Coffee is the nectar of the Gods – or at least of all parents. While we all dream of drinking a steaming hot cup of java in peace, sometimes the reality is hitting a coffee shop with the kids in tow. We have the lowdown on places kids will love so much that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy that well-deserved cup of coffee.
Kids can nosh on animal-shaped cookies and drink a cup of milk as parents get their caffeine fix at this family-owned shop. Or perhaps you and the cute future-coffee drinker can split a yummy Banana Nutella Panini. In good weather, they spread plush recliners, chairs and tables outside so you can enjoy your drink (or play on the wide sidewalk) with the backdrop of cheerful Portage Park. Inside, a special kids’ corner offers those naturally animated kids an inviting space filled with puzzles, blocks and games.
6032 W. Irving Park Rd.
Relax on a comfy couch in the back of this Bucktown cafe, where your little one will gravitate toward a kid corner filled with board games, books and toys. Parents can indulge in a Nutella Latte as your kids explore their inner Picasso in one of the many coloring books. And there’s a kid’s menu and dessert! Try a yummy doughnut (from Roeser’s Bakery). They even have an adorable flower mural on their wall outside that’s just waiting to grace your Instagram page.
2020 N. Leavitt St.
photo: The Wormhole
Get your coffee buzz on at this kitschy coffee shop that has everything from 80s movie posters, to a stuffed ET, to the “Back to the Future”-like DeLorean (yes, the car is inside). Kids will go crazy for the chocolate-chip pretzel cookie while they sip on a Honey Bear Latte and play Super Mario on an old-school TV. Mom and Dad will geek out at the iconic lunchboxes and 80s toys displayed under glass tables.
1462 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Jackalope Coffee & Tea House
Eclectic décor shines brightly in this colorful destination. On your visit, sip a Jackafrappuccino as your kids play Uno or another available game near the bright pink fireplace. Indulge in a maple bacon doughnut (from Bridgeport Bakery) as you sit on a shiny, sparkly chair under the lampshade made of dolls. If all this isn’t exciting enough, there are chalkboards for kids to get extra creative.
755 W. 32nd St.
photo: Cup and Spoon
Cup and Spoon
Parents don’t need to sport flannel to enjoy the Lumberjack Latte with its perfect mix of maple syrup, salt and coffee. The pop tarts with seasonal fruit will be a kid favorite as they play games at one of the pint-size tables.
2415 W. North Ave.
Young train fans will love that ArrivaDolce is just blocks away from the Highland Park Metra station. Coffee drinking parents will love the delicious coffee creations like almond lattes and mocha smoothies. Littles can try a frozen hot chocolate or a cinnamon roll bigger than their heads. The folks at ArrivaDolce love dogs (seriously – the number of dog themed mugs is incredible!) so feel free to bring your pup, too.
1823 Saint Johns Ave.
The eclectic coffeehouse offers coffee, tea and plenty more for your mini-me. A “Just for Kids” menu includes everything from cheese pizza to Three Little Pigs in a Blanket. In the back sitting area, toy bins will occupy your kids while you drink bottom-less cups of coffee, and get crazy with an organic egg sandwich. Bring your baby on the first Friday of every month at 10 a.m. when the La Leche League meets.
905 S. Lombard Ave.
photo: Grounds for Hope Cafe
Grounds for Hope Cafe
While parents drink coffee or hot cider, kids let loose in the enclosed play structure, toddler playroom and giant slide dropping from an excellent treehouse. Although the coffeehouse is owned by Trinity Lutheran Church, all faiths are welcome — the caffeine and play are definitely ecumenical. Check their website for kids events like story times or arts and crafts that happen each weekday at 10:30 a.m.
2701 Maple Ave.
The Rock House
Elementary-age kids rock out at this hybrid — part-coffee house, part-music school, with guitars hanging on the wall and chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. If you’re lucky, you can hear kids practicing upstairs, or performing on the small stage in the front. In the “Priscilla” bathroom (the other one is “Elvis”), a pink guitar hangs on the wall, and a flip-down potty training seat gets the little ones in the right mood. Your little one can jam with the hot chocolate or grind their axe with old-school candy from the time when grandma was a listening to Bill Haley and the Comets.
1150 Central Ave.
Take your kiddos on a trip to Europe without leaving the Chicago area by visiting Leonidas. From traditional lattes and macchiatos to European favorites like affogato (vanilla ice cream with espresso drizzled over the top), the coffee is worth the trip. Little ones can enjoy sipping chocolate and everyone will gobble up sweet crepes and handmade chocolates.
59 E. Chicago Ave., Near North Side
1907 Central St., Evanston
1348 Shermer Rd., Northbrook
What is YOUR favorite kid-friendly coffee shop? Let us know in the Comments!
— Jen Peterson & Kelly Haramis