Bold coffee, free WiFi and engaging play spaces are all the rage for working parents here in Portland. The following six spots offer parents packing little ones and laptops guilt-free places to get some work done while the kids stay entertained with books, outdoor gardens, ball pits and train tables.
photo: Poa Cafe by Aaron M. via Yelp
This newer cafe gets our first shout-out because it’s barely a year old and already a Portland favorite. The smoothie menu is mouth-watering, their happy hour offerings automatically include free popcorn with your order, and they have arts and crafts on the schedule every other Monday. The children’s play area also incorporates a reading corner if your mini-me would rather take in a good book. This cafe is already popular so it might not be the quietest place to work – but who needs silence when the kids are occupied?
4025 N Williams Ave.
photo: Cafe au Play by Elizabeth F. via Yelp
Cafe au Play
This nonprofit cafe is a southeast Portland gem and weekly mainstay for many families. Here, you’ll find the usual suspects, coffee, food, and WiFi, but there is also an oh-so-popular train table, outdoor play area (and garden), and live music and story times for the littles every day of the week. Check their online calendar here.
5633 SE Division St.
photo: PlayDate PDX via Facebook
Tucked in the industrial northwest district, parents (and other caregivers) love this place, not just for its large size, but because it’s a one-stop-shop that’s divided in half: one side is the mammoth play structure, the other half a cafe with comfy chairs, couches, tables and free WiFi. The play structure area includes the “slides of fury,” the ball room with ball-firing cannons, light up game floors, ropes to swing from and tunnels to climb through. Kids can literally spend hours here. Older kiddos are more likely to entertain themselves than toddlers, who will need someone following them through the tunnels and down the slides. While it can get crowded on the weekends, weekday mornings are nice and quiet, so keep that in mind if you’re bringing your laptop. And don’t forget the socks, since they’re mandatory for everyone in the play area. When you all need to refuel, there’s a hearty menu filled with kids’ meals for $6.50 with items like mini corndogs and sliders with cheese, as well as paninis for the adults. Or, just order a baked treat from the case, or small snack, like their hummus plate. After you’ve finished your work, grab an espresso or beer and wine to toast your successful day’s work.
1434 NW 17th Ave.
Affectionately referred to as “MP” by Westside families, this place opened in 2008 specifically for busy parents with young tots. Its owner, a dad of two, wanted to create a space that would be enjoyable for both toddlers and their adult counterparts. The 42-inch height limit applies only to the enclosed play space. Older children can enjoy the toys outside of the carpeted area for a lower play fee. Parents love the free WiFi, fantastic Stumptown coffee, and the cleanliness of the play area, tables, and restrooms. The smaller size of this facility means that parents can park at a table with a laptop and lunch and be able to easily watch over their waddlers throughout the play area. Insider’s tip: “Like” their Facebook page and you’ll have access to daily deals on sandwiches, prepared drinks, and play passes.
18335 NW West Union Rd.
photo: TaborSpace via Yelp
Located in a 100-year-old belltower (how’s that for a peaceful atmosphere?), the TaborSpace coffeeshop is part of a community building that was decades in the making. Operating as a nonprofit, it supports itself on donations and has an affordable cafe that’s run by a small staff and an army of well-trained volunteers, passionate about keeping this warm, inviting community center open. Don’t let the quiet atmosphere worry you– toddlers are welcome here. There is a play area for them and free WiFi for you. Bring your laptop, bring a book, bring some extra snacks for your littles, and prepare to stay a while.
5441 SE Belmont St.
photo: Papaccino’s via Yelp
One of Woodstock’s most charming delights, Portlanders are known to drive across town to set up shop at this coffee shop with its enclosed play space. Their bagel sandwiches are a breakfast staple, and the cereal bar is a treat if you like to mix your Cap’n Crunch and Froot Loops. And for coffee, try the toasted marshmallow mocha. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a design in the foam that you can Instagram to make your friends jealous. Plug into one of the many outlets around the room and fire up the free WiFi. You won’t be going anywhere for a while.
4411 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Where does your family go to work and play? Let us know in the Comments below!
– Marianne Walters