How do you find the Best Places to Picnic?
Location is one of the top three most important parts of planning a picnic; the place, the date and of course – The Caterer. The best places to picnic will depend on where the majority of your guests live; what kind of activities you are planning and what each location allows when it comes to food & beverage. Some locations allow for on-site grilling and others will only allow food to be brought in. Either way, we can create a Picnic or BBQ Menu that your employees will love. We have catered picnics all over the valley and below we have created a list of some of the best places to picnic. We have provided some basic information and links to each park’s site and/or the city’s recreation department. Many of the parks will take reservations, but there are some that do not; this usually requires a couple of people to go to the park as early as possible to stake their claim on the ramadas and space that you’ll need. We hope you find this list helpful and we look forward to catering your picnic. If you find one of your own best places to picnic, please let us know and we’ll add it to our list.
1. Papago Park
Located in Phoenix, Papago Park is known for the “Hole in the Rock”—a natural rock formation and trail with picturesque views of Phoenix. The ramadas at Papago Park are available for public use, however unlike most City of Phoenix ramadas, they do require a reservation. Ramada reservations must be made in person at one of the local Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department facilities. Papago Park also has several grassy areas that surround a fishing lagoon that are easily accessible and picnic friendly.
The Margaret T. Hance Park is located near the heart of downtown Phoenix and is a hub for several cultural centers—including the Japanese Friendship Garden, Irish Cultural Center, and Phoenix Center for the Arts. Visitors can set up a picnic between visits amid this sprawling 32-acre park. Along the park’s west side is an expansive open grass area. Amenities at the park include drinking fountains, grills, reservable ramadas, a playground, restrooms, walking paths, a lighted sand volleyball court and special event space. View the Planning a Gathering/Party page to see complete guidelines about holding an event in the park.
3. Encanto Park
Encanto Park was put on Forbes list of “America’s Best City Parks.” This 222-acre park lives up to this honor through its location and amenities. Encanto Park is a great place to hold picnics and gatherings. Most of the ramadas located throughout the park are first-come-first-serve, however the Amphitheater Island ramadas require reservations to use. The park resides in a gorgeous residential area of Phoenix and includes a lagoon, boat house, natural trail, two golf courses and the privately operated Enchanted Island Amusement Park. They have two large picnic areas complete with 12 tables and two grills.
Steele Indian School Park is one of the most historic parks in Phoenix. The park is built around the Phoenix Indian School—opened in 1891. The Phoenix Green area of the park features acres of green grass, shade trees, and meandering walkways. Steele Indian School Park is a great place to have just about any size gathering. Whether you are planning a small family picnic or are producing the the next great community event, Steele Indian School Park has the amenities and the location to fit your needs. The Large Group Ramada Area in the northwest portion of the park requires a reservation to use, however all of the other ramadas located throughout the park are first-come-first-serve.
South Mountain Park is a great spot for picnickers that are up for a hike. This 16,000-acre park and preserve is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the country. It includes 51 miles of trails for and encompasses three mountain ranges. There are several easy to moderate hikes that end with picturesque views. The Desert Foothills trail-head has a bird’s eye view of downtown Phoenix whereas Gila Lookout gives a peak at Gila River Valley. No matter the trail, there are plenty of spots to grub after working up an appetite in South Mountain Park. The ramadas in South Mountain Park/Preserve are available for public use, and several require a reservation; for details please view the information provided HERE.
After a major renovation project, Riverview Park in Mesa is now home to the Cubs Spring Training Facility, Sloan Park, and the park itself has been transformed into a premier recreation destination. Riverview Park is best spotted by the 50-foot Genesis climbing tower. But once you wander the grounds, you’ll see the community fishing lake, open and shaded picnic areas with tables, reserveable ramadas, and plenty of grass.
Located in Fountain Hills, Fountain Park is an expansive, 64-acre recreation area that is home to a world-famous fountain. “The Fountain” is at the center of the park and was once regarded as the tallest fountain in the world by Guinness World Records. The fountain reaches heights of over 500 feet and is surrounded by over 35 acres of turf. This area also includes several large oak trees and is a perfect place to sprawl out with a picnic blanket. The Parks and Recreation Department has numerous ramadas available for rental or for drop-in use. The Kiwanis Ramada, located adjacent to the Rotary Splash Park which is open mid-April through September only, is the most popular.