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.

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New York City

At 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.

San Francisco

Even 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.


Outdoor 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.


When 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.

Buenos Aires

Buenos 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.


Hemingway 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 Saint-Germain, the perfect outdoor bistro lies within easy reach.


Though 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. 


You'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, two of the city's must-see attractions.


Don'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.


Singapore 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.

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