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Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

As the U.S. slowly emerges from COVID-19 restrictions, restaurants have proven to be a bridge back to the world we all lived in before. However, given the necessity for social distancing and the importance of avoiding enclosed spaces, eateries have had to walk a difficult tightrope to meet CDC guidelines while giving guests a safe dining experience. Enter “eat streets,” or “streateries,” where in some cases, entire city streets have been closed down to create European-style pedestrian thoroughfares that allow for more sidewalk seating. The move reflects out-of-the-box (out-of-the-building?) thinking that’s helping America exit lockdown safely and in good taste.

RELATED: 12 great American roadside attractions

Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA

As stay-at-home orders lift in the city of Brotherly Love, one food destination opening to diners is the Broad Street thoroughfare. Sidewalk dining at Gabi feels particularly appropriate, allowing you to enjoy the French fare the bistro serves up in an atmosphere befitting of Paris. The menu at Scannicchio’s, meanwhile, represents a different part of the Old World (namely Italy—try the famous stuffed artichoke), but the romantic ambiance of food and drink in open air is very much the same.

Where to stay: The three-star Cambria Hotel sits right along the Broad Street Line of the Philadelphia subway, and just steps from iconic Philadelphia City Hall.

Broadway Street in Chicago, IL

Perhaps the most extensive of all the streateries emerging across America, Chicago’s Broadway will see a whopping 32 restaurants re-open when it closes to traffic as part of the city’s “Make Way for Diners” program. In the beautiful Lakeview neighborhood not far from the shores of Lake Michigan, Broadway offers an eclectic variety of dining options. Chow down on modern Mexican cuisine at Chilam Balam, which prides itself on sustainability, or on vegan bites at Kitchen 17.

Where to stay: Rest your head at the historic Willows Hotel, which is convenient not only to the Broadway streatery, but to famous Wrigley Field.

Central West End in St. Louis, MO

There’s no experience in St. Louis quite like outdoor dining near the corner of Maryland Plaza and Euclid Avenue, especially not in the first weeks of summer. The sun is sure to feel even sweeter these days, whether you prefer the sumptuous American-style diner fare on offer at Kingside, or prefer to eat your way around the world with international cuisine from El Burro Loco (Mexican) and Medina (Lebanese).

Where to stay: Chase Park Plaza is perhaps St. Louis’ most classic hotel, in the Central West End or anywhere else in the city.

Hyde Park Village in Tampa, FL

The Hyde Park Village retail complex in South Tampa has always been a wonderful spot to enjoy shopping, dining and drinking in a breezy, outdoor setting. These days, as you wash down Mexican street snacks with margaritas at Bartaco, or enjoy pasta and wood-fired pizzas at Forbici Modern Italian, the fresh air you once took for granted will make your next meal all the more unforgettable.

Where to stay: Feel like a South Tampa local with a stay at the Epicurean Hotel, part of Marriott’s exclusive Autograph collection.

Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, CO

You’re never far from nature in the eco-friendly mecca of Boulder, including when you dine post-COVID at the Pearl Street Mall. Have a meal befitting of the mountains at Spruce Farm & Fish, where trendy New American cuisine contrasts with the timeless ambiance of the historic Boulderado Hotel. Bohemian Biergarten, meanwhile, might have you feeling like you’re at Oktoberfest, even if you end up dining here in June or July.

Where to stay: Stay at the aforementioned Boulderado, or consider booking a room at the stately St Julien Hotel & Spa.

South Congress Avenue in Austin, TX

Let’s be honest: Having a beer or burger on one of the famous patio of Austin’s South Congress Avenue was never a bad idea, even in the days of the “old normal.” Now, however, you’ll truly appreciate the views of the Austin skyline as you look down the hill toward it, whether you enjoy the famous chips and queso on offer at Guero’s Taco Bar, or try out burger-and-milkshake combos at Hopdoddy, an Austin institution that’s celebrating its 10th birthday this year.

Where to stay: In addition to being a fixture of Austin for more than a decade, Hotel San José puts you within walking distance of the entire South Congress entertainment district.

State Street in Santa Barbara, CA

The only thing better than a visit to Santa Barbara, that charming city by the sea, where it always feels like spring? Dining outdoors amid perpetual warmth and sunshine, of course! The city has decided to stop cars from driving on State Street between Haley and Sola, which has allowed several restaurants that were previously closed to re-open. Visit Benchmark for New American fare and craft cocktails, or Sama Sama for a journey through Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine.

Where to stay: Housed in a classic Spanish-colonial style building, Kimpton Canary Hotel pairs an unforgettable location with an ambiance that is unmistakably Santa Barbara.

The road back to normal is going to be a long one, but cities across the country are doing their part of make the journey more tolerable. Whether along the Pacific in Southern California, or in the hippest neighborhoods of Austin and Chicago, eateries are expanding their dining rooms outdoors, literally into the streets in some instances. On the other hand, while not all the neighborhoods on this list are “streateries” by definition, they ensure a delicious meal that’s also safe. After all, is there anything in better taste these days than supporting your local economy while also making sure our healthcare heroes don’t get overloaded?

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Food & drink

Robert Schrader

Robert Schrader

Robert Schrader

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