20 Top-Rated Chicago Restaurants With Outdoor Dining

In a city known for its long winters, Chicagoans savor their sunny weather. They maximize patio season by dining outdoors from the scenic banks of the Chicago River to neighborhood courtyard nooks strung with lights to buzzy rooftops with skyscraper views. Outdoor dining season in Chicago is generally May through October. If you're looking to make the most of the warmer months, here are the best places to dine outdoors in Chicago.

This list, based on restaurant reviews and years of experience dining around the city, is your guide to where to enjoy some of Chicago's best cuisine al fresco and the prettiest places to eat outdoors. The restaurants below range from the trendy areas of River North and the West Loop to charming neighborhoods like Lincoln Square and Hyde Park. Whether you're craving authentic Cuban cuisine, Southern soul food, or a juicy dry-aged steak, Chicago has got you covered.

Homestead on the Roof

If you have ever wanted to dine in a secret garden, head to Homestead on the Roof in West Town. To find it, you will have to walk through Roots Handmade Pizza and up the stairs. The restaurant oasis is hidden on the roof perched a world away from bustling Chicago Avenue below.

A 1,000-square-foot rooftop garden bursting with greenery greets you surrounded by a wooden patio. The restaurant's airy ambiance is complete with a covered pergola, vertical hanging gardens, an outdoor fireplace, and glowing Edison string lights. And the gardens are not just decoration: Many of the menu's ingredients are grown right on Homestead's rooftop. Even if you've dined at Homestead on the Roof previously, Chef Chris Teixeira changes the pop-up menu every summer, so it's worth returning to see what's new. The farm-to-table concept ranges from New American to Filipino fusion to Portuguese. Homestead on the Roof is only open for dinner during the summer, so make a reservation to secure your place on the 85-seat rooftop patio.


(773) 904-1149

1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

The Duck Inn

A mostly industrial area of Bridgeport near the South Branch of the Chicago River isn't where you would expect to find an award-winning restaurant. Chef Kevin Hickey cooked at acclaimed eateries around the world before opening the Duck Inn in the neighborhood where he grew up. The sounds of spinning vinyl and the scents of gourmet duck fill the retro-themed gastro-tavern.

The shady garden patio is an inviting place to enjoy the Duck Inn's modern American dishes. Hungry patrons gather at long wooden tables or two tops, surrounded by colorful planters and hanging plants. A wooden fence conceals the sunken garden from the street, creating a hidden haven. Call ahead to preorder the Duck Inn's signature dish, a slow-roasted rotisserie duck. For a more casual meal, the Duck Inn Dog is the restaurant's take on a Chicago-style hot dog made with beef and duck fat. Don't sleep on Sunday brunch with creative duck dishes like rotisserie duck hash.


(312) 724-8811

2701 S Eleanor St, Chicago, IL 60608

Chicago Cut Steakhouse

In the City of the Big Shoulders, this is where you go to rub elbows. Chicago Cut Steakhouse is full of bravado, from the red velvet-draped dining room to the patio views to the menu prices. It may be bustling with business types, but the River North patio is ideal for watching boats float by on the Chicago River and trains zoom across the Wells Street bridge.

If you're going all out, the best view might be the bone-in rib eye aged in Chicago Cut Steakhouse's own dry-aging room for 35 to 40 days. Pair it with a steakhouse side like a wedge salad or lobster mac 'n cheese, then choose from nine pages of wine selections to wash down your meal. For a more affordable option, order a $20 classic cocktail, take in the lively patio, and toast to the good life.


(312) 329-1800

300 N LaSalle St, Chicago IL 60654

Bistro Campagne

Lincoln Square's European vibe is a fitting setting for the French bistro fare of Bistro Campagne. The restaurant is one of Chicago's most romantic outdoor dining options. Bistro Campagne boasts not one, but two intimate, tree-lined patios. Brick walls and a wooden fence enclose the patios which include vibrant flowers and mosaic art. The effect feels like you've left the city completely.

Bistro Campagne offers approachable French fare in keeping with its comfortable setting. The menu changes seasonally, with an emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients. Round out a meal of favorites like steak frites and French onion soup with a menu of all French wines. You cannot reserve a patio table, so plan to arrive early. Grab a seasonal craft cocktail featuring house-made bitters and shrubs and embrace the wait for a patio table as part of the Old World ambiance.


(773) 271-6100

4518 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Ada Street

Tucked in a West Town industrial corridor, you'd never guess that Ada Street is hiding an intimate dining room and a back patio. After confirming that you are, in fact, in the right place, narrow, candlelit hallways transport you to a hip dining room lined with exposed brick. In warmer months, a glass-panel garage door rolls up to reveal the patio. The setting is minimal, enclosed by brick walls and hung with strands of lights. On some nights, vinyl records in the dining room give way to DJ sets on the patio.

Ada Street is laidback but sexy, the perfect spot for a date night. The New American menu doesn't miss with rotating small plates like steak tartare and gnocchi. Ada Street's cocktail menu changes seasonally. It's worth stopping by regularly to see what playful and clever concoctions are happening behind the bar.


(773) 234-1753

1664 N Ada St, Chicago, Illinois 60642

Parson's Chicken & Fish

No Chicago summer is complete without sipping a Negroni slushy on the Parson's Chicken & Fish patio. Since opening in 2013, Chicagoans have packed its gravel patio for a chance to cool out under the iconic red and white striped umbrellas with a boozy slushy and matching red and white striped straw. With this popularity, Parson's expanded to locations in Lincoln Park and Andersonville, but its original Logan Square restaurant remains a classic.

The picnic tables make Parson's a great gathering place for groups, and you'll find both kids and dogs kicking it on the patio. Seating is first come first served, but waiting for a table is part of the experience. Pony up to the bar, chill on the bleacher seats or challenge your pals to a game of ping pong until your table is ready. Your wait will be rewarded with hush puppies, hot chicken sandwiches, and fried fish.


(773) 384-33332

952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647


The dining room is always full at Virtue, especially since Chef Erick Williams took home the James Beard Award for best chef of the Great Lakes region. Fortunately, the sidewalk patio offers more opportunities to enjoy his Southern American fare. Planters adorned with flowers add a pop of color to the sidewalk setting on a shady stretch of 53rd Street. Whether you're dining inside or al fresco, reservations are a must at Virtue.

Virtue delivers an elegant take on Southern classics. Start with small rations of fluffy biscuits with pimento cheese and honey or crispy fried gizzards before moving on to large rations like blackened catfish with Carolina gold rice or short ribs. Don't miss the collards loaded with smoked turkey. Still not stuffed? Banana pudding complete with Nilla Wafers and Cool Whip should do the trick.


(773) 947-8831

1462 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615

The Dawson

Steps from the Grand Blue Line stop, The Dawson's spacious courtyard offers a retreat from the busy West Town intersection. There are plenty of appealing spaces within the multi-level restaurant, but The Dawson's calling card is its expansive outdoor area. A tall wooden fence separates you from the outside world. With brick and wood accents and an outdoor fireplace, it's no wonder that the patio is packed from boozy weekend brunch to dinner under the string lights. Even the patio offers different zones including long wooden tables for groups, small tables under a wooden pergola, and its own bar.

The Dawson serves creative American fare from chicken fried lobster to its Dawson burger. Its seasonal cocktail game is strong, featuring house-made syrups and infusions. Ask about the rotating drip, which dispenses infusions like Amari or a spiced 10-year-old rum. For a local flavor, order the Gibson Chicago-Style complete with a sport pepper garnish.


(312) 243-8955

730 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

Chief O'Neill's

This Irish pub in Avondale is named for an Irish immigrant who became General Superintendent of Police in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Captain O'Neill was an Irish music historian, so it's only fitting that you can find Irish musicians regaling patrons with traditional airs and reels in the garden most Sundays. With a capacity of 300 people, Chief O'Neill's may be hiding the biggest backyard patio in Chicago. The grassy garden is dotted with flowers and surrounded by tall trees and a fence that keeps Elston Avenue's traffic sounds from interfering with the music at hand.

A cozy atmosphere and Irish dishes like bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, or Guinness-infused meatloaf aren't the only reasons that Chicagoans gather in the garden on weekends. Make a reservation to test the limits of your belt with the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet. Chow down on Irish eggs Benedict and Jameson bread pudding while bagpipers play and raise your pint of Guinness to the chief.


(773) 583-3066

3471 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Piccolo Sogno

Piccolo Sogno is another contender for Chicago's most romantic outdoor dining option. Its name means "little dream" in Italian and its lush courtyard is one of Chicago's dreamiest. High wooden walls covered in ivy and leafy tree branches envelop the roomy West Town patio, secluding it from the lively Grand Blue Line intersection. Stylish but not stuffy, Piccolo Sogno is a lovely place to celebrate a special occasion or stop in for a weekday lunch.

Take a trip to Italy with a seasonal menu focusing on rustic fare that's simply prepared with local and Italian ingredients. Standout Italian favorites include spaghetti neri with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, and wood-fired pizzas. The wine list features more than 400 selections all from Italy. Fortunately, the staff is trained to help you select the perfect pairing for your seasonal gnocchi or four-cheese ravioli Piccolo Sogno.


(312) 421-0077

464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642

RPM Seafood

All of the RPM restaurants (RPM Steak, RPM Italian, and RPM Seafood), deliver solid food and a sceney atmosphere. What else would you expect from owners Bill and Giuliana Rancic and the Melman siblings of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group? Yet RPM Seafood's patio sets it apart boasting two levels of amazing views along the Chicago River.

You'll want a reservation to see and be seen at this River North hot spot, especially when it comes to the coveted patio tables. Start off with exclusively cultivated oysters, fresh blue crab cakes, or a splurge-worthy seafood tower. Caviar service starts at $100. Steaks and pasta entrees are available, but seafood is the star. You can't go wrong with Spanish branzino "grilled over glowing embers of charcoal" or miso black cod, but the sides come separate. Signature cocktails change by the season and after a few glasses from the extensive global wine list you'll forget all about the bill.


(312) 900-9035

317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654


Modern Mediterranean takes the spotlight at Aba, which means father in Hebrew. The stylish West Loop space's California influence is apparent from its rooftop terrace packed with plants, fire pits, and casual couches. A wooden pergola shades diners as they take in views of the neighboring skyscrapers and greenery springs from planters and hanging baskets giving the terrace an urban jungle feel. Aba's interior spaces are equally verdant, but come winter the rooftop terrace is heated and enclosed, meaning you don't have to sacrifice the views.

Helmed by celebrity chef C.J. Jacobson, it's no surprise that Aba is an absolute hit with Chicagoans. Walk-ins are technically welcome but you should reserve ahead for dinner or weekend brunch. You might not want to share your small plates, but bring a few friends to split large format cocktails serving four to five people. Whether you're snacking on crispy short-rib hummus in the atrium or whipped feta on the scenic patio, it's always summer at Aba.


(773) 645-1400

302 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607


An expansion of the beloved tavern Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar, Kimski offers casual patio dining in Bridgeport. Owners Mike and Ed Marszewski honor their heritage with a fusion of Korean Polish street food. Think potato and cheese pierogi with sour cream, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Chef Won Kim turns out spicy pork bulgogi bowls and poutine made with kimchi beer and Wisconsin cheese curds from a counter service storefront. Much of the menu's ingredients are locally sourced and made in-house. After you order, you can enjoy your food either on the Kimski patio or at Maria's. Don't miss Maria's Standard, a hot dog with Polish sausage, kimchi sauerkraut soju mustard, and scallions named for the family matriarch. The beer of choice? A selection from Marz Community Brewing, another venture from the Marszewski brothers. Just like the South Side neighborhood it calls home, Kimski is approachable yet funky.


(773) 823-7336

960 W 31St St, Chicago, IL, 60608

Big Star

The words "Big Star patio" are synonymous with summer in Chicago. Who hasn't skipped out of work early to secure a table on Wicker Park's most popular patio? Show up late on a sunny day and you might be waiting in a line that stretches down the block. Dogs are welcome on the patio and as the local hipster population ages, their kids are learning to love Big Star. Locations in Wrigleyville and West Town followed, but nothing beats the original Big Star.

Once you're seated at the honky-tonk-inspired taqueria order chips, salsa, and guacamole and keep the pitchers of margaritas flowing. Menu items rotate, but al pastor tacos with grilled pineapple, onion, and cilantro and pescado tacos with chipotle mayo, cabbage, red onion, lime, and cilantro are forever favorites. If you're craving something stronger than craft beer, peruse the extensive spirits list for whiskey, tequila, and mezcal. Don't forget to ask your server about the shot of the day.


(773) 235-4039

1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622


There's something for everyone at this River North destination with a different concept on each of its four floors. Start downstairs at Celeste in the Whiskey Bar, eat dinner in the Deco Supper Club, and shake your groove thing at Disco. When you're ready to refresh with a cocktail or small plate, head upstairs to the fourth-floor garden.

Celeste's garden is an oasis of warm brick walls covered in ivy. It gives off an English greenhouse feeling with a retractable roof and Victorian-inspired furniture. The vibe, however, is more bottle service than afternoon tea. While the bar area can get packed with partygoers, it's possible to find respite from the revelry by snagging a spot on one of the loveseats closer to the staircase. Sip on classic cocktails or perhaps some bubbles and nosh on a fried chicken sandwich or cacio e pepe arancini. Reservations are only available for the supper club, so expect to wait in line to enter later in the evening.


(312) 828-9000

111 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654


Chicagoans, the ones who live in the city and not the suburbs, typically avoid Navy Pier at all costs. Yet, there are a few good reasons to visit one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Navy Pier got a glow-up with its recent renovation, including a restaurant called Lirica in the new Sable Hotel. Breakfast caters mainly to guests of the hotel, but Lirica is also open for lunch and dinner daily. Perched along Lake Michigan, its Spanish and Iberian-inspired cuisine pairs perfectly with views of the Chicago skyline.

Surrounded by green planters, Lirica's 150-seat outdoor patio stretches along the pier. It's available by walk-in only. While its Great Lake vista is sometimes blocked by large boats, the fresh lake breeze makes up for it. The shared plate menu takes cues from Spanish, Portuguese, and Caribbean flavors. Snack on papas bravas and bacon-wrapped dates or level up with Valencia paella or a New York strip with chimichurri. Seasonal mojitos, margaritas, and sangria are just a few reasons to toast to the new Navy Pier.


(872) 710-5750

900 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Pilsen Yards

Unlike other outdoor dining destinations around the city, Pilsen Yards' patio is open all year. A heated floor and overhead heaters keep you comfortable in the open-air space. Planters line a brick wall while wooden pergolas overhead provide some shade. With 170 seats on the patio, you can gather at a table, post up at the outdoor bar, or lounge near the fire pit. While the patio is family-friendly by day, the atmosphere turns up for vinyl DJ sets at night from Thursday to Sunday. Select "outdoor seating" to reserve a patio table.

Chef Juan Gutierrez is serving a menu of Latin street food like fish tacos and sweet corn tamales. Settle into the patio with big plates like chile relleno and braised lamb shank. On the boozy side, creative takes on tequila and mezcal cocktails are highlights along with a trio of margaritas to choose from.


(312) 243-2410

1163 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

90 Miles Cuban Cafe

The authentic cuisine, vibrant artwork, and lively energy at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe make Cuba feel much closer to home. The Roscoe Village location offers a postage-stamp patio, but Logan Square's two outdoor patios are where you want to go with a group. Snag an open-air table on the front patio with umbrella tables, string lights, and planters. The covered back patio is available in all seasons with open sides in the summer and heat lamps in the winter. Groups should reserve ahead.

90 Miles is open all day, so you can start off with huevos rancheros Cubanos and a café con leche to get you going. At lunch, the Cubano sandwich reigns supreme. Slow-roasted ropa vieja is a must at dinnertime, complimented by sides like maduros and croquetas. 90 Miles is BYOB so, for a corkage fee of $7 per bottle, you can bring your own wine for sangria or spirits for rum for a pitcher or mojito. There's live music on many nights to really bring the spirit of Havana to sweet home Chicago.


(773) 227-2822

2540 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Gibson's Italia

If you're familiar with the classic Chicago steakhouse vibe at Gibson's, prepare to meet its chicer cousin at Gibson's Italia. The three-level West Loop restaurant brings Italian steakhouse dishes to a bright and modern skyscraper setting. With a setting along the Chicago River, dazzling views are plentiful from every level. Head to the third floor for outdoor dining in any season thanks to a retractable roof. It's worth reserving a table to admire the ever-changing Chicago skyline from this vantage with the glass and steel towers reflecting the water below.

Gibson's Italia has you covered from power lunches to sumptuous dinners. Spicy rigatoni and cacio e pepe are made with Italian heritage organic stone ground flour. Steaks are a standout, with a "world-class tour of beef" offering USDA Prime Angus, Australian grass-fed beef, Japanese Kobe and Miyazaki, and Carrara Wagyu. Classic cocktails and Italian wines abound in the beverage book, but the spritz menu is a fitting touch.


(312) 414-1100 

233 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60661


Frontier brings the Wild West to the Windy City. The West Town restaurant's rustic exposed brick and wood interior is complete with a stuffed bear. Chef Brian Jupiter offers game meat dishes that you won't find elsewhere around town. Elk sliders and venison cheesesteak are lighter fare, but you'll find wild boar strip loin and elk shank on the wild game portion of the menu. Serving 12 to 15 guests? Opt for the whole animal experience and have wild boar, goat, or alligator stuffed with smoked chicken carved tableside.

Outside, Frontier's patio provides an airy space in the summer and is covered by a retractable roof in the winter for a cozy fireside retreat. Cool off with a unique cocktail like the Pantera Noire, with activated charcoal and black lava salt, or keep it simple with a bucket of beers. Reservations are available and whole animal experiences require advance notice. Frontier is a New Orleans Saints bar, so show up to the patio early on game day or risk losing your spot to the brass band.


(773) 772-4322

1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642