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Outdoor Activities

The Best Picnic Spots in St. Louis Park and Golden Valley

Take your next meal outside. With more than 80 parks throughout St. Louis Park and Golden Valley, the perfect picnic spot is just around the corner. From Wolfe Park to Westwood Hills Nature Center, here are our favorites.

September 14, 2021

St. Louis Park

Wolfe Park has all the amenities you need for an afternoon of outdoor fun, including two picnic shelters with plenty of picnic tables. Once you’re done eating, take advantage of the park’s other facilities, including a large playground, basketball court, pickleball courts and a sand volleyball court. A walking trail circles Wolfe Lake and Bridge Pond, and Wolfe Lake has a dock for fishing.

At Westwood Hills Nature Center, a 160-acre preserve with 3 miles of trails, you can grab a table at the picnic shelter or put down a blanket closer to the lake. The center’s marsh, woods and restored prairie provide habitat for wildlife — you may catch a glimpse of deer, turtles, fox, mink and owls as you eat. Westwood Lake also has a fishing pier, and there are plenty of spots for birdwatching throughout the preserve.

two kids with helmets and two bikes on the Minnehaha Creek Preserve pathway at dusk
📷: Eric Anondson

Minnehaha Creek Preserve is a tranquil stretch of greenspace along Minnehaha Creek, with a waterside boardwalk and paved trail. Benches are available along the boardwalk for picnicking and wildlife viewing. Look out for blue herons, ducks and muskrats in the rushing waters.

The absolute best time for a picnic at Lilac Park is mid to late May when the park’s namesake flowers are in bloom. Choose one of the stone picnic tables that has a view of the distinctive beehive-shaped fireplace. While it’s no longer in use, the fireplace has been preserved as a historic landmark. It was built by local stonemasons as a WPA project during the Depression, and during the 1940s, park visitors used it to roast hot dogs.

With several picnic shelters and picnic tables located throughout the park, Oak Hill Park has plenty of space to spread out and relax over an outdoor lunch. There are also public grills, basketball courts, a playground and a splash pad.

Golden Valley

Brookview Park features public grills, picnic tables, lighted walkways and trails and several pond-like water features that provide a beautiful backdrop for your picnic. The 33-acre park is the largest in Golden Valley and is also home to playground equipment, courts for basketball, sand volleyball and tennis, a horseshoe pit, game squares and a gazebo that offers a tranquil aesthetic. It also features two covered pavilions that each have several picnic tables and can be rented out for larger group gatherings. The large pavilion can host up to 25 people and the small one can host up to 12.

With a picnic shelter, lighted walkways and trails and an on-site warming house, Lakeview Park makes for the perfect spot for both a picnic and a casual stroll — regardless of the weather. It also features a playground, basketball court and lighted game squares. The quiet neighborhood park has a wooded feel, thanks to a variety of cottonwood trees.

sculptures and building in the Theodore Regional Park

Spanning over 700 acres in Minneapolis and Golden Valley, Theodore Wirth Regional Park has more than a few picnicking spots, including a picnic area by Wirth Lake. You can even grab takeout from Mill Valley Market (located at the Trailhead building), whose menu features local, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. After your meal, take a walk at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, where native wildflowers bloom throughout the spring and summer. Theodore Wirth Regional Park also has a beach, disc golf course, fishing pier and over 2 miles of pedestrian and biking trails.

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