Wi-fi for Mom, Toys for Kids

Hanging out in a neighborhood coffee house is a part of being a Seattleite. Of course, if you have young children, you might get the hairy eyeball if you do much more than order your coffee to go at most cafes. When you find yourself in Ballard, visit Firehouse Coffee, which offers a separate family room where parents can enjoy coffee, a snack or light lunch, as well as wi-fi–all while the kids play. There is a sliding door that separates the main seating area and the playroom, so there are no worries about the occasional tantrum.

Firehouse offers cookies, pastries and sandwiches for the adults (as well as coffee from Caffe Vita), and there’s a children’s menu that includes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or grilled ham and cheese. You can order a child-sized Italian soda, milk or juice box for the kids. While the food isn’t necessarily the main draw, Firehouse’s playroom offers the convenience that parents need, especially to catch up with a friend over lattes without too many interruptions from the kids. There is a small parking lot and the café is located adjacent to Gymboree Play & Music. Firehouse is close to the Ballard Locks, too, which makes it a good place to take a break.

—Hsiao-Ching Chou