alfresco dining, picnics, sidewalk cafes
Ed Yourdon

World's 10 Best Cities for Outdoor Dining

By Laura Kiniry
When the weather is warm but not too hot, there's nothing better than heading outdoors—especially when it comes to dining. From London to Singapore, restaurants have opened up their gardens, expanded onto sidewalks, and transformed terraces into temporary venues perfect for lingering over a good meal.

While alfresco eateries exist worldwide, our favorite places make the most of an all-too-short summer season. Tuck into our picks of the 10 best cities for outdoor eating.

Photo: Boat Basin Café in Manhattan, by Ed Yourdon/
Outdoor dining in Paris. Community
Paris, France
With people-watching opportunities and dishes worth lingering over, it's no wonder Parisians have perfected the art of outdoor dining. Sidewalk cafés exist on seemingly every street corner in Paris, though some of the city's best can be found along the cobblestone alleys of Montmartre and the Left Bank boulevards of Saint-Michel and Saint-Germain.

Where to Eat Outside: Café de Flore, where Ernest Hemingway and other intellectuals once converged. There are also plenty of spots for sipping a kir royale or nibbling a croque-monsieur along the Champs-Élysées. On a budget? Bring a baguette and brie down to the River Seine for an impromptu outdoor feast.

Photo by gerry c/ Community
Dinner at Wish, South Beach.
Ken Ross/
Miami, Florida
With hot, sultry weather and an ideal seaside locale, Miami and its beaches were practically made for dining outside. The city boasts everything from casual waterfront decks perfect for sampling fresh seafood to chic open-air eateries with incredible ocean views.

Where to Eat Outside: Miami's top-tier hotels feature restaurants where you can dine, drink, and lounge outside all evening long.

Creme de la Creme Cafe, Montreal
Montréal, Canada
Following a long, cold winter, Montréal residents have little desire to stay indoors. In the city that claims more restaurants per capita than any in North America, sidewalk cafés spill out toward the streets during summer months.

Where to Eat Outside: Streets like Saint-Laurent, Saint-Denis, and Mont-Royal transform into a sea of plastic chairs and table umbrellas—the perfect spots for sipping cold beer or lingering with a latte.

Photo: Creme de la Creme Cafe, Montréal. Photo by pdbreen/
Casual beachside dining at Agua, Barcelona
Diego Vivanco
Barcelona, Spain
There's no shortage of sidewalk cafés in the lively waterfront city of Barcelona, where a warm, dry climate draws both locals and visitors outdoors. While many of these venues remain packed during summer months, it's still possible to find a quiet tucked-away garden or a rooftop terrace offering amazing city views.

Where to Eat Outside: Prices are better and crowds lessen the further you get from Barcelona's central boulevard, La Rambla. For beachside tapas, head to the seafront neighborhood of Barceloneta.

Notting Hill, London
London, England
Despite the occasionally lackluster weather, or perhaps because of it, Londoners don't shy away from eating outdoors. In Hyde Park, you can picnic in style by renting one of the ubiquitous green-and-white-striped lawn chairs.

Where to Eat Outside: Some of the city's best restaurants offer alfresco dining options, including along Great Queen Street in Covent Garden, in the streets of West Soho, and along the South Bank of the Thames. You'll also find plenty of picnic tables and terraces in Hampstead, plus many other perfect spots for swigging beer or sharing a basket of fish and chips.

Photo: Notting Hill, London. Photo by np&djjewell/
Bruges, Belgium.
Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is one of Europe's best preserved medieval cities with a maze of cobblestone lanes and red-roofed buildings. While the often damp and chilly weather may not seem ideal for alfresco dining, Bruges' architectural scenery offers more than enough reason to sit outside on a sunny day. Plan your trip in June, July, or August for the best chance of sunny days and warm nights.

Where to Eat Outside:
There's perhaps no better place to nurse blonde ale and an order of frites than at one of Bruges' many outdoor patios—especially those overlooking the Flemish capital's canals or centered on historic Markt Square.

Photo Caption: Outdoor dining in Markt Square, Bruges. Photo by DoctorWho/
Rose Water in Park Slope, Brooklyn
New York City
With its wealth of restaurants and an ability to make use of every conceivable space, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better city than New York for outdoor eating. Expect elevated patios, riverfront picnic tables, rooftop terraces, backyard beer gardens, and packed courtyards.

Where to Eat Outside: For a few short months, the possibilities throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the boroughs beyond are endless. In Manhattan, the always-crowded Frying Pan (a salvaged boat docked at Pier 66) serves up burgers and buckets of beer.

Photo: Park Slope, Brooklyn. Photo by SimonDoggett/
Riverside Point, Singapore
Dining alfresco is a popular pastime in Singapore, where the range of culinary options includes everything from chicken satay to falafel sandwiches. Many restaurants stay open 24 hours, and it's not uncommon to see groups gathered around outdoor tables well into the evening, when the constant heat and humidity subsides.

Where to Eat Outside: Look for sidewalk cafés, terraces, and shaded patio gardens—perfect for an afternoon break—in the historic Boat Quay along the southern bank of the Singapore River. Or head to the former warehouse district of Clarke Quay, where moored tongkangs (wooden boats) have been transformed into floating pubs and restaurants. Smith Street, in Singapore's Chinatown, boasts a pedestrian stretch of makeshift cafés and food stalls.

Photo: Riverside Point, Singapore, by williamcho/
Xintiandi, Shanghai
Shanghai, China
Despite the traffic, smog, and crowds, Shanghai is home to some of China's best alfresco dining. Summer can be uncomfortably hot; plan to visit in the spring or fall instead.

Where to Eat Outside: Find a spot within the city's former French Concession and along the upscale and pedestrian-only Xintiandi. Expect wicker-furnished outdoor patios, rooftop terraces, and table-topped balconies overlooking bustling downtown streets.

Photo: Xintiandi, Shanghai, by raph.v/
Julio Cafe, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina
When summer comes to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, things in Argentina's largest city are just heating up.

Where to Eat Outside: In Buenos Aires, take to the outdoor tables off Palermo Viejo's square and along the cobblestone streets of San Telmo to converse over cups of café con leche, or dine upon upper terraces while watching duos tango below. The affluent neighborhood of Recoleta offers some of the city's best alfresco options.

Photo: Late-night eating at Julio Cafe, by blmurch/