Largest city parks in the U.S. 2018

McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale (AZ) is the largest city park in the United States by a long shot, spanning over 30,500 acres. South Mountain Preserve in Phoenix (AZ) is the second largest city park in the U.S., but reaches only a meagre 16 thousand acres in comparison to McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

A wide variety of park authorities

Most parks in the U.S. are owned by the municipality, state, county, regional agency, or the federal government. Both McDowell Sonoran Preserve and South Mountain Preserve are part of the state park system along with most of the parks in the ranking. One of the more well-known park authorities is the National Park Service (NPS) – an agency of the federal government. The Grand Canyon National Park (AZ) was the most visited NPS park alongside many other well-known U.S. park attractions.

What defines a park?

Parks in the U.S. are often called a variety of names, just a few of which are: forest, reserve, preserve and wildlife management area. Sometimes the differences between parks in the U.S. can vary massively from monuments to expansive woodland. The Lincoln Memorial was the most visited city park in the U.S. ranking, and while this may not seem like it comes under the classification of a ‘park’, it is cared for by the National Park Service.

Largest city parks in the United States in 2018 (in acres)*

Park size in acres
McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale30,500
South Mountain Preserve, Phoenix16,306
Sonoran Preserve, Phoenix9,487
Cullen Park, Houston9,270
Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego6,932
Jefferson Memorial Forest, Louisville6,218
Lake Stanley Draper, Oklahoma City6,190
Forest Park, Portland5,172
Lake Houston Wilderness Park, Houston4,787
Shooting Range Park, Albuquerque4,596
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Release date

May 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

*The parks are located within the limits of a U.S. city. These parks are owned by the municipality, a state, a county, a regional agency or the federal government. If a park extends beyond the boundary of the city, only the acreage within the city is noted here.
Cities taken into consideration are the 100 most populous cities in the U.S.

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