There’s something really special about finding a tranquil place for peace and quiet in the middle of a bustling urban centre; whether it’s a small green block, or rolling hills, complete with wildlife and a river.
Inner-city parks can make the difference between a good city and a great one. Now, thanks to Fodors Travel, the top city parks around the world have been revealed.
#15 Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Melbourne’s famous Royal Botanic Gardens offer a beautiful, sprawling city escape. Sprawling over more than 100 acres, a myriad of flora and fauna from Australia, along with exotic species from across the globe — including black swans, bellbirds and kookaburras — call it home.
#14 Villa Doria Pamphili, Rome
The Villa Doria Pamphili is Rome’s largest landscaped public park and is filled with stunning architecture, carefully designed and meticulously manicures gardens, large pathways, and statues and vases that serve as a reminder of Rome’s majestic history.
#13 Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo
This inner-city Brazilian park is one of the most popular spots for outdoor activities and events in São Paulo. Built in 1954, it’s often compared to New York’s world-famous Central Park. Not only does the park offer an escape from the busy surrounds, it also houses lakes, an open-air museum and more.
#12 Forest Park, St Louis
Situated in St Louis, Missouri, Forest Park spans a massive 1371 acres and acts as the city’s cultural hub, including an art museum, history museum, science centre, zoo and ice rink, and boasts a duck ponds and running paths, among other attractions.
#11 Luxembourg Garden, Paris
There’s so much to do and see in Paris that it can feel impossible to stop and smell the roses. Luckily, the Latin Quarter is home to Luxembourg Gardens, which is all flowerbeds, apple and pear orchards, and greenhouses. It’s the perfect place to relax in the City of Love.
#10 Stanley Park, Vancouver
Possibly Canada’s greatest inner-city park, the 1000-acre Stanley Park is equally beloved by locals and visitors. A hub of activity, from rollerblading and hiking to outdoor theatre performances and a moonlight cinema, there’s also lakes, forest trails, water lilies and more to enjoy.
#9 Central Park, New York City
It wouldn’t be a list of parks without the most well-known one on the planet. Central Park is home to everything from horse carriages to street vendors, including an ice rink during winter and Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon.
#8 Balboa Park, San Diego
Though situated in Southern California, Balboa Park will make you feel like you’ve entered a totally different world. There, you’ll find the San Diego Zoo, a rose garden, beautiful fountains, performing arts centres and a blue-tiled bell tower which rings out each hour.
#7 Hibiya Park, Tokyo
Though Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world, it’s also home to spectacular parks, and Hibiya Park is the most beautiful of them all. A stunning, tranquil city retreat, you’ll find everything from flowerbeds and cherry blossoms to live music and theatre.
#6 Park Güell, Barcelona
Designed by Antoni Gaudì, Barcelona’s Parl Güell is one of the most unique parks in the world. It’s situated on Carmel Hill, with two large buildings signifying the entrance, and is filled with gorgeous gardens and Art Nouveau architecture
#5 Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Los Angeles is known for being busy and bustling 24 hours a day, and Griffith Park is one the country’s largest urban parks, spanning more than 4300 acres, including the Los Angeles Zoo and Griffith Observatory.
#4 Royal National City Park, Stockholm
One of the most wildlife-heavy parks on the list, this Swedish city escape covers 27 square kilometres, and is home to elk, deer, hares, and many rare species of birds. The park is also used by community groups including scouts, sports groups, birdwatchers and more.
#3 Lumphini Park, Bangkok
Bangkok isn’t primarily known for its parklands, but Lumphini Park is an incredible urban park, including peaceful lakes, running paths, hundreds of trees and more. Though small, it’s incredibly important for locals as it offers a rare escape from the busy Thai capital.
#2 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
The massive stretch of parkland that is Golden Gate Park is one of San Francisco‘s most important cultural hubs. It’s home to everything from music festivals to a Japanese garden, offering the busy Northern California city an urban retreat so large that it feels like you’re somewhere completely different.
#1 Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park overlooks just about everything famous in London, from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben. There’s a lake filled with swans, cafes, lakes and more. As iconic as its architectural surrounds, it wouldn’t be London without Hyde Park.