clock menu more-arrow no yes
Howells & Hood
Howells & Hood
Photo: Timothy Hiatt

Heating Up: Your Guide to Al Fresco Season

View as Map
Howells & Hood
| Photo: Timothy Hiatt

The polar vortex is finally behind us and the temperature may hit 80 degrees today, which means it's officially patio season. Some places have already opened up the doors to al fresco dining while many more will be joining the fun in the coming days. After a brutally long winter, there's no such thing as enjoying spring too much and some sun outside. So check out our guide for the newest and hottest spots this season.


Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Tanta

Copy Link
118 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 222-9700
Visit Website
One of the hottest restaurants of the past year, Tanta has opened its indoor/outdoor second floor Pisco lounge and rooftop. It features a bar along with booth and table seating surrounding a skylight looking down on the first floor. The rooftop menu offers Pisco-focused cocktails and Peruvian street food-focused small bites.

2. The J. Parker

Copy Link
1816 N Clark St Fl 13
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 254-4747
Visit Website
With one of the most spectacular views of the shoreline and downtown, J. Parker is the perfect spot for a nice spring day. Enjoy the sights from one of the 140 outdoor seats while sipping on the expertly crafted cocktails. An upgraded heating system will ensure guests stay warm even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

3. Nico Osteria

Copy Link
1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 994-7100
Visit Website
The outdoor patio at Nico is a great spot for people watching in the Gold Coast while enjoying the food at one of the city’s hottest spots. Erling Wu-Bower’s Italian fare is complimented by Matty Eggleston’s cocktail menu, which has changed to include warm weather drinks.

4. Little Goat

Copy Link
820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3455
Visit Website
Stephanie Izard’s diner features a rooftop for a little sun and relaxation in the spring. You can grab lunch at Little Goat Bread and head upstairs for a cocktail at the rooftop bar. At night, enjoy craft beers, bubbles, seasonal ceviches, olives and more.

5. The Dawson

Copy Link
730 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 243-8955
Visit Website
The Dawson’s 150-seat patio features a stone fireplace, communal tables, and new cocktails including margaritas, frozen mai tais and drinks in canteens. Look for it to be one of the year’s hottest outdoor spots.

6. Celeste

Copy Link
111 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 828-9000
Visit Website
Celeste’s rooftop patio, "The Garden," is set to open as soon as weather permits. Overlooking the madness on Hubbard Street, the English garden-inspired space will feel like a hidden oasis and offer vintage punch bowls and Victorian-style seating arrangements.

7. Big Star

Copy Link
1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-4039
Visit Website
As one of the busiest outdoor patios, Big Star needs little introduction. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon lounging around enjoying tacos and margaritas on a warm day. And if you’re not in the mood to wait, there’s always the to-go window.

8. Cicchetti

Copy Link
671 N St Clair
Chicago, IL 60611
http://www.cicchettirestaurant.com/
Mike Sheerin’s Italian restaurant has received endless praise and its massive 100-seat sidewalk café opening this month will offer even more diners a chance to see what the buzz is about.

9. CH Distillery & Cocktail Bar

Copy Link
564 W. Randolph St
Chicago, IL
(312) 707-8780
Visit Website
Snow cone versions of CH Distillery’s cocktails made with house-distilled liquor? Sign us up. Look for the 20-seat patio to open in mid-May.

10. The Terrace at Trump Tower

Copy Link
401 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 588-8000
Visit Website
The Terrace at Trump is set to reopen for the season. Located 16 floors above downtown Chicago, the spot is one of the city’s hottest summertime destinations featuring an unparalleled view of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. The menu offers innovative cocktails and inspired summer fare.

11. Howells & Hood

Copy Link
435 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 262-5310
Visit Website
Howells & Hood’s enormous 300-seat patio on Michigan Avenue will offer guests 5,700 square feet of al fresco dining. Relax outside at the pavilion bar or the two communal tables and enjoy the craft beer selection and a menu full of twists on American classics. It’s the perfect spot to people watch with views of the Magnificent Mile and Pioneer Court.

12. Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen

Copy Link
224 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 334-6700
Visit Website
Chuck’s will open its kitchen patio this spring, featuring a stunning view of downtown Chicago centered between the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park. The restaurant offers classic American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and new items include Chef Kerry Simon’s signature Sangria to sip on in the springtime.

13. Mercadito

Copy Link
108 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 329-9555
Visit Website
Mercadito is again opening its glass, garage-style retractable front door to reveal a 35-seat patio. Sip on some margaritas while trying Patricio Sandoval’s ceviches, guacamoles, tacos and more.

14. Sportsman's Club

Copy Link
948 Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(872) 206-8054
Visit Website
Sportsman’s Club is opening a rear patio this month featuring a fire pit, communal tables and a satellite bar. Look for earlier weekend hours, afternoon DJ sessions and of course lots of cocktails.

15. Perennial Virant

Copy Link
1800 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 981-7070
Visit Website
Celebrate patio season with Paul Virant’s menu of dishes highlighting fresh and local ingredients. The cozy patio offers a gorgeous view of Lincoln Park and is just across the street from Green City Market.

16. BellyQ

Copy Link
1400 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 455-8626
Visit Website
Enjoy Korean barbecue from bellyQ or slurp up some ramen from Urban Belly on the 50-seat patio, or cozy up at the fire pit in the back. Come summertime, Bill Kim will also host cooking demos in the outdoor space.

17. Ada Street

Copy Link
1664 N Ada St
Chicago, IL 60642
(773) 697-7069
Visit Website
The restaurant will open its backyard patio for its third summer season, featuring fresh, seasonal BBQ-inspired dishes, summer cocktails, outdoor ping pong and more.

18. NoMI

Copy Link
800 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 239-4030
Visit Website
NoMI garden is an urban sanctuary high above the city. The secluded retreat on the seventh floor offers guests casual outdoor dining such as summer soups, sushi, Yakitori stations, homemade milkshakes and soft serve ice cream, as well as a seasonal cocktails program.

19. Barcito

Copy Link
151 W Erie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 274-1111
Visit Website
River North’s bustling and chic Barcito features 60 outdoor seats for sipping, sharing and soaking up the sun. Enjoy the bar’s kegged cocktails, wines, beer and sangria as well as menu offering a range of tapas and housemade sodas.

20. Acadia

Copy Link
1639 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 360-9500
Visit Website
Michelin dining goes outdoors at Acadia’s new street-side dining patio opening this spring. 12 to 16 guests can enjoy the acclaimed bar menu from Ryan McCaskey, with options such as Stonington lobster roll and the popular Acadia burger.

21. Japonais by Morimoto

Copy Link
600 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 822-9600
Visit Website
Revamped Japonais by Morimoto has a new look and menu to go along with riverside seating in the rear. The raw fish offerings are some of the best in town, while the sea urchin carbonara is flavorful decadence.

22. Packing House

Copy Link
1113 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 929-4787
Visit Website
What was once Market, the newly reopened Packing House is a modern restaurant concept featuring American cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. The first of the three floors offers guests al fresco and there's also a terrace and bar under a retractable roof.

23. Tre Soldi

Copy Link
212 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 664-0212
Visit Website
Tre Soldi has been getting the attention of Streeterville residents and visitors alike with its rustic, Roman dishes. And on a warm day, it's hard to beat a glass of wine outside to go along with the hand-tossed pizzas and hearty pastas.

24. Mercat a la Planxa

Copy Link
638 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 765-0524
Visit Website
Right along Michigan Avenue and across from Grant Park, Mercat a la Planxa brings Catalan dining outside with its 60-seat patio. Guests can soak in the sun while enjoying tapas dishes, charcuterie, cheeses, fresh seafood, steaks, sangrias and more.

25. Parts and Labor

Copy Link
2700 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 360-7840
Visit Website
The menu keeps things simple but sometimes all you want is a good burger, and Parts and Labor has you covered. Add a root beer float on the large front patio and it's like being a little kid again.

26. Shanghai Terrace

Copy Link
108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 573-6744
Visit Website
Located on the fourth floor of The Peninsula, enjoy al fresco dining over dim sum and a newly-crafted lunch menu. At night, unwind with friends over Asian-inspired cocktails plus a specialty cocktail menu to debut at opening.

27. DryHop Brewers

Copy Link
3155 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-3155
Visit Website
Lakeview’s neighborhood brewery has added a 16-seat sidewalk patio/beer garden for the spring. So now’s your chance to try some craft brews alongside refined pub fare including fish tacos, poutine, bone-in pork chop, buttermilk fried chicken and more.

28. Grand Tour

Copy Link
2434 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(872) 208-7246
Visit Website
The new Ravenswood spot celebrating international cuisine will offer al fresco dining come warm weather. The street-side patio will seat 80 and offer guests an array of dishes spanning the globe, from beef bulgogi bao buns to foie gras torchon.

29. Found

Copy Link
1631 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 868-8945
Visit Website
Evanston favorite Found features a Parisian-inspired sidewalk café offering patrons a view of downtown. The rustic new American menu showcases local produce and ingredients, with a spotlight on vegetables alongside select cuts of meat. Dishes include lamb meat balls, kale and swiss chard salad, roasted squash and brussel sprouts, and more.

30. Elle on the River

Copy Link
330 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 923-7705
Visit Website
The Travelle team is set to open a casual taco spot soon, located between the bridges on State and Wabash. The menu will focus on just four types of tacos on roti flatbreads and boozy punches. With a view right next to the river, it's sure to be a hotspot once it opens.

31. The Kensington

Copy Link
324 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 380-0004
Visit Website
Set to open May 22, the rooftop garden atop Parliament will accommodate 150 guests and offer private seating areas, specially crafted libations and a panoramic skyline view.

32. Chop Shop

Copy Link
2033-35 W. North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 537-4440
Visit Website
Chop Shop's "secret garden" upstairs patio seats over 60 and is enclosed by four walls. Complementing the al fresco dining are new cocktails and punches as well as seasonal menu items.

33. Homestead on the Roof

Copy Link
1924 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 645-4949
Visit Website
Homestead will feature 80 seats on its revamped outdoor patio that is adjacent to the restaurant’s 1,000 square foot organic rooftop garden. New spring food and beverage menus will also debut along with the opening of the patio.

34. III Forks Prime Steakhouse

Copy Link
180 N Field Blvd
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 938-4303
Visit Website
III Forks has opened its rooftop lounge for stunning scenery, refreshing cocktails, sharable plates, steaks and seafood. There's also a newly-created menu for the season, available exclusively on the rooftop.

35. Parson's Chicken & Fish

Copy Link
2952 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 384-3333
Visit Website
Last year's patio of the year is poised to defend its title. The massive outdoor space now features bocce along with tons of tables, ping pong, negroni slushies, sand and music.

Loading comments...

1. Tanta

118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
One of the hottest restaurants of the past year, Tanta has opened its indoor/outdoor second floor Pisco lounge and rooftop. It features a bar along with booth and table seating surrounding a skylight looking down on the first floor. The rooftop menu offers Pisco-focused cocktails and Peruvian street food-focused small bites.
118 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654

2. The J. Parker

1816 N Clark St Fl 13, Chicago, IL 60614
With one of the most spectacular views of the shoreline and downtown, J. Parker is the perfect spot for a nice spring day. Enjoy the sights from one of the 140 outdoor seats while sipping on the expertly crafted cocktails. An upgraded heating system will ensure guests stay warm even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
1816 N Clark St Fl 13
Chicago, IL 60614

3. Nico Osteria

1015 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
The outdoor patio at Nico is a great spot for people watching in the Gold Coast while enjoying the food at one of the city’s hottest spots. Erling Wu-Bower’s Italian fare is complimented by Matty Eggleston’s cocktail menu, which has changed to include warm weather drinks.
1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

4. Little Goat

820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Stephanie Izard’s diner features a rooftop for a little sun and relaxation in the spring. You can grab lunch at Little Goat Bread and head upstairs for a cocktail at the rooftop bar. At night, enjoy craft beers, bubbles, seasonal ceviches, olives and more.
820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

5. The Dawson

730 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
The Dawson’s 150-seat patio features a stone fireplace, communal tables, and new cocktails including margaritas, frozen mai tais and drinks in canteens. Look for it to be one of the year’s hottest outdoor spots.
730 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654

6. Celeste

111 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654
Celeste’s rooftop patio, "The Garden," is set to open as soon as weather permits. Overlooking the madness on Hubbard Street, the English garden-inspired space will feel like a hidden oasis and offer vintage punch bowls and Victorian-style seating arrangements.
111 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654

7. Big Star

1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
As one of the busiest outdoor patios, Big Star needs little introduction. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon lounging around enjoying tacos and margaritas on a warm day. And if you’re not in the mood to wait, there’s always the to-go window.
1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Cicchetti

671 N St Clair, Chicago, IL 60611
Mike Sheerin’s Italian restaurant has received endless praise and its massive 100-seat sidewalk café opening this month will offer even more diners a chance to see what the buzz is about.
671 N St Clair
Chicago, IL 60611

9. CH Distillery & Cocktail Bar

564 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL
Snow cone versions of CH Distillery’s cocktails made with house-distilled liquor? Sign us up. Look for the 20-seat patio to open in mid-May.
564 W. Randolph St
Chicago, IL

10. The Terrace at Trump Tower

401 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
The Terrace at Trump is set to reopen for the season. Located 16 floors above downtown Chicago, the spot is one of the city’s hottest summertime destinations featuring an unparalleled view of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. The menu offers innovative cocktails and inspired summer fare.
401 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

11. Howells & Hood

435 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Howells & Hood’s enormous 300-seat patio on Michigan Avenue will offer guests 5,700 square feet of al fresco dining. Relax outside at the pavilion bar or the two communal tables and enjoy the craft beer selection and a menu full of twists on American classics. It’s the perfect spot to people watch with views of the Magnificent Mile and Pioneer Court.
435 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

12. Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen

224 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601