Outdoor dining at restaurants has always been a good option for families. Messy and noisy young kids are less bothersome to other diners when eating outside and there’s often distracting scenery that will keep a fast eater in their chair longer. Patio season typically correlates to warm weather and boy are we ready for some of that sunshine.
The number of restaurants offering outdoor dining exploded during the pandemic when eating indoors was a health worry, and there are still many more options than there were 4 years ago, so finding that perfect combo of kid-friendly, good food and an outside eating area has gotten easier. Here are just 13 Seattle-area restaurants that have it all:
Agua Verde Cafe/Facebook
The burritos at Agua Verde are big; so are the restaurant’s awesome views of Portage Bay. Kids’ fare is simple: bean and cheese burritos or their famous “mangodilla,” a mango and your-choice-of-meat-filled quesadilla.
Tip: Agua Verde gets crowded during the summer. Grab a basket of chips and go wait for your table at the adjacent waterfront park.
Kids will love a paddle around Lake Union (older kids, anyway). Rent single and double kayaks and paddleboards from Agua Verde Paddle Club, just below the restaurant, March through October.1303 NE Boat Street
Anthony’s main restaurant might be a bit sophisticated for a casual family meal but head downstairs to the Beach Café and you’ll find a lovely spot for outdoor dining while enjoying the splendid view of boat activity on Puget Sound. The menu is basic, but that won’t matter when you’re sitting on a sun-soaked patio, sipping peach lemonade, chowing down on comfort food – clam chowder, fish tacos, and deep-fried calamari – and enjoying delicious marina views. A large sandbox for the kiddos is available in outdoor dining.
They don’t take reservations for the Beach Cafe but at least if you have to wait for a table it’s a fabulous place to do so on a warm day. Or you can always order to-go and head to the beach for a picnic. Or if you are feeling adventuresome, walk on the nearby Edmonds/Kingston ferry for a scenic, short ride.
Open every day beginning at 11:30 a.m.456 Admiral Way
Edmonds, Wa 98020
Not to be confused with Anthony’s Beach Café, this Kirkland restaurant is a great spot for outdoor dining with kids for breakfast, brunch and lunch. You’ll get sweeping views of Lake Washington with your order of classic American fare.
Kids will love strolling the docks and exploring the waterfront at Carillon Point.
Open Wednesday – Saturday 5 pm – 9 pm, Sunday Brunch 10 am – 2 pm
Reservations are available only thru OpenTable, not by phone.1170 Carillon Point
Kirkland, WA 98033
U-Village is a popular hangout for Seattle families: There’s shopping, a playground, fun water fountains. When you need to refuel, enjoy outdoor dining on the patio at Elemental Pizza. Their pizzas are made from fresh ingredients, and you can watch them bake in the open wood-fired ovens.
Elemental has both indoor and outdoor seating available and the new grassy play area nearby is a great place for kids to cavort before the pizza arrives. Call restaurant to see if outdoor seating is open.2634 N.E. University Village St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Humble Pie is an unassuming pizza joint right off of Rainier Avenue. Long before the pandemic made outdoor dining a necessity, this place has offered only outdoor dining at picnic tables beneath a solar panel roof – no indoor seating. It’s wonderful in the summer but even on a cold, rainy night it’s a great place to stay cozy and enjoy some of the best pizza in town.
Try the prosciutto, egg, and arugula pizza. If you want to hold the meat, no problem: Half of their pizzas are vegetarian-friendly. Pair your pizza with one of two flavors of local favorite Rachel’s Ginger Beer – original and blood orange.
Kids will love watching the chickens scratch and peck in the nearby coops. Be sure to check their FB page for latest updates.
525 Rainier Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98144
Ivar’s Salmon House/Facebook
There are many Ivar’s restaurants around Seattle, but this one in the Northlake/Wallingford neighborhood sits right on the water with a patio offering up-close views of Lake Union boat traffic and the downtown Seattle skyline. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick, take-and-go lunch or sit-down dining, you have options: Order deliciously deep-fried seafood at the Fish Bar window, then take your pick of picnic tables around the corner on the patio barge. Half of the patio is reserved for guests of the Salmon House – a full-service restaurant with the same fried goodness, plus healthier options such as Portobello Caesar salad and grilled salmon.
Tip: Bring out-of-town guests here. The sweeping views and seafood menu will check off two items on every Seattle tourist’s bucket list.
Kids will love watching the seaplanes take off and the water taxis drop off passengers at the restaurant dock.401 NE Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98105
Located at Fisherman’s Terminal, this place is a classic waterfront fish & chips bar with some of the best fried fish in town. Get your fish to go, grab a spot on the benches nearby and dig in.
Tip: There’s free parking right next to the restaurant.
Kids will love checking out the colorful fishing boats in the marina and reading about Seattle’s fishing industry.
Indoor seating, as well as outdoor seating, is also available at the very family-friendly restaurant Chinook’s at Salmon Bay right next door ( a great place to bring families visiting from out-of-town).
1900 W. Nickerson St
Seattle, WA 98119
Little Water Cantina/Facebook
This family-run Mexican restaurant in Eastlake has been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel for its picture-perfect, mouthwatering food and knock-out view of Lake Union from the large outdoor seating area. It’s also known for its top-notch tequila bar and making the ‘Don Juan of margaritas so a popular place to grab a drink on a summer evening, but the food and setting are kid-friendly. Kids will love the made-fresh guacamole and chips; quesadillas; and the rice and beans with avocado skillet.
They serve local and organic food when feasible, use environmentally friendly cleaning products, compost their food waste and use green technologies to minimize water and energy use.
Tip: Kids like to roam around the patio, and that’s okay! It’s gated off with only one means of egress, so you won’t have to worry too much if the children are socializing while you’re sipping a margarita.2865 Eastlake Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
Marination Ma Kai/Facebook
Hawaiian food by the beach? Yes, please! You might be familiar with Marination’s big, blue food truck, which became popular for its melt-in-your-mouth Hawaiian-Korean cuisine. Marination Ma Kai is their brick-and-mortar restaurant in West Seattle. Sit on the patio for a great view of the Seattle skyline, and try their popular tacos or fish and chips with miso-infused tartar.
Tip: Take the King County Water Taxi from downtown extends the fun.
Kids will love the mac and spam and Hawaiian shaved ice for dessert.1660 Harbor Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98126
Red Mill Burgers/Facebook
Red Mill has long been on various culinary reviewers’ lists of “best burgers in Seattle.” GQ and the Oprah Show declared their Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese one of the “20 hamburgers you must eat before you die.” One Yelp reviewer said, “My kid just wolfed a blue cheese bacon burger wrapped in lettuce, no buns man… and she doesn’t even like any green leafy things. Needn’t say more.”
Tip: Red Mill used to be cash-only, but they now accept credit cards. They have two locations, both with outdoor seating: Phinney Ridge and Interbay. The outdoor setting isn’t anything special – picnic tables on a busy street – but the exceptional burgers make it worth it.
Or it’s easy to take your meals to a nearby park:
The park with a great playground that sits just north of Woodland Park Zoo – about 6 blocks south of Red Mill on Phinney Ridge – is a good place for a picnic. Just west of the Interbay Red Mill there’s a field where you can picnic or better yet, drive up to on of the most spectacular parks in the Seattle area – Discovery Park sitting on Puget Sound – about a 5-minute drive away..
Grown-ups will love that there’s a “no cell phones” policy.Red Mill – Phinney Ridge
312 North 67th St
206-783-6362 Red Mill – Interbay 1613 West Dravus Street 206-284-6363
Smarty Pants Garage/Facebook
This motorcycle-themed American fare pub with “dang good sandwiches” is tucked in the alleyway behind Grand Central Bakery in Burien. There’s only one item on the kids’ menu – a grilled cheese with a side. The regular menu has lots of options, and portions are plenty big to share with your littles. Their spacious patio welcomes dogs, too.
Tip: There’s no changing table in the bathroom (boo!). Speak up about that if you visit; maybe you’ll inspire change.
Kids will love the motorcycles on display and more garage-themed décor.626 SW 152nd St
Burien, WA 98166
As the name suggests, you need this burger in your belly. The beefy, locally sourced burgers come in all sorts of worldly variations: Try the Monsieur, the Philly Smash or the Medi-terra lamb burger. They also have hearty veggie burgers, sandwiches and salads. Kids will love: Hand-dipped shakes made with Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Nothing says summer like bbq and the Woodshop BBQ has you covered with some of the best in town. Try the wood-smoked, Texas-style brisket with creamy mac and cheese on the side. Their spacious picnic-table patio has plenty of room for the whole family – even the family dog.
Kids will love the fried mac-and-cheese balls and five different barbeque sauces to try.2513 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98144