11 Leaf-Peeping Picnic Spots Around the World

Plan a picnic in these gorgeous outdoor spots to let the leaves get you in the spirit of fall

Photo Modified: Flickr / Vincent HammCC BY 4.0

People enjoy Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco.

11 Leaf-Peeping Picnic Spots Around the World

Photo Modified: Flickr / Vincent Hamm / CC BY 4.0

With just the hint of a chill in the air, expansive fashion options and the promise of an impending love affair with your slow-cooker, fall is definitely a season to make the most of. There are pumpkin recipes of all sorts in abundance and, most special of all, it’s the season with the most opportunities for food to bring families together (Thanksgiving is almost here, with Christmas on the horizon).

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean spontaneous outings and impromptu outdoor adventures have to end with it. We can keep the adventurous spirit of summer in the air for a couple more months until the idea of winter, whatever each area’s temperature may be, drives most of us into warm homes and blanket cocoons. That means before there are fireplaces ablaze, snow on the ground in northern Europe and hats being pulled out of closets, it’s time to explore outside and relish the leaves as they change color with the people you love most – what better way to do that than on a picnic? Whether you’re in England, Japan or California, there are countless areas filled with opportunities to breathe in fall air and lose yourself in crackly, orange-hued falling leaves.

Pack up your favorite foods with the easiest recipes and head out the door to these seven picnic destinations around the world – among the most picturesque fall foliage. 

Ballard Locks (Seattle)

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This bustling area is the link between saltwater and freshwater for boats passing between the Puget Sound and the Ship Canal. As you lunch on the perfect pasta salad, watch sailboats, tugboats and yachts parade through the water. While you’re at this popular Seattle spot, don’t miss the fish ladder – a mechanism that allows you to watch as salmon are safely transported from salt- to freshwater. 

Central Park (New York City)

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Central Park is famous for its rolling greenery, lakes and beautiful trees, but it’s also the perfect spot for a picnic amongst falling leaves starting in mid-September. Grab a quilted picnic blanket and pack some sandwiches and cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies. Then, start people-watching. Afterwards, play some soccer with friends or take a pedicab tour to finish out the perfect fall day out.

El Retiro Park (Madrid)

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This park in Spain’s capital boasts a greenhouse-turned-art gallery, opportunities to row on an expansive lake and an open green space perfect for snacking on a bocadillo de calamares, or the city’s famous fried squid sandwich. Puppet shows, street artists and fortune tellers abound here, among 15,000 trees that beautifully show the changing seasons in mid-October until early November.

Moraine Lake (Canada)

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Part of Banff National Park, this lake in the middle of the Rocky Mountains hosts an abundance of beautiful fall leaves. Check out the glacier-fed clear blue lake as you lunch with your hiking partner, and make sure you bring along some Canadian-inspired delicacies. In the event of hiking hunger pangs, make sure you don’t forget some classic outdoor snacks.

Parc du Champ de Mars (Paris)

This oasis near to the iconic Eiffel Tower is perfect for taking a breather from fast-paced urban life in Paris. Bring a baguette or a homemade crepe for a picnic with friends while you watch summer turn to fall in the surrounding trees – as this park is such a populated and open stretch of grass, you’re sure to make new friends as well. If you’re in a more romantic mood, go for an evening picnic, put on some mood music and watch the landmark’s lights sparkle

Primrose Hill (London)

Picnicking in this northern section of Regent’s Park means an incredible view of central London and being surrounded by some of the loveliest fall foliage the city has to offer. With an open-air theatre and a children’s playground, the hill has something for everyone to do after filling up on traditional British sausage rolls and scotch eggs. In mid-October, the park will host the Frieze Art Fair, where you can see thought-provoking work from contemporary artists. 

Tiergarten (Berlin)

Germany’s largest urban park, located in the heart of its capital, is a popular spot for sports, picnicking and Sunday grilling. The park originally served as private hunting grounds for 16th-century royals, but now it’s the perfect spot for you to enjoy meat pies while surrounded by the joys of fall. While you’re inside Tiergarten, make sure to check out Rousseau Island and the English gardens.   

Villa Borghese Gardens (Rome)

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Eat pasta salad with balsalmic vinegar by one of the many fountains in this central park in Italy where fall views abound. Originally a private vineyard, the Villa Borghese Gardens were completely redesigned and expanded for Pope Paul V’s nephew in 1605 – and we’re so glad! The park offers an art museum, a lake and even a place to skateboard. There are also three secret gardens inside, perfect for a romantic picnic with your one and only. 

Yoyogi Park (Japan)

This park is one of the largest in Tokyo, and with vendors selling snacks, ice cream and drinks, your fall picnic can be an impromptu one. It’s only a five minute walk from Harajuku Station, and as the park’s singular gingko tree forest turns golden come fall, it’s easy to find quiet in the midst of a vast city. International festivals are also held often in the park’s southern section, which includes a permanent stage. 

Vondelpark (Amsterdam)

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Picnicking at Amsterdam’s largest city park would make you one of 10 million annual visitors who anticipate its beauty – in the fall, its sights won’t be easily forgotten. Hang out in the grass and make friends with the locals as you enjoy a healthy picnic, but be sure to save room for a stroopwafel. Don’t miss Pablo Picasso’s sculpture The Fish, a landmark in this lush park.