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Cities with an Awesome Al Fresco Dining Culture

10. San Francisco

10. San Francisco

San Francisco gets cold—uncannily cold, compared to the rest of the region—but the locals don't seem to mind as they bundle up and move their tables into direct sunlight. Try the Mission District in particular.

(image via Foreign Cinema)

9. Singapore

9. Singapore

Despite horror stories of a strict penal system, Singapore certainly goes out of its way to accommodate international travelers. Among other things, this means a restaurant culture where many places are open 24 hours, and people sit on patio gardens overlooking the river well into the night.

(image via Alkaff Mansion Ristorante)

8. New York City

8. New York City

In general, the more walkable a city is, the better the outdoor dining. New York is no exception, as tightly-packed cafes open their patios in the spring—partially for the enjoyment of patrons and partially for the extra space. Brooklyn or the Lower East Side are great examples, but the culture is pretty widespread.

(image via fryingpannyc)

7. Buenos Aires

7. Buenos Aires

From the hip streets of Palermo to the upscale Recoleta, Buenos Aires features plenty of outdoor options. Whether you sip your coffee on the sidewalks or on terraces overlooking the street, you'll be dining in style. Who knows, maybe you'll look down and see people emerging from the city's famous underground tunnels with huge bags of cash.

(image via Hernán Gipponi Restaurant)

6. Austin

6. Austin

Austin breaks a lot of the rules for what you'd expect in an al fresco city. While the downtown is walkable, much of the rest of the city is laid out in that grand old post-automobile urban-sprawl tradition. And yet, the number of restaurants with outdoor dining is boggling. This may be in part because of the pet culture. People bring their dogs with them just about everywhere in Austin, so being able to grab a bite at a restaurant without going in is a big plus. There are also oceans of food trucks.

(image via The Peached Tortilla)

5. Montreal

5. Montreal

It may shock Americans to learn this, but Montreal actually fights with Quebec City for the title of most restaurants per capita on the entire North American continent. The Montreal winter may be extra long and extra brutal, but that doesn't stop restaurateurs from flooding the sidewalks just as soon as it's warm enough to do so.

(image via Boris Bistro)

4. Miami

4. Miami

Miami's weather and locale make it perfect for dining outside, and it's no coincidence that shows from Miami Vice to Archer feature al fresco dining. Hotels like the Viceroy Miami and the Mondrian have outdoor lounges with food, drink, and usually a pool or two, that are part of the scene here.

(image via Viceroy Miami)

3. Sydney

3. Sydney

Of course, walkability helps build an al fresco dining culture but so does a warm climate and lots of water. Thankfully, Sydney has plenty of both. There's no shortage of places to eat, but for one great example consider the Grounds of Alexandria where the dining area is located in the midst of a garden that supplies the kitchen.

(image via The Grounds of Alexandria)

2. Barcelona

2. Barcelona

All across Spain are cafes and restaurants where people take long lunches and breaks from work. The siesta has actually become a highly politicized issue that creates a weird workday for the Spanish, but for passing tourists, it just means tapas on sunny sidewalks.

(image via La Vinya del Senyor)

1. Paris

1. Paris

Paris is great for all sorts of things, whether it's biking around or dining outdoors. One legendary spot for al fresco dining is Café de Flore, where everyone from Picasso to Camus to Hemingway used to hangout. It's probably no coincidence that the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore is just a 15-minute walk away.

(image via sergeymk, CC)