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America's Coolest City Parks

Golden Sate Park, San Francisco

Steve Lewis Stock / Alamy

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

This iconic park—where the Summer of Love kicked off in 1967 and dreadlocked drummers still gather in circles—has gotten at least some updates. The de Young Museum reopened with a Herzog & de Meuron–designed building in 2005 that mounts blockbuster exhibits like a collection of 100-plus Picasso works on loan from Paris. The California Academy of Sciences, whose eco-friendly Renzo Piano structure debuted in 2008, has a 1.7 million plant “living” roof and restaurants by star chefs Charles Phan and Loretta Keller.

Coolest Time to Visit: Sundays, when John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to cars and the outdoor swing-dance party, Lindy in the Park, takes place (11 a.m.–2 p.m., with free beginner lessons at noon).

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