Best Places to Buy Food For A Picnic for Central Park

Whether you're going to see a summer concert or just looking to spend an afternoon people-watching in Central Park, there are many great places to stop on your way into the Park if you'd like to enjoy a picnic.

And although a picnic blanket makes for a better experience, you can also enjoy any of these meals from a park bench which is a great excuse to people watch.

  • 01 of 07
    Grace's Market Place
    ••• Google Maps

    Grace's Marketplace has been serving Upper East Side shoppers since 1985 making dinner preparation easy (if costly) with a wide array of prepared foods. Picnickers can put together a lovely spread of salads, spreads, fruits, bread, cheeses, and desserts at Grace's Marketplace to bring to Central Park. Be sure to grab some forks, knives, and napkins near the salad bar before you head to the checkout!

    • Address: 1237 3rd Ave (71th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: 5th Avenue at 72nd Street
  • 02 of 07
    Zabar's
    ••• Adam Hertz / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Zabar's has been an Upper West Side neighborhood institution for over 70 years and offers a tremendous array of delicious foods for your picnic spread. Zabar's is probably most famous for its smoked fish, but they also have an impressive cheese department, a variety of prepared foods, and delicious baked goods that you can use to easily create and impressive Central Park picnic.

    • Address: 2245 Broadway (80th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: Central Park West at 80th Street
  • 03 of 07

    Marche Madison

    Basically an upscale bodega, Marche Madison is very convenient to Central Park and has a decent selection of dried fruit, beverages and prepared items that can make for a tasty Central Park picnic.​

    • Address: 931 Madison Ave (74th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: 5th Avenue at 72nd Street
  • 04 of 07
    Citarella New York
    ••• Austin Squarepants / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Citarella is a gourmet market offering picnic shoppers a wide selection of prepared foods, breads, cheeses, and pastries. Prices can be steep at Citarella, but the quality is top-notch.​

    • Address: 1313 Third Avenue (75th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: 5th Avenue at 72nd or 79th Street
    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Fairway NYC
    ••• Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

    Fairway is probably the largest of the stores listed here. It's a full-service grocery store, but it offers great value and a good variety of picnic provisions. The layout of the store can be a bit confusing, but if you can navigate the aisles, you'll find lots of prepared foods, sandwiches, sushi, cheese, and more for stocking your picnic basket.

    • Address: 2127 Broadway (74th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: Central Park West at 77th or 81st Street
  • 06 of 07

    Eli's Manhattan is a fairly small store making it easy to navigate and shop, but everything contained in the store is of high quality and well-prepared, with prices to match. You'll no doubt enjoy the goods you pick up at Eli's Manhattan for your picnic.

    • Address: 1411 Third Avenue (80th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: 5th Avenue at 79th Street
  • 07 of 07

    Whole Foods is the only market on our list that's a national chain, but it's convenient location and expansive prepared foods offerings make it a good choice if you're planning to picnic in Central Park.

    • Address: 10 Columbus Circle (59th St)
    • Closest Entrance to Central Park: Central Park West at 59th Street