Outdoor Dining Opportunities Abound Around Willamette Valley

By Annelise Kelly

Oregonians in the Willamette Valley spend nine months of every year yearning for summer’s rewards: outdoor activities of every stripe, especially dining al fresco. 

Meals on sidewalks and patios have extra cachet as we carefully manage our ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many cities have made it easier for restaurants to extend their seating into fresh air, and myriad restaurants have upped their outdoor game with more tables and generous spacing, along with extra sanitation measures.

Here’s a round-up of some of the Willamette Valley’s best places to take it outside, from north to south. Grab your broad-brimmed hat and mask, anoint yourself with sunscreen, and enjoy reuniting with friends over the fantastic seasonal fare that Oregon summers are famous for. 

Before you go: Please stay up-to-date on and comply with COVID precautions and guidance, and verify hours and policies with restaurants ahead of time. Many are requiring reservations, limiting party size, or operating with reduced hours. Restaurants may also continue to require face coverings as well.

Outdoor Dining in McMinnville and Around Yamhill County

McMinnville’s Dine Out(Side) program will return to the city’s Third Street corridor in summer 2021 for expanded outdoor dining opportunities.

In the heart of Oregon’s wine country, McMinnville has a robust outdoor dining scene every weekend. Third Street, the town’s vibrant main drag, closes to traffic Friday night through early Monday morning for McMinnville’s Dine Out(Side) program. Thirty participants are signed up for summer 2021, including the always-fun Joysticks Arcade and Eatery; small-bites eatery Union Block Coffee; several purveyors of Latin fare—including Pura Vida CocinaLos Molcajetes, and La Rambla; and—since this is McMinnville—several tasting rooms, including Terra Vina Wines and Jacob William Winery. Enjoy brewpub comestibles and libations at Two Dogs Taphouse or McMenamins Hotel Oregon, which also has rooftop seating.

Neighboring towns have upped their outdoor seating game as well. Enjoy fine dining on spacious patios at Recipe in Newberg and the Dundee Bistro in Dundee, or craft beer and bites at Barley and Vine Tavern in Newberg. For French cuisine, try Newbergundian Bistro and for authentic Italian, visit Rosmarino Osteria Italiana.

Outdoor Dining Around Salem

Restaurants around Salem will once again offer expanded outdoor dining options in summer 2021. (Photo by Joey Hamilton)

Building off the success of weekend street closures in summer 2020, Salem is allowing restaurants to offer outdoor dining on “parklets”—converted parking spots in front of the establishment—in 2021. The Kitchen on Court Street has a new covered patio where you can enjoy breakfast all day, along with lunch and dinner items. Hang out over cocktails at the new alley patio at Alleycat Bar, and expect more covered dining areas to take over parking spots in the heart of downtown Salem as summer progresses.

Outside of Salem, trek to the Bavarian-tinged village of Mount Angel and savor classic German cuisine, as well as a broad selection of German beer, in the outdoor biergarten at Mount Angel Sausage Company.

Outdoor Dining Around Albany

Restaurants throughout downtown Albany will offer expanded outdoor dining in summer 2021. (Photo by Joey Hamilton)

Sweet Red Bistro specializes in dinner, dessert, and cocktails—and Gamberetti’s offers classic Italian fare for lunch and dinner with sidewalk tables as well as tented tables in the parking lot. Enjoy the farm-to-table menu on a spacious covered patio at Frankie’s in North Albany, as well as vibrant Asian cuisine at Ba’s Vietnamese Comfort Food. Nearby Vault 244 Bistro has tables and umbrellas lining its downtown sidewalk, where diners enjoy steakhouse dinners and cocktails. Warm yourself at the fire pit in the casual enclosed yard at The Growler Garage and Tap House.

Albany maintains an online directory of restaurants that is updated weekly, according to Kim Jackson, director of marketing for the Albany Visitors Association.

Outdoor Dining Around Corvallis

4 Spirits Distillery in Corvallis offers a spacious outdoor space that’s also dog-friendly. (Photo by Alison Smith)

Visit Common Fields, a community taproom and food truck pod that emphasizes sustainability and local sourcing. With heated benches, separate booths, and a covered play area for kids, it’s a great family destination. Enjoy craft beer and pub fare by a fire pit at the McMenamins Corvallis Pub and McMenamins on Monroe. For Asian fusion, check out the attractive outdoor dining area at Magenta Restaurant. On the south end of town, 4 Spirits Distillery has spacious outdoor seating with views of adjacent farmland and distant mountains.

Visit Corvallis maintains a list of restaurants with outdoor seating, including downtown locations, campus-adjacent restaurants, and a few spots in the nearby communities of Monroe and Philomath.

Outdoor Dining Around Eugene

The Broadway Streatery in Eugene offers expanded and new sidewalk seating under twinkling lights along Broadway between Olive and Willamette streets, both closed to motor vehicles for a quiet and relaxing outdoor dining experience.

After the Broadway Streatery’s 2020 summer success, the 5th Avenue Weekend StrEATery between Pearl and High Street is now closed to car traffic on weekends. Manifest Beer Company is famous for its lofty biscuits with slather, alongside other upscale pub fare, craft beer, and cocktails. Off the Waffle serves authentic Liège waffles loaded with sweet and savory toppings. The 5th Street Public Market overflows with options, from Legend of Szechuan to Thai Spice to longtime French favorite Marché Restaurant.