Warm-weather days are precious in Minnesota, and the best way to honor the beauty of those sunny days is to spend every possible moment outside. That means patios for breakfast, brunch, midday and into the late-night hours.
Now, there are the summer musts — those classic patios where we rejoice every summer. But this list is all about exploring new places, whether they are recently opened restaurants or those that have given their outdoor spaces a major refresh.
From sushi sandos in the sunshine to local beer and pizza in the shade, these are the freshest patios for summer 2023.
Above it all
The entire roof of Blondette's fifth-floor dining room is a retractable glass ceiling, which means the city sky makes for a gorgeous view, even when the weather isn't cooperating. Stepping out onto the terrace feels like a secret oasis, a place to sip a gin cocktail garnished with a bouquet of herbs and savor the French-ish fare from Daniel del Prado. It's lovely for dinner or the newly added brunch service. Plus, there's free valet parking when you're dining at the restaurant, located inside the Rand Tower Hotel. 527 Marquette Av. S., Mpls., blondettempls.com
What was once Arts and Rec is now Uptown Collab — or UpCo for short. What remains is a rooftop patio bar called Beacon, perched atop Seven Points on the corner of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue. The menu is now being overseen by Kamal Mohamed of StepChld and Nashville Coop. That means Ethiopian spices enliven the beef tacos and there's a serious burger situation, too. 3001 Hennepin Av. S. Mpls., uptowncollab.com
A beloved patio is back and better than ever with the just-opened Gai Noi in Loring Park. Ann Ahmed's newest restaurant has taken the place of the long-dormant 4 Bells, making those treetop views accessible once again. The rooftop has never been more lush, and the menu is filled with crowd-pleasers like Ahmed's iconic basil wings and plenty of shareable snacks. If the upstairs patio isn't your perfect vibe, there's also plenty of open-air space on the first level. 1610 Harmon Place, Mpls., gainoimpls.com
This Italian restaurant has been reborn in the old Amore place, and it's still a gorgeous setting for an Uptown sunset. On the menu are pizzas, pasta and spreads perfect for savoring with fresh focaccia. Plus, there is a full bar and it's possible to time a flight of negronis to last from happy hour until the sun dips down behind Bde Maka Ska. 1610 W. Lake St., Mpls., pinoli-mpls.com
Eat Street Crossing
Just when it seemed we couldn't love this new food hall collaboration by the owners of Bebe Zito and Zen Box Izakaya more, they went and opened the patio. The exterior space is tucked into the front/side of the historic Arizona building. Fire pits crackle on cool nights and the sunshine is dappled by trees during the day. Grab a cocktail and order up the sushi sandwiches, golden-crusted pizza, hot honey butter-dipped fried chicken or steamy bowls of ramen from inside to be enjoyed in a new urban setting. 2819 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., eatstreetcrossing.com
Bricksworth Beer Co.
This location is more trackside than streetside, with patio views of the Northstar rail line. The onetime Darby's always had been one of the undersung patios of the North Loop. Now that real estate comes with Dorito-crusted wings, Detroit-style pizza slices and more reasons to dip out of work early for a long happy hour. 305 5th Av. N., Suite 105, Mpls., bricksworthbeer.co
Outdoor space isn't new at this Robbinsdale brewpub from the Travail collective, but the patio has gotten a lovely spruce-up for the season. Additional greenery has everything looking lush and lovely, and a redesign has made it more accessible for those who just want to grab a drink or to dine in. Kid-sized picnic tables also have been added to make the whole space feel even more family-friendly. 4124 W. Broadway, Robbinsdale, nouvellebrewing.com
Centro Highland Park
Centro has built a reputation on tacos, pitchers of margaritas and good times — all on the patio. The just-opened location in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood delivers on all fronts. The windows run floor to ceiling and pull back along Cleveland and Highland Parkway, giving the entire restaurant an indoor/outdoor feel. There are also plenty of outside seats for basking in the season. 750 S. Cleveland Av., St. Paul, https://centrompls.com
Apostle Supper Club
Brian Ingram's massive St. Paul restaurant across from Xcel Energy Center also has an outdoor space featuring windows that open to 7th Street and a giant thatched-roof bar with an impressive cocktail list. It's safe to say the party vibes are alive and kicking here. 253 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, apostlesupperclub.com
This new market and cafe has set out some tables and striped umbrellas along Nicollet Avenue. It's a lovely destination for a neighborhood walk or daytime meetup with friends. There's a selection of coffee drinks, wine and menu with fresh salads, bowls and sandwiches. 4237 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., krusemarkit.com
Small but mighty
Northeast's favorite new sandwich shop has added a wee patio under the stairs out back. It's as charming as the interior and feels like a little urban hideout where you can enjoy ramp-studded pasta salad and those delectable focaccia-based bites. 400 Lowry Av. NE., Mpls., martysdeli.com
Francis Burger Joint
It's just a line of tables along Central Avenue, but this is still the best spot for sun and a vegan Juicy Lucy. Also, the bar cocktails are here to celebrate summer all day long. 2422 Central Av. NE., Mpls., francisburgerjoint.com
The remodel of this space brings back an iconic patio for the season — one of the few with a screened-in porch, and one of the few along the Minnesota River. Experience casual supper club vibes on the sprawling upper-level patio, set off the back and side of the building. Plus, there's a smaller lower-level patio — with thatched-roof umbrellas — attached to the rum-fueled tiki bar. 1583 1st Av. E., Shakopee, shakopeehouse.com
Keep an eye on the social media accounts of these restaurants; we expect their new patios to open in a matter of weeks.
Borough: The North Loop staple is giving its patio a major refresh and expanding its hours. When it opens June 7, there will be a locally painted mural, spritzes on tap and a new lunch menu. boroughmpls.com
Herbst Eatery and Farm Stand: Tucked behind the restaurant off Raymond Avenue, this lush patio with bistro lights feels like an urban oasis, even though it's just a stone's throw from an industrial part of St. Paul. Its opening is a couple of weeks away. herbstsaintpaul.com
Maison Margaux: A sidewalk cafe in North Loop from David Fhima is off to the side of the splashy new restaurant, which has a few dozen coveted parking spots. maisonmargauxmpls.com
Marc Heu Patisserie Paris: An outdoor sidewalk cafe like a French bistro, but St. Paul-style. It opens in June with the addition of a savory food menu. marcheuparis.com
Oro by Nixta: A hidden little brick alleyway will be the perfect place to savor Gustavo Romero's resplendent Mexican cuisine. nixtampls.com
Rooftop Bar: Speaking of rooftops, the top of NOLO's is under construction with promises to come back better than ever sometime in July. rooftopbarmpls.com
Snack Bar: Isaac Becker's North Loop pizza and small-plates restaurant is setting out tables and chairs along Washington Avenue. snackbarmpls.com