The record-breaking heat in Chicago this month only reinforces what we know is true - it's time for picnics in Chicago! Even if the weather was not a convenient excuse to get out and enjoy the beautiful Chicago outdoor scenery, July is National Picnic Month and Americans all over the country are packing up their baskets, finding a great park and spreading out delicious and fun picnics.
Whether you're a local Chicagoan looking for a new spot to picnic or a Chicago Traveler ready to check out the parks of Chicago (and maybe save some money while you're at it!) we have compiled a list of our favorite picnic spots to help you plan your next trip. So make sure to check the weather so that you can avoid those summer storms, grab some great snacks and enjoy the freedom of a picnic in Chicago!
Romantic Picnic Spots in Chicago:
- Promontory Point: This Chicago picnic spot has a gorgeous view of the city skyline and has both a grassy area near the field house and benches facing the view if you get lucky. Perfect for a romantic picnic go with your special someone and ooh and aww over how beautiful Chicago is! (5491 S. Shore Drive).
- Osaka Garden: This romantic destination is as beautiful as it is calming. Osaka Japanese Garden in Jackson Park has lots of wonderful botanical greenery, cute bridges over creeks, waterfalls and great places to enjoy a picnic lunch with a loved one. The garden is on an island in a lagoon so expect to be surrounded by Zen serenity. (1735 E. Columbia Drive).
- Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool: Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to this small park dedicated to pay homage to the natural landscape of Illinois. The pool and surrounding architecture is pretty and calming and the quiet secluded nature of the park is ideal for a romantic getaway. (South of Fullerton Avenue).
- Grant Park: This Chicago park has a great view of the city, wonderful places to picnic and free movie nights through the Grant Park Outdoor Movie Festival in the Summer. Great for an inexpensive but innovative date night! (337 E Randolph Street).
Family-Friendly Picnic Spots in Chicago:
- Lincoln Park: There are lots of great picnic options at the famous Lincoln Park in Chicago so we picked two favorites. Our first pick is the Green City Market on the south end of the park - not only is there a great grassy area to lay out your blanket, but you can also enjoy the tasty eats and cooking demos at the market itself! Our second pick is the South Pond in Lincoln Park. The pond is a great place to enjoy a picnic and is also right by the Lincoln Park Zoo, making it the perfect lunch break on a day-trip to the Zoo with the family. (2045 Lincoln Park West).
- Kathy Osterman Beach: Find a comfy spot in the sand or enjoy the shady grass area at the end of the Lakefront Trail for a wonderful picnic at Osterman Beach. There is lots of room at this beach and it's usually not super crowded so you can bring the whole family and spread out! (W. Hollywood Ave. and N. Lake Shore Drive).
- Millennium Park: Not only is Millennium Park a prime Downtown Chicago destination, but it is also close to wonderful restaurants and Chicago hotels. Pick up your food on the way and enjoy live concerts at Pritzker Pavilion in the summertime! The grass area is comfortable, free and provides great entertainment everyone can enjoy. This great picnic spot is a popular one, though, so expect crowds and keep a close eye on the kids. (201 E. Randolph Street).
- Oz Park: As you might guess from the name, this park is dedicated to the Wizard of Oz and you can find statues of Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion at different corners of the park! With enough space for the whole family and an Emerald City play structure Oz Park is a great destination for a day-long picnic. (2021 North Burling Street).
Honorable Mentions: Daley Plaza, Milton Olive Park, Lakeshore East Park
Going on a picnic in Chicago is a great summer activity and hey, since it's July you even have a reason to throw a picnic party! Celebrate National Picnic Month this year at all of Chicago's best picnic spots. And don't forget that Chicago restaurants almost always do take-out, so you don't even have to make your own sandwiches if you don't want to!