As soon as the snow disappears for the year, Bostonians rush to shed extra layers, plan beach trips, and huddle on the first few restaurant patios to open for the season. Sure, those early patio days might necessitate a blanket or a heater, but there’s something special about eating outdoors, even when conditions aren’t perfect. Whether it’s those chilly early days of the season or the last good days of early fall, it’s a joy to eat outdoors when weather permits.
Here’s a round-up of Eater Boston’s outdoor dining maps and guides, along with other spring- and summer-friendly picks. Looking for a patio with a serious wine list or dollar oysters? A rooftop with a view? Look no further.
This guide was originally published in May 2016; the date of the most recent update appears above, and periodic updates continue throughout the warmer seasons.
Restaurant Patios and Rooftops
From secluded gardens to sky-high roof-decks, these restaurant patios will satisfy all your needs.
- 18 Delightful Hidden Boston Patios: Want something a little secluded? Try one of these patios, which are removed from the hustle and bustle.
- Take Your Summer Dining to New Heights on These Rooftops: Why settle for a ground-level patio when you can head up, up, up and enjoy spectacular city views?
- Boston's Best Patios With Serious Wine Lists: Want to drink fantastic wine on a fantastic patio? This map provides details on 10 spectacular options in and around Boston, including Oleana, Spoke Wine Bar, Taberna de Haro, and more.
- Dog-Friendly Boston Restaurant Patios: Bring along your canine friend.
Sun’s Out, Buns Out
Some of the best things to eat on a bun on some of the best patios, illustrated.
Picnic and Beach Trips
Pack some snacks and go.
- The Guide to Waterfront Dining in Boston: Where to eat while enjoying the view.
- Boston Picnic Guide: Where to Eat and What to Eat: Check out this selection of prime picnic spots in the Boston area — as well as takeout-friendly restaurants nearby to fill up your basket.
- Shack Food: Casual Summer Dining in New England: Fried clams, lobster rolls, and ice cream — the summer trifecta. Here are 24 classic seafood shacks and ice cream huts in Massachusetts and beyond.
- It's a Lunchtime Food Truck Party at Dewey Square: This 2016 photo gallery provides a glimpse at the lunchtime crowd on a typical spring weekday outside of South Station, where a number of food trucks park and nearby workers spend their lunch hour.
- Boston Chefs Share Their Favorite Outdoor Dining Spots From the Past and Present: From Hyannis to the North End, local restaurant industry folks talk about outdoor dining.
- Head North of Boston for a Roast Beef Sandwich Road Trip: There are a few solid options in Boston proper, but the North Shore is the ultimate roast beef destination, and many of these spots are conveniently near water views.
- Where to Eat Fried Clams in and Around Boston: But especially on the North Shore, which is home to some of the best clam flats in the world. You’ll want to eat most of these outside.
Get Your Vitamin (D)essert
Special sweets to eat on special patios, illustrated.
Other Summer-Friendly Info
Here are some other warm-weather essentials, to be enjoyed on a patio or not. But preferably on a patio.
- 25 Boston-Area Tacos to Try: Exactly what the headline says.
- The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now: Updated periodically, this map charts the city's newest, hottest drinking destinations.
- Where to Eat Lobster Rolls in Boston: From classic waterfront options to ritzy versions worth the price tag.
- The Boston Boozy Milkshake Guide: Alcohol and ice cream, blended together to make your summer better. (If you're from Boston, you may know these as boozy frappes rather than milkshakes.) Beer floats included as well.
- The Ultimate $1 Oyster Guide: Boston loves dollar oysters.
- Around Massachusetts in 20 Ice Creams: Essential ice cream options.
- Where to Eat Barbecue in Boston: Maps and guides to help you find pulled pork, brisket, and more.
- 25 Hot Dogs to Eat Around Boston This Summer: Tubular meats.
- Boston’s Essential Fried Chicken: With or without waffles.
- Where to Eat at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS): Traveling? Here are your dining options in and near the airport.
- Essential Boston Late-Night Food, According to Bartenders: Stay out late all summer long.
- The 38 Essential Boston Restaurants: Updated quarterly, this classic Eater map is a starting point for any dining occasion.