Kick off your Sunday shoes, and put on some sneakers. July is National Park and Recreation Month, which gives everyone an excuse to get moving.
Americans are fond of the outdoors, after all, and it’s evident in the amount of greenbacks they invest on green space. In 2014, the most populous U.S. cities collectively spent more than $6.4 billion on parks and recreation.
And those cities should expect a handsome return on that investment. Neighborhood parks are instrumental to building community cohesion, boosting property values, improving public health and reducing pollution.
In Washington, for instance, close proximity to a park increases a home’s value by 5 percent. And neighborhood parks in Sacramento, Calif., contribute an estimated savings of nearly $20 million on health care costs.
But the term “parks and recreation” encompasses far more than just park facilities and exercise. In this study, we also consider those whose favorite pastime may be exploring museums, going to concerts or even attending food festivals, all of which contribute to the overall well-being of a city.
To highlight the benefits of public spaces and recreational activities to consumers and the local economy, WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 27 key metrics. In each city, we examined basic costs, the quality of parks, the accessibility of entertainment and recreational facilities as well as the climate. The results, as well as expert commentary and a detailed methodology, can be found below.