10 Most Beautiful City Parks in the U.S.

By: Angela Ayles
This aerial view of lower Central Park is in mid summer peak. Getty Images / Jerry Trudell

City parks create an oasis in the middle of densely populated urban environments. Designing, building, and maintaining these city parks presents unique challenges. These ten city parks are considered the most beautiful in the United States for different reasons.


1. Hagerstown City Park

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Hagerstown City Park is located in the middle of Hagerstown in Maryland. The park is a historic location and contains the manmade Lower Lake in the center. It is home to the Washington County Museum of Fine Art that sits directly on the lakefront as well as the Hager House and Museum. The park is in a very industrial area of the city and has a number of paths, recreation areas, and trails for residents.

2. Patterson Park

With Pathway and Spring Blossoms
Getty Images / Greg Pease

Patterson Park is located in a densely populated neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. It is one of the most beautiful parks in the country because of the restrained landscaping and the views of the surrounding city. The park contains a four-level observation tower on a hill in the center. The majority of the space is open with low plantings and flowers around groomed walkways and bike paths. Patterson Park provides an open space where city residents can relax and where festivals are held each year.

3. Audubon Park

Getty Images / © Daniela Duncan

Audubon Park is located in New Orleans, Louisiana with part of the area on the shores of the Mississippi River. The park contains a rich collection of local trees, flowers, and other flora. It is a regular stopping ground for migratory birds and attracts many bird watchers. The park contains a series of ponds and fountains. It also houses a golf course. Visitors can picnic at tables along the Mississippi.

4. Forest Park

Aerial view of Forest Park, known as the "Heart of St. Louis"; originally opened in the late 1800's, Forest Park is approximately 1300 acres of public parkland just west of downtown featuring numerous museums, a planetarium (shown in this image), the St. Louis Zoo, and a large outdoor amphitheater.
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Forest Park occupies over 1,300 acres in the city of Saint Louis, Missouri. It was the location of the Summer Olympics in 1904. The park contains complex landscaping with many flowers blooming in sequence. This also includes several pieces of public artwork. The park features an art museum, a zoo, a science center, and a golf course. Visitors will find many forested areas with surprises like statues mixed into the landscape.


5. Cal Anderson Park

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Cal Anderson Park is in Seattle Washington outside of the downtown area. The park is constructed on top of the Lincoln Reservoir after the city was mandated to cover the water with a solid surface. The park provides amazing views of Seattle and is very accessible. It is a classic park with winding trails, groomed grass, sports courts, and picnic areas. It includes a few wading pools and covered shelters.

6. Encanto Park

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Encanto Park is a distinctive oasis located just off one of the busiest parts of Phoenix, Arizona. The landscaping in the park includes tall palms as well as an open lake. Visitors can rent boats and row around the lake. The same lake is stocked each season so that fishing is possible. An amusement park sits on one portion of the over 200-acre space.

7. Post Office Square

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Post Office Square is less than 2 acres large. It is located in the heart of the financial district in Boston, Massachusetts. The park is built over an underground parking lot. It contains over 120 different types of flowers, plants, and trees. It is bordered by restaurants and cafes. Visitors are provided with free cushions for sitting on the ground during the summer.

8. Golden Gate Park

10/27/10 aerial Golden Gate park in San Francisci
Steve Proehl / Getty Images

Golden Gate Park is a large city park in San Francisco. It covers more than 1,000 acres. The park contains lakes, the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Garden, and formal botanical gardens. Visitors will also find a herd of bison in a special enclosed field. Other attractions include two windmills, Kezar Stadium for sports, and the Musical Concourse for live performances. It can take several days to visit all areas of the park.

9. Grant Park

Chicago, Illinois, cityscape with Grant Park and S Lake Shore Drive with car traffic, aerial view.
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Grant Park covers over 300 acres of land in Chicago, Illinois. It sits on the edge of Lake Michigan. The park contains an amazing mixture of wooded areas, open fields, and isolated gardens between paved plazas like those around Buckingham Fountain. The park houses a number of art museums, a natural history museum, and an aquarium. A path stretches through one side of the park for 18 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan.


10. Central Park

This aerial view of lower Central Park is in mid summer peak.
Getty Images / Jerry Trudell

Central Park sits in the center of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It has several beautiful features from the dense and wild Rambles to the lake in the center where visitors can rent rowboats. Central Park also contains a zoo, a skating rink, an outdoor theatre, and a carousel. Visitors will find large meadows for relaxing or sunbathing and an enclosed pond for fishing in the north at the Harlem Meer. This is the most visited city park in the country.