Mar 18, 2023 - Things to Do

The best places to eat outside in Raleigh and Durham

The view from the Wye Hill patio. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

Now that it's nearing spring, let's ditch the heat lamps and fully embrace outdoor eating.

  • Here are a few of our go-to restaurants for outdoor eating.


The patio at the Stanbury. Photo: Lucille Sherman/Axios
  • Standard Beer + Food: One of Raleigh's most consistent hangout spots, offering its own in-house beers and locally sourced food.
  • Stanbury: A low-key neighborhood haunt, with no reservations and an oft-changing menu of delicious small plates.
  • Whiskey Kitchen: Its Nash Square-facing dining area might be the most prominent patio in all of downtown Raleigh. It also happens to serve some of the city's best cocktails.
  • Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing: The sweeping views of downtown from Wye Hill's vantage point on the Boylan Bridge are the best in the city. But the food is good enough to distract you from the skyline.


The bocce courts at Surf Club in Durham. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios
  • Motorco: Possessing one of the largest patios in Durham's Central Park District, Motorco is one of the most popular music venues in the city. The venue's bar, Parts & Labor, has a great selection of food, including a rare menu item for the area: poutine.
  • Surf Club: A dive bar with an incredible beer list and occasionally raucous DJ sets, Surf Club's large yard includes bocce courts, an outdoor bar and dozens of picnic tables.
  • Namu: This popular Korean restaurant's bamboo garden serves as an oasis near the onslaught of traffic on U.S. 15-501.
  • Guglhupf: The cafe's patio is one of the hottest tickets around for a weekend brunch and transforms into a delightfully cozy biergarten at night. It remains one of the few places to find German pastries and cuisine.


  • Bond Brothers Beer Co.: Bond Brothers not only makes some of the best beer in the region, but its downtown location also has the busiest outdoor space in Cary.
  • Mayton Inn: The downtown boutique hotel's restaurant Peck & Plume spills out onto a spacious terrace. It serves excellent cocktails and a great view of the future Downtown Cary Park.
  • Superica: A new entrant to the Cary dining scene, the Tex-Mex restaurant's patio places you in the middle of the town's new Fenton shopping district.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro

  • Carburritos: Many would argue these are the best burritos in the Triangle, and they pair perfectly with a cold beverage on the restaurant's intimate patio.
  • Weaver Street Market: The organic grocery store's front lawn has essentially become Carrboro's main plaza, where neighbors mingle and occasionally do yoga or hula hoop. It's a great place to grab lunch and people watch.
  • Caffe Driade: Nestled in the woods near Bolin Creek, Caffe Driade is one of the best places in the Triangle to study or daydream with a cup of coffee.

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