Park Study Tours

Urban Park Study Tours

City Parks Alliance shines a spotlight on innovative urban park systems through its park study tours. The tours are two-and-a-half-day events developed in partnership with host cities designed to highlight the people, places, and partnerships that make their park system special and that contribute to vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities. During the park study tour, participants from around the country will visit local parks, hear from park leaders and their partners, and learn how these special places are designed, programmed, and managed.

Park Study Tour Goals

The local host city works with City Parks Alliance to create a tour schedule that showcases their parks, trails, and gardens and provides learning opportunities for attendees who represent public, nonprofit, and private sector park professionals from around the country. In past years, park study tours have been hosted in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Toronto, Cleveland, Austin and St. Louis.

Park Study Tour Goals Include

Explore Park Innovation:

Park tours highlight new approaches to park design, management, programming, funding, and partnerships in parks throughout the selected city from downtown to neighborhoods.

Amplify New Partnerships:

Tour attendees will learn how community-led efforts, cross-agency, and cross-sector partnerships are working together to improve the selected city’s park system and the health and quality of life of its residents.

Share Resource Strategies:

We explore how the selected city has leveraged resources and opportunities to grow and strengthen its parks and recreational programs.

Network and Connect:

The tour provides opportunities for leaders from the City Parks Alliance membership network to learn from each other in both formal and informal ways and strengthen relationships.

Upcoming Park Tours

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Past Tours

St. Louis, MO | June 2023

St. Louis has been transitioning from the legacy of its manufacturing economy for several decades. New investment in parks and trails—focusing on access, equity, and connectivity—has played a vital role in revitalizing its downtown and neighborhoods. Tour participants had a first-hand view of St. Louis’s innovative approaches to improving the park system and the quality of life for city residents thanks to local hosts Forest Park Forever, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Great Rivers Greenway, and Tower Grove Park.

Austin, TX | November 2022

After a few pandemic delays, participants investigated how Austin leverages resources and partnerships to meet its growing demand for access, equity, programming, and connectivity through a carefully-curated itinerary in partnership with Austin Parks & Recreation and The Trail Conservancy. Attendees learned how Austin, with its 300+ parks, 225+ miles of trails, and 67 community gardens, provides high-quality parks and programs to all of its residents despite such explosive growth.

Cleveland, OH | September 2018

During this park tour, participants learned about Cleveland’s innovative cross-agency and cross-sector partnerships and how they are working collaboratively to improve their park system and the residents’ quality of life. The tour focused on urban infrastructure agencies, such as the Sewer District and Port Authority to revitalize its waterfront, connect its neighborhoods, and develop its parks as urban infrastructure. The tour visited key sites like Public Square, Edgewater Beach House, the Red Line Greenway, and Rockefeller Park Cultural Gardens.