’Tis the season for picnicking! So here it is, your quintessential guide to picnics, Bull City-style: we’ve got your picturesque picnic spots and staple take-out spots all taken care of. And here at Offline, we’re strong believers in Parisian-style picnicking (ie: Wine is MUST), so we reached out to the coolest new wine spot in town, The Wine Feed, for expert-level vino recommendations that’ll take your picnic from plain, to perfect.
Often spoken of as "the crown jewel of Duke University," Duke Gardens are pure, natural bliss. Be sure to stroll through the gardens before you settle on spot to put down your basket. You’ll find Japanese-inspired sections, lush floral terraces, towering trees and wide, green fields—it’s pretty obvious why Duke Gardens has been recognized as one of the nation’s premier public gardens.
Minutes from downtown Durham and Chapel Hill, the Eno River State Park offers secluded spots, made extra serene with the sounds of the rushing river in the background. Specifically, West Point on the Eno, a smaller park located inside Eno’s natural area, is ideal for picnicking. There, you’ll find lush lawns, easy access to the river, a gorgeous dam, even an old-timey mill. Sit back, relax and bask in the glory of the Eno.
This Durham architectural gem brings together history and modern design, creating a unique environment for lounging, strolling, and going on a photo snapping binge. There’s a large lawn in front of the infamous Lucky Strike tower that’s perfect for setting up shop and spending a few hours.
In the summer, they host an uber-popular monthly-ish music series, “On the Lawn”. Boogie down to a rotating roster of free, kickass shows. Just be sure to get there early for a prime seat—the lawn fills up fast!
The beautiful Lake Jordan, located just south of downtown Durham, offers plenty of spots to picnic, be it by land, or sea—or, lake in this case. It's the perfect day trip with stunning natural views and activities for all, from hiking to swimming to fishing and more. Ditch the shore and rent a boat to take your picnic out onto the water—just be sure not to rock the boat too much! Soggy sandwiches and spilt wine would be a huge bummer.
Start picking up quaint picnic vibes before you even lay out your blanket. Foster’s is an adorable shop and general store with made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, baked goods and more. If you’re feeling brunch-y, know that they serve breakfast all day (using locally-sourced eggs!)—grab some OJ and a bottle of Champs and you’re set. And one last pro-tip: that homemade Seven Pepper Jelly they slather onto sandwiches? Dangerously addicting.
Raise a glass with a Cotes du Rhone red, Rosé, or Beaujolais
Looking for a backyard BBQ, without all the hassle? Head to The Q Shack where the pros produce NC's O.G. meal of choice—scrumptious barbecue at its finest, with your hushpuppies, collards, coleslaw, sauced up meats (brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, burgers, et al.), mac n cheese and corn on the cob, seasonal specials and much much more.
Bottoms up with a bottle of Zinfandel, Rosé, or Riesling
Head to Zenfish for fully-customizable poké bowls and burritos (yes, poké burritos!). Inspired by Hawaiian cuisines, Zenfish is focused on locally-sourced ingredients, posi-vibes and healthy bowls of filling fish with all the fixins.
Pop a bottle of sparkling Cava, Gewurztraminer, or Chenin Blanc
Go all in on a pie picnic. At The Pie Hole, you can score creative slices of sweet and savory pie (think Strawberry Lavender, Veggie Kale and Cereal Killer Cheesecake). With so many options, you can basically have pie for your main dish and for your dessert. Have enough slices of each, and it’s a totally well-rounded meal.
Cheers with a glass of Bugey, Sparkling Rosé, Loupiac, or any sweet red
At Cosmic Cantina, you'll find burritos so good, they transcend their late-night reputation. You'll dine like royalty on these super delicious, super affordable eats. Feast on freshly made, authentic tacos, guac and queso. And try washing it down with a glass of crisp rosé. It's a surprisingly perfect pairing—you'll thank us later. Cheers!
Wash it all down with Rosé, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Godello, or Viura
Keep it healthy with scrumptious salads and hearty bowls from Happy+Hale. DIY your own concoction or choose from their expertly-crafted menu full of things like the Chimichurri Steak Bowl, Thai Chicken Crunch or Ensa-lot-a. Everything’s so good, you’ll almost forget it’s good for you.
Toast to your health with Sauvignon Blanc, Cotes de Gascogne, Pecorino, or Pinot Grigio
Fired at 800 degrees and featuring local ingredients, Pompieri’s Neapolitan-style pies are pure perfection. Snag a few specialty pies to share—the ‘Drunken Horse’ is always a fan favorite, as is their DIY option—toss in a salad, and some red wine and you’re good to go.
Fill your cup with Nero d'Avola, Red Lambrusco or Primitivo
Awesome reccs, right? Who knew rosé and tacos were a match made in heaven?
It's all thanks to Raleigh's coolest wine shop and bar, The Wine Feed, which has officially expanded to Bull City. Beyond savant-level knowledge about wine, their new space includes a kickass bar, shockingly affordable retail section (ie: avg bottle will run you about $15) and comfy lounge. They also offer small plates, special events (keep an eye out for their ever-popular 'Corks + Cakes' tasting), wine clubs and classes galore. No shame in sticking around for a quick tasting flight when you swing by to pick up that perfectly paired bottle—bartenders this in-the-know are just the kind of people you want to hang with.
CDS’ beloved Audio Under the Stars series is back with a summer-long festival full of fascinating local stories. Grab a snack and some vino, and head over to their lush garden downtown for the perfect date night. Just lie back, gaze up at the stars above, and enjoy this one-of-a-kind, al fresco show.
Open in Durham Central Park on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Farmers’ Market is the perfect spot to build your own rustic-style picnic, full of local goodies. Peruse the stalls, snag a fresh loaf of bread here, some in-season fruit there, a bit of local cheese and boom—picnic accomplished. Be a little extra and grab a handcrafted bouquet to up the romance and make your picnic insta-worthy.
Clink for the camera with sparkling wine, Rosé, Pinot Noir, or Tempranillo