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GoNOLA Guide to the Perfect New Orleans Picnic

Pick a neighborhood, and pack for a picnic.

The entrance to Armstrong Park at dusk. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Every year about this time, New Orleans slips into a beautiful interval when the cold winds subside and the heat hasn’t quite made it to our doorstep. When this magical moment happens, grab your friends, hit up some great local shops, and discover your new favorite picnic spot in NOLA.

Mid-City

We’ve already discussed where to take a date around Bayou St. John, but dive a bit deeper and you will find Fortier Park, a delightful, triangular oasis smack dab in the middle of beautiful Mid-City. Pick up a game of chess, or grab a bottle of wine and delicious cheese and fruit from Canseco’s Market on Esplanade Avenue to complete your picnic. If you prefer larger pastures, grab a snowball from Pandora’s or a sack of crawfish to go from Bevi Seafood Co. and head up the road to City Park, one of the oldest urban parks in the country.

Boiled crawfish from Bevi Seafood Co. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
Boiled crawfish from Bevi Seafood Co. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Uptown

It’s easy to make a day trip out of Audubon Park. On your way to this tranquil space in Uptown New Orleans, stop by St. James Cheese Company for a little nosh and Hopper’s Carte Des Vins for your favorite vino. Nestle in under some of the historic live oak trees or work off that lunch by taking a walk to another popular picnic spot right on the Mississippi River nicknamed, The Fly.

And what would the Garden District be without a park of its own? Coliseum Square Park is a wonderful spot for enjoying a sandwich from Stein’s Deli or reading your favorite book from Garden District Book Shop. Cool off by the fountain or bring your dog for a game of fetch.

A sunset picnic at The Fly. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
A sunset picnic at The Fly. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Lakefront

If you love being by the water, head to the Lakefront. Lakeshore Drive offers sweeping views of Lake Ponchartrain where you will find runners, cyclists, and sailboat racing. On your way to the park, stop by Robert Fresh Market’s location on Robert E. Lee Boulevard. The locally-owned neighborhood grocery store carries local products, wine, beer, cheese, and more to fill your picnic basket.

Both Breakwater Park and Lakeshore Drive offer sweeping views of Lake Ponchartrain where you will find runners, families fishing, and you can even catch an evening or two of sailboat racing. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
Both Breakwater Park and Lakeshore Drive offer sweeping views of Lake Ponchartrain where you will find runners, families fishing, and you can even catch an evening or two of sailboat racing. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Bywater

With Crescent Park and Mickey Markey Park, the Bywater is quickly becoming the place for outdoor recreation and the perfect setting for a picnic. You have your choice of wine and cheeses from either Faubourg Wines or Bacchanal further east. Ice cream and pizza aren’t a bad addition either from Freezy Street Rolled Ice Cream and Pizza Delicious. Venture to St. Roch Market where you can find everything from fresh vegetables to wine or even cookies.

Crescent Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
Crescent Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

French Quarter

Last but certainly not least, the French Quarter. Amid the colorful chaos within the Quarter you can find serenity at one of the many outlying green spaces. Along the Mississippi River on the other side of the curve, you’ll find Woldenberg Park, lined with benches, public art pieces, and plenty of space to enjoy that muffaletta and other picnic goods from Central Grocery. To the north of the Quarter lies Louis Armstrong Park, a well-maintained neighborhood space full of bridges, ponds, and the historic Congo Square. Settle in with your wine and cheese from Alberto’s and enjoy this beautiful tribute to the man himself.

Liz Beeson is an adventure-seeking marketing manager in New Orleans who loves the great outdoors and a good cup of coffee. When not plugging away at one of her many side projects, Liz can be found taking in a comedy show and exploring and photographing the many unique neighborhoods in the city.

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