The Ultimate Guide To Planning The Perfect Summer Picnic

For being one of the most bustling metropolises in the world, it is surprisingly easy to wrap a sandwich, box some wine and pack a world-class picnic in New York City. In fact, it almost seems like New Yorkers were born to dine al fresco (Central Park may be one of the most famous picnic destinations in the world, after all), and we seem to pride ourselves on doing it in style. The perfect picnic combines effortlessness and immaculate planning—sometimes thrown together ingredients and a great day will do the trick, other instances call for a full-on menu—whatever your picnicking preference may be, we've got the scoop on the food, the spots, and of course, the baskets. Because a picnic just isn't a picnic without that wicker, baby!
The Place:

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Cherry Hill: It's a bit of a no-brainer, but Cherry Hill at Central Park is world renowned for a reason.

Central Park, near 72nd Street entrance, West of Bethesda Fountain.

Fort Tryon: A bit further north, but worth every bit of the journey, are the fields, flowers and peace of Fort Tryon Park. You’ll feel worlds away from Gotham.
Fort Tryon Park, 1 Margaret Corbin Drive.
McCarren Park: A veritable hipster haven, McCarren Park has easily the best people watching in the city.
McCarren Park, at Nassau Avenue and North 12th Streets, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Bridge Park: If you don't mind couples taking wedding pictures or the East River chill, the breathtaking view of the city here is one of our favorites.

Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, 2 Old Fulton Street, (at Furman Street); Brooklyn.

The Accessories:

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Minimalists will love the high-design of Swede Carina Ahlburg's picnic set, which holds stainless steel cutlery inside; Picnic Set By Carina Ahlburg, $81, available at huset. Brightly-colored paper napkins will keep things cheery (and clean); Solbränd Paper Napkin, $2, available at Ikea. A durable, large blanket is a must; Pendleton Serape Blanket, $179, available at Urban Outfitters. For those who refuse to take their picnicking sitting down, this portable table can be transported in a neat little sack. (Note: There are also matching chairs); Table In A Bag, $34, available at Crate And& Barrel. More sustainable than its plastic brethen, this biodegradable flatwarelooks chicer too; Bambu Bamboo Flatware, $12, available at Sur La Table. Keep your drinks cool (or warm!) in this graphic, poppy thermos. Dahlia Thermos, $44, available at Pylones. Not only does this bowl keep ingredients in, but the snap-in serving utensils are a portable, ingenious idea; Chill Salad Bowl With Servers, $12, available at Crate & Barrel.

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Don't buck tradition with this easy breezy vintage offering; Vintage Burlington Banquet Basket With Box And Accessories, $48, available at Etsy. We adore this simple, adorable picnic carrier. It can double as a lunch tote when summer isn't the season; Never A Doll Moment Lunch Bag, $19, available at ModCloth. Let's get down to serious drinking business, with this nifty, easily collapsible six-pack cooler; Six Pack Tote, $23, available at Built. For an all-inclusive, no-brainer affair, this basket will set you back, but you'll never be un-picnic-prepared again; Wicker Picnic Basket, $350, available at Williams-Sonoma. The retro-stylings of this cooler are chic—oh, and it'll keep your grub chilly, too; Picnic Cooler, $55, available at Crate & Barrel.
The Food:

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Eataly: Our newest favorite is the smorgasbord of options at Eataly, including freshly prepared sandwiches, or bread and cheese to go.
200 5th Avenue, (between West 23rd and 24th streets), 212-229-2560.

Blue Ribbon: Anyone worth their picnic blanket will tell you that the pre-ordered baskets from Blue Ribbon Bakery Market may be the city's best picnic staple.
14 Bedford Street (at Downing Street), 212-647-0408.

City Sandwich: If all you crave is a simple sandwich done perfectly, we can't get enough of the crusty bread and creative (and veggie friendly!) ingredients of Hell's Kitchen's City Sandwich.
649 Ninth Avenue (between West 45th and 46th streets), 646-684-3943.

Landmarc: Landmarc's a la carte choices are quality and the Time Warner location is close to Central Park, but it's particularly helpful to plan the exact date and time you want your picnic treats to arrive.
10 Columbus Circle (at West End), 212-823-6123.