Chicago is blessed with well-maintained public parks, but not all picnic spots are created equal. With beautiful summer weather warming up the city, packing a picnic might just be the ticket to a perfect season. From scenic to secluded, Chicago’s best picnic spots offer a little bit of all things ambiance.
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Millennium Park has several amazing picnic spots within itself. For a more secluded, romantic setting, choose a spot within one of the hedged enclosures of Lurie Garden, which is always maintained with seasonal blooms. The lawn at Jay Pritzker Pavilion rocks with or without a concert. The park has an amazing view of the Chicago skyline and the added advantage of bathroom facilities and entertainment. Conveniently located downtown, the park is accessible via all CTA train lines and many bus routes as well.
5100 N. Francisco Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Although River Park is one of the largest parks in Chicago, it is often overlooked and therefore perfect if you’re searching for a hidden gem that’s less likely to get crowded. Bathroom facilities are available in the fieldhouse during open hours, and River Park also boasts a dog park and two playground areas, one with a water playground that’s less intimidating than a pool for younger kids. A bonus is that most of the Chicago Park District vending machines serve healthy snacks, making it perfect for spontaneous picnickers.
5491 South Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60615
Chicago’s south side is not without its picnic spots. Promontory Point in Chicago’s Burnham Park has one of the most beautiful views of downtown available in the city. It’s no wonder as it was the site of Chicago’s second World’s Fair in 1933 and 1934. Romance abounds as many couples choose to have their nuptials on the point, but it is open to the public and right on the water. It is a little more difficult to get to than some of the north-side parks as you have to park and walk, but the view and the feeling that you’re no longer within the city makes it worth it.
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Welles Park has something for everyone. Families can enjoy either a fenced in no-dogs-allowed playground or an open more old fashioned one. Couples cozy up in the gazebo or on one of the many spots on the lawn, and the gazebo lights up at night, bringing in even more romance and shelter if it does happen to rain. The fieldhouse nearby has bathroom facilities, and the park is easily accessible from the Western Brown Line stop and the Montrose, Lincoln and Western avenue buses.
Chicago Park District parks are normally alcohol-free zones unless you get a special permit for an event. To apply for a special event permit or to learn more about permits, click here.
Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.