The term “picnic” can be traced back to 17th century France, with various historical iterations sharing certain traits: a communal meal in public, generally in summer, and often including the vino of one’s choice. Cincinnati’s public spaces seem to have been designed with such historical picnicking parameters in mind, just begging for visitors to settle down for a couple hours to share a meal with friends.
Eden Park is a true civic gem, 186 acres comprising numerous overlooks, greenspace, and public art, not to mention the Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati Art Museum, and Playhouse in the Park. Pair lunch from the nearby Gomez Salsa or Just Q’in with an afternoon at Twin Lakes to start understanding why Nicholas Longworth named the area after the Garden of Eden. cincinnatiparks.com/eden-park
Catered in the Park
For those who don’t have a picnic basket large enough for 30-plus friends, Great Parks of Hamilton County’s catering services will drop off freshly grilled food, side items, and drinks—or even barbecue for your group—at any of more than 50 picnic shelters inside Miami Whitewater Forest, Sharon Woods, Triple Creek, and Winton Woods. It’s not just grilled burgers and dogs, either; they offer a Southern-inspired barbecue lunch, herb-crusted sirloin steak, and vegetarian options. greatparks.org/reservation/catering
Picnic en Blanc
Thirty years ago, the French took picnicking to another level with the creation of Diner en Blanc, a fancy al fresco dinner involving folks dressed entirely in white. Cincinnatians have embraced the spectacle since 2012, attracting hundreds of attendees to Washington Park and Cincinnati Art Museum carrying in tables, chairs, linens, food, and wine. This year’s secret location will be divulged the day of, on Sept. 15; a referral from a past attendee can move you up the waiting list. cincinnati.dinerenblanc.com