9 American city parks you must see on your next vacation

It’s easy to fall in love with many cities on your great American vacation. But some cities have parks that are easily worth spending a relaxing day with the family. Here are 9 parks you can visit in some of the best towns in the United States.

United States

1. Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Park

A quick glance at an aerial shot of Golden Gate Park may bring Central Park to mind, but it’s far more awesome. This is over 1,000 acres of incredible as you can enjoy sites like the Dutch Windmills, Japanese Tea Garden (oldest such garden in the country), Conservatory of Flowers, Beach Chalet and some impressive art museums. Sporty folks will also love the Frisbee Golf Course, Anglers Lodge for fishing and a nine-hole golf course. If you’re just looking to get a whole overview of the park, then take the 2 ½-hour Segway tour.

 2. Grant Park – Chicago, Illinois

Grant Park

It’s not as old as some of the parks on the list, but Grant Park is one of the best excuses to find yourself out and about in Chicago. Its 319 acres are great for tourists to see the Windy City. Millennium Park is free and boasts the trippy Cloud Gate sculpture and go to Jay Pritzker Pavilion for a slew of concerts. Art Institute of Chicago calls the west edge of Grant Park home, and is one of the best museums in the nation. And if you just want to gaze out onto Lake Michigan, just take a stroll on the 18-mile path that shows all of the water in its glory.

3. Governors Island – New York City

Governors Island

If you’re in New York City from late May to September, then you’ve got to visit Governors Island. There’s eclectic sets of art that you can not only see, but sometimes even play upon during your visit. Weekends give guests a chance to learn how to use the flying trapeze. Keep an eye out for the Jazz Age Lawn Party as you can dress like you’re right out of “The Great Gatsby” for lively jazz music, dance lessons and a 1920s motorcar exhibition. The island also affords gorgeous views of the Big Apple and Statue of Liberty. Even the ferry ride over the island is a joy.

4. Papago Park – Phoenix, Arizona

Papago Park

If you can brave the heat (temps get into the low 100s in the summer), then you’re ready to visit another world.Papago Park is loaded with orange-red sandstone formations that have been waiting for us to see them for thousands of years. Get a close look at the local cacti and other succulents of the region at the Desert Botanical Garden, which also has a slew of modern art to peruse. Even see some wildlife at the Phoenix Zoo at the park as well. All you have to do is pick a cheap flight to Phoenix on Skyscanner.

5. Central Park – New York City

Central Park

Nobody can say they don’t want to visit Central Park when they go to New York City. It’s been in so many TV shows and movies that many of us feel like we’ve been there without actually visiting. But do visit Strawberry Fields to pay respects to the incomparable John Lennon. Gapstow Bridge is an iconic spot that’s been in everything from “Sex and the City” to “The Devil Wears Prada.” And the Azalea Walk might be one of the most tranquil treks you’ll take in the park in the springtime. 

6. City Park – New Orleans, Louisiana

City Park

You may think of New Orleans as nothing but wild party times, but City Park will force you to rethink what you know. Historic oak trees with branches reaching out 75 feet give a tremendous atmosphere as you walk through the 1,300-acre oasis in the heart of bayou country. Families can enjoy the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, which has entertained the masses for over a century. The namesake of the park – an antique wooden carousel – is so revered that it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

7. Balboa Park – San Diego, California

Balboa Park

Many of San Diego’s cultural gems are within a small walk at Balboa Park. The Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theater, world famous San Diego Zoo and several breathtaking gardens. Film buffs can journey through the environs to see if they can spot areas of the park that were used in such famed films as “Citizen Kane,” “Anchorman,” and “Almost Famous.” 

8. Forest Park – St. Louis, Missouri

Forest Park

A zoo, public artwork, flowers blooming seemingly everywhere you turn, a planetarium and a golf course – yes,Forest Park is a must-do when in the Gateway to the West. The home of the 1904 Summer Olympics is 500 acres bigger than New York’s Central Park (hard to believe, I know). September is the time to visit when theGreat Forest Park Balloon Race fills the skies with a colorful array of hot-air balloons.

9. Schenley Park – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Schenley Park

Pittsburgh is a pretty cool city to explore, and Schenley Park just adds to that standing. It’s 456 acres of rolling hills and mature trees are one of the most relaxing spots you’ll not only find in the Steel City, but the entire nation. Bike paths, walking trails and a 4,600-yard golf course give you a chance to see almost every inch of this destination.

Is there a city park you love that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.