It isn't easy to find a good spot for a picnic in a big city, but we've found a little-used space that's just right for a family outing or a romantic brunch for two along the Mississippi in south Minneapolis. It's just off the bike- and footpath winding its way along River Parkway; right near the corner of East 36th Street and West River Parkway, where the Winchell Trail passes through the Longfellow Neighborhood. Just park in the small lot on River, follow the sign pointing to Winchell Trail, go up the wooden steps and then take a right on the dirt path, which you'll follow up a small hill. Off to your left you'll find a grassy field perfect for picnicking on a sunny day (the entire walk takes no more than five or six minutes). Big old oak trees and pale birches surround this lush patch of heaven, and they line the shore nearest you and frame the limestone cliffs on the opposite side of the river, too. If you've forgotten to pack dessert in your picnic basket, don't worry: There are tons of wild raspberry bushes along the path. There aren't any picnic benches or grills here; a plus since real picnics were designed to serve as meeting places for derriËres and planet Earth. There are also no garbage cans (or litter, for that matter), so please pack your picnic in and your trash out.


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