BEST PUBLIC PARK 2001 - Powderhorn
While most parks offer greenery and hiking trails designed to take visitors as far away--at least psychologically--from the city as possible, Powderhorn revels in its urban community vibe. In addition to hosting the Powderhorn art festival, a massive Fourth of July fireworks display, and at least one summer installment of Shakespeare in the Park, it also has an annual Mayday parade attended by thousands. This rolling 65-acre park functions geographically as a centerpiece for south Minneapolis. It has full-size football and soccer fields, numerous walking trails, baseball diamonds, four playgrounds--with swings, sandboxes, and various jungle-gym stuff--tennis courts, and horseshoe pits. For anglers, Powderhorn Lake is stocked annually with crappies, sunfish, and northern pike. In the winter, the lake is plowed and groomed for hockey and broomball rinks, and there's a warming house for those particularly bone-chilling nights. And because of its long, steep hills, Powderhorn offers some primo urban sledding. Best of all, the tiny parking lot is free, and there are plenty of spots on the surrounding city streets.