Best Places To Picnic In Chicago

By Melanie Falina

Although they might have been just a fluke, the rare gems of nice days that Chicago was granted recently got everyone amped up for warmer weather and outdoor activities. From the majestic Lake Michigan to areas throughout the city offering the best views of the stately Chicago skyline, Chicagoans are simply meant to do fun things outside. So even though we might still have a few weeks left of chilly temps, spring is indeed on its way – so why wait to start planning out the best places to enjoy the sun and warm air? Here are some of the best places to picnic in the Chicagoland area.

Morton Arboretum
4100 IL-53
Lisle, IL. 60532
(630) 968-0074
www.mortonarb.org

If you’re looking to reconnect with nature this spring then look no further than the Morton Arboretum in nearby Lisle. What better place for a picnic than in an outdoor museum celebrating trees and places from around the world? Explore the herbarium or the restored tall-grass prairie, learn about the Arboretum’s 4,100 different kinds of plant species, and enjoy a peaceful day away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Then pick a direction and go for a walk among the spacious 1,700 acres of land and find a cozy sport to enjoy a picnic lunch with loved ones.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL. 60601
(312) 742-1168
www.jaypritzkerpavilion.com

One of the premier and most visually stunning outdoor theaters in Chicago is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the heart of Chicago’s Millennium Park. Framed by an out-of-this-world design, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion offers an array of live concerts in the warmer months of the year and holds a capacity of 11,000 people. Opt for Lawn Seating and bring and lawn chair or blanket along with dinner in a picnic blanket or soft-sided cooler to enjoy the best of everything that Chicago has to offer in the summer – warm air, great music, food with friends and family, and an evening under the twinkling of the stars in the sky and the lights in the skyscrapers.

Ned Brown Preserve (Busse Woods)
3079 Golf Road
Rolling Meadows, IL. 60008
(800) 870-3666
www.fpdcc.com

Located just outside of Chicago in Rolling Meadows, Illinois there’s a spot that gets well over one-million visitors per year, and there’s good reason why. At the Ned Brown Preserve, or more commonly known as Busse Woods, there’s plenty of space for spring and summer activities like bike riding and fishing, and plenty of room to simply relax. One of the best-used natural areas in the entire state, the Ned Brown Preserve features a 460-acre lake, extensive bike paths, and an ample picnic grove for all of your warmer weather activities. And while you’re there be sure to visit the elk. Yes, real elk! The Ned Brown Preserve also houses a small herd of elk in a 17-acre enclosed pasture.

Related: Best Lunch Meeting Spots In Chicago

Ping Tom Memorial Park
1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60616
(312) 225-3121
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

For one of the best places in all of Chicago to feel like you’re on vacation without leaving the city limits is in our very own China Town. And the best place for a picnic in the area is actually located on the original site of the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad yard. The Ping Tom Memorial Park is a spacious and picturesque area featuring traditional Chinese landscape designs, and containing a children’s playground, boathouse, athletic field, field-house, and much more. Bring the family, enjoy the unique culture that China Town has to offer, and then settle back in the Ping Tom Memorial Park for a picnic feast in the sun.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL. 60022
(847) 835-5440
www.chicagobotanic.org

For more than four decades now, the Chicago Botanic Garden has been one of the most beautiful sites to visit in the entire Chicagoland area. With plush gardens, prairies, greenhouses, and more on 385 acres and around nine islands, this is the quintessential place to peacefully lose oneself for the better part of a day. And the Chicago Botanic Garden even has a designated Picnic Glen on the premises to enjoy nature-filled excursion for lunch with the family or friends at one of the pretties places in town. Kick back for your picnic lunch and then go see what flowers are in bloom and do some bird watching all in the same afternoon.

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