The Best Picnic Spots in Chicagoland

Summer is in full swing, so take advantage of the warmer climate and head outdoors to enjoy a relaxing day at one of Chicago’s many parks.

In a city that has over 600 parks, both small and large, here are some of the best scenic spots to enjoy a picnic lunch:

Millennium Park

201 E Randolph St

Though it may not be the first park in Chicago, Millennium Park is the most recognizable one in the Windy City, topping the list of the most visited attractions in the Midwest. This is at least partially due to the fact that the iconic Chicago Cloud Gate sculpture (more popularly known as “The Bean”) is located there. Cloud Gate aside, there is so much more to see in the 24.5 acre park.

Among Millennium Park’s many highlights include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and McCormick Tribune Plaza and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, whose frequently-changing faces spit water to passersby every five minutes during the summer months.

As far as picnic spots, there are a lot to choose from.

Sit at the Great Lawn, the Lurie Garden, which is most colorful during the summer months, or at the Running Table, a 100-foot-long picnic table made entirely of recyclable materials, located at the Chase Promenade.

For summer, your best bet is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, especially during the Millennium Park Summer Series. Enjoy your food with live music courtesy of some of the best local, national, and international artists. Catch live music Mondays and Thursdays, from June 18 to August 16.

Humboldt Park

1400 N Sacramento Ave

From being first designed in the 1800’s, to being one of the nation’s greatest parks, to being the center of a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, it’s no wonder that culture emanates from every corner of Humboldt Park. There are plenty of spaces to stop by and spread your blanket in the 207-acre park, including the iconic Humboldt Park Boathouse. If you don't want to bring any food, there are several good places to eat around the area after a walk amidst the greenery.

Jackson Park

6401 S Stony Island Ave

Located on Chicago’s South Side, Jackson Park offers the Woodlawn community residents several outdoor fitness areas for golf, baseball, basketball, tennis, and trails for walking, jogging, or biking. The 500-acre park, which is a rumored site for the Obama Presidential Center and Library, also has a beach and harbor. It’s most popular area is the Wooded Island, which includes The Garden of the Phoenix, a Japanese garden which features an art installation by Yoko Ono. The zen-garden is perfect for romantic picnics.

Promontory Point

5491 S Shore Drive

Giving access to unobstructed views of the Loop, Promontory Point is a man-made peninsula that extends to Lake Michigan. A favorite spot for many Chicagoans because it’s surrounded by the cool green and blue hues, Promontory Point is easily accessible via the Lakefront trail, and is very picnic-friendly, with public fire pits surrounded by stone ring seats allowing you to grill or make smores!

Final Thoughts: The Best Picnic Spots in Chicagoland

What would you add to this list of the best picnic spots in Chicagoland? Let me know in the comments!