BYO Blanket

Nine Perfect Picnic Spots Around the World (Photos)

Avoid the cliché picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower and dine al fresco at one of these locals-only finds. / Alamy


Where to eat:
Brockwell Park, Herne Hill. It's 100 percent locals-only, unlike London's Royal Parks; there's an amazing lido (where they screened Jaws this summer, among other films); a secret, walled garden; and it has views of the London Eye and the Shard. For the best view of the Shard, head to the highest point of the park, on the east side. Or, for some privacy, snag a bench in the walled garden.

Where to shop:

I'd buy my picnic at Cannon & Cannon, in Brixton Village Market, which sells cheese, charcuterie, bread, wine, and beer all made in the UK. —Kate Maxwell

Paul Gordon / Alamy


Where to eat:
Head to Seattle's Ballard Locks where boats pass through the locks that bridge the saltwater of Puget Sound and the freshwater of the Ship Canal. After lunch in the grassy picnic area, check out the fish ladder that allows salmon to navigate the locks.

Where to shop:

Pick up sandwiches at Paseo, a cuban sandwich place that often has a line out the door. —Debbie Dubrow

Barry Winiker

New York

Where to Eat:
If you asked ten New Yorkers for their favorite picnic spot, you'd likely get ten different suggestions: the idyllic greenery of  Central Park, the manicured waterfront views at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1, the great adirondack chairs of Long Island City's Gantry Plaza State Park. But you can ignore them. Because the best picnic spot in NYC, hands down, is at Louis Valentino Jr. Park & Pier, in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The little waterfront enclave was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, but has rebounded like the champ it is (the neighborhood was, after all, the inspiration for Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront). 

Where to shop:

If you steer clear of the area's Ikea chaos (easy to do), you can stroll down the main strip of Van Brunt Street picking up picnic necessities like brownies from Baked, from Fairway Market, and then grabbing frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pies on a stick from Steve’s before heading over to Valentino Park for your feast. The small swath of green, with its own fishing pier, boasts quite possibly the city's best view:  a 180-degree panorama of the New York Harbor, starring Lady Liberty. —Billie Cohen

INSADCO Photography / Alamy


Where to eat:
Spread your blanket on the picnic-perfect grassy knoll in front of the Greek-inspired Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square. It’s in the literal center of this uber-hip neighborhood, which claims both a Michelin-starred gastro pub and a cocktail bar run by a Charlie Trotter alum.

Where to shop:

Open morning, noon, and night for picnics anytime, Reno has a full menu of incredibly delicious sandwiches, as well as specialty sodas and iced-teas. Grab expertly iced coffees and espressos at Intelligentsia, and finish sweet with decadent pastries and petit fours courtesy of La Boulangerie. —Lauren Viera

Nick Higham / Alamy


Where to eat:
Center City’s  Rittenhouse Square is surrounded by the neighborhood's ritziest restaurants and hotels, but it’s free to sit in this bustling city park to picnic, people-watch, and sunbathe. 18th and Walnut Streets

Where to shop:

Even avowed carnivores will swoon at sandwiches from Hip City Veg, where the fast food-inspired vegan items (like the battered “chicken” ranch sandwich) attract a line out the door every lunchtime. 127 S. 18th Street—Nell McShane Wulfhart

Kate Maxwell


Where to Eat:
Parc des Buttes Chaumont, is a dramatic, 25-hectare swathe high above the city in the 19th arrondissment, featuring cliffs, a lake, and a waterfall. It opened in 1867, during Napoleon III’s reign, and its waterways and paths are currently having a makeover, which will be completed in August.

Where to shop:

You don’t have to bring your own picnic: There are three cafés, including Rosa Bonheur, in the east of the park, where you could have an Orangina before climbing to the Temple de la Sibylle, 100 feet above the lake, and spot Sacré Coeur in the distance. —Kate Maxwell

Scott Rae / Alamy


Where to eat:
For a view of the Colosseum, picnic at the vibrant, if somewhat gritty, Colle Oppio Park, which is right next to the ancient stadium. Or, head to the breathtaking Villa Borghese, a luxurious park where you can lay a picnic blanket by the lake, or land a perfect-for-people-watching park bench.

Where to shop:

"The Other" Roscioli (Via Buonarroti 48) off Piazza Vittorio for a range of "nonna-esque" prepared food like lasagna and pomodoro con riso; toss in some just-baked pizza bianca and containers of simple, olive oil-sprinkled vegetables like cicoria and brocolo. Do not forget the ricotta and chocolate chip tart for dessert. —Alyssa Shelasky

wendy connett / Alamy

Los Angeles

Where to eat:
Head a few blocks to Palisades Park, a 26-acre landmark that spans fourteen blocks. The iconic park is chock-full of palm trees and rose gardens with terrific views of the Pacific Ocean, the famous pier and even Malibu. After lunch in a designated picnic area, take a stroll on the famous beaches.

Where to shop:

Bay Cities Italian Deli, an institution since 1925. We recommend the signature The Godmother (mortadella cappacola, ham, prosciutto, and Genoa salami), the deli’s claim-to-fame. —Jimmy Im


San Francisco

Where to shop:
I love to pick up a stack of the warm homemade corn tortillas from Toma taco bar in the Marina, and fill them with big handfuls of cilantro and leftover braised meats from dinner the night before. The tortillas are the fluffiest I’ve ever had, and their petite size is perfect for picnicking.

Where to eat:

On weekday afternoons and evenings, you can have the Great Meadow at Fort Mason practically to yourself. The sprawling green—part of an historic military post and tucked away behind the busy Marina—has bright green grass that’s just overgrown enough to make a soft landing place for a blanket. Flop down near one of the giant palm trees. —Stacy Adimando

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