During a summer laced with anxiety, socially distanced picnics in the park have become my favorite pandemic pastime. With my mask on and tiny cooler in tow, attending these small gatherings has been a much-needed respite from the isolation I’ve felt in pursuit of keeping myself and others safe from a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands worldwide.

Picnicking allows you to see friends and family safely, with more than 6 feet of distance between you and others. You’re outside, which means worries about being in a closed space with questionable ventilation no longer exists — instead, you’re somewhere breezy and open. You avoid putting restaurant workers at risk, should you be asymptomatic, and you get to sit in the sun during the few blessed months of warmth Chicago gets each year. (Yes, winter is just around the corner).

(7 minutes to Riverwalk) For an Italian-inspired picnic, complete with a basket, order ahead on Tock from RPM Italian. The basket includes provolone-stuffed peppers, salad, prosciutto and ricotta toast, chicken Parmesan sandwich, cavatelli pasta salad and chocolate-chip-oat cookies. 52 W. Illinois St., 312-222-1888, rpmrestaurants.com/rpm-italian-chicago

(Less than a minute to Lincoln Park) Order a picnic spread from the original Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, R.J. Grunts. Choose from burgers, wraps, fried-chicken sandwiches and milkshakes. 2056 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-929-5363, rjgruntschicago.com

(Less than a minute to Lincoln Park) Pick up appetizers, custom sandwich platters, salads and mini desserts from Mon Ami Gabi for a French-inspired picnic. 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-348-8886, monamigabi.com/chicago