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The outdoor arrangement of blankets, baskets and food has been popular for centuries. The Atlantic wrote that picnics arose during the period of romanticism immediately following the Industrial Revolution. Apparently, picnics used to be more popular back then, although six million Instagram photos might beg to differ.
Around the City of Buffalo, there are plenty of spots that beckon picnics with their flat, grassy land and scenic views.
We visited three spots around the city with a basket of our own.
2655 South Park Ave.
On the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, right outside the gazebo and sectioned off by shrubs, there's a small plot of grass.
With the glass greenhouses in the background and greenery encapsulating the lawn, this slice of free space looks as if it was almost designed with blankets and baskets in mind.
Since this spot is off the path, you won't feel on display. A passerby probably won't point and exclaim, "Cute. Look at their picnic," which though it is well-intended, can make you feel like a zoo animal.
After the picnic, explore the Botanical Gardens. Admission is $11 for adults, $6 for children, $9 for students and $10 for seniors.
To see what to expect, embark on a virtual tour. Or take a walk around South Park Lake, perhaps setting up another picnic near the pond or on expansive green space.
[A Closer Look: Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens]
1 Fuhrmann Blvd.
At the very end of Fuhrmann Boulevard, past the Outer Harbor and nature trails, the Coast Guard operates the Buffalo Lighthouse. To get there, you'll have to park along the street and walk into a small cottage for admission. You'll be greeted by a host, who will ask you for a small donation and to sign in. Then, walk along the water to get to the lighthouse, possibly passing Canadian goslings and their mother along the way.
The lighthouse is open on from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m on Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., depending on volume, on Sunday. Be warned, there is little shade, so choose a cloudier day or bring an umbrella to shade yourself from the blazing sunshine.
Read about the lighthouse's past on historical plaques scattered throughout the small park and explore the various historical objects on display as public art. Walk near the fence for a better view of the Buffalo Harbor.
1170 Niagara St.
A short drawbridge connects Broderick Park to the mainland, bringing cars and people across the Black Rock Canal, onto the small park on the end of Unity Island. Fishers take the first precedent here; if you can't handle seeing a few big fish on the sidewalk, perhaps a family's latest catch, then don't head north down the bike path.
While the park is long and skinny, mostly good for fishing, biking and walking, there is one square patch of land that is perfect for a picnic, secluded by bushes and flowers with an opening to peek out into the Niagara River. It's the meditation garden, or contemplative garden, designed to serve as a relaxing public space.
The garden is just big enough for a blanket and private enough to feel like you have your own space among fishermen, dog walkers and bikers who pass by sometimes without even noticing the inside of the hidden garden.