A picnic might take place on a red-checked tablecloth spread on the ground, but picnics can actually be anywhere and anything you want them to be. With hundreds of tree-filled parks, numerous places to access waterways, outdoor concerts and urban spots with public arts installations, Sacramento is rich with opportunities for picnicking. Any time is the right time to enjoy a meal outdoors, especially on April 23, 2015, which is National Picnic Day. A tip for the person packing dessert for the picnic basket that day – April 23 is also National Cherry Cheesecake Day.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
2850 San Lorenzo Way
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 489-4918
www.sacnaturecenter.com

Tables are set up for picnickers around the Nature Center building, so pack your lunch and bring the family along. The Center is part of a nature preserve that features 100-acres of woodlands, ponds, shrub lands and meadows. The preserve is a natural habitat for creatures great and small, including deer, owls, wild turkeys, coyotes, rabbits, hawks, snakes, squirrels, songbirds and waterfowl. There are self-guided hiking trails, numerous events and museum exhibits, kids programs, a gift shop, and plenty of other things that will enhance your appreciation for the spectacular ecosystem of the Sacramento area.

Related: Historic Walking Tour Of Sacramento

The Underground Tasting Room
900 Second St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 444-2349
theundergroundtastingroom.com

For a more elegant, French café-esque picnic experience, make a reservation for the picnic package at this Old Sacramento shop. The below street-level tasting room has a cozy brick courtyard, fountain and Old World charm. The Underground Picnic for two includes a private table tasting of seven El Dorado County wines from Rendez-vous Winery and Twisted Twig Winery; the lead-free crystal wine glasses are yours to take home. Enjoy a repast of salami, Raincoast Crisps, dried cherries, nuts, cheese and a wine wafer from Sacramento Cookie Company. The picnic package includes gift cards for purchases at the tasting room.

California State Capitol Park
13th and L St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-0333
www.parks.ca.gov

The park around the California state capitol is a perfect place to picnic, whether you are a lifelong resident or are visiting from out of town. The expanse includes mature trees and plants from all over the world, fountains and the half-acre World Peace Rose Garden, featuring more than 650 aromatic roses. The majestic trees in the Civil War Memorial Grove were mere saplings when they were transported from Civil War battlefields and planted here in 1897. The park has a California Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a California Veterans Memorial, which are moving tributes to the veterans who served from as early as the 1800s to the present day. Spread out a blanket or sit at a picnic table and savor your meal, while enjoying the gorgeous sights and sounds, as well as the antics of the park’s resident squirrels and birds.

McKinley Park
601 Alhambra Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 277-6060
portal.cityofsacramento.org

McKinley Park is a hub of activity, located right at the meeting point of midtown and East Sacramento. Surrounded by beautiful, classic California homes, the expansive park has a community center, swimming pool, a Garden and Arts Center, play areas for all ages, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a jogging path and fields for softball and soccer. McKinley also has a gorgeous rose garden, which includes 1,200 bushes, to wander through or rent for weddings. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park, and there is no shortage of shaded grassy areas to use as well. Larger picnic areas, including barbeque grills and space for 50 -100 people, are available by reservation. Applications to reserve an area are available on the park’s website.

Discovery Park
1000 Garden Hwy.
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 875-6961
portal.cityofsacramento.org

Located along the American River in Natomas, Discovery Park is a 302-acre multi-use area. There are specific picnic sites with tables and grills, but a picnic blanket can be laid down almost anywhere. There are spots to fish, play ball or launch a boat, and a winding bike trail extends 30+ miles. Local events are often held at the park, which has plenty of available parking.

Related: Most Iconic Works Of Art In Sacramento

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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