The granddaddy of all urban parks, with 250 acres of lawns, 150 acres of lakes and streams, and 80 acres of woodlands, including ballfields, playgrounds, bridges, monuments, and sculptures.
GRANT PARK, CHICAGO
The Windy City’s favorite playground (pictured above), with more than 300 acres including Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Museum Campus. 312-742-3918, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/grant-park
THE COMMON, BOSTON
The oldest park in the country, steeped in history, former site of public hangings, British encampments, and speeches by historic figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gloria Steinem, and President Kennedy. www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/bostoncommon.asp
GOLDEN GATE PARK SAN FRANCISCO
Third-most-visited park in the country, stretching some 50 city blocks, filled with gardens, forests, meadows, and lakes, also home to the de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Japanese Tea Garden.
FOREST PARK PORTLAND, ORE.
One of the country’s largest urban parks, with more than 5,000 acres along the slopes of the Tualatin Mountains, and some 80 miles of trails. 503-223-5449, www.forestparkconservancy.org/forestpark
DIANE BAIR AND PAMELA WRIGHT