*Published by THERE San Diego*
There’s no shortage of outdoor patio seating in San Diego, but not all patios are created equal. Some patios rise above the best with their awesome views, some patios stand apart for their prime people-watching locations, and some have unique touches that simply make them a must-see.Get ready to kick back with a cold drink, try some amazing food and soak up the San Diego sunshine this summer on one of these downtown patios.
1. Cafe 21 – Gaslamp
Grab a seat on the sidewalk patio and settle in for some downtown people watching along busy 5th Avenue. Try one of their farm-to-table meals, like vegetarian stuffed flatbread or slow braised short ribs, or sip on specially crafted drink, such as the Spring Thyme with TRU lemon vodka, FRUITLAB ginger liqueur, fresh ginger, fresh thyme and lemon.
2. Stella Public House – East Village
Finding a lot of open space in the heart of the city is often hard to do. Not so at Stella Public House! This restaurant may be nestled in urban East Village but its spacious patio overlooks a park filled with leafy trees and green grass. It’s a beautiful oasis that’s perfect for kicking back with a beer or cocktail and indulging in a slice of their delicious pizza.
3. Puesto – Seaport Village
Decorated in bright orange, Puesto’s vibrant patio is hard to miss. The Mexican restaurant, known for its incredible tacos, expanded from the original La Jolla spot to the downtown Seaport Village location in 2013 and has thrived in the bustling Headquarters area ever since. Try the filet mignon or, if you’re in the mood for something new, give the cactus taco a go! Visit on Tuesday from 3 to close for taco specials starting at $2.50!
4. Mister A’s – Banker’s Hill
Head over to Banker’s Hill for a stunning panoramic view of the San Diego Harbor from Mister A’s expansive terrace. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this! Of course, it does come at price and Mister A’s is an upscale restaurant so be prepared to dish out some dough. Visit during cocktail hour, Sunday to Thursday from 2:30 to 6 p.m., to save a few bucks and still get the full effect of the views.
5. Rustic Root – Gaslamp
Get a bird’s eye view of 5th Avenue from this rooftop restaurant in the middle of the Gaslamp. Dine on rustic American dishes and enjoy an assortment of signature drinks on the lovely patio. Check out happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays to get half price appetizers and $2 off cocktails and beers.
6. Spike Africa – Gaslamp
Claim a spot at one of the tall tables along the patio at Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill & Bar and settle in for some prime people-watching across the street from Horton Plaza Park. Dine on buck-a-shuck oysters, blackened mahi tacos and chilled shrimp during happy hour daily from 3:30 to 6:30 and all day Saturday. Don’t miss their great drink specials too!
7. Kettner Exchange – Little Italy
Little details, like a swinging daybed, set this large Little Italy open-air rooftop patio apart from others in the downtown area. You can even reserve a private cabana complete with a self-serve beer tap for a special treat! The menu changes throughout the year to feature seasonal favorites but often includes options such as scallops, bone-in ribeye and pork chops.
8. Queenstown Public House – Little Italy
This charming restaurant in Little Italy resides in an old house and offers a quaint, relaxing vibe. Ask to sit in the outdoor side patio and enjoy yet another beautiful San Diego day while drinking one of their scrumptious sangrias. Stop in during happy hour, Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and try a sangria, wine or beer flight for $9.
9. The Nolen – Gaslamp
Take an elevator to the top of the Marriott Courtyard and you’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous patio view from 14 stories above the city sidewalks. The Nolen offers a sweeping look at the San Diego Harbor from the Coronado Bridge all the way to Point Loma. Drinks here are reminiscent of a simpler time with cocktails that date back to the early days of San Diego.
Partnered with a downstairs restaurant, Rare Form, Fairweather’s open air, second level patio serves up drinks with a view. What kind of view, you may ask? It’s a spectacular vantage point of Petco Park and Padres baseball! The tiki-themed bar offers an assortment of tropical cocktails and you can order food from Rare Form and bring it upstairs if you’re hungry too!