Best Places to Picnic, Dine, and Drink in San Joaquin County

In a recent survey, we asked readers where the best places to picnic, dine, and drink outdoors were in San Joaquin County.

Here are our readers’ top three picks in each category.

Best place for a picnic

Micke Grove Regional Park

This 132-acre park in Lodi received the most votes from readers for best picnic spot. The park offers rental facilities with outdoor picnic shelters and indoor facilities that can be used for family and corporate events. It also includes the famous Micke Grove Zoo, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum, an 18-hole disc golf course, and children’s playgrounds. At Micke Grove Regional Park, you’ll be entertained for hours!

Victory Park

This 22-acre park is our readers’ top pick for the best picnic spot in Stockton. It has several tree-shaded picnic areas to keep you cool on hot summer days. Art and history buffs can visit the Haggin Museum, which is also on the grounds of Victory Park. For music lovers, the Concerts in the Park take place every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. from June 1 to August 17.

Oak Grove Regional Park

Located off West Eight Mile Road in Stockton, this 180-acre park offers several amenities sure to keep the whole family entertained, including Oak Grove Lake and Oak Grove Nature Center. Oak Grove Lake has paddle boats and water bikes available for rent on weekends from April through October. Oak Grove Nature Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. It offers educational programs and exhibitions.

Restaurants with the best outdoor dining experience

The Garlic Brothers restaurant is located at the Village West Marina in Stockton.

Garlic Brothers

Garlic Brothers is our readers’ top pick for the best outdoor dining experience in San Joaquin County, and for good reason. Located on the shores of the California Delta, guests can enjoy beautiful scenery on the restaurant’s waterfront terrace and live music. Garlic Brothers’ menu features gourmet pizzas and wood-fired dishes.


Foodies looking for farm-to-table restaurants will be delighted to discover Mezzo, an Italian restaurant located in the Brookside neighborhood of Stockton. According to their website, Mezzo aims to provide customers with “the best quality ingredients available” by “embracing and supporting our small, local farmers.” Mezzo offers patio seating, perfect for date night or casual dining.

Pietro’s Trattoria

Pietro’s Trattoria is another Italian restaurant that offers farm-to-fork dining. Located in the Lodi wine region, Pietro’s Trattoria has been a favorite with locals since it opened three decades ago. The restaurant grows many of its own ingredients from a garden in the outdoor dining area.

Bars and restaurants with the best outdoor drinking environment

Midgley's Public House is located in Lincoln Center on Benjamin Holt Drive and Pacific Avenue in Stockton.

Midgley Public House

Our readers’ top pick for the best outdoor drinking environment is Midgley’s Public House. Located in Lincoln Center, Midgley’s Public House offers a range of beverages, from champagne and sparkling wine to red wine. Patrons can enjoy their drinks with an item from the restaurant’s surf ‘n’ turf menu, such as the Grilled New York Steak Sandwich or the Veggie Beyond Burger.

Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar

Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar is another Lincoln Center favorite among our readers. Papapavlo’s offers Mediterranean bistro cuisine, as well as a full-service bar and elegant patio for all seasons.

Bob is at the marina

If you’re looking to enjoy burgers and beer in a 1950s environment, Bob’s at the Marina is the place to be. Bob’s has been a Stockton staple since opening in 1982. Guests have the option of eating and drinking indoors or outdoors on the restaurant’s terrace, which overlooks the delta and has direct boat access .

Cellars and tasting rooms with the best outdoor experience

Harney Lane Winery is located at 9010 E. Harney Lane in Lodi.

Harney Lane Vineyard

Harney Lane Winery is our readers’ top pick in the winery and tasting room category. Located in Lodi, Harney Lane Winery is a fifth-generation, family-run winery that offers guided grape-to-glass tours and tastings.

Cave Calivines

Calivirgin Olive Oil has been making award-winning oils for over a decade and recently entered the wine business. Launched in Lodi in 2021, Calivines Winery has quickly become a favorite among local wine lovers. It has an olive oil tasting bar, a wine bar, an indoor common area where you can drink wine and an outdoor patio.

Michel David Winery

Founded in 1984, Michael David Winery offers tastings and has an on-site cafe, as well as a retail store. The shop sells fresh produce and house brand wines. Visitors can also reserve seats for the cellar’s bistro and bottle service, available from March to the end of November.

Record reporter Hannah Workman covers the news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @byhannahworkman. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

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