The Atlanta Department of Parks and Rec is one of the jewels of the city. The expansive parks system makes it so easy for Atlanta residents to get outside without traveling too far afield. With the weather consistently staying dreamy, why not grab a blanket, a delicious to-go meal, and enjoy a DIY outdoor feast?
The gorgeous and centrally-located Piedmont Park is a family-friendly green space the whole family will enjoy. There are playgrounds for the kids and dog parks for the furry family members. After strolling, biking, or rollerblading the trails around the park, plop down for a picnic with take-out from a nearby restaurant.
The Nook on Piedmont Park
Directly across the street from the eastern edge of the park, The Nook on Piedmont Park has all the fixings for a sunny picnic. The Nook will turn any burger, sandwich, or dog into a wrap (except the club because it is simply too big) for easier park consumption; no cutlery necessary. Kids (and let's face it, adults) love the "Peanut Butter and Bacon Dog," a fried hot dog that is snuggled in with crispy bacon, crunchy peanut butter, and then topped with a pickle slice. Vegetarians should order the "Tree Hugger" made from avocado, hummus, a plethora of veggies on toasted multigrain bread. If you're heading into the park before 4 p.m., you can still order breakfast-to-go. The breakfast sandwich with applewood smoked bacon and cheddar is an easy-to-pack meal.
Sean's Harvest Market
The little sandwich bar that could is to the west of Piedmont Park. Sean's Harvest Market was inspired by the owners' travels. They saw so many small, wildly successful food stalls around the world that they decided that size didn't matter. Sean's now makes some of the tastiest sandwiches in the city, and its proximity to the park makes it the premier pre-picnic destination. Breakfast and lunch are served all day alongside an extensive list of smoothies and milkshakes. Make it a south of the border morning picnic with the "Crispy Pork and Elote Wrap." The savory pork and spicy Mexican street corn combined with tomato, feta, and a fried egg on a tortilla wrap is a hearty morning meal. The "Beltline Burrito" is a vegetarian picnic option filled with black bean and corn salsa, quinoa, guac, toasted almond, and lemon-dressed kale.
Candler Park has wide open lawns and plenty of playground equipment to keep the whole family busy all day. It was a Union camp during the civil war, but it's now a public green space with golfing boutiques and restaurants nearby.
Flying Biscuit Cafe
Only three blocks from the southwest corner of the park, Flying Biscuit Cafe is the best spot in the area for breakfast, sandwiches, vegetarian, and organic food. Breakfast is served all day, making it easy to get in the most important meal of the day. Lunch items are a bit more picnic-friendly as many don't require utensils. The "Very Berry Chicken Wrap" has all the flavors of summer, including grilled chicken, strawberries, feta, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, and spring greens tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette. The pimento cheese served with fresh pita, and the spicy shrimp quesadillas are both top-notch shareables for the whole family.
Historic Fourth Ward Park
The 12-acre Historic Fourth Ward Park is a beautiful picnic spot for families with small children. There's a playground, splash pad, skate park, amphitheater, and even a 2-acre lake. The park is conveniently connected to the Beltline and is open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.
Victory Sandwich Bar
Booze, snacks, and sandwiches. What more do you need on a day off this summer? Victory Sandwich Bar has all that and more just south of the park. Grab a small whiskey-coke slushie for the walk over (alcohol is not permitted inside the park). Share a bag of popcorn (flavors change daily) or the chive-dill dip with salt and pepper chips. The sandwich menu is both eclectic and creative, with something for every palate. The "Tea Bird" is a riff on a spicy chicken club with the signature sweet tea mayo and ghost pepper jack cheese. The "Better" is a clever, Asian-inspired vegetarian Reuben with pastrami-style beets, white kimchi, and spicy Thai mayo on rye.
A few blocks from Candler Park, freshly-made pizza and gelato await at Fritti. The combination of Neapolitan-style, wood-fired pizza with fried Italian snacks (fritti) is what makes this place so special. Start with the namesake; the delectable fried snacks include calamari, mushrooms, sausage arancini, and eggplant and mozzarella croquettes. Every pizza can be made with gluten-free dough upon request for an additional charge. Good luck deciding between the 25 pizza offerings. There are tons of traditional toppings combinations like four cheese, vegetarian, spicy salami and black olive, sausage, and even a calamari pizza. The house calzone filled with tomato, ricotta, mozzarella, spicy salami, and ham can either be baked or fried. The creamy gelato comes in an array of flavors, including pistachio, salted caramel, cappuccino, and stracciatella. It's the perfect snack to beat the heat of the Atlanta summer.
Leave the city behind for the quiet of Brownwood Park. Stroll in shaded tranquility along Intrenchment Creek in the southern end of the park. If you're looking for something a bit more lively, the north side of the park has tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, and a picnic pavilion.
Endulge Cupcake Boutique
A few blocks west of the peaceful, southern end of Brownwood Park is a sweet destination. Instead of the usual picnic staples like sandwiches and cheese boards, try something different. Eat dessert first! You've been in quarantine for a year. You deserve this. Endulge Cupcake Boutique has all the best cupcakes for an outdoor, sugary extravaganza. A half dozen assorted cupcakes (you can pick your flavors) is only $16, and a full dozen is an even better deal at $29.50. Bite into a soft, red velvet cupcake or get a taste of summer with the "Lemon Sunshine" cupcake. Both the "Chocolate on Chocolate" and the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes use rich Valrhona cocoa in the cake batter. Other summery flavors include strawberry and banana pudding.