By Ryan Yousefi
Parkland is an incredible place. It’s a place that somehow feels small and never-ending at the same time. It’s a place that’s one of the best-kept secrets in the United States, and a household name, all at the same time.
We love Parkland. How can you not? Here are some of the top reasons we have a deep love affair with the town we call home.
10. Parkland Farmer’s Market
The City of Parkland hosts the largest outdoor farmers’ market in Broward County two Sundays per month from November through April at The Equestrian Center. Obviously, that took a hit towards the end of the season due to coronavirus.
We definitely felt it.
Everything from a booth that specializes in selling items doused in glitter to free samples of queso dip and the best carnival-like foods you’ve never tasted is available there. A walk through the Farmer’s Market has quickly become one of our favorite Parkland traditions.
9. The Parkland Amphitheater
The Parkland Amphitheater, located at Pine Trails Park, is truly a hidden gem. The journey deep into the heart of the park feels like a mini version of the drive entering Disneyworld. Just as you’re wondering if you’re in the right place, you see the signs.
Whether it be a day at the playground with the kids or a date night concert and some food truck cuisine, the amphitheater is one of our favorite entertainment options in Parkland.
Bringing out-of-towners to Pine Trails Park is always a blast. No one can believe such a tremendous park exists so quietly.
8. Kids Can Walk and Ride their Bikes to the Best Schools in the County
Part of what makes Parkland so unique is its small-town feel nestled within a larger community — South Florida — that is one of the fastest-growing and developed areas in the country. What comes with the small-town feel is many perks other towns don’t enjoy.
The Broward County Public Schools located in Parkland have received an “A” rating once again for 2019, and knowing our children can walk and bike to some of the best schools in the nation is definitely one of those perks.
Parkland has five public schools and two private schools located within its city limits. That’s an ample amount for a city with just around 30,000 residents. Every school from Heron Heights Elementary to Marjory Stoneman Douglas is situated in a way that lends itself quite well to children safely commuting to and from home from at least one of them.
7. Carmela’s Coffee Company
Loving your hometown wouldn’t feel right if one of the top reasons you’ve fallen in love didn’t include a local coffee shop, right? Carmela’s Coffee Company is our favorite.
Located in the heart of Parkland at 7967 N University Dr, Carmela’s is not just a place to pick up your morning coffee. It’s a bistro with some of some bites to eat that belong on an episode of Top Chef. We’re talking crispy bacon, avocado, and poached eggs kind of goodness.
In times like these, it’s always a great idea to support local. We can’t get enough of Carmela’s. It’s one of the things we look forward to in Parkland most.
6. Low Crime Rate.
Parkland is consistently mentioned as one of the best cities in America to raise a family. A huge part of that distinction is the fact that the crime rate in Parkland is super-low.
Out of 308 cities included in a recent study, Parkland had the eighth-least crime-related incidences. That data isn’t surprising, as Parkland certainly has a reputation as a family-oriented town that below-average criminal activity.
Parkland may have become world-famous due to one hideous criminal act, but decades of the exact opposite behavior is what makes us love where we live.
5. Blue Fin Sushi at Parkland
When expressing the reasons for your love of a city, you’d be lying if you didn’t admit a restaurant made your top ten. Blue Fin Sushi and their amazing Chef Yozo would be the one Parkland restaurant we would take with us on a deserted island.
Located at 6694 Parkside Dr, the location is so cozy it makes you feel like you’re on vacation in a small beach town. The food is glorious, priced affordably, and as consistent as the sun rises.
4. The “Secret” Parkland Publix
Most South Floridians love Publix, but do you know what’s even better than Publix? A secret Publix.
The Publix at Parkland Commons located at 8095 North University Drive is smaller than your average Publix, but that’s part of the intrigue. It’s lovable and tucked away.
3. Close, Yet Far Away
One of the greatest aspects of living in Parkland is that it’s just close enough to cities like West Palm Beach, Ft.Lauderdale, and Miami, but far away enough that you don’t have to deal with all the loudness that comes with those places.
Do we love a good concert at Hard Rock Stadium or a bacon and beer festival at Funky Buddha Brewery? Of course. But being able to remove ourselves from the setting and nestle back into hibernation is also our favorite.
2. The Parkland Library
The Parkland Library, located at 6620 University Drive, is another hidden Parkland gem. It’s only available for Parkland residents and is not a part of the county library system.
As a counter to Coral Springs’ Northwest Regional Library, this smaller, quieter, and less frequented facility because only Parkland residents can obtain a library card.
This library also features a nice Friends of The Library section that allows patrons to purchase books for as little as ten cents. You can’t beat that.
1. Parkland Strong
No one needs a reminder of what the phrase “Parkland Strong” is referring to, but it’s useful to reflect and appreciate what it means two-plus years after the tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Parkland unity is, by far, the greatest part about the city we all love.
In the days following February 14, 2018, the rest of the world got a crash course lesson of what everyone in Parkland already knew; this is a city that can overcome anything.
From the students that made the entire world proud in their quest to change gun laws to the parents who kept the community together in its time of need, Parkland continues to heal from one of the biggest tragedies imaginable.
Do not mistake the gentleness and quiet streets of Parkland for weakness. If there is one thing we all learned about Parkland after the MSD tragedy it’s that Parkland is a town unified, no matter what.
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- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiples outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.