Find out how to plan and pack the right Pittsburgh picnic (and the very best locations to take pleasure in it) utilizing native substances

On their own, a piece of cheese, some charcuterie, a jar of jam and a piece of crusty bread may seem like nothing special, but sometimes something simple can come together to create an unforgettable experience. Pack a bag of quality ingredients and set out to liven up a mundane weekly dinner, add some spontaneity to a weekend party, or source things from local suppliers around town to put together the ideal Pittsburgh picnic. We even found some magical places to spread a blanket.

The essentials

Grab some premium treats to put in your basket. With your ingredients taking center stage, there are several places you can go to find the right components to wow your picnic buddies. And don’t forget the drinks.

That cheese queen makes some serious spreads and can easily be your one-stop shop for a charcuterie board everyone will look forward to. What started as bespoke boards, boxes and one-off orders has grown into a booming business and thriving store in Mt. Oliver that will be fulfilling online orders, hosting tastings and teaching classes.

Another central place to take all your essentials is Chantal’s cheese shop at 4402 Penn Ave. at Bloomfield. With a wide selection of cheeses, charcuterie and specialties, there is everything you need for a great spread. Don’t forget the vegan offerings, too, so no picnic-goer can go without snacking options. If you want to learn more, the shop offers pairing classes so you know what to order and impress your date.

Photo courtesy of Chantal’s Cheese Shop.

Salty pork chunks is the place to order your charcuterie. The quality is reflected in the care taken when working with producers and sourcing from sustainable smallholders. Weekly collection is now from Morcilla so plan your order ahead if you want the salamis in your picnic basket.

A Waterfront Charcuterie and Delicatessen, boards and baskets in Homestead includes all the perfect picnic pairings in one place. Their shareable plates and charcuterie boards are just the thing for serving a few to a dozen guests or more for your next al fresco dining event. They prepare panels on site so you can watch their edible artworks come to life.

Bread is ready is the Italian takeaway that will always have a spot on the checkered picnic blanket. The freshly baked goods are a crowd pleaser and there are ready-to-serve Italian dishes inspired by DiAnoia’s cuisine. Conveniently located in the Strip District, the daily deals make for great additions.

That Gourmet is the place to go if you’re looking for a little Parisian inspiration. This French-style bakery has four locations across Pittsburgh and is more than a simple boulangerie. Get a baguette to go with your meat and cheese, or make it a little more effortless by grabbing one of their savory sandwiches. Owners Fabien and Lisane Moreau were both born and raised in France, so each addition to La Gourmandine is an authentic addition to your ingredient list. It’s also on our list of the best bakeries in Pittsburgh.

Market Street Grocery Store is the place to go for drink options. At the Marktplatz location you will find delicious dishes for your plate and glass with prepared food and drinks to take away.

23. and vine Boutique Wine Shop has the bottle you need. Open Wednesday through Saturday, this specialty shop and bar sources wines from vineyards around the world, so you’re guaranteed to find a special bottle to pair perfectly with your snacks. If you want to drink more natural wines while surrounded by nature, suppliers are like that Pennsylvania Market, Tina’s Bar & Bottle Shop and Nine o’clock wines are all shopping. Nothing pairs better with al fresco dining than wines directly influenced by the agricultural process of winemaking, with no additives.

A spread made from Salty Pork Bits. Photo by Adam Milliron.

Contact the experts

Looking for professionals for your picnic needs? blanket & board takes the guesswork out of your al fresco dining with a lux option. Founders Colleen Peddycord and Tierra Thorne began event planning in 2020 and have not only focused on providing quality events for their clients, but also giving back to the community. Originally social workers, Peddycord and Thorne understand the importance of supporting underserved communities and a portion of their income is donated to local charities.

Millvale is home to Duncan Street, a sandwich shop that prides itself on specialty sandwiches. Co-owners/chefs Dan Rodriguez and Kendyl Ryan wanted a place where they could create casual, everyday fare without compromising on quality, and so Duncan Street was born. Their sandwiches can often be in high demand, so order ahead to avoid waiting.

Visit the “boarding school” to really spice up your picnic pairing game. EZPZ meeting makes collection boards, mini charcuterie and boards in one box, all great options for your next outdoor event. Make your picnic even more chic by ordering a made-to-measure serving board in collaboration with steel city art.

Brie & Baskets also helps plan your next outdoor event with thoughtful details that bring each outdoor event together. Friends turned owners Brittney and Jade used their love of hosting and adept event planning skills to create a way to experience special occasions with the beauty of the city as a backdrop. Their picnics come with just what you need and they’ve thought of everything from curated design themes to little touches like providing bug spray and candles. The choice of food is top notch and will delight even the pickiest of palates.

Photo courtesy of Brie & Baskets.

Next, find your perfect picnic spot

Now that the basket is packed, the next step is to find the ideal place to put your quilt and unfold your quilt. There are countless options in and around the city that provide a beautiful setting for al fresco dining.

Covering more than 600 acres, Frick Park has several little nooks and crannies that make for a place to keep coming back to and never picnic in the same spot twice. Post somewhere easily accessible from the Environment Center, or find a more remote destination by hiking a little deeper into the forest. There is several areas with benches and tables throughout the park giving you the choice of a more rustic picnic area or a more formal woodland setting.

Washington’s Landing, formerly Herrs Island, may be overlooked in favor of larger parks in the city, but don’t sleep in the island’s North Park, as it’s a peaceful spot with riverfront and city views. Besides the ambiance, you can also access that Three Rivers Heritage Trail here over a pedestrian bridge.

The Grandview Scenic Byway features several areas that offer unbeatable views of the skyline along Mt. Washington. Grandview lookouts allow for stunning photo ops, walking trails that meander through the neighborhood, and Emerald View Park are garden party gems within the city’s park system.

Highland Park’s Victorian gardens, fountains and restored reservoirs make an ideal picnic spot. With over 700 acres and 4 miles of hiking trails, you’re sure to find a quiet spot to enjoy an evening.

Hartwood Acres or South Park both have outdoor amphitheaters that are hosts Free summer concerts. Both parks are wonderful options for dining and entertainment, with a variety of performers there is always something to please any picnic-goer. Beyond the summer concert season, you can enjoy these green spaces at any time of the year.

If you participate in picnics and bring food and drink into public spaces, be sure to practice this Leave no trace principle to keep our parks clean for every visitor. There are so many scenic spots throughout the city, so be mindful of others and clean up any messes that have been made.

PicnicsPittsburgh Parks

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