Whether it’s brunch with friends, lunch with the kids, a romantic evening out or even a work get-together, picnics are a great way to soak up some vitamin D and relax while snacking away!
Of course, setting up your outdoor eatery takes a little planning – and we’re here to help! Read on for tips to create the perfect picnic atmosphere, U/D-style!
The most important question to answer is where your picnic will be taking place! Lucky for us, University District – and Calgary as a whole – is full of green spaces where you can take in lovely views while eating your meal al fresco.
In U/D, check out the North Pond as a serene and beautiful picnic spot, with lookout views and a stunning grove of trees to serve as your backdrop! Ample seating makes the pond a pleasure. Local spots to fill your hamper are so close by! Save-on-Foods comes quickly to mind.
How about a summer celebration in the NW Commons Park? Its award-winning inclusive playground, oversized chess and ping pong offers not only a great place to picnic but built-in accessible fun!
Venturing into Northwest Calgary, the park options are endless – from the gazebos and picnic spots in Edworthy Park to wading areas in Bowness Park, there really is an ideal picnic spot for everyone!
Looking to make your picnic an adventure? Head over to Nose Hill Park, leave the car in the parking lot and take a quick hike up to the top of the hill and reward your hard work with a great meal and phenomenal city vista!
TIP: Some parks in Calgary have charcoal grills available for use, while others allow small camp stoves to be brought along! Check the City of Calgary parks page to see more.
Getting a patio brunch spot in the city can be tough during the summer months. So why not get the group together for an outdoor brunch in a central park? Ask everyone to dress up in themed garb — 1920s flapper-style, Hawaiian luau, hippie gear or all-stripes — to and make an event of the meal.
If you and your coworkers are getting tired of sitting in the office kitchen, it’s the perfect time to shake things up with a professional picnic lunch. Bringing a little fun to the middle of the day by ordering in or bringing your lunch pot-luck style from home and heading over to the nearest park!
Kids love picnics too, so why not plan a special outing for the children in your life? Make it themed to their favourite movie, or just have them help pick their favourite foods – the excitement of eating in the park, followed by play time, is often enough to keep them happy for hours. Picnics are also a great birthday party plan, allowing you more time to enjoy the day without having to prep for – and clean up after! – a house full of kids. Remember to pack a kite, a ball, a frisbee and Bluetooth speakers! Read on for more perfect picnic packing tips.
TIP: Starting June 1, some Calgary parks are allowing alcohol consumption in specific areas – so you don’t have to give up the brunch mimosas or lunch beers! It is based on a booking system with time restrictions – read all the details here.
Sandwiches and lemonade are a picnic meal classic, but that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. Cook a meal at home and pack it up to take to the closest park – although be sure to pack well so hot food stays hot and cool food stays, well, cool.
If cooking isn’t your thing – or you’re looking for something quick and easy – opt for takeout from a local restaurant! There are so many options right here in U/D! From a few slices of pizza to a five-course meal, the ease of picking up dinner on the way to your coveted picnic spot means less to worry about and more time to savour your meal.
TIP: Check out our local retailers for take-out ideas. And this guide to parks and play areas for more ideas on where to head!
In addition to your food, remember to pack hand sanitizer, sunscreen and bug spray! If you’re out in the sun, remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
TIP: Making picnics environmentally friendly means ditching the plastic utensils and paper plates. Opt for reusable or compostable selections and refillable drink bottles instead! Be sure to use garbage receptacles and keep our outdoor spaces clean and tidy for the next visitors and the planet!
Summer is fleeting! So let’s get outdoors and enjoy it every chance we have! When out and about enjoying Calgary’s many green spaces, remember to respect the area by cleaning up, using garbage receptacles and not feeding wild animals. Keeping our parks clean and safe means more are able to enjoy!
The sun is shining, the grass is green and the weather is warm – it’s the perfect time to set up a blanket outdoors and have yourself a picnic! Share your suggestions with us and the community on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and a closer look at the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.