Parks and Recreation

Your guide to picnic-blanket feasting

Los Angeles | New York | San Francisco 

Skip the waits for coveted seats at the city's busiest patios and grab a picnic blanket instead.

We've picked six ideal spots for outdoor feasts, from Ravenswood to Hyde Park, each with a source for picnic fodder mere blocks away. Read on: 

LOCATION PICNIC PLAN

Logan Square

Half-Italian Grocer  stocks an array of charcuterie, cheese, olives, bread and wine, in addition to picnic-ready foods like cured-meat sandwiches, wheatberry salads, thick slices of lasagna and more. Take your bounty down Kedzie to Palmer Square, a leafy escape ringed by historic houses.

Downtown

Hit Panozzo's Italian Market for seasonal salads and pressed Italian sandwiches on house-made crescentine bread. Then head into Grant Park and grab a patch of green grass in sight of Buckingham Fountain, which spouts a water display every hour on the hour.
Hyde Park 

 

The 57th St. location of  Zaleski & Horvath is a quick walk from Hyde Park's sprawling and lovely Washington Park. It's an ideal spot for eating overstuffed Z&H sandwiches, like the hummus-and-feta-packed Argonaut or the Durand Durand, with ostrich pâté made by Kiki's Bistro chef Didier Durand.
Ravenswood

Give a toast to Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan and other historic Chicago notables while picnicking Graceland Cemetery. The menu at Real Kitchen, just a block away, changes daily, featuring creative sandwiches, salads, entrées and beautiful desserts.
Bridgeport

Pack a spread of savory pies, salads, scones and house-made sodas from Pleasant House Bakery, an open-all-day bakery and café that's a short walk from Palmisano Park. Picnicking on Friday night? Grab Pleasant House's superb fish and chips with Meyer lemon tartar sauce to go.
Downtown

The Florentine's new two-person picnic baskets are an easy option for a decadent Millennium Park feast. Snag a "date basket" ($65), which includes a bottle of wine; or go the more traditional picnic route with a basket including chicken panini, tomato-watermelon salad and ricotta cheesecake ($40).