11 Restaurants with Epic Outdoor Dining

Get ready to soak in summer with these DC eateries for outdoor dining that feature something for everyone. From a rooftop restaurant with one of the best views of the city’s sunsets to waterfront dining with a neighboring splash pad, below are some of the best places to enjoy a warm summer evening while dining al fresco.

Top of the Gate

Sara Cottle on Unsplash

Technically a rooftop bar, this Watergate Hotel eatery has views of the Potomac, Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument and the Key and Arlington Bridges.  It also tops our list of best places to see a DC sunset. They open Thursday - Saturday at 4:30 p.m.; get here early, and you can skip the bar scene and enjoy a gourmet pizza with views. Tapas are also available. 

2650 Virginia Ave. NW
Foggy Bottom
Online: thewatergatehotel.com

Comet Ping Pong

Lisa Keffer via Unsplash

A peaceful patio, just behind a bamboo fence, and ping pong fun for the whole family, what's better than that? How about delicious, responsibly sourced pizza and amazing wings. While you are waiting for your dinner, your kids can grab a quick game of table tennis.

5037 Connecticut Ave NW
Chevy Chase
Online: cometpingpong.com

The Salt Line

Whatsinprague via Pixabay

This New England-style seafood restaurant is a great pit stop before a National's game, but it's worth a visit even when the team isn't in town. Perched along the Potomac, this waterfront restaurant features tiny finger favorites, like cheeseburgers, fish sticks and hot dogs beyond its seafood fare (and on-tap for the small pints: Maine Root sodas). Open Monday - Friday, 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM. After your meal, let the littles cool off in the spray pad next door. 

79 Potomac Ave. SE
Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard
Online: thesaltline.com

Cactus Cantina

Krisztian Tabori via Unsplash

When a restaurant gets their tortillas from Texas so they can perfect an authentic TexMex meal, you know it is worth a try. The patio is a great place to get fresh air while your kids play with the tortilla dough balls. And you'll want to stop by the tortilla pressing machine to see how the food magic happens.

3300 Wisconsin Ave NW
Cathedral Heights
Online: cactuscantina.com


Farmers Fishers & Bakers

Guillaume de Germain via Unsplash

Located in Georgetown along the Washington Harbour, this sister restaurant to Founding Farmers is sure to keep the little ones' minds occupied with a view of the Potomac and the bustle of boats and people out on a stroll to enjoy the summer sun.

3000 K Street NW
Georgetown Waterfront
Online: farmersfishersbakers.com/

Blackwall Hitch

Dendoktoor via Pixabay

Pull up a comfortable Adirondack chair on the waterfront patio overlooking the Potomac River. Your kids will love people watching everyone passing by on the boardwalk. If there's a chill, the fire pits will keep you warm.

5 Cameron St
Online: blackwallhitchalexandria.com

Victura Park at The REACH

Victura Park DC

Located at the River Pavilion on The REACH campus, this family-friendly wine & beer garden is a great place to kick back with a cold glass while your kids watch canoes and kayaks pass on the Potomac River. You can also see Georgetown, Arlington and the famous Watergate Hotel from this vantage point. The new outdoor grilling station features small bites and occasionally guest chefs. The REACH did make our list for best places to picnic, but please note you can not bring outside foods or beverages to the Park area. Open Thursday - Sunday, 10 AM - 8 PM.  

2700 F St. NW
Foggy Bottom
Online: victuraparkdc.com

Little Coco's


Cozy up on the sidewalk patio at this pizza joint where you can enjoy buy one, get one half-off pizzas on Mon. Or stop by on a Sat. or Sun. for brunch where little ones can fill up on chocolate chip pancakes and donuts fried to order. Yum!  Check online to reserve your family-friendly table on the patio. 

3907 14th St NW
Online: littlecocos.com

Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap


Don't bother with pizza delivery. These wood-fired pizzas are a crowd-pleaser, and you can enjoy them fresh from the oven! Sit around a large, family-style table that features a fire pit in the middle.  To offer calm in a year (plus) of chaos, Lena's has created the Oasis, a dynamic, outdoor eating destination that will transport you to the tropics. 

401 E Braddock Rd
Alexandria, VA
Online: lenaswoodfire.com

Vola’s Dockside Grill


Located on the Waterfront in Old Town (just steps away from the Torpedo Factory Art Center), Vola’s offers seating next to the marina slips. Little ones will enjoy watching the boats come and go and seeing the airplanes make their descent into Reagan National. The menu features seafood, but you’ll also find simple, kid-friendly fare like chicken and burgers.

101 N Union St.
Alexandria, VA
Online: volasdockside.com

Los Tios Grill

Juan Manuel Giraldo Grisales via Unsplash

Looking for a reasonably priced night out that will please everyone's palate? You can't go wrong with Tex-Mex, and this Del Ray establishment has some of the best around (and the margaritas are pretty good, too!).

2615 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA
Online: lostiosgrill.com


—Angelica Kajiwara and Meghan Yudes Meyers

featured photo: iStock


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