While an urban environment can be inspiring for all the architecture, monumental skyscrapers, and entertainment options it provides, there’s usually always a need for an oasis of tranquility in today’s concrete jungle. This is why the green spaces designed into a layout of a city are invaluable. If you’re planning on visiting some great urban destinations around the world, wouldn’t you like to know where you can take a break and enjoy some greenery? Fear not – here’s your guide to some of the best urban parks around the world.
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, USA
What’s great about San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Park is that you don’t just get a place where you can enjoy a scenic pitstop – you also get to enjoy a plethora of other activities on the park’s premises. You can wander through its Japanese Tea Garden, geek out at the California Academy of Sciences (an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum all under one roof), enjoy some art at the de Young Museum, and unleash your inner botanist at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Now, where else can you experience so many things all in one park?
Nagasaki Peace Park – Nagasaki, Japan
Designed as a poignant memorial to the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on the city at the end World War II, Nagasaki Peace Park is an urban space that stands for something a lot deeper. It looks back at the horrors of war but also stands as a hopeful sign of peace, and this is symbolized by the iconic 10-meter-tall Peace Statue that stands at its north end. You can spend some quiet reflection in the beautiful gardens before visiting the adjacent Atomic Bomb Museum.
Villa Borghese – Rome, Italy
When in Rome, do as the Romans do…and head on over to Villa Borghese. The city’s third-largest public park is a stunning landscape garden that is full of greenery and also beautiful villas spread across its premises. The famous Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain are nearby, while the Pincian Hill of ancient Rome, located in the southern part of the park, offers some fantastic views of Rome. It’s definitely a photographer’s dream come true!
People’s Park – Shanghai, China
There’s no better way to get an authentic feel of the city of Shanghai than to find a place to perch yourself in Shanghai’s People’s Park. Here you’ll see elderly men and women gathered around playing cards or practicing tai-chi, while kids frolic in its play areas. You can make the most of your visit to the park by also planning a visit to the shopping mecca of Nanjing Road and paying a visit to the Shanghai Museum.
Vondelpark – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Known for its winding canals, quaint buildings, and love of bicycles, Amsterdam may not be the first European city to come to mind when thinking of a great urban park, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lush layout of the city’s Vondelpark. Known as a hub for locals, especially to laze around in the summertime, you can also see the statue of the poet Vondel, the cast iron music dome, the Groot Melkhuis with its kids’ playground. When summer’s in full swing you might even be lucky enough to catch a free concert there.
Hampstead Heath – London, England
While London’s Hyde park usually hogs the park limelight, you can’t ignore what a cool little gem Hampstead Heath is. Not only do you get great views of the city of London, it’s expansive nature lets you get truly lost and forget that you’re in the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities. While hiking through you can also stop at a few great pubs that border the park and even dive into the shops and restaurants of the nearby village of Hampstead. When the weather is good the kiddos will love the simple joy of flying a kite or seeing the animals at the small zoo.
Know of any other green urban spots we may have missed? Let us know in the comments.