Susan Yee

Picnic Guide: Part 1

A carefree way to savor time, snacks, and sunshine — picnics are the stuff of summer. Shakespeare lamented that “summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” but here in the Golden State’s capital city, there’s still plenty of time to soak up the sun. So whether that means a Pinterest-worthy picnic date with your love, a lazy pastime with friends, or just a casual change of scenery, we’ve Scouted out how to prepare, what to pack, and a couple of spots for you to recline and dine — all in a handy two-part affront.

Picnic Basket 1 of 2 in our Summering Series

Picnic Preparedness

Picnics can be as easy as picking up a few things at the store and sitting criss-cross-applesauce in whatever al fresco destination you can find, or they can be a means of bringing the art of entertaining outdoors, replete with coordinated décor and a thoughtful menu.

As paradoxical as it may seem, the key to a spontaneous picnic is having a planned picnic kit. That way, the next time Yogi Bear asks what you’re doing on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Of course, you could drive over to Target or Cost Plus for some generic blanket adornments, but why pad the pockets of Corporate America when you can keep your hard-earned dime right here on the grid?

A plethora of ideas to get you started on your picnic basket starter kit:

Though traditional picnic baskets are Americana at its best, these totes make for worthy substitutes and won’t sit in your closet as one-function items:

Tote Bag by Blue Q — $16.95

  • Made from 95% recycled materials in artsy designs with a zipper up top so as not to spill all of your delicious contents.

University Art, at 2601 J St.

Snag yourself a picnic blanket that folds/rolls up to a small size, is easy to clean, and requires no sewing!

Oilcloth fabric — $7.99/yd.

  • Invest in 2-3 yards and you can also use it as a tablecloth for your next backyard soiree!

Hi-Fashion Fabrics at 4106 Franklin Blvd.

Now that you have a tote and blanket, complete your picnic pack with these handy supplies for serving, dining, and playing!

10″ Bamboo skewers — $1.99/100

  • Perfect for making fruit kabobs, prepping some veggies for a park with a grill, or as an enormous toothpick

East Sac Hardware, at 4800 Folsom Blvd

Serveware from Susty Party — $5.99/8 large plates; $5.99/12 cups

  • Compostable, sustainable, disposable and fashionable!

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op, at 1900 Alhambra Blvd.

Napkins by Ideal Home Range and PPD — $5.25-$5.50/20 count

  • Wipe your mouth in style with a tongue-in-cheek saying or a fun design.

The Mixed Bag, at 24th and K St.

Mini salt and pepper shakers — $1.95/ea.

  • Lest you get caught with underseasoned food; sacre bleu!

The Mixed Bag, at 24th and K St.

Ball Vintage Style Blue Jars — $10.99/6

  • Ubiquitous as they’ve become, they remain handy multi-purpose items that can be used as glasses, food transporters, tablecloth weights, or targets for a ring-toss game.
  • To up the romantic ambience, add some flowers or battery-operated candles!

East Sac Hardware, at 4800 Folsom Blvd.

Fruit Party Straws by Party Partners — $3.95/12

  • Stick one in your blue mason jar, and you’ll be sippin’ pretty.
  • Also available in flamingo!

The Mixed Bag, at 24th and K St.

Reusable (Re)Zip Lunch Bags by Blue Avocado — $6.99/2 pack

  • Handy for transporting a whole host of snacks – both for picnics, and when you’re brown-bagging it to work
  • Sleep soundly at night, knowing you did your part to reduce the use of plastic bags!

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op, at 2820 R St.

Favor Bags by Party Partners — $3.99/12

  • Choose from red, teal, or light pink to cute-ify your chips, nuts, or candies, or to wrap up your homemade sandwiches.
  • If you’re hosting a picnic for a group, you could put napkins and silverware in individual bags ahead of time to make faster time of organization before hangriness sets in.

East Sac Hardware, at 4800 Folsom Blvd

Spoon-fork-knife combo — $3.95

  • Prepare yourself for whatever kind of bite is coming your way.
  • Reusable, and multi-use, what more can you ask for?

The Mixed Bag, at 24th and K St.

8″x6″ Epicurean cutting board in Natural — $11.99

  • Convenient portable size for use as a cutting board (pause for appreciation of genius) or as a space to lay out meats and cheeses.

East Sac Hardware, at 4800 Folsom Blvd.

Butterfly Net by Backyard Exploration — $7.99

  • A nostalgic nod to childhood and a means of working off some of that meal

East Sac Hardware, at 4800 Folsom Blvd.

Juggling balls — $5.95, or a hacky sack — $2.95

  • Small, and light, these options make for a real ball of a time in the ol’ picnic basket.

University Art, at 2601 J St.

Bird Call by Toysmith — $4.99

  • Picnics afford us the chance to slow down and get outdoors, so channel your inner Audubon and witness what you’re missing when the world is speeding by.

East Sac Hardware, at 4800 Folsom Blvd.

Sidewalk Chalk by Crayola — $3.37 (12 different colors)

  • Juice box in one hand? Get your creative juices flowing with the other, and make your mark.

University Art, at 2601 J St.


Now that you have your picnic basket packed, check out the Part 2 installment in our Summering Series, where we give you the dish on plenty of picnic fare, and perfectly picnicable parks in Sacramento!


Photo | Susan Yee