Eating Al Fresco in Austin: see how we packed for the three best picnics for summer

Writing by Katelyn Orlowski
Photography by Lauren Ussery
Styling by Adrienne Dever

Picnics are a great way to get outside and enjoy Austin’s hidden landscapes, beautiful parks and urban retreats.

Whether it’s a picnic for one in the middle of the city or you’ve rounded up all of your closest friends to camp out in Zilker Park, picnics are a refreshing way to dine outside. You can catch a moment of urban Zen in the middle of the workday, enjoy a romantic meal for two, or rule the weekend with an al fresco adventure that lingers until dusk. Whichever way you play it, you can skip the crowded restaurants and buzzing brunches to under the big blue sky with one of the carefully crafted picnics we’ve come up with for you.

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Urban Picnic Top Picks:
– Steps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse
– State Capitol Lawn
– HOPE Outdoor Gallery

URBAN LUNCH HOUR

The urban lunch hour is all about getting out of the office and stretching your legs to enjoy a little bit of fresh air. We recommend lounging in front of the U.S. Federal Courthouse next to Republic Square or on the sprawling lawn at the State Capitol. Grabbing a pre-made sandwich or salad saves your precious break time, and a cold brew coffee is the best midday pick-me-up when the morning has been rough. We recommend stopping into Royal Blue Grocery for everything — cold cuts on cranberry bread, a fresh salad, Chameleon Cold Brew and a Skull and Cakebones Vegan cupcake treat. Spread out your tea towel, snap open your coffee and enjoy your lunch in the shade – we snagged some bright and modern accessories from Nannie Inez to set the stage.
Work can wait for half an hour.

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Grocery List:

Mocha Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee | Turkey & Brie Sandwich | Greek Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette | Shaved Salad | Salted Caramelita Cupcake | Blackberries
Pick it all up at Royal Blue Grocery

Set the Scene:

Scholten + Baijing Dot Tea Towel Set – Nannie Inez, $32 | Water Carafe By Menu – Nannie Inez, $69

Romantic Picnic Top Picks:
– Mayfield Nature Preserve
– Mt. Bonnell
– Lake Austin 360 Bridge Overlook

ROMANTIC RETREAT

Picnics are even better when they’re shared with someone you love. Austin is full of romantic alcoves to escape the hustle, and our favorite spot, Mayfield Park, comes with peacocks, ponds and a flower-garden trail. The hardest part is choosing the right perch, from the white-washed porches to the creek-side ledges, every corner is beautiful. Fill up your best basket Mediterranean style, complete with a light refreshing white wine like Picpoul de Pinet (it has a twist-off for those who do not plan ahead), a cheese plate, a crusty country boule and a variety of pickled bites from the Whole Foods olive bar. Be sure to toss in some cured chorizo or serrano ham for extra flavor. Métier Cook’s Supply has the serveware to set the mood – wine glasses, wooden plates, Weck jars and little ceramic cups for flowers. As long as the ants and summer heat keep at bay, you have a recipe for one of the best dates you’ve ever had.

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Grocery List:

Fig Jam Spread | Executive Cheese Platter: Metropolitan Brie, Seaside Cheddar, & Atlantique Swiss | Red & Green Seedless Grapes | Pitted Mixed Green Olives with Crushed Red Peppers & Cornichons | Domitia White Wine | Country French Boule | Mini Raspberry & Salted Carmel Cheesecakes | Finishing Salt
Pick it all up at Whole Foods

Set the Scene:

Peach Striped Tumblers – Métier Cook’s Supply, $98 (Set of 8) | Peaceful Hill Trays – Métier Cook’s Supply, $12 | 1/5 Liter Weck Jar – Métier Cook’s Supply, $4 | Melanie Schopper Cup – Métier Cook’s Supply, $12

Weekend Picnic Top Picks:
– Open Room Austin
– Zilker Metropolitan Park
– McKinney Falls State Park

WEEKEND WARRIORS

Take your next get-together with friends on the road with a weekend warrior’s picnic. All you have to do is pack the cooler with everything you’ll need and find a picnic table big enough to fit your squad. We found it at Open Room, a social sculpture in the Seaholm District, whose main focus is the sprawling picnic tables to seat all your friends. Take everyone’s sandwich/wrap order early in the week – you can pick everything up from the deli as you head out on your way. Pair them with a pasta salad and watermelon, an easy treat for a big crowd. Karbach Brewery has a pale ale called “Weekend Warrior” that’s perfect for chilling out in the Austin sun. We recommend bringing some yard games to elevate the experience to a level of classic coolness. Of course, when you’ve exhausted yourself from a heated game of cornhole or epic-picnic-table flip cup, you’ll need cookies. A bounty from the Whole Foods cookie bar is perfect for fueling your friends for the rest of the day.

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Grocery List:

Italian Pasta Salad | Two Roasted Turkey Sandwiches & One Breakfast Burrito | Weekend Warrior Karbach Beer | Assorted Cookies: Chocolate Crinkle Sandwich Cookies with Ganache, Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookie With Salted Caramel Buttercream, Butter Cookies with Icing | Sliced Seedless Watermelon, Strawberries
Pick it all up at Whole Foods

Set the Scene:

Anchor Hocking Fire King Bowl with Lid, $28 | Vintage Cutlery – Métier Cook’s Supply, $4-6


Our Picnic Supply Picks

 

Whole Foods

Various Locations

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Royal Blue Grocery

Various Locations

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Metier Cook’s Supply

1805 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Sunday & Monday: 11 AM-9PM, Tuesday-Thursday: 11AM-10PM,
Friday & Saturday:11AM-11PM

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Nannie Inez

701 S. Lamar Blvd. Ste. E, Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11AM – 6PM, Sunday: 12PM – 5PM

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