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The National Summer 25

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The National Summer 25

Summer is here, and hopefully by now you’ve figured out how to turn that destination wedding into a proper vacation. Wherever life takes you across the country this season, use our highly specific guide to find the best places to eat and drink outdoors—or in some powerful air conditioning.

Summer is here, and hopefully by now you’ve figured out how to turn that destination wedding into a proper vacation. Wherever life takes you across the country this season, use our highly specific guide to find the best places to eat and drink outdoors—or in some powerful air conditioning.

photo credit: Brianna Coleman

Debate all you want about who makes the best lobster roll in the Northeast, but as far as Boston is concerned, Woods Hill belongs on that list. Purists should know it’s served in a warm popover with crème fraîche, celery, and red onion. It’s not traditional, but it’s buttery, delicious, and you get to eat it while staring longingly at the Boston Harbor. - Anne Cruz

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photo credit: Lindsey Alexander

There are over 150 breweries in Denver, but only Denver Brewing Co. is next door to Right Cream, which makes the best ice cream in town (we still love you, Liks). Grab a pint of Oreo toffee here, then a pint of Love This City pilsner there before sprawling out on the turfed back patio. - Carlo Mantuano

The Denver Ice Cream & Brewery Power Pairing image

photo credit: Blake Peterson

You’ve survived the first day of the Park City family vacation, and now you need to pick a restaurant no one will hate. Grappa’s patio is that place. Your mom will announce that she wants her backyard to look just like this, while your dad reminds her that they’re trying to downsize over a plate of osso bucco and some flatbreads. - Tiffany Yannetta

Grappa restaurant in Park City

There are a lot of wineries on Long Island, but McCall is the only one where you can have a glass of cab franc with a perfect cookout-style burger served to you by a sweet high schooler their first day on the job (of any job, ever). Make sure to wander the grounds and say hi to the resident cows—maybe just wait until after you eat that burger. - Anne Cruz

The Long Island Winery With A Really Good Burger image

photo credit: Timothy O'Connell

The crowd is drinking Harborside Rum Punch at this Cape Cod clam shack, and nobody cares that you just had a heat-related meltdown in the parking lot. Grab an outdoor picnic table, get the basket of clams, and definitely the clam chowder, even if you’re still hot. - Willa Moore

The Cape Cod Shack With The Weird Name & Great Clams image

photo credit: Jack Kapple

You’ll undoubtedly wait in line at this Kansas City barbecue spot, but the brisket, burnt ends, ribs, and pulled pork at Slaps are worth it. We’ve witnessed people literally drinking their sauces like cocktails, but in this heat, be sure to hydrate the old-fashioned way, too. - MaSovaida Morgan

The Messiest, Sweatiest BBQ In Kansas City image

photo credit: Kim Fox

Yes, the Hawaiian-themed, tourist honey pot on PCH in Malibu is, in fact, the place to be this summer. Strategy is important. March past the host stand, past the shoobies waiting for tables, and sit yourself down at the bar. The ocean views are practically 360 degrees, the fish tacos aren’t bad, and the mai tais are very good. Oh look, a whale. - Arden Shore

The Bar Stool Where You Can Watch Dolphins & Drink Mai Tais In LA image

The best way to taste the Lynnhaven River’s briny bivalves on your Virginia Beach vacation is on a boat tour with an oyster farmer who wears big rubbery pants and shucks them for you on the spot. Sure, you’ll learn lots about the local aquaculture, but most importantly, your host will serve up fresh oysters and a mason jar of mignonette. - Anne Cruz

The Boat Where That Guy Shucks Oysters in Virginia Beach image

photo credit: Lindley Rust

We’d like to nominate the following as the most Wyoming sentence of all time: There’s a mountain resort in Moose where you can eat a buffalo burger at a restaurant called The Chuckwagon and see some live music at their Monday night Hootenanny. You can even join the local musicians if you just so happened to bring your guitar with you to Jackson Hole. - Carlo Mantuano

The Monday Night Hootenanny In Grand Teton National Park image

photo credit: Zack Bowen

Order a dozen oysters, then another, and pair each dozen with a bottle of wine, you little glutton, you. Go ahead and spoon too much mignonette on that oyster, take a swig of wine straight from the bottle, and order another round. It’s summertime in Portland, and there are no rules. - Willa Moore

The Spendy Summer-Vacation Lunch In Portland, Maine image

photo credit: Ryan Siphers

Maui’s best poke can be found inside a Wailuku convenience store. There’s a no-eating-in-the-lot rule, and you and your car need to be out of that parking space within five minutes. Order your chile pepper or Spicy Ninja poke and get out of the way, and know you’ll probably be back tomorrow. - Tiffany Yannetta

The Convenience Store Poke To Bring To The Beach In Maui image

Pick a bottle of chilled red and some cheese out of Bacchanal's fridge and take a seat in the leafy backyard backyard. Within a few minutes, a beautiful cheese and charcuterie spread will emerge from the kitchen so you can slow-burn feast while some guy plays the sickest upright bass solo you've ever seen. - Carlo Mantuano

The Big New Orleans Backyard Where You Can See A Quartet  image

Say what you will about Dante’s Inferno, but the ninth circle of hell is Pike Place Market come summer. When the tourists high on shellfish fumes become too much, duck into nearby Jarrbar. It’s a sexy little Spanish dive where you can cosplay as a carefree Spaniard who snacks on tinned sardines and treats disco like a sport. Why yes, we do want overpriced marcona almonds with that. - Aimee Rizzo

The Escape From Pike Place image

photo credit: Tessa Sheehan

It’s really just a regular margarita, but it’s a damn good one. And at this Sun Valley saloon, you can drink it in the presence of various mounted fish and deer heads that will talk considerably less than your family members. If you get hungry, order the Jim Spud, the signature baked potato. - Willa Moore

The Sun Valley Saloon With A Signature Margarita  image

photo credit: Eliza Kennard

Have a big night out at this fun, unexpected, but still totally Nashville cocktail club without the yeehaw madness of Broadway. Start with a tickle back shot—it’s exactly what you think it is—dance to some live funk, and end with some nachos at Bastion across the street. - Carlo Mantuano

The Anti-Honky Tonk Bar In Nashville image

Drink experimental beer and play games on the giant patio at this West Town pour-your-own taproom. Debate the official rules of Jenga (one hand only and once you touch a block, you’re committed) with the nice group of strangers next to you. The gentle breeze and Midwestern friendliness may be enough to convince your friends of the merits of living in Chicago, the one time a year they decide to visit. - Veda Kilaru

The Spot For People Who Only Love Chicago In The Summer image

photo credit: Lauren Topor

You’ll eat chorizo con huevos under colorful piñatas before you realize this spot sells piñatas, too. We recommend the “Made To Be Broken,” because smashing a piñata after drinking one too many Micheladas in the Phoenix heat might be the most fun you’ll have all summer. - Willa Moore

The Buy-Your-Own-Piñata Brunch In Phoenix image

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Brooklyn’s best summer house party is in the absolute banger of a backyard at Frog, a new natural wine bar in Bed-Stuy. There’s a huge tree providing shade to all the little tables, and enough moderately priced pours and people with cool bangs for all three acts of your summer fling to play out right here. - Neha Talreja

The Best New NYC Backyard image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

The only thing the people of New Jersey debate harder than whether or not Central Jersey exists (it does) is if you say pork roll (correct) or taylor ham (wrong) when ordering a breakfast sandwich. Whatever you call it, pick one up at Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park, and fight about it with your friends down the boardwalk. - Tiffany Yannetta

The Breakfast Sandwich That’ll Cause An Argument At The Jersey Shore image

It’s not that a bathing suit isn’t acceptable in Miami’s dreadful day clubs—but who wants to be there? So instead, embrace our sauna of a city by wearing a literal bathing suit to our greatest outdoor bar. Everyone at the Key Biscayne spot will just assume you’ve recently disembarked from a boat you don’t actually own. - Ryan Pfeffer

The Not-Clubby Miami Bar Where You Can Just Wear A Bathing Suit image

photo credit: Ivana Rizik

Celeste has two things that’ll make the relentless San Juan sun a bit more bearable: great crudo and powerful AC. This new-ish seafood spot doubles as a wine bar, so enjoy your cold little fish plate with a glass of something fun, funky, and, most importantly, chilled. - Tiffany Yannetta

The San Juan Crudo Spot With Great Air Conditioning image

Take in Savannah’s tidal creek views as you shuck the shells of peel-and-eat shrimp, crab, crawfish, and mussels, and drop them into the hole at the center of your table. You may even catch the whoosh of a marsh breeze—and if you come back in the fall during the annual Pirate Festival, you may even meet a new matey. - MaSovaida Morgan

The Seafood Spot In Savannah Where All The Pirates Hang Out image

A surprising amount of energy goes into a sun-drenched afternoon of floating down the water in an inflatable tube. And there’s no better source of fuel than breakfast tacos, preferably ordered by the pile from a no-frills walk-up window that dispenses migas tacos like a magic vending machine. - Nicolai McCrary

photo credit: Iris Moore

There are as many key lime pies in Key West as there are Jimmy Buffet fans, but the version at Kermit’s is the only one that’s dipped in chocolate and served on a popsicle stick. You can, and probably should, get two and double-fist. - MaSovaida Morgan

The Non-Negotiable Key Lime Pie image

photo credit: Julia Chen

Recover your long-forgotten Strava password and join SF’s throngs of morning exercisers—time to marvel at nature on Mount Tam. From Whitegate Ranch Trailhead, take the lush, four-ish mile Steep Ravine and Dipsea loop (and climb that iconic 10-foot ladder). Then drive down the hill to PizzaHacker at the Junction in Mill Valley. Excellent sourdough pies, beer, and a sun-drenched patio await. - Julia Chen

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