Sitting outside with friends, people you love (and occasionally your dog) enjoying food, drinks, music, and laughter. That's the definition of warm-weather joy.

What is it that makes dining outside feel so amazing?

Sunshine and a breeze or sunset and a great conversation. Fun and casual. Savory and sweet. Chilled or spicy hot. A group of friends or date night. No matter your flavor, when it's happening outside it's just better, and just about no place does it better than then these ten places around Rockford.

Best Spots for Outdoor Dining in Rockford

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Franchesco's Ristorante

I love this secluded space behind the fine dining, Italian-American restaurant. So peaceful and wonderfully decorated.

7128 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford, IL

Franchesco's via Facebook
Franchesco's via Facebook
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Franchesco's via Facebook
Franchesco's via Facebook
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Franchesco's via Facebook
Franchesco's via Facebook
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Lucha Cantina

You won't find Mexican food with these unique flavors anywhere else in town and wait until you see their margarita menu.

1641 N Alpine Rd, Suite 212

Lucha Cantina via Facebook
Lucha Cantina via Facebook
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Abreo

This incredibly popular downtown Rockford restaurant has quite the 'hidden gem' outdoor space behind the building, keeping you delightfully cutoff from the outside world. A great setting for enjoying unique dishes from some of Rockford's greatest culinary minds.

515 E State St Rockford, IL

Abreo via Facebook
Abreo via Facebook
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Abreo via Facebook
Abreo via Facebook
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Abreo via Facebook
Abreo via Facebook
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8th Ward Pub

This cool little place is a 1960’s filling station converted into an urban style, open-air pub. 8th Ward features a tapas-style menu with some amazing specialty craft cocktails.

3905 Broadway Rockford, IL

8th Ward Pub via Facebook
8th Ward Pub via Facebook
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8th Ward Pub via Facebook
8th Ward Pub via Facebook
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Olympic Tavern

Another beautifully secluded, dog-friendly outdoor space. The decor and vibe is outstanding. That's the same word I use when I tell people about their coconut shrimp. They also have one of the biggest beer menus in town.

2327 N Main St, Rockford, IL

Olympic Tavern via Facebook
Olympic Tavern via Facebook
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Olympic Tavern via Facebook
Olympic Tavern via Facebook
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And DOG-FRIENDLY!

Olympic Tavern via Facebook
Olympic Tavern via Facebook
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Tavern on Clark

The barbacoa beef, the Havana, and the steak sandwiches are my favorites, including their uniquely-shaped and delicious french fries. They also have a great selection of tequilas, wine, whiskey & scotches.

755 Clark Rd, Rockford, IL

Tavern on Clark via Facebook
Tavern on Clark via Facebook
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Tavern on Clark via Facebook
Tavern on Clark via Facebook
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Pig Minds Brewery

America's first vegan brewery with a 100% plant-based menu featuring a variety of house-made appetizers, tacos, flatbreads, sandwiches, and desserts.

4080 Steele Dr. Machesney Park, IL

Pig Minds Brewing Co. via Facebook
Pig Minds Brewing Co. via Facebook
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GreenFire Restaurant Bar & Bakery

Once the warm weather arrives, they transform part of the parking lot. GreenFire is a natural and organic American restaurant. All of GreenFire’s dishes are cooked in state of the art wood burning and brick fire Woodstone ovens. No microwaves, no grill tops, stoves or deep fryers.

GreenFire via Facebook
GreenFire via Facebook
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That tent is a whole new level of beauty at night.

GreenFire via Facebook
GreenFire via Facebook
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Stone Eagle Tavern

Cajun specialties. Right off the bat, I'm a fan of this place. My favorite thing to start every visit is the 'Devils on Horseback', garlic marinated shrimp wrapped in bacon. Served with focaccia bread and finished with Creole Bourbon sauce.

6445 E State St, Rockford, IL

Stone Eagle Tavern via Facebook
Stone Eagle Tavern via Facebook
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Stone Eagle Tavern via Facebook
Stone Eagle Tavern via Facebook
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Stone Eagle Tavern via Facebook
Stone Eagle Tavern via Facebook
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Prairie Street Brewery

Sunsets on the Rock River... enough said. Don't forget to try the cheese curds. Be sure to check out their summer Dinner On The Dock schedule for great food and live music.

200 Prairie St., Rockford, IL

Prairie Street Brewing Co via Facebook
Prairie Street Brewing Co via Facebook
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Prairie Street Brewing Co via Facebook
Prairie Street Brewing Co via Facebook
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Prairie Street Brewing Co via Facebook
Prairie Street Brewing Co via Facebook
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