Minneapolis has been recognized as the country's best parks system by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, which publishes annual rankings of the 100 largest U.S. Cities.
It's the fourth time in five years that Minneapolis reached first place -- it lost its No. 1 spot last year to Washington, D.C., after previously holding it since 2013.
St. Paul, which has also consistently ranked in the top five cities, reached third place this year.
The Trust for Public Land, which began ranking parks nine years ago, says it bases its assessments on the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park, the city's median park size and how much of the city overall consists of parks, and quality based on park spending per resident and whether it has at least four of these key amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds and recreation and senior centers.
The percentage of Minneapolis residents living within 10 minutes of a park increased from 96 percent to 98 percent this year, TPL says. Recent expansions and acquisitions also pushed it to the top spot.
Ninety-nine percent of St. Paul residents live within a 10-minute walk to parks, but its median park size is 3.2 acres — below the national ParkScore average of 5.2 acres — resulting in its third place finish, according to TPL.
“We are honored by the top ranking and recognize how important parks are to all Minneapolis residents, particularly during this national health crisis,” said Al Bangoura, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, in a statement.
"We remain committed to providing critical park improvements and services, with a focus on the most racially diverse and economically challenged areas of the city."