Picnicking is one of life’s simple pleasures, and this list of summer picnic essentials is everything you need to plan your own perfect picnic. It’s a great (and free!) activity that you can enjoy with your significant other, or a group of friends. Not only does it make for a nice weekend “day date”, but it’s also a fun way to take advantage of the summer weather. There are so many great parks in Pittsburgh (my favorites being Frick Park and Highland Park), and with all of the Healthy Ride bike rental stops, anyone can take advantage of the city’s beautiful scenery.
Side note: As I was putting this post together, I started googling picnic quotes for something inspiring. I ended up with these:
- “I’m bringing loads of alcohol to your picnic as my side dish.”
- “Let’s picnic instead. Your house smells like shit”
(*This one definitely made me laugh out loud.)
Inspire you? I thought so.
So, now that you’re inspired to go on your own picnic date, let’s get together everything you’ll need:
1. PICNIC BASKET (because…obviously).
You’re going to need something to pack all of that food in, and these collapsible picnic baskets are really nice to have around in general. They don’t take up a ton of space, but they hold a ton. Full disclosure: I actually keep one of these in the back of my car for collecting leftovers every time Arnie and I go home. His mom is the world’s best cook, so any time we can smuggle food back to Pittsburgh, we absolutely do.
I am also a sucker for these traditional and fully loaded picnic baskets from Target. But, truth be told, in our 600 sq. foot apartment, I just don’t have the room to dedicate to this guy. The collapsible option is so much more practical for us and does the same job. Plus, it’s insulated to keep food warm and light enough to not add extra weight on my [already pathetically weak] arms.
Orrr.. if you’re just sticking to a wine and cheese theme (my kind of picnic), I adore these insulated wine totes with personalized monogramming.
2. BLANKET OR THROW
For covering a picnic table or using it to sit on, you’re going to need a blanket. I found several great and affordable options at Target and Nordstrom Rack, and heavier duty versions at Mark and Graham. I prefer something insulated, just because the ground can be moist (and also because I want that extra layer between me and insects).
3. A BIKE
Pittsburgh, despite its hills, is a bike-friendly city. There are many great riverside trails and bike lanes throughout town. Though it’s totally possible to drive to one of the parks, it’s so worth it to get some exercise and take in the view while you work up your appetite.
4. SUN HAT or BASEBALL CAP
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harsh rays is no joke, and the best way to do that is by wearing a hat and plenty of sunscreen. The one linked above is under $20, and this Girls version from Target is under $10! I have a small head, so the Girls sizing is a better fit for me, but I so adore the bow on the H&M version above.
Just as cute, and equally practical, are these personalized Mark and Graham baseball caps that come in a variety of colors. These would be really cute gift ideas for anyone with a summer birthday (or getting a new last name!).
5. BLUETOOTH SPEAKER
Bluetooth speakers are great companions for picnicking, and easy enough to toss into a backpack or basket. This one is under $30, comes in pink and purple, and includes the necessary battery.
6. LAWN GAMES or PLAYING CARDS
Lawn games like bocce, cornhole, croquet and lawn dice will add another level of fun to your picnic adventure. Except… I don’t think you’ll want to backpack a couple of cornhole boards, so maybe go with these totally adorable personalized playing cards if you go the biking route.
If you’re riding a bike, sitting on the ground, and playing a round of cornhole, there’s no better option than a romper. You’ll look girly, but won’t have to worry about your sundress catching a gust of wind, or getting caught in your bike pedals.
Pinterest is a goldmine for finding portable recipes for your picnic. A few that caught my eye were these Taco Mason Jar Salads and this Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad. Or better yet, read this article for how to pack a picnic for wine tasting!
It’s going to be a beautiful weekend in Pittsburgh, and hopefully it will be wherever you are too. Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!