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family eating pizza outdoors (best outdoor dining Boston families)There’s something about the first warm days of spring that has us seriously gearing up for some al fresco dining! The patio — or roof deck or beer garden — gives laid back vibes that say sandals, sunglasses, steamed mussels, and Harpoon Summer. And yes, the whole family is welcome! Not every patio is created equal, though, especially when you’re dining with tiny, unpredictable patrons. Here are our favorite family-friendly restaurants in Boston with outdoor dining!

Sweet Cheeks :: Fenway

Located in the heart of Fenway, Sweet Cheeks offers a nice little sidewalk patio. There is no kids menu per se, but the options on a barbecue menu are quite kid friendly — plus, the kitchen is happy to whip up a grilled cheese or some chicken fingers. All that, and it’s allergy friendly, too.

Stephanie’s on Newbury :: Back Bay

Newbury Street might not be your first guess for family dining, but this is a Boston classic for outdoor dining — and they welcome kids without batting an eye. The sidewalk patio is big, and the people- and dog-watching are fun for all.

Barcelona Wine Bar :: Brookline and South End

The South End and Washington Square in Brookline offer several solid al fresco options, and my family’s favorite is Barcelona. Though there is no formal kids menu here, don’t be shy to ask for pasta or chicken with French fries — the kitchen will kindly oblige.

Legal Harborside :: Seaport

This sidewalk patio in the Seaport is always a good time, with a fun and friendly atmosphere. Legal Harborside recently created a new kids menu that allows children 12 and under to customize their meal from a list of starters, main dishes, and sides. If the kids are restless during the meal, a quick diversion to check out the nearby boats should do the trick. 

Barking Crab :: Seaport

Just down the street from Legal Harborside, the venerable Barking Crab offers a good kids menu and an unbeatable view of boats and skyscrapers. Since the Crab offers open-air dining under a tent, this is a good option for the summer day with a chance of rain.

Picco :: South End

This South End pizza joint boasts a great patio, and once there you’ll find yourself in the company of many other families happily dining in the fresh air. And not only is the pizza delicious, the ice cream also keeps us coming back.

The Liberty Hotel :: Boston

Known as a late-night hot spot, the before-dark Liberty Hotel is also great for families. The patio is huge, making it easier for your little ones to get their wiggles out. And on Wednesday nights, the patio hosts “Yappier Hour,” a treat for both dogs and dog-loving kiddos.

Semolina :: Medford

Getting a reservation here is no small feat, but if you find yourself on the patio before 7 p.m., you’ll be pleased to see you’re surrounded by other families! There is no kids menu here, but with stone hearth pizzas and pastas made by Dave’s Fresh Pasta, the little eaters will be happy!

Jessie Keppeler
A Maine native, Jessie migrated down the coast to Boston after college, and it’s been home ever since. She has lived in various corners of the city — from Allston and Brighton to Newbury Street and then Jamaica Plain — before settling in Brookline with her husband and three daughters. As much as she loves home now, she also likes to leave occasionally: recent family travels include Italy, Belize, and Washington D.C. Jessie writes with a cat curled up nearby and a dog at her feet. And a cup of coffee. Always.