Looking to make the most of a nice day? These outdoor restaurants and restaurants with outdoor seating mean you can enjoy some fresh air while you chow down on the city's best food. While some of the kid-friendly restaurants on our list have ample outdoor seating, others may be a little more competitive. Call before you go or try your luck if you're in the neighborhood!
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to outdoor activities for kids in NYC
If you're in the market for even more outdoor restaurants or kid-friendly restaurants, you'll want to check out our guide to rooftop restaurants in NYC, our favorite fun restaurants in NYC and even (if you're in the mood for a beer or cocktal) our top kid-friendly bars in NYC.
Best outdoor restaurants and restaurants with outdoor seating
Families love the flavorful Mexican eats and friendly atmosphere at Habana Outpost, but the real highlight is the kid-friendly programming in Habana’s huge courtyard. Picnic-bench–style seating affords the perfect perch for outdoor movie screenings (last year’s picks included The Karate Kid and Ghostbusters) while you down a roasted-pork burrito ($8.75) or tacos ($3.25–$7). There are also free summer craft workshops for kids and special free baby breakfasts on Tuesdays from 10am to noon where the restaurant offers toys, a water table and art projects for tots.
The delicious personal pizzas and antipasto plates at this charming Park Slope joint regularly attract Mayor de Blasio and his family, and the quaint gated area outside is sure to beckon your brood as well. Enjoy traditonal Italian eats like a grilled Margherita ($13) or bianca pizza ($15) under the shade of Toto’s umbrellas while counting the number of adorable puppies that walk by (seriously, there are so many cute puppies).
This BBQ pit offers an unbeatable spread of smoked meats with a menu that rotates daily—you’ll smell it from the street and quickly find yourself at one of the courtyard picnic benches or a table under the open-air garage. You might see menu items like Duroc pork ribs ($25/lb) or hand-pulled Berkshire pork belly ($25/lb). Bring the kids for lunch on a weekday to avoid the hipster rush, and if you find yourself in need of a beer, Fette’s substantial beverage list has your covered.
Housed in an old gas station and mechanic shop, this massive indoor-outdoor restaurant and beer garden is perfect for families during daylight hours—large tables afford room for big crews and all their stuff, and the menu boasts straightforward American fare like burgers ($10–$16), beef or veggie chilli ($8), mac and cheese ($8), and loaded nachos ($13). While the kids scarf down lunch, be sure to try one of the 60 beers on tap. Kids are welcome until 7pm.
The OG Shake Shack in Madison Square Park is the summer go-to, hawking the chain’s killer milkshakes ($5.79–$7), juicy burgers ($4.55–$9.79) and loaded hot dogs ($3.39) in a picturesque setting. The option of wolfing down the elevated fast-food fare at a breezy outdoor table or on a nearby park bench makes the teensy MSP location a perennial favorite, despite winding lines. Of course if you want to beat the inevitable lunch crowds you can always get your fix indoors at one of the city’s 23 other outposts.
Come for the kid-pleasing diner classics, stay for the sweet outdoor seating. (Psst… it’s perfect for overhearing the juiciest Slope gossip). Ten outdoor tables offer ample opportunity for the fam to spread out, but post up around 9am for Sunday brunch to beat out eager early-birds. Apart from nachos ($10) and burgers ($13+), there are brunch favorites like biscuits and gravy ($17), strawberry-and-banana flapjacks ($15) and omelettes by design ($17) with up to 4 add-ons. Trot over to nearby Harmony Playground in Prospect Park afterward to top off a perfect day
You’ll have no problem prying the kids from Ikea’s Småland if they know they’re ditching Swedish meatballs for Brooklyn Crab’s waterfront fun house. Its two-level indoor-outdoor dining experience offers huge picnic tables overlooking the Red Hook Channel and Hudson River, and is loaded with kid-friendly activities. Try free 18-hole minigolf, corn hole and shuffleboard, or have a go at the arcade games while you wait for your fish-and-chips ($18) and Dungeness Crab ($38). Did we mention the frozen margaritas or pina coladas, Mom and Dad? #Win.
With nine different food purveyors to choose from, there's something to please an entire family of varying tastes and appetites at Gotham West. The bustling Hell's Kitchen market spans 15,000 square feet, and the food-court-style seating means you can all eat together once your kids have chosen from Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, Genuine Roadside, Ample Hills ice cream, Choza Taqueria and five other premier artisinal eateries. In addition to the communical tables at each of the busy food stalls, garage doors open up to sidewalk seating for alfresco dining. Try a tasty, kid-friendly lunch of pizza at Corner Slice, followed by some Nonna D’s oatmeal lace ice cream at Ample Hills for dessert. After you eat, rent a bike at Velo, Gotham Market's full-service bicycle shop (or just browse the killer selection of bikes and gear).
If you’re in the mood for some amazing lobster or crab rolls Luke’s Lobster is the way to go. Hit this scenic backyard with adventurous eaters for a good ol’ crab roll slathered in lemon butter ($13) or a gooey lobster grilled cheese ($13). Camp out at a small table or perch on the wide wall that surrounds the space. You can’t go wrong with one of their classics like Luke’s Favorite (lobster roll, chips, slaw $20) or the North Atlantic (shrimp roll and a small chowder $15.)
Seafood lovers won’t want to miss this North Greenpoint favorite! It’s home to a sizable backyard patio area with plenty of large wooden picnic tables, perfect for families with little ones. Kids will dig the options just for them, both seafood and non, like fish sticks or linguini (both $8), and adults will love the wide range of seafood favorites like England or Connecticut style lobster rolls ($21) served on griddled buns, or Baja fish tacos ($12). Adults also won’t want to miss the pre-fixe brunch options that are accompanied by either a mimosa or their lobster claw bloody mary ($24). If your crew is looking for a to-go option, Lobster Joint also offers picnic packs to go for 10 plus people (lobster $190, crab $140, both include rolls, pickles, chips and slaw).
Mesa Azteca has plenty of options to keep any lover of Mexican fare happy. From tortas ($10) and tacos ($3.50–$4) to enchiladas ($14–$14.50) and burritos ($12–$13) this restaurant has it all! Adults won’t want to miss their famous frozen margaritas ($7, $4 during happy hour which is 4–7pm) featuring flavors like tamarind and spicy mango. Their spacious back patio garden features a fountain, umbrella seating and lots of foliage. If you want to come by on a Friday night expect to see a live Mariachi band outside ($5 artist fee) which makes this place even more authentico.
Venue says: “Trivia starts at 8pm on Tuesdays! Grab a bite to eat & some beers and get your quiz on. Check our site for our live music line-up & catering”
The Gowanus Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is always packed, but the food is worth the wait. Show up before 7pm on weekdays to score one of six outdoor picnic tables and on weekends, put your name in and stroll around the block until the host shoots you a text. Coloring books and temporary tattoos keep the crew busy while you wait for your grub. Kids 12 and under eat cheap, picking from seven mains (like BBQ sliders and crispy chicken fingers) and two sides for $6.50. You’ll love options like the pork ribs ($12.50–$28.50) and marinated skirt steak ($20.95).
This bone-lickin’ BBQ joint has got it going on with mains like baby back ribs ($28) and pulled pork shoulder ($28), plus mini sizes for your wee ones. Kids’ menu meals consist of a main (chicken breast, grilled cheese, mac and cheese or baby back ribs), a side (green salad, fries or barbecue baked beans) and dessert (vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream or a brownie). The best part? It’ll only run you 14 bucks! Gobble it all up on the outdoor patio for a true summer-cookout vibe.
Mom’s Kitchen and Bar
This American-style restaurant in Astoria has all day brunch and comfort food that the whole family will love, and features expansive outdoor sidewalk seating to boot. The kiddos will love the kids meals like chocolate chip pancakes or waffles, a cheeseburger or mac and cheese ($8, includes a juice or soda). Mom’s also has a variety of awesome milkshakes anyone would love! Choose from colorful and fun creations such as the Rainbow Bright (vanilla ice cream with Fruity Pebbles $11) or Mr. Fluffleupagus (chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, Reese’s cups, marshmallow fluff $11) that come with lots of toppings. 33-01 31st Ave., Astoria, NY (718) 267-0142, momsastoria.com).
This wood-fired pizza joint on the border of Prospect Heights and Crown Heights comes complete with a charming shaded patio dining area, great for dining out with the fam. They serve up traditional pies like a Margherita ($13) as well as more gourmet pie options like the Gorgonzola (fior di latte, gorgonzola, arugula, truffle oil $16). A great feel-good fact about Ogliastro is that they use organic meat and locally sourced produce and eggs. If you aren’t feeling pizza-y, stop by on the weekend for brunch, when they serve various delectable egg dishes and antipasti. 784 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn (718-789-3700, ogliastropizza.com).
Spend lunch with the kids parked in Dos Caminos’ outdoor seating area, and snack on the made-to-order platter of guacamole, warm corn tortilla chips and trio of salsas ($4–$26) while taking advantage of the prime people-watching spot. The kids’ menu satisfies small ones with bites like a cheesy quesadilla or a burrito chamaco (each $8), while you’ll love the 18 ingredient mole short ribs ($28) and the enchiladas ($19–$28). There are tall tables under the awning, plus rows of lower two-to-three-person tables better suited to families.
This Moroccan cafe in Williamsburg features a large atrium area with lots of greenery and space, which makes it extra kid-friendly. Once there, you and the wee ones will have your pick from a wide range of breakfast, lunch or brunch options as well as small plates and cafe drinks. You can even order a pot Moroccan tea (mint leaves or lime verbena $4.50–$6)! Try the falafel ($6.25) always a favorite, or for breakfast the Moroccan eggs (poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce, served with home fries and pita bread $11). 133 Wythe Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11249 (718-486-9222, cafemogador.com/williamsburg).
This sweet Williamsburg spot offers outdoor seating galore, all shaded from the harsh summer rays. There’s usually a 30-minute wait on weekends, but the takeout window serving up cortados, cappuccinos (each $4) and tart lemonade ($3.25) will hold over your peckish brood. The impressive breakfast options are worth the wait, too—grab a bowl of banana-walnut oats ($8) for your toddlers and a Moroccan scramble with sausage and eggs ($14) for yourself.
With a wide variety of mouthwatering sandwiches and burgers and a colorful, shaded outdoor deck with small trees and potted plants, the Astoria outpost of this minichain is sure to be a hit with both you and the kids. You’ll have your pick of gourmet burgers like the Maui Wowie (smoked mozzarella, turkey bacon, grilled pineapple, fried onions, fire roasted red peppers, buttermilk ranch dressing; $12.15) or the Supreme (beef, Colby, country bacon; $11.80) while the pint-size set will prefer the “Cubby Fare” kids’ menu: Small plates include the Panda (chicken tenders, $7.95), the Grizzly (cheeseburger, $7.95) and a selection of sides.
The Farm on Adderley
This American fare spot in Flatbush is ideal for breakfast or brunching. Both kids and adults will love their childrens’ menu which features healthier options like an organic beef hot dog (with fries $8) or crispy tofu (with broccoli $8). There’s also the standard kid fare like grilled cheese (with market greens $8). Their cute, shaded backyard patio features wooden tables and chairs, perfect for relaxing. You’ll love favorites like the French toast with apple compote ($12) or their selection of omelets and burgers ($11–$15). 1108 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218 (718-287-3101, thefarmonadderley.com)
With a menu offering treats for sophisticated palates (and tiny ones, too), Sarabeth’s is a must-visit for parents not psyched about dumbing down their meal. Dinner means kid-pleasers like chicken potpie ($26) and grilled Margherita pizza ($17.50), while brunch offers equally awesome options like the club sandwich ($18) and One Great Burger ($22). There are two rows of outdoor tables, but when space is tight, find a spot against the windows to easily tuck baby gear out of the way.
Rooftop dining? Yes, yes and yes! The restaurant’s small second level has at least eight tables, and since you’re sandwiched between Broadwaythe Park and Fif5th Avenues, you’ll worry a little less about everyone using their indoor voices. Squeeze the kids intoon a spot with bench-style seating at the back, then order up the Cheese Melt with aged cheddar ($8) or a selection of bagels, croissants and brownies ($2-$3.50) for the young’uns. Grab a sweet daily special like Friday’s Spicy Oregon wild shrimp with peanut sambal, aioli and green papaya ($10.56).
Your family’s dining experience at Whole Foods isn’t limited to samples—head up to the Roof, a bar and restaurant that sits above the grocery store’s Brooklyn location. You’ll get great views of the Gowanus Canal and Carroll Gardens, plus American fare like burgers ($9–$12); you can also bring food upstairs from Whole Foods. Picnic-table seating makes the Roof a serene—and low-maintenance—spot for an alfresco family lunch.
While this indoor-outdoor waterfront café is a favorite UWS happy-hour joint, families know it’s also a great place to grab a bite. It offers plenty of kid-friendly food, ranging from your chicken fingers, mac and cheese and burger sliders ($8-$9). Get in and out before 5pm and you’ll have plenty of room for the whole brood, plus a great view. There are tons of four-person tables under the rotunda, in the open air by the water and around the restaurant’s massive fountain.
Fast-food grub and an outdoor garden are on offer at this chill spot. The former garage’s decor—park benches, dangling lightbulbs—couldn’t be simpler, nor could the reasonably priced Classic Park Burger ($5.75), a juicy bite with the usual lettuce, tomato and onions. Pair it with hand-cut Belgian fries ($5.50), a few fancy dipping sauces—the garlic aioli is a safe and tasty bet for kids willing to branch out from ketchup—and an old-school soda.