Dining al fresco with kids in tow gives your fam more space to spread out in a relaxing atmosphere. From beautiful San Diego skyline views and charming garden patios to urban villages and public markets with roomy outdoor seating, we’ve found something for every taste. Scroll down to see our fave places to order up a meal outside.

photo: C Level

C Level

Take in the breathtaking views while eating at C Level's over-the-water back deck. Dine on lobster or steak on fire salad and add-in Carlsbad mussels for appetizers. Little eaters can go with the mac n' cheese or kid filet mignon depending on their appetite. Everyone wins with the service and scenery. Stroll the gorgeous town of Coronado when you've finished your meal.

880 Harbor Island Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101
Online: dinecrg.com

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photo: CUCINA enoteca

CUCINA enoteca

Kids get a kick out of watching the pasta making process before dining al fresco on the outdoor patio while taking in the charming character of this new Italian eatery. Good to order are the short rib pappardelle or the spaghettini with large shrimp on top. Half-pints dig the make-it-yourself pizza off one of the best kids menus in San Diego. Be prepared for the rolling dessert cart that comes around with a one-of-a-kind deconstructed tiramisu prepared tableside by pastry chef Cesarina.

Flower Hill Promenade
2730 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
Online: urbankitchengroup.com

photo: One Paseo

One Paseo Urban Village

Everyone has choices of what to do and eat at the recently opened One Paseo urban village in Carmel Valley. From Shake Shack and Tender Greens to Susie Cakes and Salt & Straw you'll find plenty of food and fancy desserts—makes for a perfect family date spot. Grab food and sit outside while your littles climb the big log in the middle of the village. Save time to check out all the cute shops.

3725 Paseo Pl.
San Diego, CA 92130
Online: onepaseo.com

photo: Robert Benson

Liberty Public Market

We love spending time in the Point Loma neighborhood and outdoor dining (a 3,000 square foot patio) at Liberty Public Market makes a great pit stop with kids. Whether it's a Maine lobster roll or Mastiff sausage you crave, you can wash it all down with a local craft beer. Kids can dig into an array of cuisines from mac 'n cheese to macaroons. There's a grass area, boat and fountain to keep everyone engaged and having fun.

Point Loma
2820 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106
Online: libertypublicmarket.com

photo: Dan Warner

Coasterra

Sit outside eating modern Mexican cuisine with a panoramic view of the San Diego skyline. Whether it's the grilled local fish Vera Cruz or Puerto Nuevos-style lobster you crave, you'll find it here. The little eater menu is simpler with items like corn dogs, chicken tenders, quesadillas and tater tots. Even more, they'll enjoy the big kid sundae for dessert.

Harbor Island
880 Harbor Island Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101
Online: dinecrg.com

Soda & Swine

Whether it's the aloha meatball slider with pineapple or the quinoa meatball that gets you here, grab the crew and come on in. Plus, kids love the Oreo milkshakes. Sit out front at the long tables to watch the street action or head upstairs to the back patio (which is dog-friendly) and have lunch with the crew. Even more, there is pre-meal entertainment for the littles with the foosball table inside. 

2943 Adams Ave.
San Diego, CA 92116
Online: sodaandswine.com

photo: Bo-Beau Kitchen

BO-beau kitchen & Garden

With a school bus and outdoor chalkboard keeping little ones busy while the rest of the fam relaxes for dinner sitting in this good-sized outdoor patio makes for a perfect evening. Bo-beau uses sustainably sourced ingredients to make their dishes like flatbread pizza and their famous Brussel sprouts. Everyone will enjoy this outdoor evening out.

8384 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, CA 91942
Online: dinecrg.com 

Gravity Heights

Good food, good brew, a patio with pretty lights and fireplaces is what to expect at Gravity Heights in Sorrento Valley. Little ones have a special area to play out back. Order-up the dirty fries with brisket and bacon-wrapped dates with a local cold brew and you have yourself a date night with the fam.

9920 Pacific Heights Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92121
Online: gravityheights.com

photo: Park 101

Park 101 Carlsbad

It takes a village! A cool multi-level, plaza-style eatery perfect for dining, lounging and sipping. This family-friendly restaurant has open-air seating, cozy fire pits and many ways to eat. You can grab a cup a coffee and a donut or a eat a bigger meal like pulled pork, chicken or salmon. Even more, there's a kids menu with choices like chicken nuggets. Oh, and kids get free cotton candy once they finish their meal.

3040 Carlsbad Blvd.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
760-434-2217
Online: park101carlsbad.com

photo: Pacific Coast Grill

Pacific Coast Grill

Hit the beach! Pacific Coast Grill has an upscale but laid-back vibe. It's a truly perfect outdoor patio for family date night or celebration where you can eat well and have fun. To start, request a ground-level patio table so that littles can play in the sand while you enjoy the sweeping ocean views. Even more, if it's high-end seafood you're craving, then this is your place. From lobster rolls to coconut crab crusted Mahi Mahi the food is fresh and yummy. Plus, there's a nice kids menu to feed their little tummies.

2526 South Coast Hwy. 101
Cardiff, CA 92007
760-479-0721
Online: pacificcoastgrill.com

IsaBella Artisan Pizzeria & Craft Beer Garden

Relax by the outdoor fire on the bright red couches while your little ones play around you. Grab a nice glass of wine or beer on tap to celebrate the end of the week. Then, chow down the sausage bomb or pepperoni pizza and finish off with the churros or Butterfinger tiramisu. Enjoy the sparkling lights, good friends and family fun.

Clairemont Neighborhood
4011 Avati Dr.
San Diego, CA 92117
858-270-1798
Online: isabellapizzeria.com

photo: Stone Brewing

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

This unbeatable backdrop is only bested by the relaxing vibe and delicious food and drinks. Kids can run and play in the expansive garden while you sip craft and specialty beer. If your littles have a sophisticated palate, they'll appreciate the elevated kids menu featuring dishes such as braised pot roast, Jidori chicken breast, pan-seared salmon teriyaki and Bavarian sausage with ricotta mashed potatoes!

1999 Citracado Pkwy.
Encinitas, CA 92029
760-294-7866
Online: stonebrewing.com

Tender Greens

Eat healthy and happy. For one thing, the kid's meal includes a quesadilla or grilled cheese, veggie, mashed potatoes and a juice box. (That should keep them busy!) Each location has a nice outside patio such as a hydroponic garden or a wood deck. Check out the location near your neighborhood. Enjoy a nice lunch with the crew on the outdoor patio.

Multiple locations: Mission Valley, La Jolla/UTC, Point Loma, Downtown

Online: tendergreens.com

Cannonball

Sushi on the beach! You'll find 9,400 square feet of fireplaces and lounge seating, plus a perfect ocean view. Order up the lobster rolls and firecracker rolls while having a drink. For little ones, there's a kids meal with choices like grilled cheese and chicken tenders. Enjoy the good food and the beach view.

3105 Oceanfront Walk
Mission Beach, CA 92109
858-228-9304
Online: cannonballsd.com

Beeside Balcony

Catch the waves! Eat outdoors with a partial ocean view in this Del Mar restaurant. Lunch on gyros and end with the delish baklava ice cream cake. Also, they accommodate kiddos with faves like chicken and pizza. Depending on the weather, the balcony has both shade and heat lamps. Psst... the stuffed French toast is delish for brunch on the weekends.

1201 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
858-481-9889
Online: beesidebalcony.com

Pannikin Coffee & Tea

Start the day at this charming yellow Victorian Coffee spot. It's cute and quirky. Order items like the greek scrambled eggs with feta and tomatoes while half-pints chomp down the bagels toasted to perfection and sip hot cocoa. Moreover, you can sit outside under the umbrellas and watch the bikers cruise by. Or lounge on one of the Adirondack chairs on the grass.

510 N. Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
760-436-5824
Online: pannikincoffeeandtea.com

Urge Gastropub and Common House

Clocking in at 61,000 square-feet, you'll find plenty of room to move around this brew house. Also, with two outdoor patios, there's time to enjoy the San Diego sun. Moreover, half-pints can run, play checkers, sandbag toss and win at the giant Jenga game. All while you enjoy the bar food, like bleu cheese sliders, grilled salmon and cheesy fries with a pint of local craft brew. Plus, there's a kids menu too.

255 Rebel Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-798-9822
Online: urgegastropub.com

Corner House Cafe & Pizzeria

Sit outdoors surrounded by pretty flowers and a shading Pepper Tree. For one thing, the smoothies and acacia bowl are fresh and sweet. For another, the Baja chicken or meatball sandwich are top notch. Super casual and relaxing with a walk-up window and quick food delivery.

11815 Sorrento Valley Rd.
San Diego, CA 92121
858-755-3183
Online: cornerhousecafe.com

Karina's Mexican Seafood

Dig the festive vibe in the outside courtyard of this Mexican seafood eatery. Likewise, the custom wall murals, pretty flowers and the large tree adorned with lights make for nice patio dining. Fresh lobster, guacamole and all kinds of fish are good to eat. Kiddos can munch on free chips and salsa, while you feel worlds away as you sip your margarita.

Otay Ranch Town Center
2105 Birch Ave.
Chula Vista, CA 91915
619-591-4444
Online: karinasseafood.com

––Nikki Walsh

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