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TOP 10 U.S. CITIES FOR NATURE LOVERS

If you live in a city but still want to commune with nature, the best place to be is Albuquerque, New Mexico. This desert Southwest town was named the number one city for nature lovers by NerdWallet.com, which analyzed 53 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas to find the best urban destinations for tree huggers. The rankings were based on each city's acres of park land, number of national parks within 100 miles, average annual precipitation and air quality ranking. The top 10 U.S. cites for nature lovers, according to NerdWallet.com:

1. Albuquerque, New Mexico
With 28 percent of the city dedicated to parks and green space, Albuquerque has the highest percentage of parkland of any metro area. In addition, it has 310 days of sunshine, on average, and seven nearby national parks. One of these is the El Malpais National Monument, with a unique landscape created by millions of years of volcanic forces.

2. San Francisco, California
In addition to 11 nearby national parks, San Francisco has 220 parks and green spaces, making it an ideal urban destination for nature lovers. One of these parks is the Golden Gate Park, the fifth most-visited U.S. park.

3. Washington, DC
No doubt you know about the National Mall and President's Park, but a visit to the area should also include Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Located near the border with Maryland, it contains the only remaining tidal wash in the District of Columbia and is known for its abundant water lilies and lotuses.

4. Oakland, California
In addition to lots of recreation opportunities in the 155 acres of land surrounding famous Lake Merritt, you can enjoy the Redwood Regional Park where a hidden forest of 150-foot coast redwoods thrive.

5. San Jose, California
14 percent of the city's land is devoted to green space. A local favorite is Kelley Park, which also includes a Japanese Friendship Garden, the History Park Museum and the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

6. Sacramento, California
Located along two rivers, the state's capital city sits within 100 miles of 12 national parks. Parks within the city limits include the McKinley Park Rose Garden with more than 1,000 rose bushes and tree roses.

7. Phoenix, Arizona
In the land of sunshine, there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the city's many parks. A favorite is South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the country, which has more than 51 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and biking.

8. Baltimore, Maryland
With beautiful views of the sparkling Chesapeake Bay, Charm City boasts lots of green space. A local favorite is Pierce's Park, with features a musical fence, locally-designed sculptures and a willow tunnel.

9. Seattle, Washington
It may rain a lot in Seattle, but residents still enjoy lots of parks in the metro area and nine national parks within driving distance. In Olympic National Park there are some of the largest ancient forests left in the country.

10. San Diego, California
Nearly 23 percent of San Diego is parkland, which can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to the nearly perfect climate. One must-see is the San Diego Botanic Garden, as well as the nearby Joshua Tree National Park, home to several archeological sites. 

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