Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

If You Can Order Coffee From a Walk-Up Window

Dateline: 6:46 pm January 22, 2018 Filed under:

If you can order a coffee from a window while standing on a sidewalk, you just might be in a great urban place. On a recent trip to Santiago, Chile, I walked out of our AirBnB and just up the sidewalk was a coffee shop with a window facing the sidewalk. The street happened to be Calle Jose Victorino Lastarria in the historic Barrio Lastarria district, but it could have been anywhere. Requirements include a street with slow vehicle traffic, a decent sidewalk, buildings with little or no setback, and a decent amount of pedestrian traffic.

But First, Coffee! Barrio Lastarria, Santiago de Chile

Travel the world, and you will find coffee windows corresponding very highly with great walkable places. Among recent coffee windows I’ve seen is this one on Columbia Road in London.

Columbia Road, London

My recent trip to Chile included a stop in Valparaiso, a city I highly recommend visiting and location of the recent Placemaking Week co-sposored by PPS. There, in a single block radius, I found not one but two coffee windows.

Valparaiso de Chile

Coffee need not be the only thing you can order from a sidewalk window. What about waffles? I was pleased to discover this in Salt Lake City a few years back!

Waffle Window in Salt Lake City – Bruges Waffles

Here in the Twin Cities, I’m not aware of any walk-up windows. Please correct me if I’m forgetting one. The closest thing we have is a bicycle drive-up window at the Dairy Queen near Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. It has never been used.

The Never-Used Bike-Up Window at Dairy Queen in Minneapolis

So next time you see a walk-up window, remember, you just might be in a great urban place. Go ahead an buy the cup of coffee. Or waffle.


  1. […] an earlier version of this appeared at Joe Urban. Thanks to locals on Twitter for identifying walk-up windows in the Twin […]

    Pingback by Walk-Up Windows and Great Urban Places | — January 30, 2018 @ 5:25 pm

  2. hi dad

    Comment by Ellis — January 16, 2020 @ 6:15 pm

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