15 Igloos, Yurts, Gondolas (and a Hobbit House) That Were Made for Holiday Dinner Parties


Outdoor dining experiences in the form of igloo, yurt, greenhouse—even Hobbit House—pop-ups are everywhere these days. With social distant and outdoor dining still very much intact and diners weary of eating inside, restaurants and hotels have gotten much more creative with their seating arrangements, especially for the holidays. What says holiday cheer more than a cozy little igloo, bedecked in flannel and furs, with mini burners ablaze, ready roasting s’mores? There’s a reason this wintertime restaurant trend is here to stay and it’s called Instagram opportunities.

Best Outdoor Dining Experiences

From refurbished Vermont gondolas on the sprawling lawn of Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island to a community of electric greenhouses on a rooftop pier in the middle of Manhattan, the growing trend shows no signs of slowing down. And these bespoke dining rooms aren’t  just for cold weather locations either. Even warm weather locales like Miami and Austin are getting in on the fun, with their own activations in the form of teepees and private snow globe villages.

So if you want to eat at a restaurant—but prefer to do so outdoors—look no further than this list of the best outdoor dining experiences that bring the whimsy, while still being Covid compliant.

The Igloos at The Wheel in Stamford, Connecticut

Pile in and get cozy at The Wheel this holiday season! Stamford, CT’s premium waterfront Village has transformed into a winter wonderland village complete with igloos, fondue and build-your-own s’mores. Book a 2-hour reservation for you and your crew to sample Christmas cocktails like their Irish Coffee, Apple Spritzes, Winter Mules and Bourbon + Cider, then cuddle up under plaid throws under a canopy of twinkling lights overhead. And if you’re making a weekend trip to Fairfield County, nearby accommodations can be found at the picturesque Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel, where a winter weekend package treats you to a complimentary bottle of wine and daily dining credit.