By Kathy Chouteau
With summer surging full steam ahead, the time is right for an outdoor picnic. Fortunately, there are no shortage of prime picnic spots to choose from throughout Richmond, should you want to steal away for a little “me time” mid-week—or for some quality family time on the weekend. Here are a few of The Rich Life’s favorite local spots for an off-beat outdoor picnic.
Community Green Space
Located at the corner of Harbour Way and Macdonald Blvd., the Community Green Space is a tiny little urban oasis right smack dab in downtown Richmond. Upon entering through the park’s corner gate, you’ll be greeted by a feast for the senses that includes beautiful flowers and landscaping, eclectic art—including a large, vibrant mural created by Richmond residents—and some picnic tables where you can enjoy a peaceful lunch while taking it all in. Post-picnic, consider checking out other downtown sites, such as the “Alive & Free” mural across the street from the park’s entrance.
Bridge Storage and ArtSpace
Another largely undiscovered picnic spot in the unlikeliest of places is Bridge Storage and ArtSpace’s courtyard. As you pass through the front gate, you’ll see the R&R Coffee kiosk, where you can caffeinate, quench your thirst via a variety of drinks and pick up some light fare. Just past the kiosk is Bridge’s courtyard, where there’s a serene sitting area—including a picnic table—and ample art, statues and greenery to set the stage for a relaxing outdoor lunch. Afterwards, check out Bridge’s art gallery, located adjacent to the courtyard, or take a short stroll around the gallery’s exterior to see if any artists are working in their studios (which have been converted from storage spaces). Bridge Storage & ArtSpace’s courtyard is located at 23 Main Ave. in Richmond; keep an eye out for the space’s frequent events.
Nestled away in the East Richmond Heights hills is the Gyuto Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery & Learning Center that’s open to the community every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s another Richmond locale that has the feel of being in another place—this time, Tibet. The Foundation is located along Wildcat Canyon, adding to its appeal as a prime picnic spot. Just inside the front gate is the “Path to Enlightenment,” a short, mostly level hillside trail that leads you through Redwoods, wildflowers and plush vegetation—and if you follow it as it slightly ascends—there’s a wonderful bench that’s perfectly poised for viewing the gorgeous canyon below. Enjoy your picnic on the bench or continue up the hill to the Foundation’s courtyard; complete with Buddhist statues, a fountain, a dharma wheel and more, it offers another exceptional spot for a picnic. The Gyuto Foundation is located at 6401 Bernhard Ave., Richmond.
Barbara and Jay Vincent Park
Richmond is bursting at the seams when it comes to beautiful parks with bountiful options for picnics, but this reporter’s favorite has to be Barbara and Jay Vincent Park at the Richmond Marina. The park is perfectly situated to offer stunning views of both the marina and San Francisco Bay and also features plenty of sitting areas and picnic tables (some with built-in BBQ grills) where you can enjoy some outdoor eats. There’s also an expansive lawn for those preferring to set up a picnic blanket and perhaps wanting to do a little kite flying as well—just be ready to share the space with the kite boarders who frequently set up there! After lunch, consider taking a stroll on the Bay Trail, which winds around the perimeter of the park, or visiting one of the park’s quaint beaches. Families will also love the children’s play structures nearby the picnic areas. Barbara and Jay Vincent Park is located on Marina Bay Pkwy. at the end of the Peninsula at Richmond’s Marina.
Know a prime picnic spot in Richmond that we didn’t mention? Tell us about it in the comments!