Best Cities for Alfresco Dining
Across the globe, as temperatures rise during spring and summer, tables appear outside scores of restaurants, and winter-weary diners embrace alfresco eating. From New York City to Sydney, we've gathered our favorite places to dine alfresco.
New York CityAt sidewalk tables, rooftop decks and charming backyard gardens, New Yorkers take advantage of see-and-be-seen outdoor dining hot spots in trendy neighborhoods such as Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and the West Village. Or they enjoy casual meals with Hudson River views at the Upper West Side's Boat Basin Cafe. 960 1280
San FranciscoEven though San Fran can be chilly in summer, locals armed with lightweight jackets and scarves fill restaurant patios and decks. Head to the colorful Castro District or the funky Mission District. If you prefer bay views, the pier-side restaurants at Embarcadero won't disappoint. 960 1280
MontrealOutdoor charm is in abundance at many of Montreal's cozy neighborhood eateries. City blocks in Old Montreal and Outremont morph into outdoor block parties as strings of cafes and restaurants pop up on sidewalks and street corners and servers bustle about carrying trays full of poutine and glasses of wine. 960 1280
SydneyWhen a city is home to one of the world's most iconic waterfronts — complete with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge — it's no wonder that outdoor waterfront dining is all the rage. Enjoy a cold beer with local Aussies at one of the restaurants lining Sydney Harbour's wharfs, or, better yet, head to oceanfront neighborhoods such as Bondi and Manly Beach. 960 1280
Buenos AiresBuenos Aires exudes a sort of decaying elegance that makes the so-called Paris of South America a wildly romantic spot for outdoor dining. Join the crowds of porteños that fill cafes and bars lining the Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia in the uber-hip Palermo neighborhood. For a more upscale treat, head to the restaurants along the shady, tree-lined streets of Recoleta. 960 1280
ParisHemingway and his expat cronies knew what they were doing when they flocked to Paris' countless cafes to sip strong coffee and even stronger cocktails. Whether you cozy up to tables at the iconic Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore or wander the side streets of the Marais and the sprawling Boulevard St.-Germain, the perfect outdoor bistro lies within easy reach. 960 1280
RomeThough you'll be bumping elbows with tourists aplenty, the restaurants lining Rome's piazzas offer some of the city's most scenic dining. Order an apertivo while sitting at a table that overlooks Bernini sculptures in Piazza Navona, the flower market in Campo de' Fiori, or the Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda. 960 1280
MadridYou'd be remiss not to order a slew of tasty tapas at one of Madrid's popular outdoor eateries and bars. You'll feel as if you’re a part of Spanish tradition while dining at a table overlooking Plaza de Santa Ana or Plaza Mayor, 2 of the city's must-see attractions. 960 1280
ChicagoDon't be put off by the Windy City's moniker; in summer, there's hardly a better city for outdoor dining. Whether you're in Lakeview, Lincoln Park or River North and beyond, Chicago's beer gardens, patios and rooftop restaurants and bars are ideal places for enjoying brunch or dinner with city views throughout the summer. 960 1280
SingaporeSingapore is a foodie's dream. Delicious, exotic local cuisine lurks throughout the city's many nooks and crannies, but it is most easily (and cheaply) enjoyed at Singapore's famous food streets, such as Smith Street, and sprawling hawker centers (open-air food courts), such as Lau Pa Sat. 960 1280
Invest in Foreign MarketsResearch ahead of time if there’s going to be a farmers’ market near you. Use the website Local Harvest to find farmers' markets throughout the U.S. When traveling abroad, markets are the perfect way to really get to know an area, be it your own city or one in another country. It’s a great way to practice language skills and learn about local culture, meet people, find out about good restaurants and learn about what else is going on during your stay. There’s plenty available to snack on even if you’re not planning to cook during your visit. If you’d like to bring any produce home from other countries, check the federal customs regulations first. 960 1280
Cart SmartFarmers markets can get crowded, and cumbersome wagons can become more of a burden than a help. Markets are often set up on dirt or gravel lots, which can be difficult with smaller wheels, too. Consider collapsible rolling carts or caddies with larger wheels that have a more manageable profile. Backpacks are also handy when traveling. 960 1280
Paws Before Taking FidoFarmer’s markets can be a great time to spend walking together with your best furry friend. But many markets have asked that dogs stay home, if not out-right banned canines. Check if the market is dog-friendly before going. Some markets may even have a dog park or area set up that has water and shade. If not, make sure to bring water for your dog, and consider the temperature before leaving your dog in a vehicle while you shop. 960 1280
Keep It CoolBring reusable ice packs to keep your purchases cool as you peruse under the summer sun. You can also keep a cooler in your vehicle for storing purchases, if it’s convenient, so you don’t have to carry them around. Insulated lunch boxes can be carried in backpacks, bicycle panniers and other bags for ease. Often, you may want to go out to breakfast or lunch after the market, and a cooler with ice packs will keep your purchases fresh while you enjoy the rest of your day. 960 1280
Shop TalkWhen vendors aren’t busy ask about their farms and if they supply local restaurants, if they are online and if they invite the public to visit their farms and buy direct. Establishing a relationship with local food producers helps you get the best produce and creates closer ties with the local growers’ community. 960 1280
Good Things to ComeIf you're staying in a country for a semester or longer period of time, ask vendors what produce they’ll have later in the season, and start researching recipes. They may also recommend other vendors' produce and share recipes. Ask what they do during the winter months for fresh, local food. 960 1280
Consider volunteering at the local farmers’ market on your next trip. It's a great way to meet people. From setting up booths to engaging with social media, there are plenty of areas in which to help out. Booking live music, answering SNAP and EBT questions, setting up chairs, greeting visitors and answering general questions are all areas where volunteers are needed. Find the market’s information booth (staffed by volunteers) and ask about how to help.
Surf ‘n California burritoDid You Know? While popular for years in the north-Atlantic states, legend has it that the term "surf and turf" was first used at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.
Dish 1: Surf n’ Turf Burrito
Where: Lucha Libre, 1810 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103 960 1280
BBQ Shrimp from Deanie'sDid You Know? In Louisiana they’ve been harvesting shrimp for 400 years. In the 17th century local fishermen cast their nets into the Gulf to catch the first batch of prized prawns.
Dish 2: BBQ Shrimp
Where: Deanie’s, 1713 Lake Ave, Metairie, LA 70005 960 1280
Killer Hogfish SandwichDid You Know? In 2009, 283,015 lbs. of hogfish were caught in Florida.
Dish 3: Killer Hogfish Sandwich
Where: Hogfish Bar and Grill, 6810 Front St, Stock Island, FL 960 1280
Alligator RibsDid You Know? Alligator meat is similar to pork in texture, lower in fat than chicken, and tastes amazing!
Dish 5: Alligator Ribs
Where: Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd, Tampa, FL 33613 960 1280