Reserve your picnic spot now (summertime)

January 10, 2008

Last spring I learned the hard way that savvy St. Louisans who want to book a covered picnic shelter in Tower Grove Park on a weekend do so early — like up to a year in advance.  The kind staffer who fielded my one-month-in-advance request was very polite in telling me that a weekday might be a possibility, but if I wanted any Saturday or Sunday between May or September, I could forget it.  My party, sheltered by trees at the open-air Gurney site, turned out lovely anyway, but if you’ve got your heart set on the Turkish Pavilion or the Chinese Pavilion, now’s the time to get on the phone: 314.771.2679.

The early 20th-century pavilions in Tower Grove Park aren’t the only coveted outdoor party spots in city parks, although they definitely have the most character.  The picnic shelters in Carondelet and O’Fallon parks are also lovely, and also reserved well in advance.  (And yes, that latter one is in North St. Louis, but believe me, it’s quiet and lovely — don’t be put off by its geography.)  For info on reserving them during the May-September “picnic season,” when a permit is required to use the sites, call the Parks Division at 314.289.5330.  At other times of the year, picnic sites can be snapped up by the first group to get there, no permit required.


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