The key to happiness is actually quite simple. It’s passing an afternoon (and maybe an evening, and OK a night) on a great patio with your besties, good food and a few cocktails. We’ve rounded up the top spots across Chicago’s neighborhoods, so call your girls and get out there.

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lula cafe chicago patio restaurants
Rhona K./Yelp

Logan Square: Lula Cafe

Snag a table for two on Lula’s patio, order a slice of the melt-in-your-mouth carrot cake, people-watch Logan Square’s boulevards. Still hungry? Go all-in with the chicken and biscuits.

2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.; 773-489-9554 or lulacafe.com

Hyde Park: Plein Air Cafe

We thought the word “sparkly” only described how we feel five sips into a glass of rosé. Then we found this place. With its light seasonal fare and patio that makes you feel like you’ve just been transported to a secret European garden, it’s the epitome of sparkly.

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.; 773-966-7531 or pleinaircafe.co

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Humboldt Park: Parson’s Chicken & Fish

We had no idea we loved fried chicken (or negroni slushes for that matter), but Parson’s knows us better than we know ourselves. Must have something to do with that perfect patio.

2952 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-384-3333 or parsonschickenandfish.com

90 miles cuban cafe chicago patio restaurants

Bucktown: 90 Miles Cuban Cafe

Cuba is now open to U.S. travelers, but for years Chicagoans have been savoring all the ropa vieja and sun they can at this Armitage Avenue eatery. There’s a smaller Roscoe Village outpost, but we stick with the original.

2540 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-384-3333 or 90milescubancafe.com

homeslice wheel house chicago patio restaurants

Lincoln Park: Homeslice Wheel House

Crap day at work? You’ll forget it quickly when you grab your crew and head here for pizza, beer and—most importantly—sun.

938 W. Webster Ave.; 312-789-4600 or getsomehomie.com

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Ukrainian Village: Letizia’s Natural Bakery

A brisk weekend morning spent sipping espresso and working away at a torta mimosa is basically what dreams are made of—well, that and whatever’s in this torta mimosa.

2144 W. Division St.; 773-342-1011 or superyummy.us

rm champagne salon chicago patio restaurants

West Loop: RM Champagne Salon

Forget Paris. This tucked-away courtyard has all kinds of romantic, Old World vibes. Champagne and mussels don’t hurt either.

116 N. Green St.; 312-243-1199 or rmchampagnesalon.com

the gage chicago patio restaurants

Loop: The Gage

Location, location, location: The Gage’s patio sits steps from Lake Michigan and Millennium Park and smack-dab in the middle of some of Michigan Avenue’s most gorgeous old buildings.

24 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-372-4243 or thegagechicago.com

gibsons bar and steakhouse chicago patio restaurants

GOLD COAST: GIBSONS

We love scouting Chicago’s hot new restaurants, but sometimes you need a little old-school flavor. Enter Gibsons, our go-to for prime cuts of steak and seafood and views of the passers-by in Mariano Park.

1028 N. Rush St.; 312-266-8999 or gibsonssteakhouse.com

ceres table chicago patio restaurants

Lakeview: CERES’ TABLE

It’s no secret that this Italian restaurant (named for the Roman goddess of wheat) makes to-die-for pastas. What you may not know is that they’ll even let you order cacio e pepe off menu.

3124 N. Broadway Ave.; 773-922-4020 or cerestable.com

big star chicago patio restaurants

Wicker Park: Big Star

What did we do with our Saturday afternoons before Big Star existed? We can’t remember—might have something to do with all those pitchers of margaritas…oops.

1531 N. Damen Ave.; 773-235-4039 or bigstarchicago.com

may street cafe chicago patio restaurants

Pilsen: May Street Cafe

This tiny brunch-and-dinner spot is oh-so romantic. Shared plates of lollipop lamb chops with pesto and escargot in strawberry garlic butter make it the perfect dinner spot. Served on the patio? It’s next level.

1146 W. Cermak Rd.; 312-421-4442 or maystreetcafe.com

hopleaf chicago patio restaurants

Andersonville: Hopleaf

Even on the hottest of days, the garden at Hopleaf is packed with people cooling off with a Hefeweizen and light salad—made with greens grown around you, no less.

5148 N. Clark St.; 773-334-9851 or hopleafbar.com

the dawson chicago patio restaurants

River West: The Dawson

Is it the sprawling patio, the elevated mixology or the wood-fired steak and seafood that make us love this place so much? We don’t know and, frankly, we just want another old-fashioned.

730 W. Grand Ave.; 312-243-8955 or the-dawson.com

spacca napoli chicago patio restaurants
Daniel I./Yelp

Ravenswood: Spacca Napoli

Do yourself a favor and grab a table and a couple Neapolitan pizzas at this North Side gem. You can thank us later.

1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.; 773-878-2420 or spaccanapolipizzeria.com

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