Family Travel

The coolest things to do in parks around the world

Now that it's finally—finally!—warm enough to be outdoors, we want to spend all of our time hanging out in public parks. And at these green spaces, there's more to do than simply lay on the grass or go for a bike ride; we're talking hot-air balloon rides, dancing en masse, and sipping a beer in the sunshine.

  • 1. Lounge in a hammock

    Lounge in a hammock

    The Trust For Governors Island

    Governors Island, New York City

    This former military fort turned innovative public space debuted 30 new acres of parkland earlier this year. While the new greenery and baseball fields are great, we’re most excited for Hammock Grove, an enclave with—obviously—50 hammocks. Spend an afternoon leisurely swinging and taking in views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.

  • 2. Go swimming in a natural spring

    Go swimming in a natural spring

    Peter Tsai Photography/Alamy

    Zilker Park, Austin, Texas

    Nestled within Austin’s enormous Zilker Park, you’ll find Barton Springs Pool, a lush swimming hole filled with water from several underground springs. Austinites flock here year-round for a dip in its balmy waters, which stay around 70 degrees (give or take) for most of the year.

  • 3. Stop and smell the roses

    Stop and smell the roses

    Steve Vidler/Alamy

    The Regent’s Park, London, England

    Kew Gardens may get all the love, but Queen Mary’s Garden within Regent’s Park is an equally lovely destination for flower-peepers. The big draw is the rose garden, featuring more than 12,000 of the beautiful perennials (including a special Royal Parks variety). To see the flowers at their peak (and get the most Instagram-worthy shots), plan your visit for June.

  • 4. Sip on a stein of beer

    Sip on a stein of beer

    Hans-Peter Merten/Getty Images

    Englischer Garten, Munich, Germany

    It should come as no surprise that Munich’s largest public park is home to a beer garden of its own—and, with a capacity of 7,000, it’s the second-largest in the city. Located next to the park’s Chinese pagoda, the open-air bar serves Höfbrau beer, as well as traditional Bavarian dishes like pretzels and obatzda, a cheese spread.

  • 5. Take a ride in a hot-air balloon

    Take a ride in a hot-air balloon

    WireImage via Getty Images

    Parc André Citroën, Paris, France

    Yep, you read that right: There’s a hot-air balloon that lifts visitors more than 400 feet above the city within Paris’s innovative Parc André Citroën. (Don’t worry—it’s tethered to the ground, so you won’t float away over the Eiffel Tower or anything.) But the balloon isn’t merely a tourist attraction: It’s also a device that measures air pollution in Paris.

    See more of the coolest park activities in the world.

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