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Nine Places to Picnic Before Summer Hibernation

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We're dangling on the precipice of full-on weather hatin'. It's peeking at us from just around the corner. That means you have just a few days before we all hibernate under the constant buzz of our a/c units until late fall.

Following is a list of nine places to consider for an outdoor lunch. This isn't patio dining, but rather B.Y.O.Brown paper sack with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich-type thing.

The next few days should be a bit cooler, before it gets in the high '90s next week. Oi. Here we go ...

Klyde Warren Park, of course. But, you knew that was coming, right? This green patch in the middle of the bustling city is a slow, deep breath. There are usually food trucks around or you can BYO-whatever. And no one will look at you funny if you lie down for a nap. Even if they do, who cares!

There are two places around the area for plane spotting. Years ago I worked near Addison Airport and would often see people sitting in their trucks eating burgers while watching small planes lift off. From Addison Road, go west on Excel to Westgrove Road where there's a parking lot.

Founder's Plaza at the north end of D/FW Airport has more space and they run traffic control chatter over speakers for a little ambiance. There are some picnic tables and telescopes. Depending on the wind direction, you'll either watch take off or landings, but either way it's pretty cool.

If you're already in downtown, Main Street Garden can be a cool spot. There's a big lawn (for napping), shade, benches and walking path. Rusty Taco has an outpost with shaded dining near a water feature.

Robert E Lee Park in Uptown (3333 Turtle Creek Blvd.) is another nice retreat. Look for parking where Rawlins meets Lee Parkway. If you walk across Turtle Creek Boulevard there's a path, a few benches and water features.

Lakeside Park in Highland Park (4601 Lakeside Drive) is the Posh Spice of parks. There's a waterfall and big plump statues of teddy bears, trails, lots of shade and benches. If you can get past the fact that more is spent on manicuring the immaculate landscapes in the area then we all probably earn in a year, then it's completely delightful.

Celestial Park in Addison (5501 Celestial Road) is a small park just west of Montfort Road and south of Belt Line Road. It has a cool sundial in the middle of it, plus stairs with inspirational quotes on them, if you're in the mood to be inspired. Parking is sparse, so please don't all go at once.

If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, hop in the car and make haste west on Interstate 20, take the Mountain Creek Parkway south until you come upon the Cedar Ridge Preserve. Maybe this is a more of a weekend picnic, but it is most certainly one of the best woodsy-outdoor escapes in Dallas County. There are picnic tables and miles of hiking trails and a nice little pond. (And poison ivy off trail, so you've been warned). It's closed on Mondays.

If you're in need of a greasy burger and want to keep it simple, head over to the Dallas drive-in institution, Keller's Drive-In.

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