From Food to Picnic Spots: Plan Your Perfect Philly Picnic

Spring and summer are perfect for going on a picnic and Philly, with its abundance of parks, is a great city to picnic in. Whether you want something casual or fancy, planning a picnic means finding the perfect spot and picking the perfect menu.

With more than 10,000 acres of park land, Philadelphia is the ideal city for enjoying a picnic in the spring or summer. Whether you want to enjoy a bite to eat before a big outdoor festival or want to make the meal the special occasion, planning a picnic in Philly means finding the perfect picnic spots, picking out your menu, and making sure you have all the supplies for a comfortable meal.

Pick a Spot

Where you end up holding your picnic depends in large part on what you’re planning on doing. Some summer events are structured around people bringing a picnic and enjoying food during the event. Twice a month throughout the summer, you can enjoy an outdoor film and picnic along the Schuylkill Banks. Snacks are on offer during the film, but you are welcome to bring your own, along with a picnic blanket or chairs. If you’re planning on catching one of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performances at the Mann Center this summer, you are welcome to bring along a picnic (outside food isn’t allowed at other events).

If you’re hoping to have a picnic just for the fun of it, there are plenty of picnic spots. Located along the edge of the Schuylkill River, in Northern Liberties, Penn Treaty Park has plenty of green space where you can spread out a picnic blanket. The Azalea Garden, located behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is another great spot. The park has a lot of space and is well shaded, to keep you cooler on a hot day. Over in West Philadelphia, Clark Park is an ideal spot for a picnic, thanks to its green lawn and the number of food trucks you’ll find parked along its perimeter.

Choose Your Menu

What’s a picnic without food? Stick with prepared foods or simple snacks that are easy to transport and that you can eat with your hands. One option would be to go to a place such as DiBruno Bros., either in South Philly or in Rittenhouse Square, and pick up some cheese, a loaf of bread, and snacks such as olives and pickles. Reading Terminal Market also has a good selection of prepared foods such as sandwiches and baked goods. Pick foods that you can eat at room temperature or that can survive for a few hours in a cooler.

Packing Up

If you’re bringing along any beverages or foods that should be kept relatively cool, a cooler is a must have. The size of the cooler is also important. Ideally, the food you bring shouldn’t fill up more than three quarters of it, so that you have plenty of room for ice. If you have a decently sized cooler, you can use it as a small table or even an extra seat during your picnic.

Pesky flies and ants are going to try to get at your food. Pack a few cloth napkins or paper towels to cover up foods during your picnic, to keep the bugs off of them. While a blanket might be all you need when the ground is dry, if you’re picnicking after a rain storm, you might want to bring along a waterproof tarp to put under it.

If it’s just you and a few friends, you don’t need to check with the city before heading out on a picnic. But, if you hope to reserve a spot in the park or are planning on having lots of people, you’ll want to apply for a permit first.

Image Source: Flickr/Chloe Lim


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