DC area scores high in ranking of best cities for parks

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. Peak bloom is expected April 1, according to the National Park Service. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. Peak bloom is expected April 1, according to the National Park Service. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
A man runs past blooming daffodils along Rock Creek Park in Washington, on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A man runs past blooming daffodils along Rock Creek Park in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
A mother mallard duck takes a first swim with her ducklings in Rock Creek Park after being transported to the there in a motorcade Sunday May 1, 2005, after the ducklings hatched in front of the U.S. Treasury building on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, where the mother mallard had nested for four weeks.  (AP Photo/Adele Starr/Pool)
A mother mallard duck takes a first swim with her ducklings in Rock Creek Park. (AP Photo/Adele Starr/Pool) (AP/ADELE STARR)
Situated next to a stream, the newly landscaped and tree lined path features a .07-mile trail that goes through Woodley Park, Cleveland Park and Mount Pleasant and ends at Rock Creek Park.  (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
People walk along Klingle Valley Trail in Rock Creek Park. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
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The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. Peak bloom is expected April 1, according to the National Park Service. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. Peak bloom is expected April 1, according to the National Park Service. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A man runs past blooming daffodils along Rock Creek Park in Washington, on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A mother mallard duck takes a first swim with her ducklings in Rock Creek Park after being transported to the there in a motorcade Sunday May 1, 2005, after the ducklings hatched in front of the U.S. Treasury building on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, where the mother mallard had nested for four weeks.  (AP Photo/Adele Starr/Pool)
Situated next to a stream, the newly landscaped and tree lined path features a .07-mile trail that goes through Woodley Park, Cleveland Park and Mount Pleasant and ends at Rock Creek Park.  (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Just in time to make the most of the outdoors, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land on Wednesday released its annual ParkScore index, which ranks cities based on their park system — and Washington really hit it out of the … well, park.

According to the index — based on park access, size, investment and amenities — D.C. took top honors, beating out Saint Paul, Minnesota (No. 2) and previous champion Minneapolis (No. 3).

Arlington, Virginia, took the No. 4 spot.

D.C. was crowned the champ because 98% of Washingtonians live within a 10-minute walk to a park, and 21% of the city is reserved specifically for parks.

The average size of a D.C. park (1.2 acres) was much smaller than Saint Paul’s (3.2 acres), but improvements to amenities helped solidify a win.

As for Arlington, it matched D.C. for access and did better with amenities, but fell behind on park acreage, with 11% of the city reserved for parks.

“D.C. is truly a city of parks that serve as hubs of activity and beauty for neighborhoods and provide substantial social, economic, and health benefits to our residents,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a release.

“We’ve invested more than $200 million to ensure all residents have access to playgrounds, nature trails, and other public parks that have made D.C.’s park system the envy of cities across the nation.”

Rounding out the top 10:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Saint Paul, Minnesota
  3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  4. Arlington, Virginia
  5. Portland, Oregon
  6. Irvine, California
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. New York, New York
  10. Chicago, Illinois

According to the index, 72% of people in the 100 largest U.S. cities live within a 10-minute walk of a park, which is up from 70% last year.

“Mayors and city park directors across the United States recognize that quality, close-to-home parks are essential to communities,” Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, said in a news release.

“Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health and get children and adults to put down their phones and enjoy the outdoors.”

There are 23,727 parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities.

Get the full list and more at the Trust for Public Land website.

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