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The Best Parks in NYC for Open-Air Family Dining

Get your picnic basket ready if you will be heading out to New York City in the summer and get ready to take part in outdoor dining at some of the best picnic spots. The Big Apple is home to many parks where you and your family can sprawl out and enjoy an al fresco dinner. Here is a selection of some of the favorite grassy refuges dotted all around Gotham, as well as some of the best spots for grabbing your snacks as you choose the best outdoor spot with an unforgettable view.

East River State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Also known as the Williamsburg Waterfront, the East River State Park is not a fancy park; it’s made of water, concrete and a stage. However, the park offers you some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline and its neighborhood – including the surrounding bridges – without the swarming crowds. You and your family can finally relax in a yard full of historic rail yard remains, and in summer, enjoy some family-friendly film series and music.

The park features a large lawn area complete with a few picnic tables. It’s recommended getting to the park before sunset, enjoying the sunset and then grabbing dinner at one of the numerous restaurants in the area.

Astoria Park in Queens

Traditionally, Astoria is celebrated as NYC’s Greek neighborhood, but the diversity it has to offer goes beyond just that. The location is home to a host of delicious global cuisines, art institutions, as well as cultural and shopping destinations. Plus, Astoria is an excellent spot for taking a break from city life – especially in Astoria Park.

The 60-acre expanse of land is located in the northwest section of Queens, along the East River, right in the middle of Hell Gate Bridge and Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. You can get to the park via a car over the RFK Bridge, a service like, or through the subway. Inside, the park offers visitors basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, a dog run, playgrounds and more.

Madison Square Park in Manhattan

The Madison Square Park is the perfect refuge from the busy midtown area where you find a large grassy area, a colorful playground and a spacious dog run. In addition, the park offers you access to free Wi-Fi that you can use to quickly check on your email or upload your outdoor family pictures to your social media pages. If you have an eye for art, you will be excited by the artwork all over the grounds featuring new artists and classic monuments that showcase the 150-year history of the park.

During the sunny summer days, the park transforms to become one of NYC’s hottest destinations. Hungry visitors throng Madison Square Park craving the world famous Shake Shack’s hamburgers and milkshakes. In the park, your children can play their way through their summer vacation at the square’s kids concert series.

Bryant Park in Central Manhattan

Bryant Park offers you almost 10 acres of seasonal plants and greenery to explore and it’s a frequent year-round destination for tourists and New Yorkers alike. Depending on the day you get to the park, you might find tai chi lessons, a fencing match or an exhibit of modern dance. Plus, you are likely to come across language, fly fishing and juggling classes, as well as bird watching tours in fall and spring.


Visit The Grill at the park’s upper terrace; just remember that you need to make reservations for the dining room, but they are not needed for the rooftop and patio gardens. The Bryant Park Café is the ideal casual dining spot in the months running from mid-April through November.

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