America's best urban national parks

Many travelers hear the words "national park" and immediately imagine vast expanses of land with no people a...

Posted: Sep 3, 2018 2:14 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2018 2:14 PM

Many travelers hear the words "national park" and immediately imagine vast expanses of land with no people around for miles.

But there's much more to America's National Parks Service than destinations such as Joshua Tree and Yellowstone.

Destinations and attractions

National parks and monuments

Parks (green spaces)

Points of interest

Continents and regions

North America

The Americas

United States

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Historic districts and structures

Property and housing regulation and policy

Real estate

Caribbean

Latin America

Political Figures - US

Puerto Rico

San Juan

Theodore Roosevelt

Monuments and historical sites

San Antonio

Southwestern United States

Statue of Liberty

Texas

USA travel guide

Quite a few of the country's designated parks and historic sites are in urban sections of the USA, making them easy to fit into a city weekend break or to access without a car.

There's even a clue in the logo of the NPS -- it's shaped like an arrowhead, which is intended to represent history.

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, New York City

What better place to begin our tour of urban national parks than the home of the man who created the Parks Service as we know it?

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, America's 26th president, was born in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan.

Although the house is on the same spot where Roosevelt grew up, it has been renovated and changed several times over the years.

Luckily, many original objects and pieces of furniture are still here thanks to the family's preservation efforts, so it's possible to walk from noisy Union Square to a home in 19th-century New York in about 10 minutes.

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, 28 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003, +1 (212) 260-1616

Boston National Historical Park, Massachusetts

Commonly referred to as the Boston Freedom Trail, this park is a collection of key historic sites throughout a whopping 47 acres of the city.

Some of the sites are among the most iconic in US history, including the Old North Church (where Paul Revere hung his lights to warn that the British were coming), Faneuil Hall, the Charlestown Navy Yard and the Bunker Hill monument.

You can visit the sites separately or as one walking tour, but a word of advice: If you're looking for the Bunker Hill monument, don't try going to Bunker Hill -- the battle bearing its name was mostly fought on neighboring Breed's Hill.

Boston National Historical Park, Building 5, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02109, +1 (617) 242-5601

Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis

Formerly known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, this silver arch swoops over St. Louis' skyline and is one of America's most recognizable symbols.

The arch, designed by Eero Saarinen, pays tribute to the United States' expansion westward.

But the days of clunky Lewis-and-Clark animatronics and enormous taxidermied bison are over.

A significant modernization of the park's museum was completed and unveiled in summer 2018, with new interpretive exhibits including Native American perspectives and new pathways making it easier for visitors to access the park on foot or by bike.

Gateway Arch National Park, 11 N 4th St, St. Louis, MO 63102, +1 (314) 655-1600

The National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, DC

Welcome to "America's front yard."

The 146-acre expanse in the District of Columbia is home to some of the country's most famous and important sites, from the White House to the Capitol.

You could easily spend a week straight just exploring the Mall, both indoors and out -- favorites include the Lincoln and Washington memorials, the Smithsonian Museums (including the breathtaking National Museum of African American History and Culture) and the annual beauty of cherry blossom season.

The National Mall and Memorial Parks, 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024, +1 (202) 426-6841

San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is home to the only tropical rainforest in the US National Parks system (that would be El Yunque), but you don't even have to stray far from the hotels and nightclubs of Old San Juan to learn about history.

Built in the 1500s by the Spanish, the structures comprising the San Juan National Historic Site were part of a fortification for the island.

The best-known of the group is Castillo San Felipe del Morro, usually just called "El Morro." The mix of architecture, history -- it was the site of attacks by the English and Dutch, then used as a military base by the Americans in World Wars I and II -- and beauty make it an exceptional place to visit.

San Juan National Historic Site, 501 Norzagaray Street, Castillo San Cristobal, San Juan, PR 00901, +1 (787) 729-6777

Independence National Park, Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States, and Independence National Park is sometimes known as "America's most historic square mile."

Within that square mile is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, as well as the famous Liberty Bell.

The fundamental principles of democracy pair nicely with an on-site tavern designed to look like a popular one where politicians such as John Adams hung out in the 18th century. We can't promise the beer recipes are historically accurate, though.

Independence National Park, 143 S. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, +1 (215) 965-2305

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Honolulu, Hawaii

December 7, 1941, was the day of the attack on the USS Arizona at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into World War II.

Now, visitors travel by boat to the floating white memorial designed by Austria-born, Hawaii-based architect Alfred Preis, which is particularly symbolic since he was held as an "enemy combatant" by the US government because of his birth country.

The shape of the memorial is tall on the sides and lower through the middle to represent America's highs before and after the war.

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96818, +1 (808) 422-3399

Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York City

The Statue of Liberty, full name "The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World," is arguably the most famous symbol of the United States.

She was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and gifted to the United States in 1886.

Now, travelers can visit Liberty Island to climb up to the top of the statue's pedestal or her crown and be inspired by the words of the poet Emma Lazarus -- "give us your poor, your weak, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- on a tour led by a park ranger.

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004, +1 (212) 363-3200

Alamo Mission, San Antonio

Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo was one of a string of missions built by the Spanish to convert the locals to Catholicism.

However, it's best known these days for being the site of a battle, where Texan soldiers -- including the famous Davy Crockett -- fought during the Mexican-American War.

Because of its historical and cultural significance, the Alamo and the surrounding missions are also a UNESCO World Heritage site -- and they're right in downtown San Antonio.

The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, +1 210-225-1391

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61839

Reported Deaths: 1707
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19569839
Ramsey7717268
Dakota4507106
Anoka3752115
Stearns290920
Washington216345
Nobles17686
Olmsted176723
Scott159020
Mower11052
Rice10388
Blue Earth9325
Wright8975
Carver8783
Clay78840
Sherburne7328
Kandiyohi7021
St. Louis57319
Todd4292
Lyon4253
Freeborn3601
Steele3512
Nicollet34713
Watonwan3230
Benton3203
Winona26416
Beltrami2440
Crow Wing23814
Le Sueur2261
Martin2095
Chisago2041
McLeod2020
Goodhue1999
Otter Tail1983
Cottonwood1780
Becker1611
Pipestone1589
Polk1554
Waseca1490
Itasca14612
Douglas1441
Carlton1420
Unassigned13141
Dodge1290
Isanti1290
Pine1290
Murray1241
Chippewa1071
Morrison931
Wabasha930
Brown892
Faribault890
Meeker872
Rock850
Sibley842
Koochiching793
Jackson790
Pennington751
Cass742
Mille Lacs723
Fillmore670
Renville665
Lincoln580
Grant563
Swift551
Yellow Medicine520
Roseau520
Pope480
Houston420
Aitkin411
Norman400
Kanabec371
Redwood360
Hubbard350
Wilkin343
Marshall290
Wadena270
Mahnomen271
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49380

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10444208
Woodbury373452
Black Hawk315766
Linn242888
Johnson211819
Dallas189835
Buena Vista179412
Scott174314
Dubuque169831
Marshall145026
Pottawattamie133228
Story117315
Wapello90533
Muscatine85148
Webster8268
Crawford7313
Sioux6433
Cerro Gordo63417
Warren5721
Tama55429
Jasper48127
Wright4751
Plymouth47011
Clinton4164
Dickinson3844
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2623
Hamilton2511
Franklin24512
Bremer2307
Clarke2043
Clay2011
Carroll1942
Emmet1934
Des Moines1872
Shelby1861
Hardin1840
Marion1750
Poweshiek1608
Benton1601
Floyd1582
Allamakee1564
Jackson1561
Mahaska14217
Guthrie1355
Cedar1341
Jones1332
Buchanan1291
Henry1274
Madison1252
Butler1252
Hancock1212
Lee1183
Humboldt1181
Pocahontas1172
Delaware1171
Lyon1152
Harrison1101
Cherokee1101
Clayton1063
Taylor1000
Winneshiek971
Iowa971
Page950
Monona910
Kossuth900
Mills890
Palo Alto880
Jefferson870
Calhoun862
Winnebago860
Sac860
Fayette850
Osceola840
Grundy801
Mitchell790
Cass791
Union781
Monroe748
Lucas734
Worth670
Davis612
Montgomery604
Chickasaw550
Appanoose513
Howard500
Fremont430
Greene430
Keokuk371
Van Buren361
Ida310
Adair300
Audubon291
Decatur250
Ringgold231
Wayne201
Adams160
Unassigned10
Rochester
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Mason City
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Albert Lea
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Austin
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
One more chance for rain
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

MSHSL releases guidelines for fall training sessions

Image

Hagedorn Introduces Livestock Relief Bill

Image

A Closer Look at Boating Safety

Image

Funding child care during the work week

Image

Rochester leaders consider their successors

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Wednesday

Image

Sara;s 6pm Forecast - Wednesday

Image

Clear Lake school projects

Image

Mower County Fair Virtual Tour

Image

Racial Equality for Civic Engagement

Community Events