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Iconic City Parks

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Cities are defined by towering skyscrapers, non-stop energy and densely-packed quarters. Yet many top-visited cities also offer rightly famous urban oases - iconic parks that provide greenery, fresh air, picnic knolls, beautiful foliage and walking paths. When visiting one of these destinations, take time to enjoy the outdoors as the locals do - in a leisurely, carefree way with family and friends.
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New York, NY, USA
Manhattan can, famously, feel like endless rows of apartment blocks and office towers for most of its length. At least above 14th Street, a regular grid of streets and avenues, bisected only by Broadway, has transformed the city into a dream for...
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601 Murray Cir, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA
Located on the grounds of Fort Baker, a former Army post, Cavallo Point Lodge has taken great pains to preserve its historic roots. Half of the rooms and suites are meticulously restored officers’ residences with views of the hillside...
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08024 Barcelona, Spain
A pilgrimage to this enchanting park is a must for any Antoni Gaudí fan. Located atop Carmel Hill to the north of the city, the park was inspired by English landscape gardens, but its fantastical elements make sure you know it was...
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Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada
Vancouver’s most famous urban space, the thousand-acre Stanley Park, epitomizes everything that locals here love about the outdoors, and visitors have many ways to explore the expansive grounds. Hiking trails weave around totem poles and hemlock...
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Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, USA
Balboa park is a landscape of arts and culture in San Diego, including museums, such as The Natural History Museum, and the Museum of Photographic Arts. The photo above is of the large koi pond outside the botanical garden house. It makes for a...
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London, UK
What was once a private hunting ground for Henry VIII is now a favorite destination for London locals and visitors alike. One of the eight Royal Parks, Hyde simultaneously serves as a natural oasis and civic hub. A day on the green has endless...
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113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Before the French Revolution, this park used to be the site of the Royal Palace. Today, the garden, which separates the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde, is a place where Parisians and tourists stroll amid Rodin and Maillol statues or relax...
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1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, the Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of the Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th-century Dutch playwright Joost van den...
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75006 Paris, France
Located in the 6th arrondissement, the Jardin du Luxembourg is the second largest park in Paris. It is teeming with blooming flower gardens, flowing fountains, historical buildings, a few smoking teenagers and yes, enormous sculptures of horses.
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In a city where gold-spired temples are much more ubiquitous than green space, Lumphini Park is a veritable oasis in the heart of Bangkok. Established by King Rama VI in the 1920s and completed after his death, the 142-acre chunk of tropical...
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Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Sydney’s 158-acre botanic garden, which hugs the harbor between Mrs Macquarie's Chair and the Sydney Opera House, is home to nearly 9,000 plant species. Depending on the season of your visit, you might seek out spring peaches and wisteria or...
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201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust. For my inaugural highlight on AFAR, I am starting with my wife's favorite quote, and a local sight in Chicago. Sometimes people feel they...
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Munich, Germany
English Garden, located on the Isar River in Munich, opened in 1789. This large public area was named "Englischer Garten" because it was designed and landscaped in the style of a classic English park. It is one of the world's largest urban parks,...