How Do American Parks Rank in the World?

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Upon searching for the world's best parks, it seems that there are a few U.S. parks that are among the best. According to Project for Public Spaces, the following U.S. parks are among the top 24 best parks in the world:

  • Central Park, New York, NY #3
  • Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY #4
  • Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA #10
  • Balboa Park, San Diego, CA #13
  • Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA #14
  • Main Beach Park and Heisler Park, Laguna Beach, CA #19
  • 6th and B Community Garden, New York, NY #20
  • Paley Park and Greenacre Park, New York, NY #21
  • Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA #22

That looks pretty good! Almost half the world's best parks are in the United States. Unfortunately, the same article also has us down for almost half the world's worst parks. Out of 9 parks considered the worst in the world, 4 are in the U.S. including:

  • The National Mall, Washington, DC #5
  • Logan Circle, Philadelphia, PA #6
  • Civic Center, San Francisco, CA #7
  • Bryant Park, New York, NY #9

Ranking the world's best city parks, Odd Stuff Magazine lists Central Park, New York as #1 and National Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC as #5.

Also ranking the world's best parks is Rates To Go. Here, U.S. parks rank as follows: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco #3; Lincoln Park, Chicago #6; and Central Park, New York City #12.

Overall, the United States does pretty well in ranking for some of the world's best parks. Of course, it's all relative and it depends on what is being assessed in the survey. Whereas one study might look for beauty, artistic qualities, or architectural features, another study may be comparing public spaces. Some authors focus more on one part of the world than others. So obviously, depending on what is being compared, these parks rank differently.

However, I was surprised that none of Florida's parks seem to show up on any of the world wide lists. Florida has some of the best bird watching spots, hiking trails, and bike paths, not to mention incredible opportunities for kayakers to catch glimpses of shy manatees while paddling through mangrove forests. What do you think? Was your city missed in this list?

While small neighborhood parks can't compare to the world's best parks, I'm doing my own poll on some of Florida's parks in the cities in which I work. If you've ever been to the Palm Beaches in Florida, cast your vote for the parks you like in Palm Beach Gardens!

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