Is there anything better than scoring a sweet spot on a sunny outdoor patio at your favorite restaurant? I didn’t think so. The college town of Tempe, Arizona, has no shortage of incredible outdoor patios serving great food in a relaxed setting.
As in many sunny southwest destinations, the key to a great patio dining experience is a pretty space, lots of plantings to help cool the air, shade from the hot sun, and this being Tempe, Arizona, misters in summer to cool people down as they enjoy fresh local cuisine.
Food tastes better when enjoyed al fresco – here’s where and how to find the best outdoor patios in Tempe AZ.
- 1 Where to Find the Best Outdoor Patios in Tempe AZ
- 2 Caffe Boa
- 3 Culinary Dropout at the Yard Tempe
- 4 House of Tricks
- 5 Morning Squeeze
- 6 Postino Annex
- 7 Snakes & Lattes
- 8 Spinnato’s Pizzeria
- 9 Tempe Public Market Cafe
- 10 Snooze an A.M. Eatery
- 11 Thirsty Lion Gastropub
- 12 Watershed
Where to Find the Best Outdoor Patios in Tempe AZ
Whether you’re sipping rosé, frosé, margs on the rocks, or eating tacos, bruschetta or pancake flights, our favorite outdoor patio spaces in Tempe will nourish your body and spirit.
Founded over 25 years ago, Caffe Boa is a staple in the Tempe community. This intimate patio is nestled on Fourth Street and Mill Avenue, and blocks out the hustle of downtown with its canopy of beautiful greenery. Boa’s food philosophy is simple – you are what you eat and drink, so you’ll find only the highest quality, organic eats here.
The Yard is a revamped warehouse space on First Street and Farmer Avenue, and is home to Culinary Dropout (I just love the name). This is a chill gastropub where everyone is welcome to enjoy their over-sized patio, which is a destination in itself. In addition to its well-stocked bar and inventive menus, the patio has corn-hole games, ping pong tables and live music on the weekends – all illuminated by twinkling lights.
Located just steps from Mill Avenue near ASU, this lovely restaurant is hidden inside two turn-of-the-century cottages. The food is fresh and fantastic, but it’s the romantic, vine-strewn courtyard patio that’s really drool worthy. Nobody would blame you for whiling away the afternoon sipping refreshing sangria while enjoying people-watching on this fabulous patio. Enjoy the House’s ‘hours of tranquility’ at their outdoor bar, aka happy hour.
This breakfast/brunch spot has an expansive outdoor eating area serving gourmet coffee alongside creative dishes with names like HAAS Avocado, Will Travel, Sun Deviled Eggs and the Bananas Foster the People Waffle. You can also order breakfast for your four-legged friend on this dog friendly patio.
This red brick schoolhouse-turned-art-studio-turned wine cafe offers great wines, and a spectacular patio on which to enjoy them. Choose a selection of Postino’s bruschetta boards, the house speciality, while you sip in the shade of patio trees and umbrellas.
This unique eatery isn’t just a restaurant with a great outdoor patio, it’s also a gaming HQ that is a great place to go for a fun time out. The kids will be entertained by the scores of board games to play, including classics like Candyland to the newest games shipped from Germany. You can sit, nibble and play for hours on its shady patio, which is also dog friendly for four-legged family members.
Spinnato’s newly renovated and expanded Tempe location has a lovely outdoor space overlooking Rio Salado that is a wee slice of patio heaven. Of course, crust is the canvas here, but you can also order tasty pastas, wings and salads at this family friendly restaurant.
Located in south Tempe, Tempe Public Market is an outdoor urban oasis. A former Circle K, the restaurant has been transformed into a casual eatery with a gorgeous outdoor seating that is large and comfortable for families and friends. The Cafe has a good kids’ menu, fresh pastries and entrees ranging from a delish Superfood Salad to delicious fried chicken.
Next to Postino Annex in the same red brick schoolhouse, Snooze offers a fresh take on breakfast favorites like pancakes, french toast, and eggs benedict. The outdoor patio is decorated with bright orange patio umbrellas and is large enough for big groups of families or hungry college students. I highly suggest ordering the pancake flight, it’s your choice of three sweet and delicious fluffy pancakes like Pineapple Upside Down, Banana/Pineapple, Blueberry Danish. Great for sharing, or not sharing.
This family friendly restaurant is located at Tempe Marketplace, a large outdoor mall with many other restaurants and stores. The gastropub setting encourages sharing of appetizers and dishes from its huge menu. The outdoor patio is large and roomy and overlooks the mall’s shopping area, with plenty of space for large groups and families. It can get a tad noisy due to its popularity, but it’s a fun and lively spot if you’re looking for that kind of scene.
Yes, Tempe is in the middle of the desert. But you can dine ‘down by the lake’ overlooking the water at the Watershed, located in South Tempe. This locally owned restaurant features a lakeside kitchen and a huge patio that seats over 200 people. They have 20 beers on tap and all the food is made from scratch.
Did we miss your favorite patio in Tempe? Tell us in the comments.
Photo Credits: Claudia Laroye