DC rated best city for parks for 3rd straight year

Photo of series of waterfalls in Meridian Hill Park in northwest Washington D.C. This park is an example of neoclassicist park design and has some of the most beautiful architecture in the city.(Courtesy Getty Images/iStockphoto/Coast-to-Coast)
D.C. has been rated the top city in the nation for public parks for the third straight year, according to an annual ParkScore ranking by the Trust for Public Land.

The nonprofit said the District scored high on a number of factors including residential access to a park, a city’s median park size, investment and amenities, such as basketball hoops and dog parks. According to the ParkScore ranking, 99% of D.C. residents “live near a park.”

Residents of D.C. neighborhoods where a majority of residents are Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American or Asian American and Pacific Islanders are “equally likely” to live within a 10-minute walk to a park as neighborhoods where most residents are white, the ranking said.

“We know how much our public parks and community spaces mean to all Washingtonians. Our teams work tirelessly year-round to keep our parks and facilities beautiful, open and filled with events and programs that engage residents of all ages,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news release. “Our #1 ranked park system is just another reason why we’re grateful to call DC home, and we encourage all Americans to visit and experience our parks too.”

Arlington, Virginia, also ranked in the top 10, coming in at No. 5.

Check out the full top 10 list below:

  1. D.C.
  2. Saint Paul, Minnesota
  3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  4. Irvine, California
  5. Arlington, Virginia
  6. Cincinnati, Ohio
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Seattle, Washington
  9. Portland, Oregon
  10. New York, New York and Boston, Massachusetts (which tied)

Why it matters

Trust for Public Land’s senior director for strategy and innovation Linda Hwang told Axios, which first reported the story, that nationally, parks spending hasn’t recovered to pre-Great Recession levels. also said a lot of parks are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nonprofit recently released its annual report called “The Power of Parks to Promote Health: A Special Report,” which stated that parks are beneficial for environmental, mental and physical health.

Those who live in the top 25 cities ranked by ParkScore are less likely to suffer from poor mental health or to be physically inactive, the report said.

“As an organization dedicated to connecting everyone to the outdoors, Trust for Public Land is excited by what we’ve seen this year and will continue working with city leaders throughout the United States to support park access for all,” Diane Regas, president and CEO of Trust for Public Land, said in a release.

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Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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