The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit organization, released its annual ParkScore rating. The list ranks the park systems of the 100 largest US cities based on average park size, ease of park accessibility, how much is spent on parks and how often amenities such as basketball courts, playgrounds and recreation centers are offered.

Some Denver residents might be surprised to hear Aurora outranks the Mile High City, with Denver coming in at 20th and Aurora in 15th. On average, Aurora has a larger median park size with Denver at six acres and Aurora at 7.9 acres, and city area reserved for parkland with 11 percent versus Denver’s eight percent. However, Denver does outperform Aurora on a couple fronts including more park facilities. This includes a higher average for dog parks, with 1.5 dog parks per person in Denver versus 0.8 in Aurora. Denver ranks particularly high nationally in this realm, with the national average only at 0.9 dog parks per person.

The view from City Park in Denver. Photo by Kyle Cooper

But good news for residents of both cities; both can say 86 percent of its residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, which is 20 percent over the national average. San Francisco is the only city where 100 percent of its residents live within walking distance of a park.

“You can’t have a great city without a great park system,” said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land. “Our top-ranked park systems are terrific, but all cities have room to improve.

See below to get the best and worst ranked cities for this year’s ParkScore and go here to see the full list. If you want to check out Denver or Aurora parks, go here and here for information on locations.

Best ParkScore

  1. Minneapolis
  2. Saint Paul
  3. San Francisco
  4. Washington, DC
  5. Portland, Oregon
  6. Arlington, Virgina
  7. Irvine (tie)         
  8. New York (tie)
  9. Madison, Wisconsin
  10. Cincinnati

Worst ParkScore

  1. Fresno (tie)
  2. Hialeah, Flordia (tie)
  3. Jacksonville, Florida (tie)
  4. Laredo, Texas (tie)
  5. Winston-Salem (tie)
  6. Mesa, Arizone
  7. Louisville
  8. Charlotte
  9. Fort Wayne (tie)
  10. Indianapolis (tie)


About The Author

Managing Editor

Brittany is a Denver native and the managing editor of 303 Magazine. She has a passion for great writing and she hoards collects magazines like Lucky Peach (RIP) and the New Yorker . Brittany is also a big fan of podcasts and public radio, and you can usually find her cooking while listening to either. She takes a picture of everything she eats and (shamefully) 99 percent of the photos on her phone are of food. See for yourself and follow her on Instagram and Twitter

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