The Run Down

It’s springtime in Chicago, and that means the city is collectively regaining its will to live. To maximize your time in the sun and enjoy the city on a casual afternoon, start at a delicatessen for a gourmet sandwich, charcuterie, snacks, and a bottle of wine. Bring your picnic provisions a short walk away and lay out on a big lawn with the skyline as your backdrop.

1. Picnic Preparation @ Tempesta Market

2. Picnic Time @ Eckhart Park

1. Tempesta Market

There’s something about eating a sandwich on a picnic bench or laying outside on a lawn after months of gray looming over the city. And it’s that much better when you don’t have to make it yourself. Enter Tempesta Market. On the corner of Noble Street and Grand Avenue, Tempesta is a European-style market and deli in Noble Square and the start of our guide.

Well-loved cookbooks and murals decorate the space, and friendly staff make the place feel warm and inviting. It’s almost like you’re going to a new friend’s place for the first time and they’re trying a little bit to impress you.

Bottles of wine, charcuterie and cheese, potato or pasta salad, and other treasures are available to buy, so take your time finding the right ones. The ham and pork on the sandwich are high quality, as are most of Tempesta’s ingredients.

The market, founded by the father-son duo of Agostino and Tony Fiasche, prides itself on taking time sourcing and importing ingredients to make sure they serve you the best options possible, according to general manager Carlos Mora.


For curious minds, the market gets its name from the Italian word for “strong wind gusts.”

When it comes to food, you can’t go wrong with the Cubano sandwich, served hot on near-perfect bread, crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Don’t forget about the pasta and potato salad options, delectable wines and other pantry staples.

Dine-in is an option, but this time, plan to take your food to-go and head to the park to eat.

2. Eckhart Park

From the market, head north on Noble Street until you reach Chicago Avenue. It’s a pretty walk, with classic Chicago architecture and a tree-lined street to admire.

Once you reach Chicago Avenue, look east down the street for a glimpse of the skyline before reaching the 8.85-acre park, complete with a baseball field, basketball court, kids’ playground and community center. The park has been a staple in West Town since 1907, and it was named for parks advocate Bernard A. Eckhart.

Eckhart Park stands with some prominence in Chicago’s history as the first in a system of parks on Chicago’s west side meant to provide breathing space and social services for neighborhoods overcrowded by immigrants at the start of the 20th century. For a park, the architecture on site is grand. The brick field house was designed by William Carbys Zimmerman, who at the time served as the state architect for Illinois.

Fun fact: After the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, Nike aired a celebratory commercial filmed at Eckhart Park.

Once you get the lay of the land at the park, find one of the benches scattered along walking paths in the park or bring along a blanket and settle in. The goal here is simple: Lounge, relax, take in the sights and sounds of the city, and indulge in that Cubano you got at Tempesta.

Among the towering trees, you can catch peeks of downtown skyscrapers from certain angles.  On a warm weekend, the park is packed. Toddlers stumble their way to the playground, teens battle in basketball, father-son duos play catch, and groups are dotted all along the lawn with the laying out with the same idea as you.