7 City Parks to Find Your Inner Peace
Parks are designed to provide an escape into nature, but in the world’s busiest metropolises, it can be hard to carve out a quiet spot to relax and recharge. Here are seven places to find peace in the urban jungle.
This park is known as Berlin’s “green lung,” perhaps owing to its beanlike shape and proximity to the heart of the city. Once the royal hunting grounds of the Hohenzollern family, it was turned into a public park in the late 17th century by Friedrich III, the duke of Prussia. The landscape’s style, as envisioned by generations of urban planners, has evolved, but the design favors forest canopies that open onto delightful clearings, such as the Venus Pool or the Rose Garden. berlin.de/en/parks-and-gardens
Boston: The Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway, a mile-long ribbon of parks and gardens, was constructed on the site of a former elevated freeway that was moved underground during Boston’s “Big Dig.” Full of nooks and corners for solitary time, the park snakes through the city from the North End, along the waterfront, all the way down to Chinatown. The Fort Point Channel Parks section tends to be the quietest. rosekennedygreenway.org
Doha: Aspire Park
Once you’re ensconced in the lush greenery of Aspire Park you will feel well outside the city. The park’s signature collection of trees was imported from all over the world — silk floss from Argentina, golden shower from Thailand and Australian boab from Western Australia, among others — and gives the landscape its otherworldly character. There’s a pond with pedal boats and free fitness equipment if you fancy getting energized after your meditative walk.
Kuala Lumpur: Kepong Metropolitan Park
Come early in the morning and the huge open field at the center of the verdant Kepong Metropolitan Park should be quiet and mostly devoid of the usual kite-flying activity. The majority of the park’s 95 hectares is taken up by a lake — a bastion of calm at the city limits. visitkl.gov.my
New York: Central Park
Is there really a quiet outdoor area in the City That Never Sleeps? Central Park’s most famous spots — Sheep Meadow, Strawberry Fields and the Bethesda Fountain — are always buzzing with joggers, picnickers, sunbathers and Instagrammers, but before you rule out Frederick Olmsted’s masterpiece of urban green space, check out Harlem Meer in the park’s northeast corner. The large lake encourages a sense of calm far from the din of midtown. The surrounding areas — such as the Conservatory Garden, with its well-groomed shrubs and intimate walkways — are likewise free of bustling activity. centralparknyc.org
San Francisco: The Presidio
After a day of shopping and gallery hopping, there’s something to be said for grabbing a quick catnap in Yerba Buena Gardens, a patch of park across the street from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the SoMa (South of Market) district. But to get away from the perpetual crowds swarming Market Street and find some real peace of mind, head to the Presidio. In its previous lives, this sprawling national park served as the home of the native Ohlone or Costanoan peoples, then as a military post for Spain, Mexico and eventually the United States. Inspiration Point Overlook and Immigrant Point Overlook offer restorative views. presidio.gov
Singapore: Singapore Botanic Gardens
For many, the idea of a public park or botanic garden may bring to mind deciduous trees and flowering shrubs, but here you’ll find a tropical wonderland. Arrive early to amble through awe-inspiring rainforest canopies and claim a slice of the 60 acres for yourself. Don’t miss the National Orchid Garden, the world’s largest display of the colorful and fragrant plants, and the lake that two Dutch swans call home. nparks.gov.sg/sbg