magazine | Gatherings | The Picnic Project

20 Best Picnic Spots In NYC And What To Eat Once You’re There

photo: Shinya Suzuki
New York City has some of the most beautiful, lush, waterfront parks in the U.S.A, not to mention some of the most picturesque spots to set up a picnic. We recently partnered with New York's "newly opened" experts at Just Opened New York to lead you in the right direction for your next outdoor snack time with a view. With sky high buildings peeking out above the trees and fresh groceries/markets on just about every corner, the OG urban jungle set us up for success with this roundup. 

Whether you want to spend the day picnicking and getting lost inside Central Park or retreat on your lunch break to a secret oasis in the city, this roundup has you covered with tips from the locals themselves. Happy picnicking! 
Photo: Astoria Park
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Astoria Park

New York City, New York
Open-air diners can take in panoramic views of the city from this 60-acre park in Queens. The team at Just Opened recommends heading to the central Great Lawn for some of the best seats in town or grabbing a bench between the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell Gate Bridges. Al fresco dining options include a little spot called Agnanti. The Mediterranean restaurant has a patio overlooking the park so you can enjoy the food and the views without doing any of the work yourself.
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Battery Park

New York City, New York
One of the best spots in the city to soak up some rays is at the quiet and clean corner of southern Manhattan. Battery Park flaunts water views that include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Head to their seated area and grab a table by the fountains if you’re not a fan of chilling on the ground. Inside tip from Just Opened: Outdoor enthusiasts looking for a spot to get a drink should head over to Pier A right next to the park or grab a bite at their raw bar while you take in the gorgeous sunset across the water. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn, New York
Some say that in order to get the best views of Manhattan, you have to leave Manhattan - Brooklyn Bridge Park would be a testament to this. The views are practically ripped from a postcard and there’s a plethora of spots to choose from to sit and take them in. Inside tip from Just Opened: If being by the water's edge is getting you in the mood for some seaside eats, head to Luke's Lobster which just set up shop permanently here last month and, for the first time ever, they're serving beer and wine to pair with your lobster roll. 
Photo: Riley M. Cole
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Bryant Park

New York City, New York
This small park, nestled in between the hustle and bustle of 5th and 6th Avenues, knows how to take advantage of a small space. At just 9.6 acres, Bryant Park is full of activity for the public to enjoy. From Boot Camp classes and yoga to poetry readings and juggling, Bryant Park offers some of the best people watching if you’re too shy to take part yourself.
Inside tip from Just Opened: Head over to new healthy salad hotspot, Mulberry & Vine just a few blocks over for some tasty salads to take with you. 
Photo: Shinya Suzuki
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Central Park

New York City, New York
No round-up of this nature would be complete without mention of the world-famous Central Park. There’s a reason why it’s the most visited park in the U.S, so no trip would be complete without a quick al fresco feast in one of the park’s many gorgeous spots. Inside tip from Just OpenedTake advantage of true New York service and get your picnic delivered to you by Gastronomie 491 who deliver to any green space in Upper Manhattan. 
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Clove Lakes Park

New York City, New York
Those on the look out for a secluded waterfront spot need look no further than Clove Lakes Park. Situated on Staten Island in the Sunnyside neigborhood, this park boasts a beautiful lake that comes complete with a variety of activities including fishing. Inside tip from Just OpenedUnlike most areas in Manhattan, the shoreline BBQ area (near the southeast corner of the lake) doesn’t require permits for parties of four or fewer so pit masters can come and get their grill on. 
Photo: Amanda Amport
7 / 20
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East River Park

New York City, New York
Situated in Williamsburg with the best view on the ground of the Manhattan skyline is the East River Park. Inside tip from Just OpenedThe spot has picnic tables and plenty of green space to get comfortable in and every Saturday, the famous food market, Smorgasburg, sets up shop giving you absolutely zero reason to bring your own food. 
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Fort Tryon Park

New York City, New York
Fort Tryon Park is a must-visit for those looking for lunch with a view. Located at Hudson Heights, there’s views of the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge, the New Jersey Palisades and the Harlem River. And, because it's more than a hundred blocks north of midtown, few tourists know about it so you won’t feel like you’re in the city or lacking in privacy at all. Inside tip from Just OpenedHead to the beautiful New Leaf Restaurant tucked away right in the heart of the park for lunch, dinner or brunch. 
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Gantry Plaza State Park

New York City, New York
For unparalleled views of both the Manhattan skyline and the water’s edge, Gantry Plaza State Park offers the best excuse to visit Long Island City. Settle down on one of their many picnic tables situated throughout the park and take in the scenic views or, if gorgeous water views are your thing (and let’s face it, why wouldn’t they be), head over to Blend on the Water for Mexican eats and cocktails with a view. 
10 / 20
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Governors Island

New York City, New York
After a huge make over, Governors Island reopened recently with thirty new acres of parks include Hammock Grove - a space with 50 red lounge-ready slings; the Play Lawn - home to two natural-turf ball fields; and the Liggett Terrace where you can get food and beer that’s served all day long. Inside tip from Just OpenedFood trucks like Blue Marble Ice Cream are spread throughout the park which also comes complete with man-made hills—including one which reaches as high as 80 feet above the harbor, offering panoramic views of the city. 
11 / 20
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Hudson River Park

Manhattan, New York City
Stretching five miles down Manhattan’s West Side from 59th Street down to Battery Park, the Hudson River Park offers awesome riverfront views spanning the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the New Jersey waterfront. Catch some rays from one of the many grassy areas or head out on one of their renovated piers to grab a slice of tranquility. Inside tip from Just OpenedThe only place you need to head to for eats out here is Grand Banks - an open-air boat complete with cocktails and some of the best lobster rolls in town. 
Photo: Glenwood
12 / 20
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Madison Square Park

New York City, New York
Madison Square Park doesn’t have the same views as many of Manhattan’s best spots but it’s a welcomed escape from the craziness of this part of town. The park also has its own Shake Shack to grab a bite from but, for eats with a better view, head to nearby new Greek spot, Mykonos Blue, that will transport you from the Midtown flurry to a Grecian oasis. 
Photo: McCarren Park
13 / 20
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McCarren Park

New York City, New York
Complete with baseball pitches, plenty of green spaces with trees for shade and two dog runs for those with four-legged guests, McCarren Park, on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, has it all. Inside tip from Just OpenedThere are plenty of delis nearby for grab-and-go items but you’d be better off sampling one of the many awesome new openings bordering this park - from the coveted Sauvage to the hit sushi spot Amami - both do awesome brunches but, if it’s brunch you’re after, you could try your luck at the Williamsburg institution, Five Leaves
14 / 20
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Mineral Springs Park

Manhattan, New York
One of the best spots within Central Park for large groups or families looking to see the sunset hitting the city’s towering buildings is Mineral Springs. A huge expanse of green space to relax on, all enclosed by lush green trees and foliage, there’s plenty of areas to choose from. Inside tip from Just OpenedThere’s a Le Pain Quotidien within the park to stock up at and they even offer beer, wine, free Wi-Fi and outdoor seating too. 
Photo: Prospect Park
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Prospect Park

Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park has an abundance of greenery, rolling hills and manicured enclaves to explore and get comfortable in. Inside tip from Just OpenedFood options here are equally on point with the famous Smorgasburg foodie-fest setting up shop here every Sunday.
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Randall’s Island

New York, New York
One of New York’s most unique parks and home to the Governors Ball music festival, Randall’s Island offers a variety of different sights and spots to enjoy. Take a stroll down miles of waterfront pedestrian and bike pathways, catch a game from one of 60 playing fields or catch a concert or festival at their newly renovated Event Lawn. Inside tip from Just OpenedWhile you’re uptown, just a short cab ride from the island is one of Harlem’s best kept jazz secrets - Minton’s
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Sheep’s Meadow

New York City, New York
Another gem that can be found within Central Park is Sheep’s Meadow which runs down the West side of the park from 69th to 66th streets. It’s a popular spot too so, getting there early to secure a good spot and watch the sun go down is a good idea. Stop by Tavern On The Green for a bite or get your picnic delivered to you by Gastronomie 491Inside tip from Just OpenedFor those looking for something a little more upscale, there’s Jean-Georges right on the corner of Central Park or the legendary Per Se, just one block further. 
Photo: NYC Gov Parks
18 / 20
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The High Line

New York City, New York
Passing through The High Line on any given day you’ll be sure to spot a marriage proposal or two. Inside tip from Just OpenedWalk through their lush walkway complete with benches and grassy spots to rest at and grab a frozen refreshment from La Newyorkina or an ice-cream sandwich from Melt Bakery to keep you going. 
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Van Cortlandt Park

New York City, New York
This huge North Bronx-based park has plenty of shaded spots offering respite from the sun. The park is nearly 60 percent wooded so there are plenty of areas to explore and hidden gems to discover. Explore the Northwest Forest’s 188 acres or the picturesque, Croton Woods, complete with flowing streams and plenty of wildlife to be seen. Inside tip from Just OpenedWhen you’re done exploring, the nearby Bronx Alehouse will be ready and waiting with a cold one. 
Photo: Photorator
20 / 20
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Washington Square Park

New York City, New York
While it’s not one of the biggest parks or always the cleanest, Washington Square Park offers the best people-watching views in the city. Take a seat by the Washington Square Arch or their water fountain and watch the many street performances taking place or take on one of the resident chess players seated along the edge of the park. Inside tip from Just Opened: Grab a vegan salad or some vegan baked goods from the nearby famous spot by CHLOE. or head to Sadelle’s for some of the best upscale bagels in town. 
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