Whether you're looking to have a romantic date or a rendezvous with friends, a picnic is a cheap, fun way to soak up the infrequent nice weather in Chicago. So pack up your blankets and baskets and stop by these top picnic spots, each of which is conveniently located near some tasty takeout spots if you want to avoid prepping food in advance.
Promontory Point: With easily one of the best views of Chicago’s beloved skyline, Promontory Point is a no-brainer for a romantic picnic. Set up your blanket on the grassy space near the field house, or try to catch an open bench facing the skyline. Nearby Hyde Park has plenty of delicious to-go options, including Morry’s Deli for tasty bagels and lox or sub sandwiches and Mellow Yellow for salads, burgers and other diner fare.
5491 S. Shore Dr.
Lincoln Park South Pond: In the seven-mile stretch of Lincoln Park along the lakeshore, one of the more pleasant places for a picnic is at the South Pond. Located just south of Lincoln Park Zoo, this pond is a tranquil space where you can nosh on takeout from nearby restaurants, like a piping hot pizza from Brick’s, wraps, salads and soups from Sedgewick’s Bar and Grill or seriously fresh fruits, veggies and baked goods from Green City Market (on Wednesdays and Saturdays). When you’re done, wander through the zoo or rent a paddle boat for prime skyline viewing.
2045 Lincoln Park West
Kathy Osterman Beach: Skip the chaotic crowds at North Avenue Beach and head north to Osterman Beach, located at the north end of the Lakefront Trail. A lovely shaded grassy area is situated right next to one of the deepest beaches in the city, affording plenty of room if you choose to have your picnic on the sand. There’s a new concession stand at the beach, but you can also grab great eats from nearby Bananas Foster Café, Zanzibar or Flourish Bakery.
W. Hollywood Ave. and N. Lake Shore Dr.
Osaka Garden: For a secluded picnic lunch, stop by the Osaka Japanese Garden. Located on Wooded Island in Jackson Park, this space features lush greenery, small bridges over bubbling creeks and gravel paths. Settle into this calming birdwatcher’s paradise with takeout from nearby The Sit Down Café and Sushi Bar or Shinju Sushi, keeping with the Japanese theme.
1735 E. Columbia Dr.
Millennium Park: It may seem like too obvious of a choice, but Millennium Park really is the top spot for picnicking when you’re downtown. Where else can you listen to world-class musicians while digging into your sandwiches and snacks? Live concerts are scheduled throughout the summer months, so plan accordingly. Before you hit the park, stop by Park Grill, Caffe Baci or Gold Coast Dogs.
201 E. Randolph St.