Where to Have a Family Picnic in Chicagoland

Spend a beautiful day at one of these local picnic spots.

Nothing quite says simple summer fun like a picnic with your littles. Whether spread out in the backyard over a plaid blanket with throw pillows for comfy seats, set up at a park on a picnic table or in beach chairs with your toes digging in the sand, there are so many reasons we love a good picnic.

Topping the list:

  • Fresh air and sunshine
  • Yummy finger food, sandwiches (think beyond PB&J) or cute charcuterie boards, chips and ice-cold drinks
  • Quality time together
  • No waiting in lines to go out to eat

Let everybody grab their stuffed pals, pick the menu and the activities, and together savor a glorious, lazy summer day. We listed below some of our favorite picnic spots in Chicago and suburbs. Looking for more fun things to do with kids? Check out our summer family guide!

Best picnic spots in Chicago

Photo credit: Adler Planetarium

Margaret Donahue Park

This popular Lakeview park features a Chicago skyline-themed playground, expansive Cubs-emblazoned turf field, splash pad with all the bells and whistles, shaded picnic tables and grassy areas.

Adler Planetarium

It’s no surprise that the planetarium’s spectacular grounds constantly attract wedding parties as it’s considered one of the most magnificent city backdrops. You’ll find plenty of other picnic-goers watching the boats go by and taking in the view.

Ping Tom Memorial Park

Amidst Chinese design elements and a lovely view of the river, this 17-acre outdoor haven is a popular locale for concerts and movies. Plus, there are ample areas to picnic with friends and a playground for kids.

Best picnic spots in North/Northwest Suburbs

Photo credit: Ravinia Festival

Ravinia Festival

Shake your groove thing with a dance party on the grass. Ravinia’s summer concerts for kids are the best place to picnic while listening to your favorite tunes. This season’s festival begins May 20.

Ned Brown Preserve

More commonly known as Busse Woods, this 3,558-acre offers so much land to explore for the perfect picnic spot. You might be lucky enough to see a few model airplanes flying around! Boating and lake centers are open select days and masks are required in indoor spaces.

Independence Grove

Address: 16400 W. Buckley Road, Libertyville

The trip to Libertyville will be worth the drive once you see this spot’s breathtaking nature views. Set up your picnic near the Children’s Grove, an accessible playground where the kiddos can run around.

Best picnic spots in South Suburbs

Photo credit: Centennial Park

Harvester Park

This multi-age playground has a large tree house and a mini ravine for sand play. Set up lunch at one of the picnic tables or on the grassy fields. Located right off I-55, it’s a convenient spot for friends venturing from the city or ‘burbs. Playgrounds are limited to 50 people at a time, and the water features and basketball courts at the park are closed.

Wampum Lake Woods

This location has always been a popular fishing lake. Get your family hooked on fishing or simply take advantage of the four large groves available for picnicking.

Centennial Park

The largest park in Tinley Park gives you many options for your next picnic outing. After eating, take a scenic walking path or check out the Extreme Skate Park. Verify building closures before you go and maintain social distancing while in the park.

Best picnic spots in Western Suburbs

Photo credit: Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum

Yes, you have to pay for admission to get in, but we promise that a visit to The Morton Arboretum is always a great idea on a beautiful sunny day. The arboretum has plenty of space to find a picnic spot and while you’re there, make sure to explore the Children’s Garden for some fun interactive activities.

Batavia Riverwalk

Located in downtown Batavia, take a stroll along a boardwalk leading to the North Point Pavilion with some great views of the Fox River. The Riverwalk is open for strolling, though patrons are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups.

Pottawatomie Park

Here’s another picnic spot located along the Fox River. Pottawatomie Park provides some great family-friendly fun including mini golf and a swimming pool. Note that some buildings and bathroom areas may be closed while reservations for putt-putt are recommended in advance.

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