15 Los Angeles Restaurants Where Kids Can Play While Parents Eat
Whoever said that dining out with kids is an impossible task probably didn’t know that there are a few spots that make the whole experience a piece of cake. We’re not talking about pizza parlors or bagel shops (though we love those, too), but wonderful restaurants and hip cafes where parents can get delectable food while kids can go a bit wild, whether enjoying a play area, a babbling brook, or old school games. It’s a win for everyone (especially for the parents) at these very family-friendly eateries.
It can’t get much better than this: beer tasting with the kids in tow. Saying that Golden Road Brewing is family-friendly is an understatement—it’s a haven for parents who appreciate local brews and a fun place for kids to run around. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and games to keep everyone happy. With small plates to share, including fried avocado tacos and Brussels sprouts and entrées like the Portobello burger, the brewery’s food options are more gourmet than pub-style. The kids’ menu consists of three items (burger, grilled cheese, and penne pasta), which can all be made vegan upon request.
Santa Monica’s Back on the Beach is the place where you can live the ultimate dream: kicking back with a glass of wine or beer while your kids have a blast running back and forth along the sand to the adjacent playground. The café is next to the Annenberg Beach House’s community splash pad and pool, and Back on the Beach is the perfect dining spot to recharge between water play and laps. Local and seasonal fare is always offered during breakfast and lunch—the hours change seasonally—and includes delicious omelets, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and fish entrées. The kids’ menu features classics such as penne pasta, chicken tenders, and kosher and veggie hot dogs. Time it right, and the sunset is included free of charge.
With the recent revitalization of the Los Angeles River and the improvement of the walkable path along the way, Frogtown has become a recreational destination for jogging, biking, and skating. If headed there, start off the workout (or finish it up) at Spoke Bicycle Café, a must-go pit stop. This funky, outdoor café hits the spot with organic sweet and savory breakfast items, bowls, sandwiches, salads, juices, and local coffee and beer. The patio is big enough for endless running around and there’s a kids’ area with games and books. The on-site bicycle rental and repair shop is also a great attraction if your children are two-wheelers aficionados.
Kids play while you eat truly delicious food at the new My Little Paris. Photo by Matt Matasci
My Little Paris recently opened in San Gabriel and it's a must-visit for so many reasons. From the authentic French-inspired menu to an immaculately clean play area and an indoor, air-conditioned setting, this is one of our favorite new places to grab a relaxing bite to eat. The menu features an extensive list of kid's options like mac & cheese, pizza, and sandwiches. For grownups, hearty salads and entrees like the California toast or quiche Lorraine are reason enough to bring the kids. Unlike most of the other restaurants on this list, the entire point of My Little Paris is for kids to play while you eat, so the play area is huge and offers hours of entertainment.
It may sound counter-intuitive that an establishment with the word "bar" in its name would be kid-friendly, but that's the case with Downtown LA's Everson Royce Bar. The key to what makes this location a great place to grab a drink with the kids in tow is its big, beautifully decorated outdoor patio. Here, there's plenty of space for kids to run around and play, plus it has a bocce ball court, which kids love. There's no designated kid's menu, but with items like fries, nachos, and barbecue chicken, there's enough to keep the little ones satisfied and busy.
At Inn of the Seventh Ray, parents can sip mimosas while kids play in the creek. Photo courtesy Inn of the Seventh Ray
Hailed as one of the most romantic restaurants in LA, Inn of the Seventh Ray is indulgent for adults but also a woodland Shangri-La for kids. Nestled in Topanga Canyon, this farm-to-table dining landmark offers gourmet concoctions such as truffle risotto and poached salmon as well as healthy brunch items, pastas, and soups made to order for kids. It also features some natural built-in entertainment that your offspring will enjoy: a streambed they can explore. Request a table close to the creek, so you can enjoy your meal and still see your kids hunting for frogs. Lately, the creek has been dry, but kids can still run around in the woods while you finish off your meal.
Like Golden Road but on a smaller scale, the family-friendly beer garden Rasselbock in Long Beach is a local institution, owned by parent company Wirsthaus. This restaurant and gathering place specializes in delicious German food that is given a modern twist, including potato pancakes, giant pretzels, and A Dude's Salad, which is really just fries covered with loads of Mediterranean toppings. And of course, there's a huge selection of German-style beers. The decent-sized patio has games and a sandbox for kids so you can relax and enjoy a snack and a brew.
All of the LACMA grounds are your child's playground when dining at Ray's + Stark Bar. Photo courtesy Ray's + Stark Bar
There’s no cooler playground than LACMA’s Urban Light installation, where kids can play hide-and-seek ad infinitum. There’s also no better outdoor café than Ray’s Stark Bar for being strategically located a few feet away, offering delicious artisanal pizzas, kale salad, tuna tartare, and pan-roasted salmon. The California-inspired brunch and happy hour menus are just as tasty, and the seasonal cocktails are a nice complement to the curated wine and beer selection. Kids can choose among chicken tenders, mac and cheese, noodles, hamburgers, and cheese or pepperoni pizza. They can also get free admission to LACMA by enrolling in the NexGen membership program online.
Angelenos may be spoiled with a vast range of independently and locally-owned eateries, but sometimes a big chain like Dave and Buster's is the best, easiest option for dinner and a drink with the family. There are several locations throughout the city like in Hollywood, Arcadia, Westchester, Torrance, Irvine and more, this arcade-meets-restaurant is like an adult-friendly Chuck E. Cheese with much better food. While you watch the game and enjoy a craft beer and juicy hamburger, your kids can stay entertained for hours with video games and other arcade attractions.
Order from John's Garden and watch kids play at the playground while you eat. Photo courtesy Malibu Country Mart
10. John's Garden
Located on Malibu's Cross Creek Road, the back patio of John's Garden is just feet from the shopping center's play structure. The food is made from fresh ingredients and includes options like grilled salmon on greens, the turkey and avocado Surfer Princess sandwich, and more. If the fare is a bit too sophisticated for your kids, there's always Malibu Mutt's Grill, which serves up burgers, hot dogs, fries, and milkshakes. You can grab something from the take out window they'll enjoy and feed them fries when they get tired of swinging and playing.
Blue Ribbon Sushi is on this list not because the restaurant itself is incredibly kid-friendly (it's fairly pricey sushi), but because the back patio here is right next to Palisades Village's grassy outdoor space. While you wait for the food to arrive, the kids can run around and enjoy the beautiful laid-back atmosphere (and weather) of this coastal enclave. If sushi isn't your thing, The Draycott is similarly positioned adjacent to the park area and has meals with a British twist.
12. Kitchen Mouse
Kitchen Mouse is a trendy cafe located in Highland Park that serves lunch and breakfast options. Normally a hip restaurant like this wouldn't be the best fit for families, but Kitchen Mouse is surprisingly as kid-friendly as it is chic. Along with gluten-free and vegan versions of local favorites like chilaquiles, breakfast tacos, bahn mi, and more, the restaurant has a small kids area to keep the kids busy while you are noshing.
A playground this big lets Mom and Dad linger over wine with dinner. Photo courtesy of Giggles 'n' Hugs
LA Restaurants Where Kids Can Play With Plans To Reopen Soon
We couldn't leave these favorites off the list! We have contacted all of these restaurants and all plan to reopen quite soon. However, as of publication date, the doors remain closed. We have included the latest opening information below and will update as soon as more details become available.
13. Kids Planet
Kids Planet is temporarily closed, with plans to reopen on July 31, 2021.
Kids Planet is located in Canoga Park's The Village at Westfield Topanga and is an indoor playground paired with an organic family restaurant, cafe, and bakery. Unfortunately, the business opened just weeks before COVID-19 forced the state to lock down most indoor businesses. Kids Planet has announced that the store is aiming for a July 31 reopening.
14. Giggles 'n' Hugs
Giggles 'n' Hugs Glendale is still closed but is planning on reopening this summer. (The Topanga location has permanently closed.)
From breakfast items, appetizers, salads, and entrees to panini, pizza, and burgers, deciding what to order at Giggles ‘n’ Hugs is a serious matter. The mile-long menu offers so many organic, locally-grown, vegan, and gluten-free options you could spend the whole day deciding. The kids’ menu is endless, too, offering classics such as fish sticks, grilled cheese, and healthy little bites like yogurt parfait and fruit plates. But “Mom’s tricky treat pastas and pizzas” take the prize: Veggie purees are blended into the pasta sauce or pizza red sauce so kids will eat their veggies without knowing it. After lunch, you can toast to that sneaky move (yes, they serve wine) and head back to the play area for group activities such as karaoke, face painting, dance parties, and zip line (part of what makes this place so fantastic for birthday parties).
15. Button Mash
Button Mash is temporarily closed, but the restaurant is scheduled to reopen in August 2021. However, it is unclear if or when the arcade games will return.
If arcades were your passion growing up, Button Mash will make your heart sing. The Echo Park arcade/restaurant offers a large collection of classic arcade games and pinball machines that will reawaken your inner child (Pac-Man and Mario Bros, anyone?). Introduce this throwback pastime to your offspring (admission is always free) — just make sure to bring them in the afternoon hours, since age restrictions are enforced in the evening when the on-site restaurant becomes more of a bar. But even if you’re going in the afternoon, you can still order a glass of wine or beer to go with Button Mash’s delicious Vietnamese fusion plates. Try the crispy tofu balls, ginger chicken wings, and dan dan noodles. The Kids’ Burger, mac and cheese, rainbow carrots, and orange bang cauliflower are among the kids’ favorites.