Smile Politely

Smile Politely’s Parks Tournament: Round of 32

Graphic "Smile Politely Parks Tourney 2023" in black text on white background. Black line drawings of trees, benches, lamppost, and bicycle sit atop a red semicircle.
Smile Politely

Our mostly annual tournament of all things Champaign-Urbana is back, just in time for you to take a (short) break from the NCAA basketball tournament. 

In years past we have figured out which C-U food item is most beloved, which thing in C-U is most iconic, and which pizza is worth eating again and again. This year, we’re asking you to tell us which park(s) you think are the best. 

If you can peel your eyeballs away from the television for a moment, take a look at this collection of 32 of C-U’s best parks. No, really, take a look:

Smile Politely's Parks Tourney 2023. Round of 32 bracket. Sixteen parks in Champaign are listed on the left, and sixteen parks in Urbana on the right.
Smile Politely

This year we compiled 32 parks, from both Champaign and Urbana. A major source of influence and reference was our Year of the Park series, where you can read up on each and every single park in all of C-U (and Savoy), including the 32 in this bracket. For the purposes of this game, we have only included Champaign and Urbana Park District parks. We did not include any in Savoy, or any parks that are part of the Champaign County Forest Preserve. We had to draw some boundaries — apologies and thank you in advance for understanding. Let us not take for granted the fact that we have dozens and dozens of parks in our area and nearly all of them are pretty incredible. 

Seeding was determined by conversations among our editors, friends, neighbors, and readers like you, while taking into consideration publisher Seth Fein’s ranking of top parks. It’s more than likely your favorite park is among these 32, but if it’s not, we always welcome feedback. Which park will reign supreme? You’ll have to keep checking back as we move through each round. 

Follow along on our social media channels to see progress as the tourney moves forward. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

Voting for this round will continue through 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 19th. You can vote through the form below, on our Twitter feed, or Instagram stories. Thank you for your participation, and enjoy!

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