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
- Address: 1230 W. School St., Chicago
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.
- Address: 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
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.
- Address: 1700 S. Wentworth Ave., Chicago
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
- Address: 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park
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.
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.
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
- Address: 15W400 Harvester Drive, Burr Ridge
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.
- Address: 598 Thornton Lansing Road, Thornton
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.
- Address: 7800 W. 171st St., Tinley 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
- Address: 4100 IL-53, Lisle
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.
- Address: 100 N. Island Ave., Batavia
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.
- Address: 8 North Ave., St. Charles
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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