Apr 6, 2022 - Things to Do

Chicagoans love their parks

Feet up on a hammock

Monica relaxes in Prairie District Park near McCormick Place, likely tweeting about how happy the place makes her. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Local parks bring Chicagoans a ton of joy — on par with the mood spikes we get from holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, according to a new study.

Why it matters: Even when money is tight and viruses are spreading, the city's 600+ parks offer a little green relief.

Methodology: University of Vermont researchers studied the geolocation of more than 1.5 million tweets inside and outside the parks in the nation's 25 largest cities.

  • To gauge people's moods, they searched for words like "beautiful," "fun," "enjoying," and "amazing."

Top towns: Folks in Indianapolis, Austin, Los Angeles, and Jacksonville took the top "park enjoyment" spots, followed by fifth-place Chicago.

The intrigue: Top cities didn't necessarily spend the most on their parks, but distinguished themselves with large parks — many bigger than 100 acres.

  • "The ability to immerse yourself in larger, greener, natural areas had a greater effect than smaller paved city parks," UVM researcher Chris Danforth noted in a statement.

Pro tip: It's a great week to take a mood-boosting walk in a local park, especially since another new study links walking a mere 7,000 steps a day with longer life.

  • Participants over 60 years old showed the biggest benefit, but younger people also saw significant lifespan improvements.

📫 Which Chicago park is the most lovable? Email [email protected] with your favorite area park for a story we'll run next week.


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