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Denver Fun / Restaurants

Denver’s best patio dining for summer fun (bring the kids to some of them!)

Outdoor patio Denver

Grab the kids and enjoy all that Denver’s glorious summers have to offer by enjoying patio dining as a family. From skyward rooftop terraces to lushly landscaped gardens, these are some of the ultimate spots to eat and drink alfresco in Denver, we’ve teamed up with Visit Denver to share a few favorites. 

Number Thirty Eight — named to recognize Colorado’s status as the 38th state to enter the union — is the River North Art District’s (RiNo) answer to, well, everything: live local and national bands; outdoor movie screens; beach volleyball courts; a taproom; food, wine and cocktails. The whopping 18,000-square-foot patio, packed with picnic tables, Adirondack chairs with cup holders and a duo of bar rails, is unlike any other concept in the city, its acreage a must-visit destination for outdoor frivolity, independent of the season. Its outdoorsy theme, a nod to Colorado’s preferred lifestyle, extends to the beer, wine and cocktail program, too, which is full-throttle Colorado. The food scroll, courtesy of Split Lip, a trio of pro chefs, is short, but the fantastic burgers are sky-high.

FlyteCo Tower – Best Patio for Aviation Enthusiasts, Historians, and Families. In 2022, aviation-themed brewery FlyteCo Tower opened its 25,000-square-foot brewpub in the now defunct Stapleton Air Traffic Control tower attached to the iconic 164-foot-tower, which includes an expansive patio. The patio includes 18 holes of minigolf, ping pong, and lawn games, in addition to the high-tech golf stimulators, axe throwing, six bowling lanes, full arcade and three floors of fun inside. The space has become a community gathering space for craft beer lovers, families and aviation enthusiasts alike. If you want a view of the patio (and the best view of the Rocky Mountains), you can take a tour up to the top of the tower.

Avanti Food & Beverage. Residing in Denver’s Lower Highland (LoHi) neighborhood, Avanti Food & Beverage, a dynamically diverse food hall occupying a former printing plant, shelters a collection of self-contained shipping containers, each of which is a mini restaurant. Diners can choose from a world-spanning variety of cuisines — everything from Hong Kong-style curry to poke bowls — and enjoy their bounty in the communal first-floor dining area, or on the riveting rooftop deck, which offers fashionable lounge furniture and enthralling views of the downtown Denver skyline. Along with its restaurants, Avanti also lays claim to two bars, including one on the altitude-high terrace.

Bezel. Occupying a see-and-be-seen plot in the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel , this elevated cocktail emporium famed for its innovative libations and equally inventive garnishes — think sugar-spangled rose petals — parades a 16th Street Mall-facing patio that pulsates with infectious energy. Sink into a comfy chair to bask in the warmth of a firepit, order a platter of charbroiled oysters haloed with candied habanero chilies and dusted with fennel pollen and sip a spirit-powered A Mile Up Mt. Hattan, a cocktail canon of George A. Dickel & Co. and Leopold Bros. blended rye, Amaro Montenegro, Carpano Bianco and orange bitters. If you’re shunning alcohol, go the zero-proof route and savor the Berry Sweet Dreams with cream, blackberries and raspberries.

Coors Field. Even if your preferred baseball team isn’t the Colorado Rockies, there’s no denying the obvious: The massive bi-level rooftop plaza, overlooking right field, is worth the price of admission into Coors Field. Decked out with multiple bars, good eats from numerous vendors (including the iconic Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs) and curtained cabanas that sport wall-mounted TVs, the aerial playground is a thrilling place to party, and no matter where you choose to sit (or stand), there’s a view to a thrill, whether it’s the downtown cityscape, Colorado’s magnificent mountain peaks or the field of dreams below.

Ace Eat Serve. At Ace Eat Serve, a jubilant Uptown hangout popular with all age groups, a large sidewalk patio grandstands Ping-Pong tables that inspire playful competition. But even if Ping-Pong isn’t your pastime, the patio is still a fantastic place to park yourself for an afternoon of eating, imbibing and, if it’s Saturday afternoon or Sunday brunch, energetic DJs spinning cool tunes. The menu revolves around Asian dishes (get the justifiably lauded Tiger wings glazed with a sweet, salty and spicy sauce), and the drink roster follows suit, delving into Asian-inspired beers and cocktails, including the whiskey daisy slushy, a frozen sipper made with Jameson and local Leopold Bros. blackberry liqueur.

Linger. By some remarkable feat, a 1975 GMC RV, hued lime green, was dropped onto the massive rooftop of Linger, a hip Lower Highland (LoHi) hotspot for soaking up the sun, imbibing cocktails and grazing on globe-trotting small plates dispensed from the kitchen of owner Justin Cucci’s “eatuary,” a play on words that stems from its former days as a mortuary. But Linger is anything but morbid. The terrace channels a midcentury-mod vibe, and the food, much like the infectious energy that radiates on the rooftop, is full of verve (vegan Filipino spring rolls, Korean barbecue short rib tacos and pork belly bao buns with grilled pineapple jam). Gaze and marvel at the twinkling lights that kindle both the sky and the city skyline, and you’ll see why Travel + Leisure named this one of “America’s Coolest Rooftop Bars.”

OAK at Fourteenth – Best Patio for Summer Dinner on Boulder’s Pearl Street. Located in the heart of Boulder, Colo.’s pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall, OAK at Fourteenth’s patio has been a neighborhood staple of downtown for more than a decade. OAK at Fourteenth (recently recommended by the Michelin Guide) is a stylish neighborhood restaurant that has been offering local and seasonal woodfired American cuisine to locals and visitors for more than a decade. From the very beginning, OAK has inspired loyal customers and rave reviews for their menus, led by Co-owner James Beard Semi-Finalist Chef Steve Redzikowski.

Tamayo, a modern Mexican restaurant from celeb chef Richard Sandoval (La SandiaToro  and Maya), is venerated for its creative adaptations of regional south-of-the-border cuisine, extensive tequila syllabus and high-design rooftop patio, a partially enclosed expanse on Larimer Square that’s prime real estate for eyeballing those magnificent Colorado sunsets and the illuminated light display that blankets the block and city skyline. What to order: margaritas, crab guacamole, shrimp ceviche and the pork carnitas with pickled vegetables, black beans and housemade tortillas.

Izakaya Den. The rooftop terrace at Platt Park’s Izakaya Den is like a civilized garden soiree high above the spirited party that’s South Pearl Street. Ascend the stairwell, flanked with foliage, to the alfresco oasis of serenity decked out with leafy greenery, marble, stone and wood accents and a retractable roof that ensures a cozy conservatory even when there’s an unpredictable summer storm brewing. A bowl of the immorally delicious lobster ramen paired with a few sake cocktails will make you want to stick around long after the night sky fades to black.

Just BE Kitchen – Best Dog-Friendly Patio, Best Gluten-Free Patio. Right in the heart of Denver’s bustling Platte Street is Just BE Kitchen’s dog-friendly patio where the kitchen serves up gluten-free goodies for humans and dogs alike. Just BE Kitchen’s menu is 100 percent free of gluten, grains, refined sugars, dairy and seed oils. (For dogs, they create a sweet potato dog treat.) Just BE has a drool-worthy menu that appeals to health-conscious families, high-performance athletes, those living with food allergies and anyone seeking an ‘ooey, gooey, stick-to-your-ribs’ kind of meal that just so happens to be allergen-free. 

Improper City. A giant playground from morning till moonlight, Improper City, a sprawling outdoor complex in the River North Art District  (RiNo), attracts everyone from java fiends who jumpstart their day with a latte to night owls who congregate on the artist-graffitied patio for beers, season-intuitive cocktails, eats from various food trucks, live music, yoga sessions and game nights. The 12,000-square-foot outdoor space is a romping ground for leashed and friendly dogs, too; just make sure its humans are equally well-behaved.

Edgewater Public Market. From humble beginnings, the Edgewater Public Market is now a show-stopping destination for terrific shopping, drinking, eating and special events, including outdoor movies and festivals. Coffee, arepas, gyros, wood-fired pizza, ramen, crepes, empanadas, lobster rolls, ice cream, burgers, tacos and some of the most notable and craveable Ethiopian food in the city pepper the market hall’s landscape, which gets a boost from the sun-drenched rooftop bar graced with an airstream trailer slinging beer, potent cocktails and hard seltzers. You can fault the magnificent views overlooking nearby Sloan’s Lake and, just beyond, the Denver skyline, for ditching the work-related Zoom meeting.

-with Visit Denver

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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