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America's most popular city parks

Image: Tompkins Square Park
New York City's Tompkins Square Park provides a 10-acre oasis of playgrounds, handball courts and elm-shaded flowerbeds. Vivienne Gucwa / via Travel + Leisure

In New York’s Central Park, you’ll find people jogging, tossing Frisbees, relaxing under trees, and — more than in any other park in America — checking in to Foursquare.

Slideshow: See America's most popular city parks

Whether they’re bragging about where they are or seeing who else might be there, people are checking in to social sites at ever-increasing rates. A pioneer in this space, Foursquare has grown exponentially by allowing tech-savvy travelers and residents to share not only their adventures but also their expertise, by leaving insider tips every place they’ve been.

So we got in touch with our friends at Foursquare and asked them to pull some data for us: Which city parks attract the most check-ins? While the company keeps the actual number of check-ins hush-hush, it was able to give us a ranked list of the most popular parks in America from August 2011 to August 2012.

And what did we find? First, that New York City parks attract a lot of avid Foursquare fans. Big Apple greenery dominates the list due to the sheer number of people who visit places that are perfect for both visitors and residents, like Central Park and the High Line.

Other iconic parks showed up, too, like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park — often referred to as the West Coast’s Central Park. The attractions here — including waterfalls, windmills, a Conservatory of Flowers and even a buffalo pasture — lure in thousands of check-in-happy visitors.

But not all the parks on this list were as predictable. Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle, for example, is a relatively tiny space, but its fountain and picnic-worthy lawn draw a lot of tech-savvy visitors.

We were also curious about another thing: who is checking in? Foursquare tells us that its top app users are 25-34, and while there’s an almost 50/50 male-to-female ratio, males are slightly more likely to check in.

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