Explore Rooftop Restaurants and Patio Bars in Austin

Sometimes, the fewer walls the better. The open air, a little shade and a pleasant view does wonders for one’s mood.

It’s a signature trait of the active, Austin lifestyle. Patios abound. No matter what you eat, you’ll get a little Vitamin D from the warm rays of sun.

Here’s a look at some of downtown’s best patios and rooftops.

Hula Hut: The kitschy faux Hawaiian vibe here is endearing, if you’re in the mood for it. The food is pretty good. Tropical drinks galore. But you come here to sit under a grass thatch umbrella and gaze off to Lady Bird Lake and the beautiful homes in the West Lake Hills area.

Where: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd

The Mohawk: Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, and this is perhaps the city’s best deck overlooking a stage that hosts talented touring bands as well as local groups and fun events like facial hair contests and queso cook offs. Want to avoid a rowdy concert crowd, just walk up to one of their three levels of balconies where you can grab a little rail bar and watch a concert — or sporting event or facial hair contest. Then look farther and you’ll see all the nightlife on Red River Street and a beautiful view of downtown Austin.

Where: 912 Red River Street

Whole Foods: This open air plaza hosts yoga and other fitness classes during the summer. It transforms to an ice skating rink for a while in the winter. Plus, it puts you in tempting proximity to their fantastic deli food, cooling beer cave and groceries galore.

Handle Bar: If libations lure you, you’ll love this open air bar that specializes in craft cocktails and a killer view of downtown. And they have an expansive beer list.  Oh, and they have a giant Jenga set, so you and your friends can test your (sorta) steady hands after a few expertly-mixed cocktails, which may come with a little mustache affixed to the glass.

Where: 121 E. 5th Street

Lanai: It’s time to go clubbing, and this is the place to do it. With awesome views and, typically, friendly crowds, Lanai is a somewhat high end place to check out a great DJ and dance a little. During afternoons, however, it’s much more relaxed, and you can catch a game or just soak up some sun along with a nice view of the heart of downtown. Their cushioned patio furniture will suck you right in.

Where: 422 Congress Ave