It’s late May and we still can’t be assured of warm weather at this point in Wisconsin but we can dream of comfortable summer nights outside. There’s nothing better than outdoor dining during our short summer to take advantage of the balmy weather and fresh air. There are tons of outdoor dining spaces, from sidewalks to patios, but the very best place to eat al fresco are on these 11 rooftops that offer some fabulous food and even better views. It’s like getting dinner and a show all in one place.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Fresco - Madison
It's a little unfair to everyone else on the list, but frankly any discussion of rooftop dining in Wisconsin should pretty much start and end with Fresco. There's pretty vistas and then there's the glowing dome of the state capital building illuminating your meal. A stellar restaurant with an even better reputation, Fresco is atop the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on State Street, but you'll feel like you've traveled more than a few levels up. It's simply stunning.
Address: 227 State Street, Madison, WI, 53703
2. Taylor's People's Park - Waukesha
An awesome option in Milwaukee's far-west suburbs, Taylor's People's Park is in a building that dates back to the Civil War. It's been amazingly renovated into a very cool, open and airy restaurant. The rooftop is full of plants and is a great place to catch the sunset. This is a funky, cool spot you have to check out.
Address: 337 West Main Street, Waukesha, WI, 53186
3. Mallory's - Hudson
These folks are all-in on making this one of the coolest, most interesting places in the whole state. It's chic and interesting and absolutely breathtaking. You'll get amazing scenic views of the St. Croix River and mouthwatering, locally-sourced food. It's an amazingly delicious and unique experience.
Address: 609 2nd Street, Hudson, WI, 54016
4. Lone Girl Brewery - Waunakee
With a huge fire pit and a long list of events ranging from movie showings to game nights, this is an amazing rooftop option in Waunakee. An underrated state brewery where you'll get great brews and great food with your great views.
Address: 114 East Main Street #101, Waunakee, WI, 53597
5. The Charmant - La Crosse
This hotel in a converted candy factory has one of the best rooftops anywhere, with views over all of La Crosse and to the Mississippi River. This rooftop is set up for you to kick back, relax and enjoy an amazing meal. It's cozy and welcoming, with comfy seats, great food and an awesome staff.
Address: 101 State Street, La Crosse, WI, 54601
6. Good City Brewing - Milwaukee
Located a few blocks from Lake Michigan on Milwaukee's East Side, this brewery is pretty awesome all on its own with a totally interesting menu to pair with its really, really good beer — and then, they added this rooftop deck that's super cool. It's like hanging out at your coolest friend's house.
Address: 2108 North Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI, 53202
7. The Bayfield Inn - Bayfield
This feels like a fancy club from an era gone by, with inviting furniture, a great staff and views out over Lake Superior. You'll find mouthwatering food, great breezes and an atmosphere that will make you want to spend all day just relaxing up here.
Address: 20 Rittenhouse Avenue, Bayfield, WI, 54814
8. Lake Vista Cafe - Madison
What more could you want than a meal atop Monona Terrace with totally unbroken views out over one of Madison's big lakes. This cafe offers up really scrumptious food, a nice, relaxed atmosphere and a view you won't find anywhere else in town.
Address: 1 John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI, 53703
9. Harbor View Grill - Egg Harbor
There's a lot of outdoor dining in Door County, but only Harbor View gets you up and over the action for undisturbed views over the Egg Harbor inlet of Green Bay. The food is almost as good as the view, with unique takes on comfort foods, like cherry bbq pork using the local fruit.
Address: 7821 Horseshoe Bay Road, Egg Harbor, WI, 54209
10. Braise - Milwaukee
Most of Milwaukee's rooftops are down in the Third Ward, but Braise's rooftop, which is also their garden, gives you an awesome view of the "Polish Moon" clock — the second largest of it's type in the world — and some awesome old architecture in the city's Fifth Ward. A pioneer in the city with farm-to-table and local sourcing, these folks have consistently been a trendy spot to experience some of the best food in the city.
Address: 1101 South 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53204
11. Craftsman Table and Tap - Middleton
This rooftop makes you feel like you could be hanging out in your own yard. It's comfortable and welcoming and features their truly mouthwatering menu of local and seasonal foods. Come for the meal (which will be delicious) but stay for the dessert, that's honestly life-changing. You'll find yourself making the trip to Middleton often.
Address: 6712 Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue, Middleton, WI, 53562