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Denver Restaurants: Dining Al Fresco Downtown

Denver’s sunny weather allows for outdoor dining during almost every season. Sure, a blizzard or two might throw Denverites off, but the 60-degree weather that always follows leads to outdoor cups of coffee and sidewalk snacking. If you’re looking for downtown Denver restaurants where you can dine outside, we’ve got all the tips and tricks to help you have an enjoyable meal.

Where to Go

Plenty of places along the 16th Street Mall have open-air dining, but if you’re looking for something a little quieter and calmer, avoid the stretch from Glenarm to Arapahoe. Union Station, recently completely renovated, has plenty of outdoor spaces for dining and also an outdoor water feature for playing if you need to cool down. Larimer Street is loaded with restaurants, and with such a short walk to Coors Field, it’s always a good option if you’re looking for something before or after a game.

Higher End

If you prefer sitting on a bit more of an upscale patio, try ChoLon at the corner of 16th and Blake. Known for its Asian fusion, you can dine on soup-filled dumplings and sesame crisps while watching the Mall Ride go by. The Kitchen, at the corner of Wazee and 16th, also features a great patio and an even greater oyster plate.

Next Door, The Kitchen’s sister restaurant, operates a restaurant out of Union Station that also features a lovely outdoor area that overlooks the front of Union Station. Try the mushroom ragout—you won’t be disappointed.

More Casual

If you like things a bit more casual downtown, hit up the Illegal Pete’s patio on 16th Street. Space is limited, so make sure you scout a spot while ordering your burrito.

For margaritas and drinks, The Rio on 15th has a huge patio with plenty of seating and a delicious happy hour. If you’re into hot dogs instead of burritos, head up Larimer to Biker Jim’s for a delicious meal on one of the most popular sides of town. Patio seating is limited, so don’t hesitate to grab a table while your friends order.

Of course, brunch is the most fabulous time to eat outside, so hit up Snooze at either Park and Larimer or Union Station. There will be a wait—there always is—so get there early and play some cornhole while your table is being set up.

Plenty of Denver neighborhoods have al fresco dining options, but downtown people watching is always guaranteed to be interesting. If you plan to bring your dog, make sure to check out our article on where you can and can’t bring your furry friends in Denver. If you have any other downtown locations with patios that you love, let us know in the comments!

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