Make the most of the good weather this weekend – who knows how long it’ll last for – and get some take-out for the park. But don’t overthink it. Here’s our guide to some small local businesses serving up easy and good grub, and the closest green space nearby to consume it in…
Also worth mentioning: the City of Vancouver’s Alcohol in Parks Pilot program is now in full swing. So, if your picnic includes sipping on some local beer, a bottle of wine or something else of the sort, take a minute to do your research on which parks have designated drinking areas. Then stake our your spot and concentrate on relaxing!
Have a Pleasant Mid-Day Break
Mt. Pleasant Park (16th and Ontario) isn’t big, but between the skateboard park, basketball court, playground, and mostly flat grassy area, it attracts a varied crowd – excellent for partaking in or people-watching. Enjoy a mid-day picnic with provisions from The Mighty Oak Cafe – within easy walking distance, just a couple blocks southeast. Or venture slightly further, to Cambie Street, and hit Potluck Hawker Eatery for some South East Asian inspired sandos and snacks – the watermelon salad, corn ribs, roti and pandan ice cream sandwiches sound perfect for the occasion.
Fuel Up in the Fraserhood
Fill your backpack with bread, cheese, and condiments from Batard Bakery, then mosey on over (just a few blocks East) to Glen Park to sprawl out and dig in. When you’ve done digesting, circle back to Fraser Street to grab a cone of something cool and sweet from Earnest – the vegan Long Table Gin & Blackberry Ripple and Strawberry Basil ice cream are two seasonal flavours currently calling our names.
TACOS IN THE PARK
Tables can be hard to come by at Chancho, particularly on a weekend. Take advantage of clear skies and dry ground: order take-out tacos and zip across Davie Street to Emery Barnes Park for a picnic.
COFFEE AND ADVENTURE
Designed as part of the new city park at Smithe and Richards, Kafka’s downtown location is basically fool-proof for park eating. A cup of coffee and a dark-chocolate raspberry brownie makes a nice mid-morning picnic situation. Kafka’s is open 8am-6pm.
PIZZA AT PANDORA
Put The Pie Shoppe’s new pizza oven to work and pick up a bunch of seasonal pies and a bottle of something fun from their wine and cider selection, then head’er to Pandora Park (one of the City of Vancouver parks where a civilized bottle of wine with your picnic is legal).
TAKE-OUT AT TROUT LAKE
Near Trout Lake, across from each other on Commercial Street, are two no-brainers for picnic provisions: Flourist and Collective Goods. Don’t choose favourites – hit them both and cover all the bases. Bonus: Trout Lake is another one of the parks where is is legal to have a drink with your picnic and Collective Goods has a very nice selection of wines to choose from!
FRENCH WITH A VIEW
Although you can usually score some pretty great eats from a food truck parked along 8th next to John Rogers Park, another go-to for classic picnic fare is located just around the corner, on 7th and Ontario… La Fabrique St. George is always well stocked with cheese, bread, cured meats, crackers, chips and, of course, wine.
CHILL IN MOUNT PLEASANT
No need for a plate, utensils or even a picnic table when you have a burrito. Budgies has you covered with six options AND they are only a few blocks from Dude Chilling Park. Not in the mood for burritos? Pick up a pizza from AJ’s, spread out your picnic blanket in the park and relax.
RELAX IN STRATHCONA
The coolers at Fujiya are loaded with a fresh, tasty and affordable selection of park-ready sushi. Swoop in before 6pm and make your way to Strathcona Park to take in a neighbourhood baseball game, hangout at the skatepark, wander the community gardens or just lie on the grass and stare at the sky. Miss the 6pm deadline? There is a sweet pizza pop-up happening at Luppolo Brewing now through July 3rd (and always cold beer).
LUNCH AT THE HARBOUR
Keep in mind that Railtown closes at 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, but if you are looking for an ‘al fresco’ lunch idea: A veggie club or a build your own salad from the Railway Street Cafe and an afternoon with your toes in the ocean at Crab Park is a nice way to roll.
HOAGIES ON THE LAWN
Sandwiches, salads and parks go nicely. Fill your backpack with hoagies from Say Hey (if you are having trouble deciding: the meatball hoagie. (classic or veg) and a few slices of chocolate cake with sprinkles is a nice path to take.) Once you have your order in hand, head east for five blocks until you hit MacLean Park to your right. Bonus: there is a water park to cool down in.
NACHOS NEAR COMMERCIAL
Get upscale-trashy with gourmet nachos, hotdogs and slushies from The Drive Canteen and then follow the Britannia Centre walkways straight down to The Courts where you’ll find a few picnic tables and a sloping hill overlooking the skate courts (guaranteed hours of entertainment on a sunny day) as well as clusters of deckchairs in the adjacent community garden.
ICE CREAM IN KITS
Obviously this time of year is all about consuming as much sunshine and ice cream as possible. After a long, hot day spent doing the latter, few things are more satisfying than watching the sunset with something (and someone) nice and sweet. Luckily Mister’s new location on West 1st Avenue, near Cypress, is close enough to Kits Beach (about a 10 min walk) to get there before your ice cream bar or frozen banana melts.
Did we miss something? | Got a favourite park + snack pairing that you think should have been included in this list, but wasn’t? Let us know in the comments below or send your suggestion to michelle [at] scoutmagazine.ca