A Local’s Guide to Las Vegas’s Best Outdoor Dining

Credit: Echo & Rig Steakhouse

With 294 days of sunshine a year, Las Vegas is uniquely poised to offer comfortable al fresco dining options year-round. A local tip: try to snag a seat at sunset. One glimpse of the spectrum of colors that grace the desert at twilight and you’ll understand why people choose to call this city home.  

From the rarefied big-name restaurants of the Strip to the local downtown haunts, these 15 amazing outdoor venues in Las Vegas offer an array of al fresco desert dining options.

For Italian in Southwest Vegas: Locale

At Locale, chef Marc Marrone draws upon recipes from his Italian family as well as years of experience on the Strip to create faithful renditions of Italian classics. Locals head to the Southwest neighborhood for the crisp fritto misto, freshly made pastas, and the hearty mains such as saltimbocca and pan-seared arctic char. The restaurant’s front patio is festooned with string lights along the perimeter and features umbrellas scattered between several small tables for convivial bistro-esque dining. Pro tip: Stop by on Tuesdays for a $99 special for two three-course meals centered around a hefty shared 36-ounce tomahawk ribeye.

For Japanese by a waterfall: Mizumi

Mizumi dining room

Credit: Mizumi

Some restaurants transport diners from the flashing lights and crowded sidewalks of the Strip. Mizumi’s dining room is one such oasis, overlooking a lush lagoon fed by a 90-foot waterfall. The restaurant serves elegant Japanese fare such as thin slices of wagyu beef that diners can cook on a hot stone placed on the table, along with a selection of sushi, sashimi, and charcoal-grilled small plates. While there are many open-air tables facing the lagoon, the luckiest diners might snag the pagoda table — one of Vegas’s most coveted — located on a floating pavilion by the waterfall.

For dinner and a water show: PRIME Steakhouse

A trip to Las Vegas isn’t complete without seeing the Bellagio Water Show, and at PRIME, that view is accompanied by world-class steaks at the restaurant’s lakeside tables. Helmed by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this elegant Bellagio establishment serves a classic, well-executed steakhouse menu. While beef is the centerpiece here, the seafood section also shines, offering tins of golden Osetra caviar and chilled platters of Alaskan king crab. Note: patio and view seating is by request only and not guaranteed.

For a taste of Mexico on the canal: Cañonita

The sole restaurant located along the canal-front in The Venetian and The Palazzo delivers more than just waterfront views of the resort’s singing gondoliers. With a menu that reflects the rich culinary landscape of Mexico via executive chef Daniel Marquez’s travels, diners enjoy dishes such as guajillo chile-rubbed barbacoa, queso fundido, and ahi tuna with a pasilla Oaxaca chile cream sauce. No time for a sit down meal? Check out the new walk-up Street Taqueria for a quick bite as you walk through the Grand Canal.

For childhood favorites with a grown up twist: Public School Las Vegas

This cheekily-named gastropub is dedicated to what it calls, “an education in the art of food and beer,” with a focus on seasonal menus and produce sourced from the local farmers market. The Summerlin location’s extensive second-floor patio makes a great vantage point to enjoy specials like the PB&J burger, ahi tuna poke nachos, and elote-blackened shrimp pasta alongside cocktails like the Study Hall, made with bourbon, earl grey tea, and cinnamon.

For Caribbean flavors in Silverado Ranch: Big Jerk Caribbean

As one can guess by the playful name, the focus of this restaurant is flavorful, jerk-style cooking — a Caribbean tradition where meats are dry rubbed or marinated in a hot spice mixture typically referred to as jerk seasoning. Originally a food truck, Big Jerk’s brick-and-mortar location expands on its offerings beyond meat, with items such as jerk lobster tail, yucca fries, and curried shrimp. There is limited outdoor seating available; reservations for the area is preferred and can be made by phone, but is otherwise first-come first-serve.

For watching and playing sports alongside a skyline view: Beer Park

Beer Park is a rooftop bar at the Paris Hotel & Casino that offers killer views of the Strip and a sky-high setting to watch the latest game, with a whopping 75 HDTVs stationed throughout the space. For those interested in a little friendly competition, the 9,000-square-foot deck offers ample space for games of shuffleboard and giant Jenga. In keeping with the sports ethos, the menu here is stadium-inspired, with items such as the pineapple- and barbecue sauce-smothered kahuna cowboy burger. And yes, there is plenty of beer. 

For tacos and margaritas on the Strip: El Segundo Sol

Located on the ground level of the Fashion Show Mall, the broad, tree-shaded patio at El Segundo Sol sits under lights and star lanterns hanging from the trees above, creating a charming atmosphere to watch life unfold on Las Vegas Boulevard. Tacos and margaritas take center stage on the menu here, but don’t miss the elotes, where the corn is deeply charred and generously sprinkled with cotija cheese. Tequila aficionados take note: the restaurant offers more than 100 varieties. Don’t miss “loco hour,” aka happy hour, which runs daily from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm with drink and snack specials.

For freshly butchered beef in Summerlin: Echo & Rig

Over the Rainbow salad

Credit: Echo & Rig Steakhouse

West of the Strip in Summerlin, the Tivoli Village shopping district has established itself as an outpost for good, independent restaurants — thanks in no small part to Echo & Rig. A hybrid butcher shop and restaurant, Echo & Rig eschews high price points and vague sourcing for an ingredients-first model: sausages are made in-house, beef is sourced straight from the ranch, and every steak is cooked over red oak. The outdoor tables feel miles away from the crowds, situated on a tiled terrace overlooking a plaza with a fountain.

For poolside dining all day long: Salt & Ivy Café and Patio Bar

Salt & Ivy is a casual all-day American restaurant with an Instagram-worthy patio that overlooks the Aria pool, featuring an abundance of natural light, wicker furniture, and greenery that give the space a coastal vibe. On the menu, diners will find upscale café fare that includes classic sandwiches such as lobster rolls and crispy chicken at lunch and lamb chops at dinner. Breakfast is especially popular here, with dishes like Dutch babies and chicken and waffles, but if you’re rolling out of bed very, very late, they have select breakfast items available all day.

For lakeside dining in the desert: Americana Las Vegas

Sitting on the tree-shaded tables at Americana, diners might forget they’re in the middle of the Mojave desert. While the lake the restaurant sits on might be man-made, it certainly feels natural; ducks glide by and curious fish occasionally break the surface. In addition to a European-influenced à la carte menu featuring dishes such as braised Colorado lamb shank, the prix fixe weekly harvest menu is a three-course seasonal offering that includes endless wine pairings.

For wood-fired cooking in Summerlin: Hearthstone

Hearthstone at Red Rock Casino in Summerlin South is a rustic-chic new American restaurant featuring not one, but two hearths: wood-burning ovens that crank out pizzas, roasted chicken, and more. Look out for updated weekly specials including dollar oyster Wednesdays and happy hour deals. The large outdoor patio is framed by palm trees and calming water features, with a fire pit for cooler desert nights.

For rooftop surf and turf: Hawthorn Grill

Located in the Spa Tower at the JW Marriott in Summerlin, Hawthorn Grill creates an appropriately calm setting; the outdoor seating is surrounded by lush foliage with a scenic waterfall backdrop. Fire pits and heaters ward off any evening chill, while diners enjoy American dinner classics such as meatballs, a BLT wedge salad, and four different surf-and-turf combinations.

For vegan comfort food downtown: Simply Pure

Inside the Container Park downtown lies Simply Pure’s tiny storefront, a popular café that serves up vegan versions of comfort-food favorites such as “sausage” lasagna and green chile enchiladas, as well as fresh-pressed juices. Diners can eat their food on one of the many outdoor open seating areas in the park, ranging from upper-level overlooks to ground-level tables that will occasionally serve as front row seats to the frequent live music performances. Bonus: The Container Park is particularly kid-friendly, with a massive play structure at the heart of the complex. Walk-ins only.

Lauren McDowell contributed to this guide.