Parks offer us an escape from the city life. Not only are they a great place to explore because they're beautiful, but they're also free! Here are some of the most beautiful parks to check out on your journeys.
Ueno Park: Tokyo, Japan
A spacious park was established 1873 alongside the Sumida River in Taitō, Tokyo. The main attraction for this park is the cherry blossom bloom every spring. The park is very busy during the blooms with Hanami parties; translated as "flower viewing" the Japanese traditionally have parties under the sakura trees but this can also mean walking under them. When the trees aren't blooming there is still a lot to do with various museums in the park along with a zoo, theater, street markets, boat rides on the river, and many temples, shrines, and pavilions.
Central Park: New York City, USA
Created by Frederick Law Olmsed and Calvert Vaux in 1857, Central Park is the most visited city park in the United States and one of the most filmed locations in the whole world. Olmsted was not a believer in perfectly sculpted parks but instead wanted to blend his landscaping in with nature. All of the lakes, ponds, and walking trails blend in with the surrounding environment and balance the large lawns, meadows, and wooded areas. The park also hides many man made structures such as theaters, Belvedere Castle, a Swedish cottage, the famous carousel, and all of that is just a taste of what lies in the massive Central Park.
Golden Gate Park: San Francisco, USA
Created in 1870 from "the Outside Lands" made up of sandy soil in San Francisco this park was built up from nothing. Today the park is a glorious sight full of trees that were planted to hold together the unstable ground. Attractions of the park range from the Academy of Sciences, the De Young Museum, the music concourse featuring a ampitheater, a Japanese tea garden, and more. A touching monument to AIDS victims sits in the park amongst its many different gardens.
Beihai Park: Beijing, China
Beihai Park was first built in the 11th century as a former imperial garden in the Northwest of the Imperial City of Beijing. The park has only been open to the public since 1925 and houses many historical palaces and temples. There are many attractions which showcase Chinese architecture and artistry like the White Pagoda which stands 40 meters high, the Buddhist Temple Yong'an on the Qionghua Island, the Five-Dragons Pavilion, the colorful Nine-Dragon Wall painting, the Circular City, and so much more. There are different parts of the garden that are inspired by the landscape of various Chinese regions. With the popular tourist site of the Forbidden City close by, this park should not be missed.
Hyde Park: London, England
Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks that connect Kensington and Buckingham Palace. This park was established in 1536 by Henry VIII to create hunting grounds. Hyde Park is split in half by Serpentine and the Long Water. The park features sport facilities, rose gardens, the Princess Diana memorial, restaurants and cafes, and many subway stops to help get you where you need to go. Hyde Park has a long history as a sight for demonstrations and marches. The Speaker's Corner is a popular tourist sight that has been associated with free speech since 1872. More recently the park is associated with large concerts that have featured well known artists like Pink Floyd, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and The Rolling Stones.
Englischer Garten: Munich, Germany
German for "English Garden" the park features informal and natural looking English landscaping. Created in 1789 by Elector Carl Theodor it was an army man who laid out this park. Larger than Central Park it features sport fields, a pavilion atop a hill, a Japanese teahouse, an artificial island, and many German beer gardens. This park is so vast in size that there are many activities to partake in and a lot of nature to explore. If you are in the mood to ditch those clothes and the weather is nice there are some more remote areas in the northern part of the park that is popular with nudists. If nudity isn't your scene then check out the surfers that practice on an artificial wave and can be found throughout the year in both sun and snow.
Jardins de Tuileries: Paris, France
Resting in the shadow of the Louvre Palace, the Tuileries were once the royal gardens. Originally from 1564, but re-landscaped in 1664 to their modern French formal garden style the gardens feature elegant pathways weaving their way along the flower beds, shaded by the trees. A popular destination the Tuileries make up part of the main tourist pathway of Paris by connecting the Louvre museum to the Place de Concorde. There are two ponds that are usually surrounded by people talking, sunbathing, eating, and relaxing. In the summertime there is a type of carnival set up featuring food stands, rides, and a Ferris wheel offering the most beautiful view of Paris.
Lumpini: Bangkok, Thailand
Created in the 1920s by the king of Thailand, King Rama VI, this park offers some views of nature in an otherwise dense city. The most popular attraction is their man made lake where many people choose to rent boats to take out on the water. Lumpini is a great place to come to explore the cuisine of Bangkok because of the large number of food stalls offering up the local cuisine. If you visit early enough you are likely to see a large amount of people practicing t'ai chi in the bright morning air.