee Park offers residents a bit more space to spread out, along with a hiking and biking trail.

#24. Aurora, Colorado

- Park access rating: 82 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 88% (60.0% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 64
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 11% (26.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 203
- Park investment rating: 84
- Park amenities rating: 31

You can find more than 8,000 acres of open natural space and 103 miles of hiking trails in Aurora, Colorado. Star K Ranch park boasts more than 240 acres alone, with nature trails, picnic shelters, and access to the Sand Creek Greenway Trail. Sports Park is even larger, at almost 250 acres, and has dozens of athletic facilities.

#23. Long Beach, California

- Park access rating: 76 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 84% (52.7% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 39
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 169
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 50

While Long Beach, California, may be most famous for its sea and surf, the city also features a number of beautiful parks. Los Cerritos Park is among the top parks in Long Beach and has picturesque scenery and picnic areas. Bixby Park, which has been open for nearly 120 years, also has a range of activities including a skate park, volleyball courts, and yoga classes, notes Culture Trip.

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#22. Denver, Colorado

- Park access rating: 86 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 91% (65.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 51
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 8% (46.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 314
- Park investment rating: 72
- Park amenities rating: 59

Denver parks can be downright spectacular for residents and visitors. Centrally located Washington Park has a giant grassy field that begs for recreation, two ponds, and a 2.6-mile loop reserved exclusively for joggers, per Uncover Colorado. Civic Center Park offers the unique experience of relaxing on a grassy patch surrounded by downtown skyscrapers.

#21. Boise, Idaho

- Park access rating: 53 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 69% (25.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 57
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 9% (40.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 144
- Park investment rating: 98
- Park amenities rating: 61

Boise hasn’t let the pandemic stop it from improving its park system. It dedicated a new pocket park with a bike repair stand and little free library on the Greenbelt in early October, according to CBS2. It also held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a 3.5-acre addition to Bernadine Quinn Riverside Park in September and updated a few parks with rubber surfacing that can help children who use wheelchairs enjoy the space, reported Idaho News 6.

#20. New Orleans, Louisiana

- Park access rating: 70 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 80% (45.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 58
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 26% (73.3% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 215
- Park investment rating: 94
- Park amenities rating: 49

New Orleans is home to one of the largest urban parks in the U.S.: New Orleans City Park. It features an enchanting botanical garden, many centuries-old oak trees, and a sculpture garden, according to Gambit magazine. The park was also recently named as the best place to get married in New Orleans.

#19. St. Petersburg, Florida

- Park access rating: 63 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 55
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 16% (6.7% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 168
- Park investment rating: 83
- Park amenities rating: 72

Parks around St. Petersburg lend themselves to leisurely strolls. Sawgrass Lake Park, for example, has serene boardwalks where you can spot wildlife, according to USA Today 10Best. Boyd Hill Nature Park also offers a variety of terrain to explore, including forests and marshlands.

#18. San Diego, California

- Park access rating: 71 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 81% (47.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 82
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 19% (26.7% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 520
- Park investment rating: 86
- Park amenities rating: 37

The warm climate of San Diego makes it easy to understand why the city has such great parks. Balboa Park is one of the must-visit natural escapes in the city, according to U.S. News & World Report. It has 65 miles of trails, along with the San Diego Zoo and multiple museums. Another worthwhile option is Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, where you can see the park’s namesake rare tree.

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#17. Plano, Texas

- Park access rating: 63 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 75% (36.4% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 75
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 98
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 42

Parks in Plano give residents the opportunity to hike remote nature trails, see the forest, and enjoy aquatic adventures, according to Visit Plano. Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve provide 800 acres of tranquility. In the summer of 2020, parks department staff released 50 native birds into the area as part of its efforts to rebuild the Bobwhite quail population, according to the city’s Patch.

#15. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (tie)

- Park access rating: 88 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 92% (67.3% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 35
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 235
- Park investment rating: 79
- Park amenities rating: 79

The vast majority of Pittsburgh residents can immerse themselves in nature within a short walk or drive from home. Some of the top parks are located within the city limits, per Discover the Burgh. It points to Highland Park, a 748-acre park with European-inspired gardens and a reservoir, and Riverview Park, a 251-acre green space with wooded hiking trails, as two of the top options.

#15. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (tie)

- Park access rating: 93 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 95% (72.7% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 45
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 567
- Park investment rating: 77
- Park amenities rating: 65

Philadelphia makes it easy for residents to enjoy outdoor adventures with hundreds of parks in the city. Some of the most popular parks are Delaware Canal State Park and Valley Forge National Historic Park. However, they’re just the tip of the iceberg, says Visit Philadelphia. Off-the-beaten-path parks in the region like Ringing Rocks Park give you the chance to experience cool outdoor phenomena, sans the crowds.

#14. Seattle, Washington

- Park access rating: 95 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 96% (74.5% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 42
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 13% (13.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 508
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 52

Seattle balances its urban environment with hundreds of lush, green parks. Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest urban park, brims with 534 acres of diverse terrain, including sea cliffs, forests, and tidal beaches, according to Visit Seattle. If exercise is your primary reason for visiting parks, you’ll be satisfied at Green Lake Park, which has a 3-mile track surrounding a lake that makes for picturesque runs and bike rides.

#13. St. Louis, Missouri

- Park access rating: 97 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 98% (78.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 32
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 361
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 61

Serious money has been invested in St. Louis’s premier park: Gateway Arch National Park. It completed a $380-million renovation in 2018 to give the park updated riverview pathways, a grassy land bridge, and lots more green space.

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#12. Madison, Wisconsin

- Park access rating: 93 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 95% (72.7% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 57
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 14.% (6.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 284
- Park investment rating: 74
- Park amenities rating: 71

Visiting local parks is an all-season pastime for residents of Madison, Wisconsin. One of the city’s most popular parks, Elver Park, has an “epic sledding hill,” according to the Isthmus. In the warmer months, you can find locals cheering on the Madison Mallards at Warner Park and sunning on the grassy space at James Madison Park.

#11. New York, New York

- Park access rating: 99 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 99% (80.0% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 53
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 21% (40.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 2,314
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 46

What would New York City be without Central Park? The expansive space, which is the country’s most visited urban park, has everything one could want in a park: lovely ponds, wooded areas with vibrant birdwatching, sculptures, European-style plazas, and activities galore.

#10. Chicago, Illinois

- Park access rating: 98 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 98% (78.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 33
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 10% (33.3% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 1,232
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 73

Chicago’s Millennium Park draws visitors from around the country, eager to snap a selfie in front of the “Cloud Gate” (aka “the bean”) and catch entertainment at Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion. It’s certainly not the only park worth visiting in the Windy City, though. Grant Park offers 319 acres of lakefront views, Garfield Park has a world-famous conservatory with 120,000 plants, and Jackson Park has a Japanese-inspired garden and ample athletic facilities, according to Time Out.

#9. Boston, Massachusetts

- Park access rating: 100 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 100% (81.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 49
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 17% (13.3% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 930
- Park investment rating: 92
- Park amenities rating: 65

One of the best ways to experience the bounty of Boston’s parks is by exploring the Emerald Necklace. The 1,100-acre space links up a chain of parks including the Boston Common, Public Garden, The Fens, Forsyth Park, and more by parkways and waterways. Even outside of that area, though, you’ll find plenty of other green spaces in the city.

#8. San Francisco, California

- Park access rating: 100 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 100% (81.8% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 54
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 21% (40.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 471
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 62

San Francisco has so many iconic parks, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Golden Gate Park is considered a must-visit attraction, where you can see American bison, experience a Japanese Tea Garden, and check out the botanical garden. Mission Dolores Park is always packed on the weekends with people spreading out blankets and soaking up spectacular city views. There’s also Buena Vista Park, the city’s oldest, which offers a pleasant wooded escape from Haight-Ashbury.

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#7. Irvine, California

- Park access rating: 73 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 82% (49.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 78
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 27% (80.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 127
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 67

In Irvine, you can find 57,500 acres of nature preserves and open space from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana Mountains, which serves as the country’s biggest open-space network, according to the Irvine Standard. The 2020 Irvine Parks Guide can help you find a park with all the amenities you’re looking for.

#6. Portland, Oregon

- Park access rating: 85 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 90% (63.6% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 69
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 18% (20.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 328
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 65

Parks are a key part of daily life in Portland, says Thrillist. Locals enjoy 30 miles of hiking trails in Forest Park, take part in the Adult Soap Box Derby at Mount Tabor Park, explore wetlands in Tanner Springs Park, and sunbathe in the grassy area of Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

#5. Cincinnati, Ohio

- Park access rating: 74 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 82% (49.1% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 56
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 14.% (6.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 306
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 93

Cincinnati parks are as varied as they are numerous. One of the city’s best known, Ault Park, has a vast network of hiking trails, a verdant garden, picnic areas, and a lookout point, according to Wander Cincinnati. The hidden gem of French Park has interesting architecture and forested areas, and Otto Armleder Park has one of Cincinnati’s largest dog parks.

#4. Arlington, Virginia

- Park access rating: 99 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 99% (80.0% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 38
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 11% (26.7% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 181
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 89

Residents of Arlington, Virginia, can easily access some of the city’s top parks by public transportation. Quincy Park, for example, is just a stone’s throw away from the Virginia Square Metro stop and offers a fenced-in playground and picnic pavilion. Gateway Park, which is a short walk from the Rosslyn Metro station, features 3 beautiful acres and a calendar chock-full of annual events.

#3. St. Paul, Minnesota

- Park access rating: 99 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 99% (80.0% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 53
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 15% (0.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 264
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 78

St. Paul has an extensive park system with something for everyone. Culture buffs can check out the Changsha China Friendship Garden on the city’s East Side. Downtown, cyclists can zoom down the path at Upper Landing Park. Outdoorsy kids can try catching crappies and bluegills at Marydale Park’s children’s fishing pond, and Crosby Farm Park has some of the most scenic picnic areas in the city.

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#2. Washington D.C.

- Park access rating: 98 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 98% (78.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 55
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 24% (60.0% above national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 631
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 80

Our nation’s capital is filled with delightful gardens and verdant parks. Head to the U.S. National Arboretum to see a large collection of bonsai trees. Another popular park, Rock Creek Park, has 1,700 acres of parkland to wander around, while the neoclassical-style Meridian Hill Park features a cascading waterfall.

#1. Minneapolis, Minnesota

- Park access rating: 98 out of 100
--- Residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park: 98% (78.2% above national average)
- Park acreage rating: 64
--- Share of city land used for parks/recreation: 15% (0.0% below national median)
--- Total parks in the city: 269
- Park investment rating: 100
- Park amenities rating: 79

Minneapolis, the city with the most accessible parks in the U.S., oozes natural beauty. See for yourself at Loring Park, a 34-acre park with gorgeous views, Lake Harriet, which has sailing and fishing, and Powderhorn Park, a 66-acre expanse with a pristine lake.

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