From both below and above the equator, Musement takes a look at 15 city parks around the world.
Tired of the pavement? If you need a breath of fresh air from city life, you can take refuge in a city park. The green areas are the perfect place to exercise, read, walk your dog, organize picnics, or simply get away for a bit and unplug—a retreat at everybody’s fingertips!
Even if you choose an urban destination for your next escape, that doesn’t mean you have to forego greenery. Enjoy the best of both worlds, combining cultural activities with strolls in these 15 urban oases.
1. Central Park, New York
The crown jewel of city parks, Central Park is the best urban oasis in the world. If everything is gigantic in New York, Central Park is no exception. In fact, the park is so enormous that you might even forget you’re in the city that never sleeps. This colossal and perfect rectangle of 840 acres located in Manhattan includes the Central Park Zoo, John Lennon’s famous Strawberry Fields, a botanical garden, various ponds, skating rinks and more.
2. Park Güell, Barcelona
While Park Güell has smaller dimensions, it’s no less charming, encapsulating the essence of Antoni Gaudí. You will find an infinite number of architectural elements inspired by nature and organic shapes, such as the mosaic snake crafted from broken tiles, the famous salamander at the entrance and the impressive forest of pillars, in addition to the extensive array of Mediterranean plant species. If that’s not enough, the park also offers marvelous views of Barcelona.
3. Hyde Park, London
A sanctuary in the middle of the English capital? Yes, it’s true and it’s called Hyde Park. We know that London has several city parks, but since we have to choose one, Hyde Park it is. The largest park in the city center, Hyde Park was inaugurated as a public park in the 17th century. You can rent boats, deck chairs, etc., and go to the famous Speaker’s Corner, where eccentric characters perform speeches on Sunday mornings.
4. The Imperial Palace Gardens, Tokyo
An authentic zen refuge awaits you next to the Imperial Palace of Tokyo — the East Garden (Higashi Gyoen) in particular is exceptionally exquisite. Access is free, and the gardens are open daily except Monday and Friday. The elegant and subdued beauty is fascinating, with flowers that change by the season in addition to trees and imperial symbols and monuments that span the garden’s 52 acres.
5. Mount Royal Park, Montreal
Regardless of the time of year, Montrealers can’t live without frequenting the Mount Royal Park, and you shouldn’t miss it either. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes! In the winter, the park’s 470 acres are covered in snow, offering a beautiful, peaceful respite. In the summer, on the other hand, Mount Royal becomes a party, with countless events and activities to liven up Montreal‘s warm summer nights.
6. Phoenix Park, Dublin
Think that London is home to Europe’s largest urban park? Well, it’s not—Dublin is. The Irish capital’s Phoenix Park boasts 1,750 acres. Although it was created in the 17th century as a deer sanctuary, it was later remodeled and opened as a public park. Located a short distance from Dublin, you can still see deer and other animal species in the on-site zoo. The Irish president resides in the park, which is also home to interesting landmarks such as the Phoenix Monument.
7. Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo
With more than 580 square miles in the middle of São Paulo, it’s no surprise that Ibirapuera Park is often compared to Central Park. This busy green area offers infinite leisure options such as concerts and other outdoor events, trails and bike paths, gymnastics equipment, lakes, a restaurant and more…including the impressive Modern Art Museum. In short, you can easily spend the whole day here.
8. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
If you go to California, you should definitely spend a few days outside of the city to discover this state’s natural gems. However, when you return to the metropolis, you should visit Golden Gate Park the biggest park in San Francisco—it’s even bigger than Central Park! With more than one million trees, the most unique parts of this park are the buffalos, the Dutch Windmill, the Fragrance Garden, Shakespeare Garden and the charming Japanese Tea Garden with pagodas and bonsai where you can disconnect from the urban bustle. Have your cameras ready as there are many photo-worthy places here.
9. Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
Nicknamed “Luco” by Parisians, the Luxembourg Gardens are an exquisite green space located in Paris’ sixth arrondissement, beside the Latin Quarter. Characterized by its typically French romantic atmosphere, this park occupies 57 acres, and Luxembourg Palace, the current seat of the Senate, is the park’s greatest point of interest. If you want to channel your inner Parisian, relax in the gardens with a newspaper and café au lait.
10. Green Point Park, Cape Town
Since the year 2011, Cape Town has had Green Point Park—a green area where locals and tourists can enjoy a fitness space, a playground, amusement park…and a plethora of other options such as markets, concerts and competitions. We recommend that you rent a bike and go around on two wheels to explore the park in its entirety then end the day with a picnic!
11. Lumpini Park, Bangkok
Bangkok’s best-known park is Lumpini Park, where you can escape for as long as you need from the chaos of the streets that characterizes the Thai capital. The only thing that might disturb you in this space are the giant lizards, but don’t worry—they’re harmless! If you have always wanted to try tai chi, here you will have the opportunity. Free classes are organized daily.
12. Tiergarten, Berlin
Tiergarten (which means “zoo” in German) is found in the Berlin neighborhood of the same name. With 520 acres, it is the second biggest park in Berlin after Grünewald. Delineating the border between the neighborhoods of Mitte and Charlottenburg, Tiergarten is close to several attractions, such as Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, offering the perfect backdrop for your visit to the German capital.
13. Chapultepec Forest, Mexico City
Chapultepec is home to Mexico City’s well-known National Museum of Anthropology. Aside from that, this expansive urban park is well worth a quiet stroll to explore even a small portion of its 1,675 acres. Lakes, fountains, monuments and vestiges are only some of the attractions you will find along the way, so we invite you to spend an afternoon in this beautiful urban park.
14. Stanley Park, Vancouver
With its privileged location in downtown Vancouver along the ocean, Stanley Park is a dream of an urban park that has all you need to keep your lungs full of fresh air. You choose: you can walk along the Seawall (the boardwalk) at sunset, relax on the English Bay Beach or on Beaver Lake, take a romantic stroll by Lost Lagoon, or visit the totem poles among other monuments.
15. Mount Faber Park, Singapore
As one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Singapore, Mount Faber Park is found on a 345-foot- hill. With 138 acres of land and lush vegetation, it is a great peaceful haven to soothe the senses after a stimulating day discovering Singapore. In addition, from the park, you can take the cable car to Sentosa Island and enjoy incredible panoramic views.