Erin Shaw Street

 

In honor of Earth Day, we've rounded up 10 of our favorite urban parks. We highly recommend getting up, heading outside and enjoying today in one of these destinations:

1. City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana -- Established in 1854, the 1,300-acre park is still going strong. You could spend an entire day here, exploring the Botanical Gardens, playing golf, and visiting the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and its antique wooden carousel.

2. Historic Fourth Ward Park, Atlanta, Georgia -- A key part of the Fourth Ward neighborhood's revitalization, the park serves as a community gathering space. With a lake playground for kids of all ages, and amphitheater for live concerts, Historic Fourth Ward Park offers a break from Atlanta's bustle. It's part of the Atlanta BeltLine, an ambitious project to turn former in-town railroad corridors into a 22-mile loop of green space and public transit.

3. Louisville Waterfront Park, Louisville, KY -- Located on 85 acres along the Ohio River, Waterfront Park provides access to the pedestrian (and bike) friendly Big Four Bridge. From April to September, free concerts ("Waterfront Wednesdays") are hosted on the lawn.

4. Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. -- With more than 1,700 acres, Rock Creek is more than twice the size of Central Park. Kids will love the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium. Among animals you might spot here: three kinds of owls, two kinds of foxes, and coyotes.

5. Discovery Green, Houston, TX -- Located in downtown Houston, Discovery Green is home to an impressive display of public art, a "mist tree" that helps kids cool off, and an impressive offering of activities, including yoga, stand up paddle boarding ( In my opinion they have the best paddle board for beginners program), and circus arts. Yes, circus arts.

6. Railroad Park, Birmingham, Alabama -- This 19-acre green space has helped revitalize downtown Birmingham.  Watch trains go by, walk the nearly mile-long trail that surrounds the perimeter, or attend a symphony concert. Check out the history displays that detail the city's growth.

7. Lake Eola, Orlando, Florida - All due respect to Mickey, Downtown Orlando offers the antithesis of theme parks. Live swans wander the park, and each night a light show illuminates the historic Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain. You could spend an entire day here, exploring the Botanical Garden, Besthoff Sculpture Garden and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

8. Falls Park, Greenville, SC -- Located in Greenville's historic West End, its focal point is the 345-foot long Liberty Bridge, which hangs over Reedy River Falls and is open to pedestrians.

9. Center City Park, Greensboro, North Carolina -- In the heart of downtown Greensboro, the 1.9-acre park is small but mighty. Look for art throughout that tells the story of the city.

10. Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee -- Located across from Vanderbilt University, the park is perhaps best known for The Parthenon, a replica of the Greek original. Don't miss the art museum inside.

Related Links:

The South's Best Dog Park

101 Free Things To Do In The South

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