It’s summer, AKA patio season! With kids, patio season might mean something different—maybe you bring your kids to a happy hour/early dinner on a patio, or perhaps you do a family breakfast or brunch before the rush of kids’ naptimes.
For my family personally, we don’t let the absence of a kids menu deter us from dining somewhere—our kid is fine eating sides like scrambled eggs or French fries, or we’ll share our own entrees with him. All of our patio picks have French fries on the menu!
A roundup of the best patios to dine with kids are below.
1. Earl’s Kitchen + Bar
We love Earl’s because it’s in the Tyson’s Corner Center mall, so parking is easy to find! Located on the mall’s sun deck (which also is home to Starbucks, Shake Shack and a play area for kids), the food is simple enough to not need to order off of the kids menu. Plus, there’s not only an evening happy hour, but one at brunch, too, from 11 am-noon, where several entrees and drinks are $2-$3 off.
Location: 7902 Tyson’s One Place, Mclean, VA
Hours: Sunday 11 am – 11 pm, Monday 11:30 am – 11 pm, Tuesday – Friday 11:30 am – midnight, Saturday 11:30 am – midnight
2. Ruthie’s All Day
This is another place that doesn’t have a kids menu, but it’s kid-friendly. The patio is spacious, and your family can have breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch outdoors underneath an umbrella outside. There’s even a “mid-day” menu from 3-5 pm if you have a nap protest and you need to get out of the house. Their barbecue is delicious and gets rave reviews if you’re having trouble deciding what to order. There’s also a spacious parking lot with plenty of parking.
Location: 3411 5th St. South, Arlington, VA
Hours: Monday – Thursday 7 am – 9 pm, Friday 7 am – 10 pm, Sat 9 am – 10 pm, Sun 9 am – 9 pm
3. BARCA Pier and Wine Bar
There’s something about dining on a patio right by the water that really makes you feel like you’re on vacation. BARCA Pier and Wine Bar has a safe patio for anyone with toddlers who want to walk around and great water views on the river. There isn’t a kids menu, but there are still kid-friendly options like hummus and ham and cheese croquetas. There are parking garages and street parking, but since this restaurant is in Old Town, a high-traffic area, the garages can get crowded and you might only find street parking a ways away.
Location: 2 Pioneer Mill Way, Alexandria, VA
Hours: Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, Wednesday – Thursday 4 pm – 11 pm, Friday 4 pm – midnight, Saturday 11 am – midnight, Sunday 11 am – 11 pm
4. Summer House Santa Monica
Located in the Pike & Rose outdoor mall, parking in one of the garages/lots is easy to find. The patios are in front and to the side of the restaurant, and the menu is great—including pizza and delicious bakery items like (huge) cookies and brownies.
Location: 11825 Grand Park Ave, Bethesda, MD
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 am – 9 pm, Friday 11 am – 10 pm, Saturday 9 am – 10 pm, Sunday 9 am – 9 pm
5. Le Diplomate
This is a fancier restaurant for sure, but don’t let that scare you from dining with your kids here. The outdoor patio in the busy neighborhood will surely drown out any noise your child makes. The food is excellent (Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can attest to this), but you may want to take the train here, as street parking can be difficult to find.
Location: 1601 14th St. NW, Washington, DC
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 12 pm – 11 pm, Friday 12 pm – midnight, Saturday 9:30 am – midnight, Sunday 9:30 – 11 pm
6. Central Michel Richard
This patio allows kids to see the hustle and bustle of Pennsylvania Avenue—see if they can count all the tour buses that drive by! If you can make it, happy hour from 3:30-6:30 pm. There are actually lots of kid-friendly items on its food menu, like chicken nuggets, French fries, mini burgers, and a cheese board. Valet parking is unfortunately not offered, so street parking might be difficult to find. Parking garages might be crowded depending on the time of day and what’s going on in the city.
Location: 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Hours: Closed Sundays and Mondays, Wednesday – Sunday 11:30 am – 8:30 pm
7. Zaytinya by Jose Andres
Outdoor seating is plentiful on this patio, which is shaded by beautiful white umbrellas, and dining here is a great opportunity to support Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen. Kids can look at the colorful sculpture in front of the restaurant and watch cars go by on the street. While there are more adventurous menu offerings, kids might enjoy the hummus, tzatziki dip, falafel, fries, cheeses and flatbread.
Location: 701 9th St NW, Washington, DC
Hours: Monday 11:30 am – 10 pm, Tuesday – Thursday 11:30 am – 11 pm, Friday 11:30 am – midnight, Saturday 11 am – midnight, Sunday 11 am – 11 pm
This spacious outdoor patio is part of the Calico restaurant in Blagden Alley in Shaw, a place which boasts cool wall murals. The patio portion of this restaurant has astro-turf, string twinkle lights for the evening, and its menu has pizza, tater tots and cheeseburgers for the kids. Street parking can be difficult, but this restaurant is right by the Mt. Vernon Square metro, so it might be best to take the train here.
Location: 50 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC
Hours: Closed Mondays, Tuesday – Thursday 4 pm – midnight, Friday-Saturday 2 pm – 1 am, Sunday 2 pm – 10 pm