Anyone who can brag about surviving a Chicago winter will know how crucial it is to make the most out of the warmer months. One of the best ways to do that is by grabbing a basket or cooler and picnicking in one of Chicago’s scenic outdoor spots. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly atmosphere, a perfect afternoon date, or a scenic atmosphere for an outdoor lunch, Chicago has numerous areas to pick from. Take advantage of all the city has to offer, while bringing along all your favorite picnic food.
1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
Conveniently located in front of the Adler Planetarium, the front lawn offers a phenomenal view of the city. As a great place for a picnic, bringing along a blanket and a cooler can instantly make it into a picturesque lunch area. Close to the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium, food vendors are available for those who might need an extra bottle of water or even a specialty iced coffee creation. With carts filled with napkins, utensils, and condiments scattered around; designated picnic areas are surrounding the museums and planetarium. Whether you’re sitting at one of the many picnic tables or lounging on a picnic blanket you brought along, this is a great option for those looking to picnic in the heart of the city.
9801 S. Avenue G
Chicago, IL 60617
Located on the East Side, Calumet Park encompasses a little under 200 acres. On any given day in Chicago during the warmer months, the large picnic grounds can be seen scattered with grills and open areas all around. Right outside of the park, Calumet Beach is perfect for those setting up a blanket picnic while watching the water. Whether at the beach or in the park, there will definitely be an open picnic area for you to choose from. Instead of watching foot traffic while you eat, Calumet Park is surrounded by natural elements for a serene picnic atmosphere.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
While other zoos can require pricey admission tickets, Lincoln Park Zoo is free to all who enter. Designated picnic areas are scattered throughout the zoo, with each offering its own special atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a secluded area with lush scenery or an actual view of the animals, picnicking at Lincoln Park Zoo can be a great way to do more than just eat lunch. Perfect as a family-friendly picnicking location, Lincoln Park Zoo is open year-round and has various special events throughout the year.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
Part of Millennium Park, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater that hosts a variety of free concerts each year. These free admission shows are perfect for picnicking at night with a little music under the stars. While there are restrictions on barbecue grills and over-sized tarps, those looking to bring the family or a date to a night picnic will be pleasantly surprised. Concession tents and carts are located throughout the area, including alcohol sales of beer and wine. While an afternoon picnic can be great for soaking in some sun, a nighttime picnic during one of the many free concert series can be just the thing to change things up during the warmer months.
2021 N. Burling St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Oz Park is perfect for families with small children. Statues featuring favorite characters like the cowardly lion and the tin man are great for taking pictures with the kids, and large open areas are scattered throughout. Whether it’s laying out a blanket in one of its many open areas or eating with the flowers in the community garden area, Oz Park features a tranquil atmosphere in a kid-friendly park. Bring the kids to Oz, and see how they get a kick out of taking a picture next to Dorothy holding her picnic basket.
Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.