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7 Unconventional Picnic Spots

7 Unconventional Picnic Spots

With the summer solstice officially starting Friday, June 21, and July being National Picnic Month, why not kick your picnic planning into high gear?

As we all know, there are many ways and places to picnic, there’s always the traditional route, bringing a blanket and picnic basket or cooler with your favorite goodies and heading to the local park, beach or lake.

But, if you want to do something different that will make a more lasting memory, why not think outside the picnic basket. Think of places and events that you visit while on vacation, or even around town that you typically wouldn’t think of as an outdoor activity,  but that might have beautiful outdoor areas around them. In the process you might discover a new, favorite place to picnic.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Picnic on a rooftop. Whether you are on vacation, or in the middle of your work day, you can find a nice quiet spot to dine and take in the views of the city skyline. Many downtown buildings have rooftop gardens, outdoor sculpture and fountains, and some even have rooftop bars or cafes that do the work for you. Take advantage and dine al fresco.

Museums, galleries, and even historic buildings or sites. Before people say I am encouraging them to break the rules, I mean outside the building, not inside near the precious artifacts or art. Most have beautiful grounds, with sculptures or outdoor art, and benches for sitting and refreshing oneself.  Historic buildings also have gardens and other interesting things outside to explore that make for an unforgettable picnic experience. Many art galleries have sculpture gardens and are even located in a park or park-like setting.

Picnic on a hilltop or canyon. Hilltop or canyon views of the city or surrounding countryside offer something different each time you visit. If there’s no way to get out safely and picnic, spread your blanket on the back seat and enjoy the view.

Picnic at an outdoor concert, musical or theatrical event. If you combine your food with entertainment, the possibilities are endless. A concert, a local symphony performance, an outdoor theater or theater performance in the park, and movies in the park, are all great places to enjoy picnicking. Here in L.A., Hollywood Bowl picnics are legendary, but many people don’t often think about picnicking while at a concert or play, especially if it’s an evening performance.

Picnic outside at night in the yard, at your favorite building, park or make this the time for the hilltop view picnic. Just make sure you bring your own light(s), so that you can see the terrain, and that you know what critters or wildlife might be there. For a really unique idea, why not head to a show at your local planetarium and have a picnic while there? Not inside of course but on the grounds outside. Many are located in spots that offer great views of the city so you can star gaze after getting some knowledge and enjoy the view.

Have an indoor picnic. While you might think of doing this in the winter, when the heat is really on in the summer, the living room, den or dining room might be the coolest spot around. The key to making it fun is to be creative and recreate the feel of an outdoor picnic.

Picnic at a local brewery, winery, or farm. There are wineries and farms that offer not only offer picnic spots, but will provide the complete meal for you too. And many breweries are also starting to offer outdoor spots and food to accompany their craft beers.

10 Healthy Picnic Food Ideas

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
6:03PM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Thank you.

9:54AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013


9:23AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

I love picnics...and i've pretty much had one in each of these places! But i often have a picnic at my great grandpa's tombstone as not only did i adore him but picnics were one of his favorite things in life! Thanks

6:43AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013


5:25AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013


6:58PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013


2:43PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013


3:15AM PDT on Jun 20, 2013


8:29PM PDT on Jun 19, 2013

Thanks. Fun suggestions.

8:45PM PDT on Jun 18, 2013


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