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100 Largest Cities: Austin


Lady Bird Lake, Butler Trail and Auditorium Shores, Austin

Austin, the capital of Texas, is a well known destination for music, food as well as tech. Part of our 100 largest US cities list for our annual publications –  City Park Facts and ParkScore, Austin was ranked 47th out of 100 in 2016.

Parkscore 2017 will be released in late May, 2017, so stay tuned for the latest results on where Austin stacks up in 2017.


Butler Trail, Lady Bird Lake, downtown Austin

Half of the Center for City Park Excellence team (1 of 2) lived in Austin for over a decade and thoroughly enjoyed their park system. The city stretches over 186,902 acres and 14.6% of that is park land. Austin spends $92.14 per resident and the oldest park is Pease Park, established by a donation of land by the Pease family in 1876.  To see where Austin meets the 10-minute walk to a park goal, check out our Park Evaluator map for the city.


Shoal Creek inside Pease Park, Austin.

One of the most famous linear parks (out of many) is the Butler Trail that circles a big chunk of Lady Bird Lake (a portion of the Colorado River of Texas).  A newly added boardwalk portion closed a gap in the trail.  The views from the boardwalk are breathtaking and it connects to many other parks and trails in the heart of downtown Austin.


Shoal Creek Trail, Pease Park, Austin

Austin boasts a great volunteer culture and a number of non-profit parks organizations are working with the City to expand, improve and program parks. They include the Austin Parks Foundation, the Trail Foundation, the Pease Park Conservancy, The Hill Country Conservancy’s Violet Crown Trail project and the Shoal Creek Conservancy. One of the exciting projects about to break ground is the Waller Creek Conservancy’s project to transform Waller Creek that runs through the heart of inner city neighborhoods, the University of Texas and downtown Austin.  The Trust for Public Land has helped acquire parkland in both the city of Austin and surrounding counties as well, most recently for the Balcones National Wildlife Refuge.


Interactive Fountain, Town Lake Park, Austin.

We welcome your comments on Austin and other 100 largest US cities parks systems that we research, analyze and report on. You can reach us at ccpe@tpl.org or by commenting on this post.


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