An afternoon picnic is one of the best parts about summer in Chicago. It’s time to dust off those picnic baskets, lay back and soak up the sun. Here are a few do’s and don’ts from the City Of Chicago as well as some handy tips to help you pack (or purchase) the perfect picnic.


(credit: CBS News)

Quick & Easy Picnic Food:

1) Sandwiches

Choose a sandwich that’s easy to make and can withstand the heat or being tossed around in a cooler. (Think classics like peanut butter and jelly, Ham or turkey with cheese)

2) Fresh-Cut Veggies

Carrots, celery, snap peas and broccoli are easy to cut and pack into zip lock bags for a quick snack. Not to mention, this is a much healthier option than chips!

3) Cheese

Even though you have to do without the wine at some Chicago picnic locations, cheese is a picnic staple you can’t do without! Specialty and imported cheeses can be found in Chicago at Pastoral, Whole Foods and L’Appetito.

4) Dessert

Since there are plenty of easily packable dessert options out there, the possibilities are endless! Fresh fruit, cookies and cupcakes are a few that come to mind.

Summer's Brew Picnic for Two


Pastoral Picnic For Two

Lakeview, Loop, Chicago French Market

Don’t have the time to prepare your own picnic? Pastoral has great picnic to-go options to help save the day!

With so many great outdoor options for enjoying the warm weather in Chicago, it’s natural for us to offer an elegant, delicious and easy way to picnic – at a concert, on a boat, at one of the great parks or beaches or even in your own backyard!

Pastoral picnics for two come complete with everything you’ll need to enjoy the best of summer! Whether it’s a picnic for two or a group outing, Pastoral has you covered!

Individual cheese plates include an artisan selection of cheeses from one country along with seasonal accompaniments. Their picnics combine cheese, bread, accompaniments, and cookies for two.

Please order Pastoral Picnics by phone or in store during business hours.

Picnic In The City

Picnic In The City

Best Picnic Spots In Chicago

Grab a blanket, the kids, or your sweetie, and head to one of the scenic spots below for a truly unique Chicago picnic.

Millennium Park
Check out the schedule –

At Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, you can picnic during one of the many free concerts or symphony rehearsals during the day.

Movies in the Park at Grant Park
Check out the full schedule –

Get your picnic gear and head to Grant Park. Not only will you picnic with one of the best view of the city, you’ll get a free movie too! The annual Grant Park Outdoor Movie Festival plays films every Thursday evening throughout the Summer.

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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

* Can I bring a blanket, chairs and a cooler to the beach?


* What items are prohibited from being brought onto Chicago beaches?

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • BBQ Grills (Open Flames)
  • Fireworks or Explosives
  • Illegal Substances & Weapons
  • Pop-up Tents/Canopies
o Beach/Picnic Umbrellas
  • Flag Poles
  • All Pets (except Service Animals)

Failure to comply with the above may result in entry being denied. All containers will be subject to search.

Lauren Wulf, CBS Local Chicago