The Front Range is overflowing with picturesque spots for an al fresco meal. Here, a few places you should add to your list. Plus: where to procure your picnic fare before you lay down your checkered blanket.VICTORIA CARODINE • JULY 30, 2020
Location, location, location. Besides what’s on the menu, locale is everything when it comes to planning the perfect picnic. And because eating and drinking al fresco is another reason to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air, we found a few of the best spots in and around Denver to do just that—as well as local delis and restaurants to help fill your picnic basket.
Before you go, be sure to check with each park for COVID-19 related restrictions and rules.
Eben G. Fine Park | Boulder
At the base of Boulder Canyon, nestled along the Boulder Creek, Eben G. Fine is a scenic spot for an afternoon picnic. The park, which sits just blocks away from Boulder’s affluent Pearl Street Mall, is ample with trees offering shade, access to the creek*, and public facilities. Because of its central location, Eben G. Fine is is a favored destination for runners, walkers, tubers, and picnickers alike. With the relaxing sounds of the stream nearby, the park offers idyllic scenery while you chow down on local fare. 101 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
Where to get picnic supplies: Before you head to the park, call in an order at Organic Sandwich Company. The sandwich maker, which also has a location in Louisville, uses all-organic, non-GMO ingredients, and sources its meats, cheeses, and greens from local farms in Longmont and Hotchkiss. The menu features delicious combinations like the turkey brie and the spicy veggie—crafted with house-made habanero tomato jam, aged white cheddar, and micro-greens on a pretzel roll. 1500 Pearl Street, Boulder
*Access to the Boulder Creek is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check here for updates on closures.
Wonderland Lake Park | Boulder
Along the foothills of North Boulder lies Wonderland Lake, a serene watering hole with plentiful lakeside lounging spots for your next al fresco lunch. The lake is located 0.2 miles (about a five minute walk) from the Wonderland Lake Trailhead, and the destination is more than worth that short stroll, with ample grass bordering the lake, picnic tables, and benches on the southwest side of the lake. After your meal, stretch your legs on one of the many of the park’s walking trails and the surrounding Boulder Open Space hiking trails like the Foothills Trail—which begins on the northwest side of the lake.
Where to get picnic supplies: For a low-maintenance meal, stop by Cured for gourmet, pre-made lunch boxes. The Stolen Hour box ($40) includes an assortment of meats, cheeses, a baguette, chocolate, and sparkling water—for two. 1825 Pearl Street, Boulder
Parfet Park | Golden
Once a literal dump, Parfet Park was dedicated to George W. Parfet, a clay miner, after he died in 1924. Today, it’s a charming and well-trafficked plot of grass, sitting at the center of downtown Golden along both the town’s main street and Clear Creek—an ideal spot for people watching, reading, and, of course, an afternoon picnic. The park features picnic tables (if you didn’t bring a blanket), public bathrooms, mountain views, and access to Clear Creek Trail.
Where to get picnic supplies: Mr. Miners, inside Tributary Food Hall and Drinkery, is just down the street from Parfet Park and offers decadent charcuterie boards—in addition to salads, sandwiches, and soups. 701 12th Street, Golden
Alamo Placita Park | Denver
Nestled off of Speer Boulevard, Alamo Placita Park is one of Denver’s hidden gems. The 4.6-acre plot of land opened used to be the location for high-diving elk back in 1898 (yes, really). Now, elaborate flower displays are the main attraction to this historic locale. Alamo Placita—meaning “Little Place of Cottonwoods”—is one of seven parks that is serviced by Denver Parks and Recreation’s horticultural team. Between the months of May and October, the Italian-styled, sunken garden beds are propagated with flowers from the City Park Greenhouse and are tended frequently. The symmetrical parterres of blooms at the center of the park create the ideal backdrop for a lunchtime picnic. 300 N. Emerson Street
Where to get picnic supplies: Oliver’s Meat and Seafood Market is a 20-minute walk from Alamo Placita Park and carries locally-sourced meats and upscale snacks for your picnic basket. 1718 E. Sixth Avenue
Barnum Park | Denver
If your idea of a perfect picnic spot includes Denver’s skyline, make sure to secure a shaded patch of land at Barnum Park. The park was named after wealthy circus mogul Phineas T. Barnum of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, who bought 760-acres of land in Denver in 1878. Barnum planned on using some of the land to house his circus animals in the winter but never actually brought them here. Instead of elephants and lions, Barnum Park features walking trails, a dog park, and the Barnum Lake Park Reservoir. The pavilion at the top of the park’s hill offers stunning views of the Mile High City in the distance—and a nice spot to relax and enjoy a Coors Banquet (which is legal again now that the alcohol ban was lifted on July 23).
Where to get picnic supplies: Before you make your way to the park, grab a couple of hoagies and chips from Classic Eats Deli on Colfax. The family-run deli uses all fresh and locally-sourced ingredients for their delicious sandwiches like the best-selling Bada Bing! sandwich—Classic’s spin on an Italian sub. 3910 W. Colfax Avenue, Denver
Harriman Lake Park | Littleton
If you’re looking for a less crowded spot to wine and dine, Harriman Lake Park in Littleton promises a serene lakeside experience. Just south of Bear Creek Lake, Harriman sits in the middle of a prairie, surrounded by a 1.43 mile loop trail. There are a two main lakeside spots ideal for picnicking, in addition to park benches and picnic tables. However, park amenities are limited to maintain the natural integrity of the area. W. Quincy Avenue & S. Kipling Parkway, Littleton
Where to get picnic supplies: Curds Cheese and Nook Coffee offers prepared and build-your-own small and large cheeseboards that will make planning your excursion a walk in the park. 2449 Main Street, Littleton
Denver Botanic Gardens | Denver
While it might seem like an obvious choice for a picnic, the Denver Botanic Gardens boasts plentiful lawn space, tucked away benches, and a flowering oasis ideal for a picnic for two. And while outside food is welcome (but no alcohol, please), the gardens’ restaurant, Hive Garden Bistro, is open for takeout orders. A timed ticket is required prior to entry to the gardens during the pandemic.
Where to get picnic supplies: Before you make your way to the gardens, stop by Leven Deli for a pastrami reuben sandwich (or two) and a few chocolate, tahini, and malted milk brownies for your basket. You won’t regret it. 123 W. 12th Avenue