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Travel Guide

Secret Urban Gardens

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Don't get us wrong, we love living in a bustling, modern city, but sometimes we long for a spot of, well, green—a hit of nature and quiet respite in the concrete jungle. One of our favorite NYC places, for instance, is Greenacre Park, a hidden gem—complete with a 25-foot-high waterfall—in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, a perfect go-to for nearby office dwellers who can't trek to Central Park on their lunch hour.

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There are plenty of these secret city oases, not just in New York but around the world. Here, courtesy of Phaidon's Green Escapes: The Guide to Secret Urban Gardens, our top picks to get your green on when you're surrounded by high rises and honking horns.

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Our transparent tote, photographed in New York's Greenacre Park

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New York, New York
A pocket park tucked into the middle of 51st Street between Second and Third Avenues, Greenacre is a world away from its surrounding Midtown environs. Blink and you'll miss it—it's wedged between buildings—but once you step in, the park is a wonderful, roomy sanctuary.

Perth, Australia
Harold Boas Gardens is an inner-city garden featuring a lake, waterfall, gentle stream and manicured lawns. There's even a pretty, manicured lawn for a quick afternoon naps—shhh, we won't tell your boss—and a children's area.

Los Angeles, California
Blue Ribbon Garden—located on the roof terrace of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Enter through the corner of Sound Grand Avenue and West 2nd Street for some quiet time, high above the city's hustle and bustle.

Harold Boas Gardens in Perth, photo courtesy Phaidon

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Brasilia, Brazil
Praça dos Cristais, which means "Crystal Square," is a scenic escape in the middle of Brazil's capital. Designed by famed garden designer Roberto Burle Marx, the park includes crystal-like sculptures by Haruyoshi Ono, a tranquil pool and geometric flower beds.

Washington, D.C.
Located in Georgetown, Tudor Place was a family home to the descendants of George Washington till 1983. There are a number of historic gardens here, including an English perennial gardens and natural woodland settings.

Seattle, Washington
You can hear Waterfall Garden Park before you see it, writes Dr. Musgrave, thanks to the waterfall that cascades down big boulders at a rate of over 13,000 gallons a minute. Fun fact: The garden was built in 1977 to commemorate the birthplace of UPS in 1907.

Lisbon, Portugal
Estufa Fria is actually a greenhouse with three separate gardens, located in the larger Eduardo VII Park. It's a delight, an urban jungle filled with flowering hydrangeas, azaleas and ornamental ginger. There's a waterfall and sculptural works here, too.

LA's Blue Ribbon Garden, photo courtesy Phaidon

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From top: Praça dos Cristais in Brasilia, the gardens at Tudor Place in Washington, D.C., Waterfall Garden Park in Seattle and Estufa Fria in Lisbon, all photos courtesy Phaidon

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