Savor Tips: Best St. Louis Picnic Spots
It’s summer in the U.S. and that can be a great time to spend a lazy afternoon or evening under the shade of a big tree watching the clouds waft by, play a game, read a book, or maybe just listen to the buzz of summer insects, or if you’re lucky, a nearby band with some food and drink, friends, family or even just yourself.
We took a poll of our Savor Saint Louis staff to find out their favorite St. Louis summer places to picnic, what they like to bring and a few other tips to make the most out of their picnics. We had a few ties, and even learned about a spot we hadn’t thought of before.
What’s your favorite place to picnic in the St. Louis region?
- Missouri Botanical Gardens – MoBot or the Garden, as it’s affectionately known, came in as a three-way tie with Vinnie, Natalie and Steven all picking this. Steven and Natalie each suggested Wednesday evenings during the Whittaker Music Festival was their favorite time and that finding a remote corner or private nook was best (one suggested it felt more like you’re breaking the rules that way). Technically picnicking is only allowed at the Garden during their weekly summer music festival – we wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble, Vinnie.
- Lafayette Park – Like mother, like daughter. Jennifer and Susie both picked this as their favorites. Susie added she likes to go “every other Saturday night” during its summer concert series.
- Forest Park– Anna, a true Central West Ender, picked this park and since it’s so enormous (twice the size of Central Park in New York City) she suggested: under the trees near Art Hill so you can hear and see the water.
- Urban Chestnut’s Midtown Brewery & Biergarten – Really? You can take your own food and have a picnic here? Yes, according to one of our newest tour guides, Shawna you can. “They just ask that you don’t take in your own drink,” she said. And since her husband works there, we’ll trust her. Of course, buying a large pretzel or other snacks from the establishment is welcome.
- Tower Grove Park – Vinnie picked this spot too, and we have to let him have a second choice to keep him in good graces with the Garden.
- Laumeier Sculpture Garden or Shaw Nature Reserve – this St. Louis city booster, Carrie chose places a bit further out. She considers it “feeling like a drive to the country.”
What are your 1-3 favorite things (food or drink) to take on a picnic with you?
- Wine is a must, according to Vinnie. He also likes to keep it simple with cheese and crackers and charcuterie – but only because he can pronounce it.
- Jennifer suggests sangria, cheese board and french bread. She also suggests pan bagnat for a sandwich (because “they’re already squished”). Here’s her favorite recipe for them.
- A growler of beer, fresh berries and soft cheese is what you’ll get if you invite Steve along.
- Obadtza cheese spread, radishes, Volpi salami (a St. Louis-made salami) for Shawna, bringing the worlds together.
- Red wine, triple brie and Anna’s curry cookies is what Anna brings, so if you want curry cookies, get to know Anna!
- Natalie’s favorites include: bruschetta, honeyed ricotta, crusty bread, cherries and a dry rosé.
- Susie goes all out suggesting: a good bottle of white wine, good cheeses, crackers, French bread, olives and some fresh fruit. Also fried chicken for the meat eaters. She also said last year was all about peach sangria – we think that sounds good this year too!
- Carrie likes to bring homemade black bean hummus along with a variety of in season crudité (another one to try and say), Volpi salami and some Manchego or other raw goat cheese.
Lastly, a few important tips from our seasoned picnic goers include:
- Remember the corkscrew! And always bring extra wine.
- Shade and locales with good people watching is important to some of our Savor staff.
- A wagon – instead of lugging everything by hand, a wagon or coolers with wheels is nice (backpacks work well if you happen to bike to your urban park picnic).
- Insect repellant.
- A good ol’ ratty blanket that no one cares about if there are spills.
- Some camping chairs for those who aren’t ground sitters.
For more tips, check out this picnic source: http://www.portlandpicnicsociety.com/. And if you don’t have a park nearby to picnic in, not to worry, a back or even a front yard works, we hear one of our staff even went on a picnic under a highway viaduct in downtown St. Louis once.
Enjoy your picnic and let us know your favorite places, food, drinks and tips.