Impromptu Picnics In San Francisco

Spread the blanket and let the summer in

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None of the classic threats to the summer picnic–mosquitoes, ants, surprise thunderstorms–afflict us in the Bay Area. Eating outside here typically requires a good jacket, weights to hold down your blanket, and a tolerance for fog. Here are eight of Tasting Table's favorite sites for impromptu picnicking, along with places to pick up food on the way. 

San Francisco Botanical Garden (Golden Gate Park) On June's rare fogless days, the Great Meadow here is an ideal place to hang out: sedate, protected from the winds, and small enough to supervise running kids. Plus, it's a mere block from the Ninth Ave. Nopalito, where you can get tortas and quesadillas to go.
McLaren Park This sprawling park on the south end of town, which is traversed by hilly, winding roads, is one of those places too few San Franciscans visit. Its reservoir is a fine place for bringing your dog, basking in the sun, and eating the shrimp po'boys you've grabbed at Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Café.
Berkeley Rose Garden June is peak time for hiking up to the terraced gardens above the Gourmet Ghetto, where the view over the bay will redeem the breath-sapping ascent. Plus, it's close enough to Shattuck that you can tuck sandwiches and still-warm potato puffs from Grégoire into your backpack.
Crissy Field On clear days Crissy Field is thick with pickup football games and picnic blankets, yet you can always find room to spread out. Arrive early, and you can bike into the park with breakfast sandwiches from the Marina Deli (2299 Chestnut St.) or, at lunchtime, one of its turkey sandwiches packed with freshly roasted meat.
Japanese Tea Garden Located in San Mateo's Central Park, this quiet treasure of a garden does indeed contain a teahouse, as well as koi ponds, bamboo groves and pagodas. Before you enter, stop by Suruki Supermarket (71 E. Fourth St., San Mateo) and pick up sushi combos, or bento boxes with grilled chicken or salmon. 
Point Bonita  There are picnic tables above the trails down to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, the spindly finger of land ornamenting the northern door of the Golden Gate. It's a spot for marveling at the juxtaposition between ocean and city. Bring giant muffulettas and Cubanos from Davey Jones Deli in Sausalito.
Alamo Square Sure, Alamo Square turns into a wind tunnel around 2 p.m., but on clear days it's easy to spend a few hours there marveling over the skyline. Bring a knife and some glasses, and the Divisadero Bi-Rite can supply the rest: Della Fattoria bread, hunks of cheese, ripe apricots, and a bottle of Southern French rosé.
Glen Canyon Park The wooded trails of Glen Canyon make it possible to pretend you've left the city. The ball field near the park's southern entrance is under construction, but it's still the best place to spread out a blanket and eat some of San Francisco's best super-burritos from La Corneta before heading into the trees.