By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Oct 04, 2022 at 9:56 AM

The Great Milwaukee Summer is HERE! Your guide to what you'll be doing, where you'll be drinking, who you'll be hearing and how you'll be getting a sweet tan this summer is on OnMilwaukee. The Great Milwaukee Summer guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union and Harley-Davidson Museum

Looking for new spots to try? Lori Fredrich has dished out her top five picks in 20 different dining categories, from brunch to BBQ and everything in between. 

It might be getting chillier outside, but there are inevitably at least a few gorgeous days in October that remain truly patio-worthy. So don't give up on the season quite yet.

After all, Milwaukee is home to a throng of amazing patio spaces, from cozy hidden gems and sky high rooftop oases to beautifully landscaped outdoor dining rooms that offer a blissful retreat from the daily grind. Some are even equipped with elements that assist in extending the season.

Here are five that live up to the hype.

1. Packing House

Packing House patio water featureX

900 E. Layton Ave., (414) 483-5054
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Didn't know that Packing House had a patio?  Well, they do; in fact the outdoor area was just added this summer.  It's a lovely spot to enjoy a meal thanks to myriad well-appointed elements that keep guests comfortable.  Take the retractable roof on its pergola for instance: it functions to to shield diners from both harsh sun and rain. There is a a water feature that provides a pleasant, zen-like ambiance, an outdoor fireplace and heaters to extend the season and a sound system that sets the mood.

2. La Dama

La Dama patioX

839 S. 2nd St., (414) 645-2606

Serving: Modern regional Mexican fare
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I'm a sucker for a patio that's tucked out of plain view, and the outdoor dining area at La Dama is among my favorites. Greenery surrounds this enclosed space, which offers plenty of fresh air, but also shelter from the elements.  This gorgeous haven is the perfect spot to relax with a few friends, some margaritas and a table filled with delicious regional Mexican fare.

3. Harbor House

Harbor House PatioX

550 N. Harbor Dr., (414) 395-4900
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A predictable pick? Absolutely. But it's impossible not to feel better when you're sitting a stone's throw from Lake Michigan. Pair that up with fresh seafood (in my case, a dozen freshly shucked oysters) and it's pretty much paradise. Don't forget, it really can be "cooler by the lake," so just be sure to bring a light jacket in case the lake breeze is particularly fiesty.

4.  Tauro Cocina

Tauro Cocina patioX

1758 N. Water St., (414) 488-2941

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You'll find mouthwatering Latin-Italian fusion, along with wood-fired pizza at this new Eastside spot. Even better, it all comes with a gorgeous patio dining experience. For years, this gorgeous brick-laden outdoor area has been among the best in the city, and it's even better now that it's been infused with new energy.  A picturesque fountain centers the space, umbrellas shield diners from the hot sun and plentiful greenery and flowers give it a homey, tucked away feel.

5. Centro Cafe

Centro Cafe patioX

808 E. Center St., (414) 455-3751
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Among the charms of this Riverwest patio is its location, tucked back behind the restaurant and out of the way of the bustle on Center Street. But its landscaping – which makes the space resemble a secret garden – seals the deal. It's the perfect spot for sipping wine and eating pasta on a balmy fall evening.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.