Spring — or autumn, if you’re south of the Equator — is inching toward us, so it is time to plan either your first or last picnic of the season. With the right food and the right company, you can picnic at any park in the world and have a great time. So what’s the point of highlighting these 10 parks? Just wait and see what makes them stand out.
Since there are millions of parks around the world, narrowing down this list was no easy task. First, we decided to focus on urban parks that are essential to the cultural lives of their respective cities — the kinds of places where you’ll meet locals and tourists alike. Then, of course, we considered food. Which parks are close to eating joints that serve delicious, portable food you can throw into your bag? Which parks have great restaurants, so you can have an impromptu picnic if you don’t want to hit the streets just yet? If you have access to a kitchen in any of these cities, we’d highly recommend that you pack your own food using local ingredients.
We included a mixed bag of parks: some are quiet and romantic, and some are bustling cultural centers. Some are just good places to make new friends; you’ll have a hard time not meeting people over yerba mate at Parque Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires. The one thing these parks have in common is that they are all visually stunning. You might have trouble chewing, because your mouth is likely to stay agape for hours; that’s how beautiful these landscapes are. For example, Stanley Park in Vancouver is an entire peninsula in itself. And for the best experience in any city, don’t forget to pack your picnic essentials.
Get ready to start daydreaming about your next meal on the grass (and keep your travel agent’s number on speed dial). Here are the 10 best places to picnic around the world.
10. Mission Dolores Park (San Francisco)
With 16 acres of picnic space to choose from and fantastic views of the city’s picturesque Mission district, Mission Dolores park is one of the most vibrant, fun-filled places to picnic in the world. Cultural events, like San Francisco Mime Troupe performances, Aztec ceremonial dances, and, our favorite, the annual Easter “Hunky Jesus” competition, show that the legacy of the 1960s is still alive in San Francisco — especially in this legendary park. It’s a great place to make new friends, and maybe you’ll share some of the sandwiches you pack (get them from The Sandwich Place on Mission Street) with them.
9. Parque Tres de Febrero (Buenos Aires)
Drinking yerba mate in the park is the most Argentinian thing you could possibly do, so do so at Parque Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires. Highlights include the Buenos Aires Zoo, the City Planetarium, and a Japanese garden — the largest one outside Japan. Book lovers would enjoy a picnic by the Poets' Garden, with stone and bronze busts of luminaries like Jorge Luis Borges, Luigi Pirandello, and William Shakespeare. Pack some Pepepe sandwiches (chicken, bacon, and avocado on ciabatta) and seasonal fruit licuados from Voltaire in your basket.