Culture Travel 9 of the World's Most Impressive City Parks By Josh Lew Writer Metropolitan State University Josh Lew is a freelance writer and copywriter who focuses on travel, green living, and personal finance. our editorial process Josh Lew Updated May 20, 2021 Phoenix Park in Dublin supports numerous species of birds, mammals, and plants in a variety of habitats. Levers2007 / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community Many travelers to urban destinations enjoy stopping in a park for a breath of fresh air during a trip. Natural spaces are the perfect antidote to that overwhelmed feeling that often accompanies a day of sightseeing. These parks are conveniently located close to the center of the city, and because of the tranquility they offer, they often become a memorable part of a city vacation. Here are nine of the world’s most impressive city parks. 1 of 9 Central Park (New York City) Buyenlarge / Getty Images Central Park is the most famous urban green space in the United States, perhaps the world. Its sheer popularity might make it a turnoff for tourists in search of some peace and quiet: 43 million people visit it each year. However, with more than 800 acres, there are plenty of sections where you won't be elbow-to-elbow with other visitors. A walkable woodland area called the Ramble is a haven for bird-watchers. Meanwhile, other areas of the park provide a range of activities, such as hiking, biking, skating (both on the pavement and the ice in the winter), and paddle-boating. Central Park is a cultural attraction as well as a place to enjoy the greenery. Concerts and performances are held regularly during the summertime, and art installations include dozens of sculptures. A two-acre area of the park—Strawberry Fields—is dedicated to John Lennon. 2 of 9 Parc Güell (Barcelona) Parc Güell, Barcelona / Getty Images This attraction is easily one of the world's most unusual urban parks. It features buildings designed by famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, whose work can be seen throughout the city. The whimsical structures (which were originally designed as part of a housing development that was ultimately unsuccessful) give Güell a slight theme park feel. The buildings cover only part of the park, with gardens and more natural areas covering the rest. Seven of Gaudí’s works, including Parc Güell, are protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The mix of cultural and natural elements makes Güell a good option for sightseers that want to take in some interesting design and nature while stepping out of the city landscape. 3 of 9 Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Singapore) Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a relatively small park that stretches across 400 acres of its namesake hill in Singapore. The well-kept trails and infrastructure and the tropical plants and animals make this an interesting destination for those seeking a unique urban park experience. Nature-lovers will find unusual insects, such as praying mantises alongside creatures like freshwater crabs, flying squirrels, and pangolins. Rattan, fig, and other tropical trees that once covered vast parts of Singapore still grow on the slopes of Bukit Timah. The park's trails lead through the forests and up to the summit of the hill, which is the highest point in Singapore. In a bustling urban area, Bukit Timah gives visitors a chance to connect with the country's natural side easily. 4 of 9 Phoenix Park (Dublin) Alan Currie / Getty Images At 1,750 acres, Phoenix Park is one of Europe's largest urban green spaces. This biodiverse park has received the Green Flag Award for environmentally sustainable park management. Located in Ireland's capital city, the park has an array of monuments, both historical and religious, and an old fort. Phoenix boasts expansive lawns and woodlands, which cover about one-third of the park's landscape. Deer were introduced into Phoenix Park several centuries ago, and several hundred of the original herd's descendants still run free there. In addition to the outstanding natural attractions, this space hosts concerts, running races, and even a cricket club. The Dublin Zoo is also on the premises. 5 of 9 Stanley Park (Vancouver) StockstudioX / Getty Images Stanley Park is a 1,000-acre green space next to downtown Vancouver. Nearly 8 million people use the park every year. A five-mile seawall trail that circles Stanley is a popular choice for hikers and bikers, though the park also has miles of trails that crisscross the mostly forested interior. Some of the trees inside the park's forested landscapes are centuries old. Its interior trails are a great way to sample the natural side of British Columbia while staying close to the city. Stanley is also home to an aquarium, golf course, sports facilities, and a small train. 6 of 9 Monsanto Forest Park (Lisbon) Studio f:22 by Ricardo Rocha / Getty Images A short distance from the city center of Lisbon, Monsanto Forest Park covers more than 2,400 acres. Many people come for the skyline views of Portugal's charmingly aged city, but the park is also a playground for nature-lovers. Trees cover much of the park, and efforts have been made to manage both plant and animal species. Monsanto is also the site of an education-oriented center called the Ecological Park of Lisbon, which includes an interpretative center and auditorium for presentations. 7 of 9 Griffith Park (Los Angeles) Dszc / Getty Images This massive park in the city of Los Angeles covers more than 4,200 acres, making it one of the largest city-run parks in California. For anyone who wished that urban parks had more rugged, natural landscapes, Griffith is a great destination. The park's trails lead into the Santa Monica Mountains, offering visitors hiking experiences that are seldom available to city-dwellers and visiting tourists. A local chapter of the Sierra Club leads guided hikes along these “backcountry” trails. A stopover for migrating birds, Griffith Park is home to over 200 species. The park also has a wide range of on-site attractions, including concert venues, the Griffith Observatory, golf courses, and the Los Angeles Zoo. 8 of 9 Luxembourg Gardens (Paris) John Harper / Getty Images Paris has some of the world's most impressive gardens, but Luxembourg Gardens is a standout. Known for its well-manicured lawns, intricate flower beds, statues, and fountains, Luxembourg draws plenty of Parisians and visitors. The quiet atmosphere of this 60-acre park is the perfect place to take a break from the hubbub of the city. It features tennis and basketball courts, small cafes, and a gazebo where live music is performed. This is not a place for a hike in wild surroundings, but the gardens do provide the requisite natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere for a brief respite from the city. 9 of 9 Lumphini Park (Bangkok) Natalia Maroz / Shutterstock Lumphini Park—a 145-acre green space in the middle of Bangkok—is a welcome change from the busy pace of the city. Visitors can enjoy lounging on the lawns near the lake (and perhaps feeding the frenzied fish that call the water home) and wandering the nearly two miles of paths that circle the park. Lumphini Park offers an uninterrupted view of the skyline as well as playgrounds, exercise equipment, and cultural attractions. The park, which is centrally located near one of Bangkok’s main shopping districts, is convenient and easy to reach for a quick breath of fresh air.