that resemble gingerbread houses and a vibrant mosaic salamander
fountain greet visitors to Antoni Gaudí’s enchanting Park Güell.
Inspired by natural forms, Gaudí combined twisting organic-looking stone
features with elaborate, fluid designs. Situated at the top of a
terraced hill, his fantastical park has spectacular views of the city,
along with paths through the woods and the Casa Museu Gaudí.
temperate rainforest of Stanley Park is almost completely surrounded by
water, with both gorgeous skyline views and wild forest of 500,000
cedar, fir and hemlock trees. It connects to the historic waterfront and
downtown via a 5.5-mile portion of seawall that surrounds the park,
popular with joggers, strollers and cyclists. Rose and rhododendron
gardens, nine intricately carved First Nations totem poles, a small golf
course, an outdoor summer theater, a seaside swimming pool and areas
for lawn bowling round out its charms.
is everything when it comes to visiting Keukenhof. The park springs to
life for only eight weekends annually, between mid-March and mid-May,
when more than 7 million cheery tulips, daffodils and hyacinths bloom.
As you wander among these flowers, look out for more than 100 works of
art and four pavilions dedicated to more exotic species.
world’s largest collection of mature live oaks — some more than 600
years old — thrives within 1,300-acre City Park. Find a spot to picnic
under the shade of these majestic trees, take a horseback ride or wander
the sculpture park. From March through October, the Botanical Garden
throws seasonal parties with mint juleps and live music. Although
damaged during Hurricane Katrina, the park became a special place where
“people gathered after Katrina and could feel human again,” according to
Catherine Nagel, executive director of City Parks Alliance.
from more than 1,000 acres of sand dunes in the 1870s, San Francisco’s
beloved Golden Gate Park draws about 13 million annually. It’s no
surprise considering cultural attractions such as the De Young Museum
and the beautifully manicured Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of
Flowers. Picnic on meadows, check out the herd of American bison,
paddleboat on Stow Lake or head to the far western edge of the park to
Ocean Beach — where you can watch surfers do their thing from atop high