Top Outdoor Patios for Dining in Michigan
The menu is almost beside the point when you're eating or sipping on a Pure Michigan patio, deck or terrace. There's enough shoreline along inland lakes, Great Lakes bays and rivers that you don't have to travel far to find outdoor dining overlooking the water. Other linger-worthy decks jut over vineyards or orchards or line lively main streets. Here are just a few ways to soak up or extend summer, al fresco dining-style.
Soo Locks that you may be tempted to toss a fish or chip to the captain. Bonus fun: the whole restaurant is shaped like a ship.
Ellwood A Mattson Lower Harbor Park. See famous ore docks on your way to pick up sweets at Donckers, where former President Barack Obama once stopped by for the specialty candies.
One publication called this one of the country's top 10 restaurants for outdoor dining, and where else can you enjoy a whitefish beurre blanc or burrata salad as horses clip-clop past and ferries zoom in and out of the Mackinac Island harbor? Go for dinner or just for a cocktail—they're famous for their Rum Runner—and top off the day of touring by bike or horse-drawn carriage.
4. Legs Inn – Harbor SpringsThe Tunnel of Trees is a Pure Michigan fall destination must for the way the fall foliage arches over scenic M-119 as it winds past picturesque farms and up high Lake Michigan bluffs. Partway through the 20-mile scenic drive, Leg's Inn offers the pierogis and goulash and Polish crumble cake reflective of the owner's Polish roots—all from a flower garden-style patio strung with lights and offering an expansive Lake Michigan view.
Northeast side. From your romantic patio table, watch the sun set over the lake once known as “bottomless lake” for its mysterious depth, and after dinner, head to your room on site.
This restaurant in historic Fishtown has garnered nationwide notoriety for its patio dining view and interesting menu items. The “Chubby Mary” cocktail garnished with a smoked chub is an Instagram star, but it has a photographic rival in the views of the Leland River and Lake Michigan sunsets.
Pere Marquette Park for a pre- or after-dinner stroll.
Windmill Island Gardens, a destination must during the city's famed tulip festival that blooms all summer and into fall.
12. Flint Farmers’ Market – FlintThis market is not just for vegetable shopping; here, after shopping among the 50-plus vendors, you can enjoy some Vietnamese Pho or a craft brew on a rooftop terrace.
The elevated patio overlooking the Cass River is perfect for those looking for a summer meal or cocktail. Round out the weekend with a riverboat cruise, horse-drawn carriage ride or shopping in the state's Little Bavaria.
It's basically a nook in a graffiti-coated Detroit alley, and you'll likely sip your cleverly crafted cocktail thinking you've never hung out anyplace quite so cool. The graffiti featured in Belt Alley is created by carefully curated artists, and the strings of light that criss-cross the alley space complete the look. Even the parking deck the alley runs between is a gallery in itself.