1. Annie’s Parlour is your basic campus burgers-and-malts joint (both genres nicely done, by the way), with one major real estate asset: a sunny second-story deck with impressive downtown skyline views.
313 14th Av. SE., Mpls., 612-379-0744
2. Cocktails and snacks, served on a neon-lined Ferris Wheel. How great is that? It’s the calling card (dubbed, appropriately, “the Danger”) at fun-loving Betty Danger’s Country Club, and it’s a summertime must.
2501 NE. Marshall St., Mpls., 612-315-4997, bettydangers.com
3. It’s tough to imagine a more romantic outdoor dining venue than the Montmarte-like alley patio at Cafe Lurcat. Sunday’s date-night special — three courses, $50 for two — is a major deal.
1624 Harmon Place, Mpls., 612-486-5500, cafelurcat.com
4. Campus Club, the private gathering spot on Coffman Union’s fourth floor, opens its terrace to the public in the summer months, during weekday happy hour. Go. The views are spectacular.
300 Washington Av. SE., Mpls., 612-625-1967, campusclubumn.org
5. The remarkable old-new courtyard at the American Swedish Institute serves as the patio for Fika, the institute’s New Nordic daytime cafe. Make a plan for Wednesday evening, when dinner is served.
2600 Park Av. S., Mpls., 612-871-4907, fikacafe.net
6. The North Loop’s leafiest patio is outside the Freehouse, the beer-brewing member of the Blue Plate Restaurant Co. that serves from breakfast (starting at 6 a.m.) to late night (until 2 a.m.).
701 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-339-7011, freehousempls.com
7. The cozy patio at Joan’s in the Park keeps improving. Wary of an unforecasted summer shower? Not to worry. Co-owners Joan Schmitt and Susan Dunlap have added a sheltering overhead cover.
631 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul, 651-690-3297, joansinthepark.com
8. The sidewalk tables at Meritage take full advantage of their historic Hamm Building address, and their appeal is supplemented by chef Russell Klein’s four-star cooking and his wife Desta Klein’s hospitality.
410 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-222-5670, meritage-stp.com
9. Sea Change at the Guthrie Theater sports a doozy of a patio, with plenty of architectural swagger and Mississippi River views. Check it out at a July 4th pre-fireworks lobster boil ($125/person).
806 S. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-225-6499, seachangempls.com
10. The spacious patio at Tiny Diner surely doubles the small-scale restaurant’s seating capacity, and its unique design makes learning (solar power, biointensive urban gardening) fun and fascinating.
1024 E. 38th St., Mpls., 612-767-3322, tinydiner.com
11. The patio at Vivo impresses for its sheer size (enormous), its proximity to water (OK, it’s a pond, but it’s something) and its variations on sun and shade. Take the family on Monday, when kids eat free.
15435 Founders Lane, Apple Valley, 952-891-8808, vivomn.com
12. W.A. Frost & Co. remains the gold standard in Twin Cities outdoor dining venues, with full marks for greenery, historic architecture and a crowd-pleasing menu. Patio reservations available, by phone only.
374 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-224-5715, wafrost.com
13. The downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul could pick up a few lessons from the comfortable, well-appointed patio at Washington Square Bar & Grill in sweet downtown White Bear Lake.
4736 Washington Square, White Bear Lake, 651-407-7162, washingtonsquareonline.net