Visiting a new city is an exciting experience – all the sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis – but sometimes it’s nice to find a green space to walk around or just sit and reflect on your travels. When you visit HI USA hostels in big cities across America, you’ll have access to some of the greatest parks in the world, parks with museums and lakes and music festivals and more. Take a look at some of our favorites to visit during your adventures this summer.
HI Portland Hawthorne - Forest Park
It makes sense that the green-loving city of Portland is also home to the one of the largest wooded urban park in the country, and though it’s no more than 15 minutes from downtown, Forest Park feels like an enchanted woodland. The park stretches along the Tualatin Mountains and has a network of trails for hikers and bikers to explore the magic of a Northwest forest.
Getting there: Forest Park is a 20-minute drive from HI Portland Hawthorne, or a 40-minute bike ride to the southern end.
HI New York City - Central Park
You can’t mention great city parks without talking about New York’s Central Park, the iconic 843-acre rectangle in Manhattan where locals and visitors flock year ‘round. Whether it’s for a picnic in the summer, ice-skating in the winter, leaf chasing in the fall, or flower smelling in the spring, there’s always a good reason to visit Central Park.
Getting there: It’s about a 10-minute walk from HI New York hostel. Pro tip: Hostel guests can join Jerry’s tour on Wednesdays to see the park with a seasoned local.
HI Boston - Boston Common & Public Garden
The oldest city park in the United States, Boston Common is a pentagon-shaped sanctuary rich in American history and year-round recreation for locals and travelers. In addition to expansive green spaces, you’ll find historic memorials, interesting sculptures, and the Frog Pond, which is perfect for a splash about and picnic in the summer, and ice skating in the winter. Adjacent to the Common is the beautiful Public Garden, full of colorful blooms, weeping willow trees, and a tranquil lagoon where you can hitch a ride on the iconic swan boats.
Getting there: HI Boston hostel is a quick 10-minute walk from the Common.
HI San Francisco Downtown - Golden Gate Park
Taking up more than 1000 acres in the not-so-big city of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park is both a pop-cultural icon (due to its role in the Summer of Love) and a hub of all kinds of activity and recreation. From rowing a boat on Stow Lake and snapping photos of real live American Bison, to Nightlife events at the California Academy of Science and attending a music festival at the Polo Fields, you’ll never run out of things to do in this legendary park.
Getting there: Take the N Judah muni train from Powell Street near HI SF Downtown, which will take about 40 minutes.
HI Chicago - Grant Park
During hot Chicago summers everyone flocks to Grant Park to have a picnic, play some tennis, conquer the climbing walls, or even skate in a skating rink. Aptly referred to as Chicago’s Front Yard, the park can be a tranquil place to escape the city as well as a place to the feed the brain at the Museum Campus – a 57-acre park with an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and more. A sunset stroll along Lake Michigan at the end of the day is naturally a must.
Getting there: HI Chicago is just a block away from Grant Park, making it the perfect place to stay for Lollapalooza.
HI Baltimore - Patterson Park
Patterson Park may not be the biggest park in Baltimore, but as the nickname “Best Backyard in Baltimore” suggests, there’s a whole lot of awesomeness packed within the 137-acre space. Some of the most beloved features include the boat lake and the Instagram-ready Patterson Park Pagoda, although many locals will also mention the swimming pool and ice skating rink as favorites.
Getting there: Patterson Park is just a 15-minute bicycle ride from HI Baltimore.
HI USA Tip: If parks are your thing, you’ll get a kick out of staying at these HI USA hostels in or near National Parks.