Talking to Kendall yesterday about how we wanted to start diving back into posting on the blog (it’ll probably be inconsistent for a while, I definitely want to take my time transitioning back into full time work and enjoy this sweet time with June!) I realized we had finished this post and intended to post it the week June was born, but she came early, so we never did! Didn’t want to hold out on you guys with so much summer left to still enjoy! ☺️ So posting it now!
50+ Best Chicago Patios, According to Local Readers!
It’s no secret that Chicago Summers are a magic unlike ANYWHERE else. It’s the best time of the year in the Windy City and arguably one of the best parts? The ENDLESS patios to dine and drink on.
Chicagoans take our patios VERY seriously. (We wait half the year for them to open!) but you ask any Chicagoan “what are the best patios in Chicago?” you will get different answers every time! How to possibly narrow it down!?
I decided to poll all of you on Instagram, asking what your favorite outdoor spots are–and here is what you said! I’ve organized them all by neighborhood–(not a perfect categorization, but tried to break down in a way that most made sense to me!) Let’s be real, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is an exhaustive list, by any means. But it’s a great place to get you started! If you’re looking for some new outdoor dining inspiration, here is a big ole list of GG reader favorites:
Wicker Park/Bucktown/Logan Square:
One of the most popular submissions. (For a good reason!) Love Moonlighter, especially their trashy tacos.
Speaking of tacos, if we’re being honest, you don’t go to Big Star for the food (definitely gone downhill over the years–it’s just average–however, their WALKING taco is pretty great), but you do go for the margaritas. They are A. Delicious, B. Sneaky and C. A recipe for a good time. D. One of the best patios in Wicker Park to hang out on a summer day or evening.
Cute, trendy spot for tacos, queso and margs! Great rooftop as well as sidewalk seating.
Giant patio, GREAT pizza (we’re talking like, actually good).
One of our favorites, plus, they JUST opened one in West Town! What better than fried chicken, Negroni slushies, and a great patio!?
The CUTEST and most fun outdoor area with great food and bottomless brunch! (Family friendly, too!)
One of the most popular suggestions in Logan! Great wine bar with charcuterie and a charming, rustic patio!
Super spacious pizza spot in West Town–open-air indoor seating and plenty of sidewalk seating, too!
Above Roots pizza–the cutest hidden gem of a rooftop with a well-curated farm to table menu. One of our favorite date night spots in West Town. Great for parties too!
According to one reader, “the back patio is 100% like being in someone’s Michelin Star backyard.”
Logan Square favorite with a casual dog friendly patio, craft brews, good food and coffee.
Neighborhood vibes, great burgers in Bucktown.
A neighborhood icon–like hanging at your neighbors backyard BBQ.
Delicious Filipino food with an incredible back patio!
They have two locations–BYOB–make sure to bring your wine and they’ll make it into sangria. AMAZING Cuban food. (They were featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives for the Food Network fans out there!)
Our go-to BBQ spot in Wicker. They have an outdoor patio (with TV’s), sidewalk seating, and amazing live bands at night!
Across the street from Smoke Daddy is another WP favorite–great sidewalk patio, beer list, cocktails, and small bites. The inside is really cute as well, with open-air windows.
Formerly Black Bull, rebranded during the pandemic. The best Spanish-style Gin Tonics on the West Side, in our opinion. Cool authentic Spanish food menu too, if that’s your jam! (Think paella, tapas, cured meats, etc!)
Great pizza, beer, and casual outdoor vibes.
One of our favorite spots for a date night–amazing Asian fusion food and a great patio!
Kind of a lesser-known Bucktown spot, but good brunch, frosé and a big patio!
Very hidden gem on Milwaukee in Wicker Park. You’d never know walking by, but they have an amazing rooftop and delicious upscale Greek food!
River West spot with an awesome dog-friendly patio, unique cocktails, and really cute atmosphere! (I’ve driven by multiple times in the past few months and been dying to check this place out!)
In the old Winchester space–quiet, lesser known neighborhood spot, great pastries, coffee, breakfast offerings in the morning, great filipino food for lunch and dinner! (Have been dying to go here, glad to know it gets two thumbs up from you guys!)
LOVE Frontier. They have a great (covered) patio. Frosé. An interesting menu. Plus, they do great packages for parties/birthdays/etc!
North side: Gold Coast, River North, Lincoln Park, Lakeview (and everything else North)
A long-time Northside staple known for their great beer garden.
Cute sidewalk seating, good margs and family friendly! (Have always wanted to go to this place every time I pass by!)
Super laid back, dive vibe, and best seafood!
Really great tacos, great drinks and fun atmosphere–super kid friendly (depending on the time you go) with lots of shaded areas!
(Different than Blue Door Farmstand!) The cutest spot for lunch or dinner with the most darling patio! Close to Gold Coast bars for easy bar hopping after as well.
If you live in Lincoln Park, and you don’t spend the summer on Ranalli’s patio–do you even live in Lincoln Park? (A much-loved neighborhood spot for pizza, a huge courtyard, and plenty of fun to be had.)
Homeslice and Happy Camper:
Obligatory mentions. I burnt myself out on these places in my twenties, but I feel like I can’t take them off the list for that reason as they are much loved in their respective neighborhoods. Very popular with the fratty crowd. If you’re looking to day drink on a Saturday or Sunday, or turn it up while eating pizza any time of day/night, this is your spot.
A super casual and delicious Mediterranean spot with a little hidden gem of an outdoor patio. Plus, BYOB!
Gastropub with a European vibe, tons of beers, and a decent beer garden.
New, and surprisingly secluded, and nice and shady!
Neighborhood gem, big dog friendly patio!
A top Lincoln Square hangout–their cute, casual patio is the perfect place to grab a flatbread and a beer!
Really spacious, great beer and food, string lights, feels like an urban oasis!
Pricey, but a total hidden gem downtown atop the Park Hyatt. A favorite spot for a bougie lunch or cocktails!
You’d never expect to find Off Color Brewing’s tap room nestled in the midst of what feels like the back of a Lincoln Park mall parking lot (well, because it kind of is?) Casual, fun spot for great beer! (Close to the theatre too if you want to catch a movie!)
Hotel Lincoln’s rooftop! (A great place to stay if you’re looking for a hotel, by the way!) Gets very crowded during peak hours, but some of the best views (and a rare rooftop viewpoint in Lincoln Park!)
Will give you a taste of Wisconsin hospitality! A Lakeview neighborhood icon, they have a fun patio (where they’ll grill out backyard-style for Packers games in the fall). Don’t miss the cheese curds and corn dogs.
Romantic French spot in Lincoln Square, feels like you’re tucked away in a secret garden! (Jess’ note: OMG. I had no idea this place existed, I cannot WAIT to go here!)
The BEST Irish pub. Their brunch buffet is legendary, and a garden oasis in the city! (Neal’s cousin’s baby shower was here and it was such a great, fun, non-stuffy setup!)
This Uptown favorite is huge, dog-friendly, and never super crowded. Great cocktails!
Cute Roscoe Village wine bar with front and back patios. Back patio feels like you’re in a friend’s backyard–in a good way!
Great for brunch or dinner in Ravenswood/Lincoln Square. Small plates, super cute outdoor patio–good for groups, too!
Downtown, Loop, River West, West Loop, South Loop, Pilsen:
A personal favorite of ours, they have an awesome, chill back patio, cute vibe, live music, and decent German-inspired food menu. Plus, curling in the winter!
Voted by you all as one of the most romantic patios in the city. Great for a date night!
Another super fun destination for visitors or locals alike with several restaurants along the riverfront.
Almost every restaurant in Fulton Market has outdoor seating, so you can’t really go wrong anywhere! (Just make sure you snag resos, they go quickly as this is a popular area!)
Awesome greek food, HUGE massive patio (that has a clear roof, so it’s even good in bad weather!)
A Bridgeport staple! Known for their amazing elevated pub fare and outdoor seating.
Pizza Portofino (old Bridgehouse Tavern location):
Makes you feel like you’re on a boat–right on the river, beautiful views, and a great patio!
Huge patio, fun atmosphere, and central location to walk anywhere in the West Loop!
A great go-to for all beer-lovers! They have over 40 beers on tap and a massive outdoor space in their parking lot, as well as BBQ!
Can spend all day there and then crawl your way to Money Gun at night!
Hidden Gem in between River North and River West! Great for post-work drinks as it’s a quick walk from River North offices!
Obligatory mention. Aba is always a crowd-pleaser with great Mediterranean food and a stunning rooftop! (They also have great cocktails/mocktails!)
South Loop spot with live music indoors and out!
A tucked away Streeterville spot loved by locals–it’s not on the River Walk, but still on the water!
Huge, off-street (quiet), awesome chips and salsa and drinks!