(Updated March 5, 2021)
Ready to get out there and embrace the world again? (Or at least give it an air hug.) Well I've got a patio for you! Tucson has some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces to eat and drink in relative safety. Chiltepin IPA with a panoramic mountain view? That's something to be thankful for.
Our list of outdoor dining spots is long and all-encompassing. And now, the updated version has even more restaurants on it, including some unexpected spots you might not have remembered or thought of. Bookmark this page and return again the next time you feel like going out to a restaurant. (Or coffee shop or bar.)
Just remember, a couple of quick etiquette tips before you go: It's considered polite to keep your mask on at all times except when eating or drinking. Unless you hear otherwise from your server, try to keep it on while interacting with them and don't start up a conversation if you don't have your mask on. Also, tip well! The pandemic standard is now 25 percent, because they're risking their lives to give us that little bit of normalcy we need so much.
I tried to include all of my favorite patios on this list, but I'm sure there are a few that I missed. So hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you should be on here. Happy fall!
• Caffe Passé: This bohemian coffee shop on Fourth Avenue has a large patio in the back that's shaded with mesquite trees and palo verde. / website: cafepassetucson.com / address: / 415 N. Fourth Ave.
• Decibel Coffee Works: Located in the MSA Annex outdoor market, this local roaster sources its coffee with an eye toward social responsibility and the environment. / website: decibelcoffeeworks.com / address: 267 S. Avenida del Convento, #9
• The Coronet: The bistro on Cushing Street is located in an historic building with a dreamy Spanish patio. There's also a coffee shop tucked into the back patio where you can purchase a drink and use the wifi. Hours are Thursday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with live music on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 8. / website: coronettucson.com / address: 198 W. Cushing St.
Breakfast / brunch
• Café a la C'Art: Located on the grounds of the Tucson Museum of Art, this charming breakfast cafe has a Monet-inspired garden patio with lots of leafy plants. / website: cafealacarttucson.com / address: 150 N. Main Ave.
• Toast 101: The space that formerly held 7 Ounce Korean Steakhouse is now a trendy brunch restaurant, with a leafy patio that's walled off from the nearby Speedway. The booths outside are plush. / website: toast101.com / address: 4699 E. Speedway
• Cup Cafe: When it reopened in October, the restaurant opened up the large patio area at The Hotel Congress and is serving an all-day menu as well as dishes from Maynards Kitchen across the street. / website: hotelcongress.com/family/the-cup / address: 311 E. Congress St.
• Poco and Mom’s: This New Mexican restaurant is known for its excellent brunch dishes, like the migas and pork tamale breakfast. The new location on Tanque Verde also has a sizable patio out back. / website: pocoandmoms.com / address: 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road
• Village Bakehouse: The Oro Valley bakery has a nice covered patio out front, where you can order a full breakfast or snack on some freshly-baked pastries. website: villagebakehouse.com / address: 7882 N. Oracle Road
• Penca: The downtown Mexican restaurant reopened at the beginning of October, with a front patio that's reminiscent of a European sidewalk cafe thanks to a grant from the Downtown Tucson Partnership. / website: pencarestaurante / address: 50 E. Broadway
• El Charro Café: Tucson's most storied Mexican restaurant has three locations, but the original building has one of the largest and nicest patios in downtown Tucson. / website: elcharrocafe.com / address: 311 N. Court Ave.
• La Botana: This midtown spot has a casual bar vibe almost like BK Carne Asada, but with a sizable patio and a 2-for-1 margarita deal on Sunday nights. / website: labotanatacos.com / address: 3200 N. First Ave.
• El Antojo Poblano: This food truck on St. Mary's Road has a nice enclosed area with patio seating and some of the best Central Mexican food in Tucson. / website: facebook.com/El-Antojo-Poblano-en-Tucson / address: 1114 W. St. Mary's Road
• Guadalajara Original Grill: The Prince location has a leafy adobe patio where you can get that tableside salsa, margaritas and more. / website: guadalajaraoriginalgrill.com / address: 1220 E. Prince Road
Asian and Indian food
• Obon: Get your pork buns out onto this patio, because it's one of the best in the downtown area. They've also got a nice heater situation for when the nights get chillier. And of course, ramen. / website: obonsushi.com / address: 350 E. Congress St.
• Sushi Garden: They might not have the (awesome) lunch buffet right now, but one of Tucson's most popular sushi spots still does all-you-can-eat sushi, cocktails and more. Two locations, but head to Broadway for the best patio option. / website: sushigarden.com / address: 3048 E. Broadway and 7395 N. La Cholla
• Govinda’s: This hidden gem restaurant has an oasis of a patio with exotic birds like peacocks, a koi pond and a waterfall. The vegetarian restaurant is connected to the Hare Krishna temple. The restaurant isn't doing its buffet right now, but is offering limited seating on the patio. / website: govindasoftucson.com / address: 711 E. Blacklidge Drive
• Mazaj Cafe: You might have smoked hookah out on the patio of this midtown restaurant, but they also have a full menu with gyros, shawarma, kebabs and more. / website: facebook.com/pages/category/Hookah-Lounge/Mazaj-cafe / address: 903 E Fort Lowell Road
Casual bistro and fine dining
• Locale: Located on the historic grounds of the former Old Pueblo Grille, this modern Italian restaurant is an excellent place to sip an Aperol spritz. The sprawling patio reaches around the building with plenty of shady umbrellas to protect you from the sun. / website: localetucson.com / address: 60 N. Alvernon Way
• Wildflower: The original Fox Restaurant at Casas Adobes Plaza has one of Tucson's most sought-after patios. Be sure to make a reservation in advance, because social distancing measures have limited the amount of space and made tables harder to get. / website: wildflowertucson.com / address: 7037 N. Oracle Road
• Ignite at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain: The resort's fine dining restaurant Core may only be open to guests right now, but Ignite is keeping its doors open to the public. The cocktail lounge has an epic patio that looks out onto the Tortolita Mountains. / website: ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/arizona/dove-mountain/dining/ignite / address: 15000 N. Secret Springs Drive
• The Coronet: The bistro on Cushing Street has reopened with a new chef, Tanner Fleming, who has developed a small plates menu with lots of vegetarian options. Counter service during the day, with full service in the evenings. Hours are Thursday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with live music on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 8. / website: coronettucson.com / address: 198 W. Cushing St.
• Agustin Kitchen: The gourmet bistro at the Mercado San Agustin has moved out onto the patio of the plaza, and is offering full service of its European chic menu. / website: agustinkitchen.com / address: 100 S. Avenida del Convento, suite 150
• Tohono Chul Garden Bistro: This gourmet restaurant is situated on the 49-acre garden and natural desert landscape that is Tohono Chul. The lush patio areas are also running bottomless prickly pear mimosa and margarita specials for $14 right now. / website: tohonochul.org/dining / address: 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte
• Pennington Street Food Court: Three downtown restaurants — Raptor Canyon Cafe, Urban Fresh and Cafe 54 — are sharing a nice covered patio area that stretches down Pennington Street. Order from any of the restaurants and take your food out to the sidewalk cafe. / address: 73 E Pennington St.
• Wild Garlic Grill: When the California bistro moved to its Foothills location in 2017, it inherited a large patio out back in the stately Plaza Colonial. / website: wildgarlicgrill.com / address: 2870 E. Skyline Drive, suite 120
• Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery: The downtown bar and restaurant opened back up this fall with a cosmopolitan sidewalk cafe that stretches down Congress Street. / website: hubdowntown.com / address: 1011 N. Tyndall Ave.
Food and drink halls
• The Boxyard: The shipping container food hall is reopen on Fourth Avenue, with a full bar and four food vendors including Mexican, Vietnamese and Indian food. / website: theboxyardtucson.com / address: 238 N. Fourth Ave.
• Mercado San Agustin and MSA Annex: The Mercado District complex on the west side has proven to be a popular spot for quarantine diners, with several food options including Seis tacos, Beaut Burger vegan burgers, Kukai Japanese food, Westbound beer bar and more. / website: mercadodistrict.com / address: 100 South Avenida del Convento and 267 South Avenida del Convento
• American Eat Co.: This indoor foodhall on the southside also has a decent patio area on the side where you can eat your towers of mariscos sitting on a cushy booth. / website: americaneatco.com / address: 1439 S. Fourth Ave.
Brewpubs and pizza spots
• Union Public House: This popular gastropub sprawls out onto the beautiful patio of St. Philip's Plaza. They're also doing live music every week. / website: uniontucson.com / address: 4340 N. Campbell Ave., suite 100
• Trident Grill: This popular sports bar has four locations across Tucson, but the best patio is the one at Plaza Palomino, which looks out onto the stately shopping plaza. / website: tridentgrill.com / address: 2910 N. Swan Road
• Saguaro Corners: Located at the base of Saguaro National Park East, this east-side gastropub has fabulous views of the Rincon Mountains, and you can often spot roaming animals like javelinas. / website: saguaro-corners-restaurant-bar.business.site / address: 3750 S. Old Spanish Trail
Breweries and craft beer bars
• MotoSonora Brewing Co.: This new microbrewery on South Park Avenue sports a large outdoor beer garden with tables made from wooden barrels and even a dog park. / website: motosonora.com / address: 1015 S. Park Ave.
• Tucson Hop Shop: The midtown beer and wine bar has almost 20 brews on tap as well as a leafy beer garden out back with sculptures from the Metal Arts Village. / website: tucsonhopshop.com / address: 3230 N. Dodge Blvd.
• Ten55 Brewing Company: Thanks to a grant from the Downtown Tucson Partnership, this microbrewery installed a walled patio into the parklet in front of its restaurant. / website: 1055brewing.com / address: 110 E. Congress St.
• Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.: This Fourth Avenue-area brewery opened a spacious new patio in September with tables made from Whiskey Del Bac barrels. Instead of having you order at the bar, they're doing table service. / website: facebook.com/crookedtoothbrewing / address: 228 E. Sixth St.
• Three Canyon Beer and Wine Garden: This east side pub features a spacious 1.5 acre patio, complete with desert landscaping, picnic tables and fire pits. / website: threecanyon.com / address: 4999 N. Sabino Canyon Road
• Owls Club: The downtown watering hole is reopening this week and spreading out onto its historic patio. The new cocktail list includes gems like the Nazca Lines, with pisco, Cocchi Americano, pineapple and allspice. / website: owlsclubwest.com / address: 236 S. Scott Ave.
• Saint Charles Tavern: This South Tucson bar has a large patio area in the back with long picnic tables and colorful mural art by local artists. / website: facebook.com/SaintCharlesTavern / address: 1632 S. Fourth Ave.
• Che’s Lounge: The Fourth Avenue watering hole reopened for onsite drinking with strict social distancing measures in early October. The large patio area in the back is still the place to be! / website: cheslounge.com / address: 350 N. Fourth Ave.
• Mr. Heads: With 32 beers on tap and a sizable side patio, this Fourth Avenue bar has been a prime patio spot for Tucsonans over the summer months. / website: facebook.com/mrheads / address: 513 N. Fourth Ave.