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Discussion: Great City parks

in: Orienteering; General

Jul 14, 2019 6:49 AM # 
A recent post from a friend visiting Montreal and logging a run in Mont Royal got me thinking about the best city parks around the world to go for a run in.

Mont Royal is definitely up in my top 10 along with:

My home city Kings Park (Perth)
My previous home Stanley Park (Vancouver)

Other notable parks I have run in are Arthur's Seat (Edinburgh), Central Park (New York), San Crostobal (Santiago)

What other great city parks are there?
Jul 14, 2019 6:59 AM # 
Schönbrunner Schloss Park (Vienna)
Vigelands Park (Oslo)
Toronto Islands (Toronto)
Jul 14, 2019 7:04 AM # 
Going to be in Oslo in August so will put it on the list
Jul 14, 2019 7:14 AM # 
I am not sure what counts as a city and what counts as a park, but one of the most enjoyable "urban" runs I have experienced was on Lidingö.
Jul 14, 2019 8:37 AM # 
Arthur's Seat, but obviously I'm biased. After that, YuanmingYuan (Beijing) was amazing, though I was the only runner there and didn't have the O-map, and Casa de Campo(Madrid). Golden Gate Park (SF) will surely get mentioned soon, so I'll preempt that.
Jul 14, 2019 10:09 AM # 
Englischer Garten (Munich)
Kinskeho Zahrada/Petrin Hill (Prague)
West Lake Park (Hangzhou)
Jul 14, 2019 11:07 AM # 
Griffith Park (Los Angeles)
Boyd Hill Park (St Petersburg.........That's the Florida one and no there is not a hill in that park. Boyd Hill was a person)
Rock Creek Park (Washington DC)
Jul 14, 2019 12:13 PM # 
For anyone wanting to compete in the urban park middle race prior to NAOC 2020, Golden Gate Park running with a map is apparently embargoed until after the event there next July (during California O Fest).
Jul 14, 2019 1:46 PM # 
Parque Metropolitano, Santiago Chile.
Jul 14, 2019 2:49 PM # 
If you are lucky enough to visit Moscow, I recommend the old Izmailovo Royal Estate, which is now called Izmailovsky Park. Only a couple of blocks from Tundra-Desert's family home, this huge urban park has an excellent O map, lots of wild forest, trails and lakes, and two metro stations on its corners.
Jul 14, 2019 6:54 PM # 
Forest Park. St Louis -- 10K+ perimeter.
Open and wooded areas with running and cycling paths, ponds, along with 3 golf courses, Art museum, History museum, and outd0r theater.
Jul 14, 2019 9:11 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
If you want to take a run in Vigelandsparken in Oslo then you need a map:
Jul 14, 2019 9:15 PM # 
Djurgården (Stockholm)
Jul 15, 2019 1:34 AM # 
Jul 15, 2019 6:23 AM # 
Richard, Richard - how could you omit the Downs? (Clifton and Durdham for non-Bristolians). With a stroll or jog across the Suspension Bridge you can add Leigh Woods and Ashton Court. Then there's Brandon Hill behind your old school.

Did anyone watch the Brit-crime series Kiri, set on the Downs?

One I would mention is Cascine in Florence.
Jul 15, 2019 7:42 AM # 
I did think of the Downs but left it for you Simmo
Jul 15, 2019 8:37 AM # 
Boston , perhaps not a top ten, but the route along the Charles River esplanade up to Watertown has nice views of the city and river (good for a 14 mile long run). Also the Emerald Necklace from Commonwealth Ave to Jamaica Pond. Mostly paved, but great for people viewing.
Jul 15, 2019 8:26 PM # 
Stuttgart. The combination of Schlossgarten, Rosebsteinpark and Höhenpark Killesberg. You can start in the middle of the city and than run more than 10 k through the parks.
The park area is much bigger.

I also enjoyed running in Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.
Jul 20, 2019 1:22 PM # 
I orienteered (scheduled event) in Vingio Parkas, Vilnius, Lithuania, two weeks ago. Quite nice, I wouldn’t say extraordinary but certainly a very nice city forest. What amazed me was the variety of modes of movement going on: lots of walking, running, and biking of course, plus orienteering, multiple bike varieties, scooters, prams, roller skis, and a bunch more I am forgetting. Vilnians take advantage of their park.

Edit: My damn phone isn’t letting link inline to the map. I’ll see if I can paste the link below, and I’ll fix it on the computer later.
Jul 20, 2019 7:54 PM # 
I want to visit them all! Great list!

Wissahickon Valley Park, part of Philadelphia's gigantic Fairmount Park, is pretty great. Funny, I was just making an armchair opendata map of it today with the new (to me) data in the 'Lidar for 133 US cities' thread.
Jul 21, 2019 10:11 AM # 
@o-maps - is that where the '3 crosses' monument is? It's 18 years since I was in Vilnius and I still remember it as a very nice spot to have so close to the city centre.

New Zealand contributions:
Wellington Botanic Gardens - the inner town belt is a great asset as a whole but the gardens have to be the particular highlight.
Pukekura Park, New Plymouth - hard to believe a relatively small city could end up with a park like this. Fun to explore all the time, but if you coincide with the weekend WOMAD comes to NZ (and manage to get tickets) you'll come away thinking that this is the park that outdoor music festivals were invented for.
Rotorua's Government Gardens probably doesn't make the cut as a 'great' city park, but I'm pretty sure contains more boiling mud than anywhere else on the list so far.
Jul 21, 2019 12:01 PM # 
You almost need to draw the distinction between places formally recognised as distinct "parks", and those which are less formalised but provide great running/orienteering opportunities in forests relatively close to city centres.

In the former category, Kings Park and Hobart's Domain would definitely be the two standouts in Australia (the 3.8km lap of the Tan Track in Melbourne's Domain is justly famous amongst runners, but I don't think it really counts if you're never more than 20m from a road). In the latter category it's hard to go past Bendigo or the more established parts of Canberra; in both cases it's hard to be anywhere that's more than a couple of kilometres from a bit of bush which provides good running and sometimes good orienteering (occasionally a bit on the steep side in Canberra's case).

One of my international favourites (in the second category) which hasn't been mentioned here yet is the strip of forest (whose name I don't know) which extends from the north to within 2-3km of downtown Helsinki.
Jul 21, 2019 8:04 PM # 
Archive of some maps of Moscow parks:
As I recall, there are more than fifty park maps within the city limits.
Some examples:
Izmailovsky Park:
Gorky Park/Lushniki/MSU:
and so on.
Jul 22, 2019 12:29 AM # 
" In the latter category it's hard to go past Bendigo or the more established parts of Canberra;"
In the case of Bendigo there are now a couple of areas where the distinction between forest and park is becoming blurred due to the... gentrification (?) ... of old mining areas by parks management. The best example is New Argus, and as luck would have it, there is an event which uses this terrain later this week. The event traverses New Argus and then heads into the ungentrified adjoining mining land of South Star. The differences will be quite obvious if you wear shorts.
Jul 25, 2019 8:53 PM # 
Cycled around Richmond Park today might need to add to my list of city parks.
Jul 26, 2019 2:02 AM # 
In SF you can run about 15 miles from Glen Park to Golden Gate Bridge most entirely on trails. Glen Park Canyon To Twin Peaks to Mt Sutro to Golden Gate Park to the ocean to Lands End to Baker Beach to Beach-to-Bunkers trail to Golden Gat Bridge. All within the city.
Jul 26, 2019 6:59 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Suzanne: That is really nice, I have of course noticed the possibility when flying into SFO but did not realize that you have access all the way.

In Oslo we do have slightly more, with 4600 km of prepared xc ski tracks in winter and far more running paths in summer, also all within the city limits. :-)

Sad to say, by area I would guess that less than half of Oslo have orienteering maps:
As soon as you get more than 5-10 km from the closest public road, there is no real mapping effort since it would be impossible to hold any orienteering events there, but we did have a race last year on a map a created purely from LiDAR and public topo data, with zero actual surveying.
Jul 26, 2019 11:23 AM # 
@Suzanne: Having done that run, it worth mentioning that, unusually for a nice point-to-point run in the US, you can easily get a bus back to the start point :)
Later the same winter visit I ran to a trailhead busstop only to find the next bus wasn't due until ... April. :(
Jul 28, 2019 6:31 AM # 
the strip of forest (whose name I don't know)

Keskuspuisto (= Central Park).

I recently vmapped (?) most essential singletracks you can use to run/bike though the park to HEL airport. The map is here.
Jul 28, 2019 10:51 AM # 
Last time I was in Helsinki I really enjoyed a run from Lapinlahti I think almost as far as the bridge to Seurasaari? Mixture of developed and forested park and coastal strip with only a few unavoidable fully urban bits. Looking at Jagge's map, I would say I missed out on a few cool deviations. Helsinki is definitely my 2nd favourite capital city, and possibly a big part of why Finland is the only country outside of NZ I've been to that I could imagine moving to and feeling at home (spending any time in winter there might quickly change my mind though!)
Jul 28, 2019 7:32 PM # 
good weather, early start with the friendly locals (thousands in the park before 7am), in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing is my standout city park for a running experience - I was even invited into a game of badminton in front of the Imperial Gates when I stopped for a photo
Jul 28, 2019 9:36 PM # 
Many of the facilities in that Helsinki park were for the 1952 Olympics...and are still in use! Quite memorable is the large, intensely hot public sauna, that I believe are the brown squares on Jagge's map.

This public sauna should be entered with caution...dozens of naked, sweating Finns, with young female attendants to bring towels, birch branches and cool water. On our visit several years ago, after ten minutes of the heat and hubub, Soupbone exited quickly. At which point an old Finn guy on one of the upper benches shouted out 'American!' which resulted in great laughter from all.
Aug 6, 2019 8:26 PM # 
Thanks Terje for posting the Oslo park map. Have just arrived for a few days. Any other nearby maps that I could check out.
Aug 7, 2019 5:45 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@aou: Lots and lots of maps. Our coach just put out a new training map which you could print out:

Just north of Sognsvann which you'll reach via the T-bane. Pls. note that the paths have been removed...

This discussion thread is closed.