Picnics are so underrated.
The simplicity is beautiful. Packing a lunch and a blanket and going to the park is cheap, low-maintenance, and has incredible pay-off. They are a great way to spend time outside with your SO, family, friends, or solo.
But just as with most other things, preparation is key. The way I see it, there are 3 important steps to preparing for a great picnic.
Step 1: Choose a Venue
First things first, you’ll need to choose a place to have a picnic. I like to go to a park with lots of grassy knolls, bonus points for lakes or ponds. For our example picnic, we headed to FDR Park, located in South Philadelphia right across from the city’s sports stadiums. I like this park a lot because it’s huge and has lots of parking spaces.
I highly recommend having a few picnic venues up your sleeves. If you’re new to a city, this may take some time. Check out the public parks in your area and see what you can find. But, depending on where you live, you could also have a picnic in your backyard! And if it’s winter, you could even spread out a blanket on your living room floor.
That reminds me, make sure you check the weather before you go!
Step 2: Choose Your Menu
Depending on your venue, you could have so many different vibes for your picnic! If the park as grills and picnic tables, you might want to bring burgers to cook. Most of my picnics are more low-key. Some of my favorite things to pack are:
- Fresh fruit (easy to eat, nothing too juicy)
- Cheese & Crackers
- Chips & Dip
- Cookies, Chocolate, or Another Treat
Now, if you do bring wine, you may want to first check and see if the park you’re going to is strict about drinking (if you live in a major city, Reddit can be a great source for this). Obviously, you’re not having a frat party. Keep it chill.
For this picnic, I got most of our rations at Trader Joes (I’m not sponsored. As if). We packed:
- Fresh Figs
- 1000 Day Gouda Cheese
- Pumpkin Tortilla Chips to Scoop Up Our
- Leftover Red Beans & Rice (Packed in a Rinsed-Out Yogurt Container!)
- Maple Leaf Cookies
- Red Wine (Couldn’t buy at TJ’s Because PA Liquor Laws)
Step 3: Pack
This is important! You’ll want to make sure you pack everything you need. It will be sad if you forget a spoon to scoop your bruschetta or an opener for your wine. Doing a run-through in your head will help you remember each of the items you need. How are you going to divvy up your dip? You could scoop it out of the container, or you might want to bring a spoon and plates. If you’re packing cheese, you’ll need a knife and a cutting board (or, you could probably make do with a plate).
Consider a Picnic Kit
A few Christmases ago, my sister gifted us a picnic kit, featuring a cooler, Tupperware containers, mini cutting board, and knives that came with their own sheaths. She also gave us a water-resistant picnic blanket that folds up nicely and has a carrying handle. I would recommend investing in a similar kit, if you want to get seriously into picnicking. It also makes a great gift! Of course, if you’re a minimalist, you can totally get away with just packing what you have in your kitchen already. You can just use a regular blanket and throw it in the wash when you’re done.
You may also want to bring a card game, book, or other activity. I usually do, but end up chatting and napping instead.