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How We Compare: Green Space

The results are in—Chicago may have a reputation for being “green,” but when it comes to actual park space, the city has fewer parkland acres per resident than does any of the nine other biggest U.S. cities, and Chicago ranks third lowest among all 56 major cities.

The “Green” Myth

“People think we have so much parkland because the parks that we do have are spectacular,” says Beth White, of the nonprofit Trust for Public Land. “We have more quality than quantity. There is no other city that has the lakefront that we do.” White adds that other cities also have more parks that are owned by the state or federal government; Chicago has no federally owned parkland and only one state-owned park, at Wolf Lake (on the city’s Far Southeast Side).

Sources: Center for City Park Excellence, The Trust for Public Land, and the Chicago Park District
*Areas portrayed in illustration are not proportional.

 

Popularity Contest

Of all parks in the U.S., Lincoln Park gets the second most visitors: 20 million each year, right behind-what else?-Central Park, which attracts 25 million annual visitors. Millennium Park ranks 21st, attracting 2.5 million people every year.

1. Central Park, New York  25 million visitors
2. Lincoln Park, Chicago 20 million visitors
3. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 13 million visitors
4. Mission Bay Park, San Diego
Forest Park, St. Louis
Balboa Park, San Diego
12 million visitors

 

By The Numbers
Chicago Parks
44
Walking Paths
87
Swimming Pools
135
Tennis Courts
518
Playgrounds
534
Baseball Diamonds

A Mix-Up?
A statue of Ulysses S. Grant sits in Lincoln Park and a statue of Abraham Lincoln is in Grant Park.

Did You Know?

Though Central Park attracts the most visitors, in size it ranks 91st out of the 100 largest city parks (843 acres). Lincoln Park is bigger, with 1,208 acres. Anchorage, Alaska’s Chugach State Park, with 495,996 acres, is the largest city park in the U.S.

Illustration: Peter And Maria Hoey

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