In honor of International Picnic Day on June 18, we’ve rounded up our favorite places to eat al fresco in Denver-metro -- along with nearby chow houses where you can grab tasty take-out on your way.
Sloan’s Lake/Edgewater Coffee Company: Find a grassy spot on the east side of Sloan’s Lake, where you can enjoy a serene view of this 177-acre lake set against magnificent still-white peaks in the distance. At the northwest corner of Sloan’s, Edgewater Coffee Company offers an organic, fair-trade caffeinated pick-me-up along with a simple, yet ideal picnic menu including deli sandwiches, a BLT and PBJ with chips and fruit cups.
Sloan’s Lake, mostly bounded by 17th Ave., Sheridan Blvd., W. Byron Place & Stuart St.
Edgewater Coffee, 5224 W. 25th Ave., Edgewater; 303.237.4383
Rosamond Park/Slices: If you’re bringing the kids, grab a shady spot on the northwest side of Rosamond, where you’ll find a playground, sand pit and a basketball court for post-dining entertainment. For an adults-only outing, park on the east side where Rosamond (pictured) places plenty of concrete picnic benches amidst a slew of shade trees and green rolling hills, complete with flower gardens and a babbling brook. For lunch, stop by Slices on Hampden Avenue, a family-owned and operated pizzeria a few blocks north where you can take advantage of the drive-thru. You can grab pizza by the slice or a whole pie; we suggest the Mediterranean or spinach and garlic.
Rosamond, 8051 E. Quincy Ave. (E. Princeton Ave. to the north & S. Tamarac Drive to the east)
Slices, 7155 E. Hampden Ave.; 303-758-0940
City Park/Swing Thai: You know we love downtown Denver’s City Park, where you can enjoy lunch with views of Ferril Lake, in the open greenway, or beneath a shade tree near the massive children’s play area. If you’re not afraid of picnicking with a little sauce, swing by Swing Thai first where you can pick up take-out with organic tofu and sans added MSG, antibiotics or gluten.
City Park, bounded by 17th St., York St., 23rd Ave. & Colorado Blvd.
Swing Thai, 845 Colorado Blvd.; 303-777-1717
Wash Park/The Local: You’ll have no trouble finding an isolated spot in this 165-acre urban park -- whether you’re seeking a water’s edge spot by Smith Lake, a seat near the historic boat house or on the acres of open lawn where you can comfortably people-watch passersby on the interlacing trails. Before you mark your territory, stop by The Local and choose from panini, specialty burgers, wraps, tacos, locally made hot dogs and more; gluten-free and vegan options available.
Wash Park, bounded by Downing St., Virginia Ave., Franklin St. & Louisiana Ave.
The Local, 2217 E. Mississippi Ave.; 303-425-6225
Civic Center Park/Food Trucks: With its Greek amphitheater, fountains and numerous gardens, Civic Center Park is already a picnic haven dropped right in the middle of Mile High. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays this summer you’ll find the bonus of Denver’s best food trucks gathered from 11am - 2pm to give you a plethora of gourmet options steps away from your picnic spot.
Civic Center Park, Colfax & Broadway