LV Recommends: Where and when to dine alfresco in the Iowa City area

30hop’s, and its enormous patio, features roughly 60 draft beers.

If timed correctly, you could follow the path of the sun and the rise of the moon on the patios of area restaurants, while enjoying a variety of creative and gratifying treats.

The Mill

120 E. Burlington St., Iowa City |

Downtown, it makes sense to start at The Mill, where the midday sun shines bright on the large, comfortable patio, which boasts wooden benches and lots of tables. The Mill has a broad selection of local tap beers, interesting imports and fresh, herbal cocktails. Start with a Sutliff cider and a half order of the chicken nachos, sitting on a bench with your feet up on a chair, a book in your lap and the sun in your face.


127 Iowa Ave., Iowa City |

As the sun dips behind the restaurant, slink cat-like to Atlas, perhaps best known for its prime patio location. Theirs is the perfect sunny perch to enjoy a mojito, the succulent “shrimp Voodoo” or a Thai chicken satay salad, and some prime people-watching.


121 Iowa Ave., Iowa City |

Then, inch next door to Basta, where happy hour is a rite of spring, and rightly so: There is little better than watching the sun set over the Pentacrest while sipping prosecco and noshing on a properly charred thin-crust pizza, a lavish meat and cheese plate, or a killer salad with seared steak, beets, gorgonzola and pistachios.


900 E. 2nd Ave., Coralville |

If you’re looking to get out of downtown, head to the Iowa River Landing, where you can sample from the extensive menu and enjoy a beer while luxuriating on the mammoth rooftop patio at 30hop. The cast of 60 or so draft beers changes regularly, and you can be sure there’s something on their expertly curated list you’ve just been dying to try.

Tuscan Moon
Grill on Fifth

203 5th St., Kalona |

And sometimes, especially on those perfectly sunny days where you find yourself breathless from Iowa’s beauty, you’ve got to get out to the country. About 20 miles southwest of Iowa City lies the tiny little burg of Kalona. Among the Amish residents and well-tended antique shops sits one of the loveliest patios in the area, at Tuscan Moon.

Spend the day shopping, have a beer and play some Scrabble at Kalona Brewing Company, and then repair to the patio at “The Moon” for a grilled steak or a creative and succulent fish special; no matter what, if they’re available that night, get the cheesy, pillowy potato cakes. Watch the moon rise over the open Kalona skies, sip a hearty cabernet from the vast wine list and breathe with gratitude.


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