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6 park-picnic pairings for September

Those dog days of summer have fizzled out and sweater weather is (finally) upon us. Enjoy the crisp weather and colorful leaves before they crunch away, with these six park and picnic pairings.

Gateway Market | Gray’s Lake

2002 Woodland Ave.

Sometimes gourmet is the only way to go, especially when bahn mi and artisanal cheese plates are involved. Make your date extra fancy by toting a bouquet of flowers to Gray’s Lake.

Z'mariks | Campbell Park

12655 University Ave. #120, Clive

Whether you’re a Veggie Tuscana lover or a Plain Jane mac-and-cheese fan ($4 special on Mondays), these noodle bowls have got it going on. Wander down the road to Campbell park to enjoy the freshly paved Greenbelt trail and some sand volleyball.

Hagar’s Manhattan Deli | Greenwood Park

3705 Ingersoll Ave.

For those crisp fall days, head to Manhattan Deli for a toasted sub and some bubbly cheese soup, then cozy on up and watch the leaves change in gorgeous Greenwood Park.

Fresh Cafe & Market | Water Works Park

6151 Thornton Ave. #100

Vegan or not, Fresh offers a fun variety of picnic options — from the coconut BLT to the cashew mac and cheese. Head down Park Avenue, then pop a squat at Water Works Park to enjoy your grub and some of Fresh’s earthy beet lemonade.

The General Store | Raccoon River

206 5th St., West Des Moines

Hit up The General Store for the best soup and sandwiches in Valley Junction. The nostalgic eatery is just minutes away from Raccoon River, making the perfect beach date — well, for Des Moines.

B&B Grocery, Meat and Deli | Downtown Riverwalk

2001 S.E. 6th St.

Hungry? Swing by B&B for a quadzilla burger or one of their famous killer sandwiches, then snatch a spot alongside the river for one of the best views of downtown Des Moines.