There’s nothing like summer evenings in Denver. As the heat drops, cool breezes blow and the sun sets with brilliant colors, it’s the perfect time of day to plan a picnic in one of the city’s many parks.
There are myriad of choices. Here are a few of our favorites:
Washington Park: You’ll see rickshaws, bicycles built for two, runners, walkers, volleyball players and dozens of other sights in this park, one of Denverites’ absolute favorites. If it’s activity you crave – even just to watch – this is the place for you. Find a picnic table and bring the kids: The park has a playground, beautiful flower gardens, and a large lake with plentiful geese.
Denver Botanic Gardens: There’s an admission fee to get into this park, but it’s well worth the price to enjoy the glorious surroundings resplendent with blooms everywhere you look. Picnickers will find ample places to sit and dine amidst the foliage. After dinner, a stroll through the gardens is a must. Don’t miss the serene lily pond and the lavish rose garden. And if you have young children, take them to the children’s area on top of the parking garage, where they can play in a stream and sand area—and soon be tired enough for bedtime.
Cranmer Park: This wide-open green space in the tony Hilltop neighborhood is best known for its large sundial at the park’s center. Great for kite flying and other activities that require space to run, Cranmer is also a fine choice for a picnic, with one caveat: Shade is at a premium, so come at sunset, when you can enjoy the scenery in comfort.
City Park: Denver’s largest urban park, known for its lakes, views of downtown Denver and the Front Range, and large open areas, offers myriad places to lay down a blanket, crack open a picnic basket and enjoy a summer night. Better yet, it offers jazz concerts on ten Sunday nights throughout the summer, starting at 6 p.m. (except for July 17, when the concert begins at 5 p.m.). Mark your calendar and enjoy the entertainment.
Cheeseman Park: With a Neoclassical pavilion at its center, Cheeseman Park has a sense of tradition and formality that isn’t present in other area parks. But that doesn’t mean it’s a stuffy place to visit. Indeed, park-goers will find an expansive green lawn for picnics and other activities and trails for walking or jogging. The park is also host to many LGBTQ events.
Sloan’s Lake: The gem of the gentrifying Sloan’s Lake neighborhood, this park situated around the lake offers views of the mountains and city skyline alike. It’s a popular spot for jogging, bicycling, fishing, and boating, and active park-goers can also enjoy its basketball and tennis courts, the annual Dragon Boat Festival, and plentiful birds, including white pelicans, cormorants, herons, seagulls, and mallard ducks. It’s Denver’s second-largest park and a perfect place for a summer picnic. Find a table, then work off dinner with the 2.6-mile walk around the lake.