Arlington's Park System Ranked Among Nation's Best

Published on May 23, 2018

  • Trust for Public Land ranks Arlington 4th among 100 largest cities

  • 98 percent of County residents can walk to a park in 10 minutes or less

  • Arlington parks also a finalist in National Gold Medal awards

When it comes to public park systems, Arlington's ranks near the top of the nation's 100 largest cities. That's according to the Trust for Public Land's ParkScore® index, which recently ranked the County fourth on its list. Neighboring Washington, D.C., ranked third, with Minneapolis edging out neighboring Saint Paul for the top spot.

"We are proud to have such an amazing park and recreation system," said Jane Rudolph, Director of the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation. "The County's ongoing commitment coupled with the involvement and support of our community make Arlington's park and recreation system what it is today."

Arlington pulled ahead of San Francisco and Portland, OR, this year, mostly due to high scores for park access and investment and impressive marks for park amenities, such as spraygrounds and recreation centers.


This year, ParkScore® rankings are based equally on four factors:

  • Park Access — 98 percent of Arlington residents can walk to a park in 10 minutes or less compared to national average of 70 percent;

  • Park Acreage — 11 percent of Arlington is reserved for parks;

  • Park Investment — Arlington spends $239.74 per resident on parks; and

  • Park Amenities — which counts the availability of six popular park features: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, spraygrounds and other water play structures, recreation and senior centers, and restrooms.

Finalist in National Gold Medal Award

Arlington was also recently notified that it is a finalist for its size (population 150,001—400,000) in the National Gold Medal Award. Presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), this prestigious National Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches to delivering superb park and recreation services with fiscally sound business practices. The Grand Award will be announced in September 2018.

POPS: A Plan for Our Places and Spaces

As a three-time accredited Park and Recreation agency, Arlington has achieved remarkable success with its extraordinary commitment to providing a great park system for all people to enjoy. For the past two years, Arlington has been working with the community to update its 2005 Public Space Master Plan, a planning document that serves as a framework to guide the stewardship of Arlington's public spaces for future generations to enjoy. The plan's final draft will be available this summer for public review. The County Board will consider adoption of the new plan this winter. Learn more about this initiative.