Whether you’re a serious water lover, a gung-ho gardener, or a fan of the forest, the Baltimore area is a great place to dine alfresco. So head to one of these standout spots and enjoy your moment in the sun.
For the Patron of the Arts
Gertrude’s Restaurant: There’s outdoor dining, and then there’s the flagstone terrace at Gertrude’s. Painterly plates, such as Gertie’s crab cakes and grilled rockfish, pair perfectly with Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin sculptures. 10 Art Museum Dr., 410-889-3399.
For the Green Thumbs
Ladew Café: With one of the top topiary gardens in the world as your backdrop, feast en plein air on house-made chicken salad and enjoy the groomed gardens once visited by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Somerset Maugham. 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, 410-557-9570.
Woodberry Kitchen: Dine at the herb-filled patio out front. 2010 Clipper Park Road, 410-464-8000
The Turn House: This new HoCo spot, situated on the bucolic Hobbit’s Glen Golf Course, hits a hole-in-one with its inventive farm-to-table cuisine, covered patio offering weatherproof outdoor dining and heat lamps, and a chef (Thomas Zippelli) who worked at the Michelin-starred The French Laundry and Eleven Madison Park before bringing it back to his native Howard County. 11130 Willow Bottom Dr., Columbia, 410-740-2096
For the Craft Beer Aficionado
RAR Brewing: When the temps top out, RAR Brewing raises its retractable garage doors. It’s a known fact that everything—from designer dogs to tater tots—tastes that much better when you let the sun shine in. 504 Poplar St., Cambridge, 443-225-5664.
Blue Pit BBQ & Whiskey Bar: Quaff a cold one and a plate of meat and fixins on the restaurant's back deck. 1601 Union Ave., 443-948-5590.
For the Urbanite
Tapas Teatro: There’s nothing like watching the street scene while tasting tapas and chilling out over sangria at this beloved Station North cafe. 1711 N. Charles St., 410-332-0110.
Clavel: Grab a crock of queso fundido and seat yourself at a peach picnic table in Remington. 225 W 23rd St., 443-900-8983.
For the Water Lover
Barcocina: It’s hard to beat the picturesque Fells Point harbor views and potent house-made margaritas.1629 Thames St., 410-563-8800.
Boatyard Bar & Grill: This Naptown nook with colorful red umbrellas and killer crab cakes is minutes from the marina and the perfect perch for people-watching—here, you’ll see fishermen, Naval Academy midshipmen, tourists, and locals alike. Severn Avenue and Fourth Street, Annapolis, 410-216-6206
Citron: It took years for the natural rainwater to fill the old quarry in Pikesville. At 500 feet, it’s now the deepest body of water in the state and a sanctuary for geese, ducks, and all manner of flora and fauna. You’ll understand why it was worth the wait as you sit on the patio snacking on tuna tartare at Charles Levine’s contemporary fine-dining venture. 2605 Quarry Lake Drive, Pikesville, 410-363-0900
Cosima: The rushing waters of the Jones Falls, an herb garden filled with rosemary and thyme, a flute of Proseco, and sexy Sicilian noodle dishes spell an ambiance that’s perfect for a little romance. 3000 Falls Road, 443-708-7352
For the Seafood Lover
Loch Bar: Take a front-row seat at this Chesapeake seafood bar and watch the boats bob in the Patapsco. Order a shot of one of the many rare whiskeys on hand, then toast to the inexplicable alchemy of sun, stars, and seafood towers. 240 International Dr., 443-961-8949
Ryleigh’s Oyster: So many outdoor spots in the ’burbs offer nothing but a view of a parking lot. Not so at the suburban outpost of this beloved Baltimore institution. With its hedges and white Adirondack chairs, think Lutherville-Timonium meets the Eastern Shore. 22 W. Padonia Road, Hunt Valley, 410-539-2093
For the Equestrian
The Oregon Grille: Smack dab in the middle of Hunt Valley’s horse country, this well-heeled spot boasts that miles-from-the-city feel. As you take in the natural world, consider a simple Cobb salad or a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the deep wine list. 1201 Shawan Road, 410-771-0505
Manor Tavern: Gaze at the stars at this equine-themed spot. 15819 Old York Road, 410-771-8155.
The Valley Inn: This bustling Brooklandville tavern boasts a sylvan setting and a patio that’s the perfect place for sipping champagne on tap. 10501 Falls Road, 410-828-0002
The Milton Inn: This historic inn (where John Wilkes Booth learned his A, B, C’s) recently underwent a $400,000 renovation, including the addition of a new patio and a pergola with a retractable roof. 14833 York Road, Sparks, 410-771-4366