Go Al Fresco in Foodtopia

Downtown's Creperie Bouchon has patio dining

in a tucked-away courtyard.
If there's one thing that drives home Asheville's moniker as "the Paris of the South," it has to be the outdoor dining scene.

On a warm evening in downtown Asheville, diners are lined up on sidewalks, tucked into courtyards and gathered around fire pits, enjoying the mild mountain climate with a side of world class cuisine.

Here's a brief guide to some of the area's hottest patios right now, courtesy of our Facebook fans and others:

Bottoms Up
According to our fans, Wicked Weed Brewing has two of the best patios around. The space in front of the brewery and restaurant features a large fire pit and several high-top tables that are great for groups. The downstairs space in the back of the building offers picnic tables, complimentary pretzels and cornhole sets for casual hang-outs.

In fact, almost all of Asheville's 21 craft breweries have outdoor seating areas, as do popular craft beer bars like Thirsty Monk and the Bywater. And those breweries that do not have their own kitchens often welcome food trucks in the evenings and on weekends.

Sidewalk Style
We feel we need to give the Mellow Mushroom its own patio shoutout--it received the second highest number of votes from fans and it gets extra points for style! Decorated with bowling balls, a pretty psychedelic sculpture that was once Ronald McDonald and plenty of other conversation pieces, it's the perfect place to do some people-watching as you bite into a fresh slice of pizza.

When it comes to places for people-watching, the Universal Joint in West Asheville, Tupelo Honey Cafe's downtown location and the restaurants around Pack Square--including Posana, Rhubarb, the Noodle Shop and Bomba--are all wonderful as well. And the French Broad Chocolate Lounge has added park-side patio seating--new for this season!

Unseen Spaces
For diners seeking a table away from the activity of downtown streets, courtyard dining can be ideal. Creperie Bouchon on Lexington Avenue serves up decadent crepes, mussels, poutine and other Parisian-inspired fare. In fact, all three restaurants in the Bouchon family--including the soon-to-open creole eatery Lafayette, have pleasant patio areas, perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine and some good friends.

The courtyard behind Mayfel's is a popular spot among locals--especially on Sundays when the menu boasts a bloody mary bar. And on the growing South Slope, Ben's Tune Up offers a festive beer garden that mixes the indoors with the outdoors.

Food with a View
One thing Asheville has that Paris lacks is the stunning beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and no place quite captures that view like the Sunset Terrace at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Stop in for an inspired lunch or a leisurely dinner featuring chop house cuisine, or step on over to Edison for comfy couches, fireplaces and an open-air table set with creative pub fare.

The rooftop patio at downtown's Social Lounge is a favorite for craft cocktails and summer breezes, and the Courtyard Market at Biltmore offers one of Asheville's favorite views--the 250-room Biltmore House itself.

Check out a list of Asheville's top spots for outdoor dining.