By Elise McClain
Tucson is home to some of the Southwest’s most breathtaking outdoor spaces. Why not take it all in over a delicious meal? From bohemian patios to epic courtyards, enjoy stunning views, great food, and unparalleled ambiance at one of these 10 spectacular restaurant patios.
Caruso’s Italian Restaurant
Dine on a patio that has served fine Italian food to the Tucson area for more than 60 years. Caruso’s, located in the Historic Fourth Avenue District, is a family-owned and -operated community favorite. Pass through the green wrought iron entrance from the hustle and bustle of downtown and enter the welcoming and secluded patio. Enjoy traditional Zagona family recipes complete with handmade sauce that has been made by a family member for three generations at tables adorned with red and white checkered tablecloths, under romantically lit trellises.
The Cup Café
The Cup Café, located in the historic Hotel Congress, has served Tucson residents for three decades. Situated in the heart of downtown, The Cup (as locals call it) offers a wide array of dishes from their all-day menu (breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast anyone?). Enjoy the relaxed patio atmosphere, paired with world-class huevos rancheros, fresh-baked pies, and locally sourced coffee.
Noble Hops Gastropub
Admire the sweeping mountain views of Pusch Ridge at Tucson’s original gastropub, Noble Hops in Oro Valley. This spacious, 750-square-foot, rustic patio is perfect for any season. With built-in heaters, large gas firepits, and cooling water misters, guests can enjoy near-panoramic views of the Santa Catalina Mountains year-round while sipping on locally brewed craft beer and devouring gastropub fine fare.
Tavolino Ristorante Italiano
At Tavolino Ristorante Italiano, enjoy access to a chic, comfortable, and secluded patio in the Santa Catalina Foothills. Dine on fresh, award-winning Italian fare while taking in the stunning desert surroundings from this European-style porch. Known for its sophisticated atmosphere, Tavolino Ristorante Italiano serves as the perfect date night spot.
This bohemian patio is located on the historic Fourth Avenue, and is accessible through Cafe Passé, which bills itself as a café and drinkery. In the back, visitors will find a private and intimate patio shaded by mesquite and palo verde trees. On any given day, guests can enjoy some of Tucson’s best caffeinated brews and craft cocktails — with or without breakfast, brunch, or lunch, as well as live music and poetry readings.
Ever been to a shipping container food hall before? Check out The Boxyard, located on Fourth Avenue and constructed entirely of recycled cargo containers. Inside this complex are four restaurants, two bars, a coffee shop, and both ground-level and rooftop patio spaces. Perfect for groups, the Boxyard caters to all types of tastes and culinary interests, using an epic courtyard to tie it all together. Enjoy the airy outdoor space surrounded by murals and local public art, while indulging in delicious brews and chews.
St. Philip’s Plaza
Perhaps one of the most iconic patios in the Tucson area, St. Philip’s Plaza serves as a large, communal drinking and dining space for local-favorite restaurants Union Public House, Reforma, and Proof Artisanal Pizza. Grab some grub from any of these establishments and spread out beneath the shaded eucalyptus trees and twinkling patio lights to drink and dine. Plus, you’ll find boutique shopping, galleries, and professional offices, as well as live music, and a weekend farmers market.
Tohono Chul Garden Bistro
Picture The Secret Garden, but paired with a world-class restaurant that serves locally sourced ingredients and craft cocktails—that’s Tohono Chul Garden Bistro. Nestled away in the lush and verdant landscaping of Tohono Chul park, this bistro patio is the perfect place to steal away for brunch. Enjoy a dish from their seasonal menu, sip on their signature Prickly Pear Margarita, and recharge. After dining on the patio, tour the gardens, visit the galleries, or check out the gift shop and on-site nursery.
The Mercado San Agustín and MSA Annex
The Mercado San Agustín offers a wide array of shopping and dining experiences in one spot. Boasting local coffee roasters, boutiques, bakeries, and restaurants, this Spanish Colonial-style courtyard is always bustling with activity. Dine on tacos from the local favorite Seis Kitchen while enjoying live music outside. Or indulge in Agustín Kitchen for a candlelit date night under the stars. And with the MSA Annex located just down the street, patrons can experience beautiful open-air dining and shopping from recycled and modified shipping containers. Relish in the juxtaposition of these two spaces as you dine on delicious delicacies and shop from local merchants.
Locale Neighborhood Italian
Locale Neighborhood Italian opened its doors in December 2020 in a 1939 historic farmhouse located near Alvernon Way and Broadway Boulevard in midtown. It took a year to transform the 8,000-square-foot space into a modern Italian restaurant, complete with an expansive wrap-around patio. The menu is inspired by the deeply rooted culinary traditions of Italy and enriched with ingredients grown by Arizona family farms. It should come as no surprise the lasagna is their most popular dish. You’ll also find a variety of salads, appetizers, pasta dishes (some served family-style), Roman-style pizzas, sandwiches, and entrées, including American classics such as the Locale Burger and a rib eye. Sit inside or outside, where centuries-old palm trees dot the landscape for a perfect place to stop for a meal or to simply have a cocktail in this urban oasis.