The sun is shining, the air is warm, and there might be just a slight breeze in the air that keeps the temperature pleasant. Suffering through long, cold winters in Minnesota means we appreciate the warmth of summer. Minnesotans flock to numerous patios like kids around an ice cream truck. Here are a few patios you need to visit during these fleeting days of summer.
Va Bene Caffe
734 Superior St. E.
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 722-1518

Lake Superior is one of Minnesota’s most stunning assets. If you’ve ever caught the sunset cutting over the water, you know this to be true. This excellent Italian restaurant in Duluth offers some of the very best views of the ocean-esque lake in a cozy, comfortable setting. There’s nothing more romantic in northern Minnesota than sitting on this patio, watching the lights change over the lake and enjoying a steaming plate of good old fashioned Italian cooking.

Sweeney’s Saloon
96 Dale St. N.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 221-9157

Seclusion is the name of the game here. This patio really allows you to disappear, tucked away from the bustle of the neighborhood to enjoy a relaxing outdoor experience. It’s like stepping away from the stress of the real world to enjoy great happy hour deals. Try the $3 tap Summits and $.75 tacos while the sun shines overhead, the conversations float around you, and the world seems at peace.

Downtown Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall, Warm weather, sun generic

(credit: CBS)

Brit’s Pub
1110 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 332-3908

This rooftop on Nicollet Mall offers more than just great views. Lawn Bowling combines our love of dining outdoors with fun activities, and it’s often a great place to watch soccer, as anyone who managed to get in during the world cup will tell you. Whether you’re on the second level patio, where the lawn bowling field is located, or visiting the third level deck, it’s always a lively time at Brit’s.

Related:  Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Patio: Psycho Suzi’s

The Dock Cafe
425 Nelson St. E.
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 430-3770

The St. Croix River is the star of the show here. You know picturesque Stillwater wouldn’t leave us hanging without one of the loveliest patios in the metro. The Dock Cafe’s old school charm and truly beautiful views of the river and surrounding area make this a one of kind outdoor dining experience. For lunch you’ll get the full view of the city moving around you, tourists and locals alike filling the historic streets, but for dinner it’s a calmer, cozier experience that is perfect for date night.

W.A. Frost
374 Selby Ave.
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-5715

No local patio list is complete without W.A. Frost. It almost gets a little redundant to hear about how charming the vine covered brick walls are and how the overhanging trees and umbrellas make the perfect mix of shade and sunlight. When the sun goes down, the overhanging lights create one of the most romantic settings in the Twin Cities. It seems to only get better every summer. Order a few small plates and a cocktail or two and enjoy this truly special patio.

Sea Salt 
4825 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 721-8990

This almost feels like cheating, because you could sit anywhere in the incredible surroundings of Minnehaha Falls park area and enoy yourself. But Sea Salt tapped into something special when they opened their little restaurant. The fresh shucked oysters and seafood, awesome fish tacos, and great beer list make this a must-have summer experience. You won’t be alone, as there is typically a line that winds around the park.

Related: Best Bars With Heated Patios In Minnesota

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.