6 Famous City Parks You Can’t Miss

By Audrey W. | Arcadia Staff
Since the first cities started cropping up in the Colonies, American city landscapers have been including parks in their metropolis designs. In some cities, their parks have become popular among tourists and locals alike. It’s thought that community green spaces are good for the general wellbeing of those who utilize them. They offer a calmer, quieter escape from the bustle of everyday city life. These are 6 of the most popular city parks you won’t want to miss. 

The Wysteria Pagola in Central Park.Central Park, New York City

Sitting in the middle of the largest city in America is one of the nation’s most famous city parks. Each year, Central Park attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s estimated that 38 million people from outside the city trek through the park every year. The park was completed in 1876 and spans 843 acres. Main attractions for visitors include the many lakes, The Ramble, Central Park Zoo, the Delacorte Theater, and several baseball fields. Visitors must check out the Bethsada Terrace, the park’s countless bridges and arches, and the many statues like those of Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Anderson. 

Millenium Park, Chicago, IL

Home of Chicago’s world-famous Cloud Gate sculpture is the city’s renowned Millenium Park. Construction of Millenium Park began in 1998, but wasn’t complete until 2004, almost four years behind schedule. The area used to be covered in railroad tracks and parking lots before the city took over maintenance. Today, the park is one of Chicago’s central hubs for art, architecture, and culture. Favorite attractions of the park include the Cloud Gate, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain, and the Lurie Gardens. The park is one of the top tourist destinations in Chicago, coming in with the top ten in the United States with 25 million visitors every year.

An early photo of Boston Common.Boston Common, Boston, MA

Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States, dating back to 1634. It consists of 50 acres, and was designated a Boston Landmark in 1977. During the 1630s, the park was used as a pasture for the cows of farming families. During the Revolutionary War, it served as a headquarters for the British army. Throughout the Vietnam War, several protests were held in the park. Today, events like concerts, protests, ice skating, and softball games are frequently seen. Boston Common is also a stop on the famous Freedom Trail walk, which takes visitors to all the major historic sites in Boston. 

Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco, CA

Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the land that would become San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park. In 1776, the Spanish arrived and founded Mission Dolores, a religious site that became the first of many in the area. During the early 1900s, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods owned pieces of the park. In 1905, the city bought the park for $291,350 and opened it to the public. Inside the park is a plethora of tennis and basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds. Since the 1960s, it has been a central place for political and sporting events. 

The Peace Monument in Piedmont Park.Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA

The first owner of the land was Dr. Benjamin Walker, who used it as an out-of-town gentlemen’s farm. He sold the land to Piedmont Driving Club in 1887. Throughout the following century, the park was used for various fairs and expositions that gave rise to its popularity in the local community. In 1909, the sons of the architect who designed Central Park in New York City were hired to develop Piedmont Park. Today, the park is home to several fields, paths, and pastures for local events. 

Zilker Park, Austin, TX

For those living in or visiting Austin, Texas, Zilker Park is a favorite place to enjoy an afternoon in the sun. It’s known for its yearly events like the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Blues on the Green, and the Zilker Park Kite Festival. The land here was first developed into a park during the Great Depression. It was donated to the city by Andrew Jackson Zilker, the park’s namesake, in 1917. Today, the park is used for recreational activities, concerts, hiking, biking, Barton Springs Pool, and canoeing on Lady Bird Lake. Zilker Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. 
For many major cities in the United States, their city parks are treasured pieces of land by the locals. They provide a green relief from the bustle of daily life in cities. For visitors, they offer a taste of life in each city. Attending a local event or simply walking the trails allows visitors to experience the culture of a city the way a local would. Make sure to stop by one on your next trip to Any Town USA!