Among the unfortunate impacts of the pandemic in 2020 were government restrictions on visiting local parks. The onerous mandate prevented urban dwellers from enjoying a bucolic escape from the concrete and steel environs of city living.
While restrictions have generally eased since the early days of the pandemic, Americans were recently reminded of the ongoing public health crisis with the recent surge in cases and omicron variant. Just this week, organizers of a New Year’s Eve party planned at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles said there will be no in-person celebration. Instead, the event will be livestreamed.
Stil, this year, thanks in part to increasing numbers of vaccinations, many restrictions were lifted and people have returned to the parks, an encouraging sign that life was beginning to return to normal.
To identify the 37 most-visited local parks in the U.S., 24/7 Tempo reviewed and aggregated data from The Trust For Public Land. Parks were ranked by the number of annual visits.
Seven of the most visited local parks are in California, the most of any state. Among them are Griffith Park in Los Angeles, which boasts a mixture of natural wonders like Bronson Canyon as well as other attractions like the Los Angeles Zoo and the Griffith Observatory. Virginia has the second-most visited local parks on the list with three: Chesapeake City Park, First Landing State Park, and James River Park. (This is the most underrated national park.)
You’ll find some of the nation’s most famous local parks on the list: Golden Gate in San Francisco, Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, Boston Common, and Lincoln Park in Chicago. (This is the most visited state park in every state and U.S. territory.)
New York’s 843-acre Central Park, the nation’s first landscaped public park, also graces the most-visited parks list. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who won a landscape design contest in 1857. That year, the New York legislature authorized the city to buy more than 700 acres in the middle of Manhattan. The park opened in 1859, and by 1865, the park had 7 million annual visitors.
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