To truly take in the beauty of the city, you need to find the best outdoor dining in Phoenix. Whether it's brunch or sunset (or any time in between, really) and you haven't truly experienced the desert until you've dined al fresco.
Here are a few of our favorite restaurant patios — showcasing our beautiful weather, amazing outdoor views and delicious food — in Tempe, Scottsdale, and every other pocket of Greater Phoenix.
This bustling patio tucked along the Arizona Canal expands before a massive stone hearth. At night, trees wrapped with string lights give the illusion of dining in a sparkling forest; during the day, warm sun peeks through the greenery and yellow umbrellas. Either way is a perfect setup for a pleasant weather photo-brag to anyone inundated with snow. Saturday's special for endless mimosas may be worth getting in the shot, too.
5040 N 40th St, Phoenix 85018
A chic restored 1913 bungalow houses the main restaurant of this urban downtown pizzeria, but you'll want to find a spot on the patio, where light-wrapped trees and soft live music create a cozy sense of romance. It's a great spot for wine, artisan pizzas, handmade pastas and gleeful photos of you and your date enjoying perfect weather.
603 N. Fifth Ave., Phoenix
Go all out for views on this mountaintop patio, perched at 1,800 feet above sweeping vistas of the pristine Phoenix Mountains Preserve and distant city skyline. This fine-dining experience — located at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort — is unforgettable all by itself. Add clinking glasses of champagne while soaking up warm winter sun, and you've earned an enviable glamour with your cold-weather acquaintances.
11111 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Morning Glory Cafe
Brunch is the name of the game at Farm at South Mountain. Seating is no-frills at this picturesque outdoor dining destination — think: red checkered tablecloths and plastic lawn chairs — but the food is a labor of love, sourced from locally-grown markets and the farm’s own organic garden. It fills up fast, so if you can't get a seat, you can pick up fresh sandwiches and lunch on the farm's other honorary patio: a pecan tree grove filled with picnic tables. And don't miss dinner at Quiessence, Arizona's original farm-to-table fine dining experience. Take that, cold weather.
6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix
Simple and stylish, the outdoor spaces at this casual midtown establishment offer several ways to dine and unwind: a covered, street-side patio; a shady beer garden with communal picnic seating and its own bar; a ring of chairs around a fire pit; and grassy lawn out back. Kick back and relax — you might be here a while enjoying a sunny 70-degree day or breezy night.
3243 N. Third St., Phoenix
Not a lot says "wish you were here" quite like a pic of a cold beer and warm rays of sunshine. O.H.S.O.'s popular back patio is your spot for boasting about both, plus there's a great view of Camelback Mountain. The tap list includes a variety of craft brews, from sweet blondes to heavy porters. During the day, the glow from vibrant orange sunshades above patio booths creates its own photo filter, while globe lights twinkle overhead at night. Stick around a while for great food and games on TV above the central bar. Bonus: This patio is beloved by pet owners, so there's always a few cute dogs around.
4900 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
Windsor's playful patio is like hanging out with friends: Plaid chairs, eclectic potted plants, rusted signs and firetruck-red fireplace keep it low-key and intimate for an al fresco neighborhood dining experience. Menu items range from comfort foods (corn dog popper appetizer, backyard burger, “porkwich”) to beyond-the-barbeque seafood bites (ceviche, banh mi and a market fish selection). It's a perpetually pleasant version of your buddy's backyard.
5223 N Central Ave, Phoenix 85012
True Food Kitchen
After shopping the airy Scottsdale Quarter or Biltmore Fashion Park, your best for health-conscious refueling is True Food Kitchen. The spacious wraparound patios border palm trees-lined walkways, sporting its own garden of potted plants. Cozy up in plush green chairs to the tables with fire pits (Scottsdale Quarter location) for refreshing juices and teas, craft cocktails and a spread of entrees that incorporate ingredients ranging from kale and quinoa to grass-fed steak and jackfruit.
Arizona Biltmore Fashion Park: 2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Scottsdale Quarter: 15191 N Scottsdale Road, #101, Scottsdale
Authentic and atmospheric, this Old Town Scottsdale restaurant lures diners with an award-winning patio. Highlights are shady 100-year-old pecan trees, and comfortable outdoor temperatures year-round, courtesy of aptly places heaters and misters. Twinkling globe lights set the mood for a beautiful night while you dig into house-made tortillas and a selection of 120 tequilas.
6910 E. Main St., Scottsdale
You're in good company on this massive patio along the Scottsdale Waterfront, which draws a fun and casual crowd under the trees and string lights. Sit among gurgling fountains while sipping cocktails, sangria and wine and supping on Mediterranean-inspired entrees fitting for the canal-side scenery. If the nighttime “jacket weather” necessitates warming up, you can find a seat around fire pits or near standing heaters to continue relaxing into the evening for an amazing outdoor dining experience.
7135 E. Camelback Road, Ste. 195, Scottsdale
Originally built as a school in 1934 and converted soon after to a restaurant and lodge, the hacienda-styled El Chorro now serves upscale American food on a patio at the base of Camelback Mountain. It's a popular spot for weddings, and obvious to see why so many would want to tie the knot here — mountain views, a blue-tiled fountain and white exteriors with Spanish flair all contribute to a paradise-like outdoor dining experience.
5550 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
Located at the Hermosa Inn, this luxury, boutique hideaway was created in the 1930s by famed artist Lon Megargee as his private escape before opening up to guests.As for the name, Last Drop is an iconic painting by Megargee that shows a cowboy watering his horse from his Stetson. Today, this expansive-but-coxy patio features five outdoor fireplaces and unmistakable Southwest flair. Pair a locally inspired cocktail or an Arizona brew with a selection off chef Jeremy Pacheco's menu, which features small plates, sandwiches, salads, and pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven, and enjoy.
5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley
House of Tricks
A lush canopy of trees and dense bushes all but obscure this establishment from the sidewalk outside, but don't pass it by. House of Tricks' cozy brick patio welcomes guests with harbors laden with foliage, bright potted petunias and tranquil dining ambiance — all the perfect ingredients for outdoor dining. This is a white tablecloth affair with an elegant, contemporary American menu, but the dress code is relaxed. Make sure to point out to friends back home how the goldfish pond is not frozen over.
114 E. Seventh St., Tempe
Pedal Haus Brewery
Located near Tempe's Mill Avenue, this local brewery boasts a bustling patio that's packed with yard games, rings of camping chairs around fire pits, sports on TV and happy beer drinkers. Park your bike and bring your pooch – this patio is also dog-friendly. Pro tip: "Sunday Funday" is all-day happy hour.
730 S. Mill Ave., #102, Tempe
The Perch Pub Brewery
A tropical jungle, or Phoenix? Confuse a friend back home with a photo from this courtyard patio that's one part craft brewpub, one part aviary and one part sun-dappled garden. The Perch is home to tropical rescue birds who squawk, chirp and chatter happily from their cages, while diners soak up the greenery and inventive food and drink menu. The second-story patio may not have the birds and ferns, but has its own bar and looks out over nearby downtown Chandler for a stellar outdoor dining experience.
232 S. Wall St., Chandler