By Mark Horning

Picnic. The word evokes all kinds of nostalgic emotion. Picnics can range from grand family reunion catered affairs to simply searching out a spot of green space in downtown Cleveland in which to enjoy a quiet lunch. With summer just around the corner, it’s time to break out the picnic basket, stuff it full of goodies and find a nice place to eat and commune with nature. Check out some of the ideas below.

Cleveland Public Library
Eastman Outdoor Reading Garden
525 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Located on the northwest corner of E. 6th Street and Superior Avenue, this small green oasis is the perfect place to enjoy a lunch, read or listen to the birds that inhabit the trees. There is plenty of seating area as well as a fountain. After a few moments, you are liable to forget that you are in the center of downtown Cleveland. Forgot to bring some reading material? The adjacent library has the largest collection of books in the Northeast Ohio area.

Huntington Beach
28492 Lake Road
Bay Village, OH 44140

This section of the Cleveland Metroparks has it all. Picnic pavilions, outdoor picnic areas under the shade of large trees, swings for the kids, open areas to run in, latrines and a great view of Lake Erie from the overlook. Don’t worry about dessert. There is a Honey Hut Ice Cream Concession located in the old pump house.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Palava Hut
3900 Wildlife Way
Cleveland, OH 44109

Leave your cooler and picnic baskets at the Palava Hut near the Zoo entrance and after a few hours of touring (including the spectacular outdoor tiger exhibit) have lunch in the shade of the hut or venture out to the many picnic areas available throughout the Zoo including the waterfowl lake. Don’t forget to make a stop at the RainForest for a unique Zoo experience.

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Lake View Cemetery
12316 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106

Think of this as a walking history lesson where you pack a lunch. Many of the Whos-Who of Cleveland have Lake View Cemetery as their final resting place including John D. Rockefeller, Carl B. Stokes, Elliot Ness, Raymond Johnson Chapman, Charles J. “Cupid” Pinkney, Jr., Edwin Higbee and James A. Garfield (where some folks stop by for a picnic lunch on the surrounding hillside of his monument). Be sure to be packed and ready to leave by dusk for it is documented that many of the spirits come out to roam the cemetery at night.

Lincoln Park
Historic Tremont
Cleveland, OH 44113

Originally purchased by Thirza Skinner and Brewster Pelton as part of their planned Cleveland University, the campus idea fell through after the death of Thirza. Brewster continued to keep up the green space but made the park private with fencing and locked gates until the City of Cleveland negotiated the purchase in 1879 thus making it a public park for all (minus the fence and gates). Today the park hosts numerous cultural events including outdoor dance performances and Shakespeare as well as community gatherings and community fairs. There is plenty of room to roam around under the spacious shady areas. The park runs between Willey Avenue and Starkweather Avenue along W. 14th Street. Bordering the park are numerous pubs and restaurants as well as historic buildings.

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