Homework, after school activities and a generally crazy schedule are all part of raising kids––which is why slowing down to spend quality time together as a family is so important! Why not pencil in a regular family date to keep your relationships on track while bonding and making memories? Scroll down for our favorite spots where you can eat, play, relax and connect with your clan!

photo: Stephen Whalen

Crack Shack

Take the fam out for gourmet fried chicken and fluffy biscuits! In fact, it's fun to meet up with another fam, because this hot spot is entertaining for everyone. Pint-sized eaters can have the nuggets and fries (plus, they come with a juice box and cookie). Meanwhile, we recommend the Firebird chicken for the grown-ups. Still more, you'll find a full bar and little chicks love the sandbox filled with toys. And sometimes Mr. Chicken himself shows up!

Insider Tip: They have dairy and gluten-free items on the menu, just ask the server when you order.

407 Encinitas Blvd.
Encinitas, Ca
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Online: crackshack.com


Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

For one thing, space to move around helps family date night run smoothly. Eating outdoors among expansive gardens and grass is a great way to dine. For a start, it allows kids to run and explore their surroundings, while you relax with an appetizer. Then, at dinner, everyone's ready to talk. Even more, kids eat healthily with items like salmon teriyaki and grilled chicken. And, for grown-ups the baby back ribs and craft brew score points.

Insider Tip: If you live in South San Diego, there's a Liberty Station location that's great too.

1999 Citracado Pkwy.
Escondido, Ca
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Online: stonebrew.com

Liberty Station
2816 Historic Decatur Rd., #116‎
San Diego, Ca
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

photo: Corvette Diner

Corvette Diner

With poodle skirts, pinball machines and a lively arcade, you'll find this a perfect family date night spot. Not only are the shakes scrumptious, but your kids will also enjoy their crazy straw hair and the fun fifties tunes. On one hand, swing in for a mid-day frosty treat or on the other, cruise the dinner scene. Make sure to save a few dollars for the awesome arcade!

Insider Tip: Score a hole-in-one at the outside putting green after splitting a milkshake with your dates.

2964 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Online: corvettediner.com

Liberty Public Market

You'll find plenty of families having date night here and there's a good reason why. You'll be spoiled for choice of food from lobster rolls and Thai to a stuffed burger and a candy shop full of sweets to top it all off. The outdoor seating (think fake grass and tables) makes dining al fresco fun––and dogs are allowed too (on the patio). Even more, you get to park for free and take a nice stroll after dinner.

Insider Tip: If possible a weeknight or early dinner date night is better if you want to avoid crowds. 

2640 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Online: libertypublicmarket.com

Lucha Libre Taco Shop

Dine out at this spot that's boisterous and cool. Not to mention, well known for our faves the Surfin' California burrito and carne asada fries. Good to know that it gets busy so going a little off hours is more enjoyable. The chips and salsa are sure to open up your fam to talk time. Plus, the cool decor is a definite conversation starter.

Inside Tip: It's worth it to book the champions table. (Online the day before). You'll pass up the line and eat at the gold table with cool accessories.

1810 W Washington St.
San Diego, Ca
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 10-2:30 a.m.
Online: tacosmackdown.com

South Bay Drive-In

There are few things that excite kids more than a day at the movies. We don’t know about you, but we’ve noticed hitting the local theater is getting expensive. So for a special treat (that’s a lot cheaper), visit the South Bay Drive-In to take in a new release or two from the comfort of your vehicle. This is the perfect activity if you fear your mini date will fall asleep half-way through the flick. It also allows you to talk during the film which is usually a big no-no in the theater.

Insider Tip: Pack a picnic! Concessions are available, but half the fun is bringing your own snacks. Not only does it keep your costs down, but provides a fun new way of having dinner with your family.

2170 Coronado Ave.
San Diego, Ca
Online: southbaydrivein.com

La Jolla Cheese Shop

Above all, a nice family day in La Jolla is always a good thing. A walk from La Jolla Shores beach (and playground) you'll find the Cheese Shop's scrumptious sandwiches and retro candy. Order up, then eat outside on the patio. Also, good to know that hamburgers and pizza options are nearby for littles who aren't into sandwiches.

Insider Tip: Treat yourselves to one of the freshly made oatmeal cookies. 

2165 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla, Ca
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Online: cheeseshoplajolla.com

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle Garden

Truly, a nice morning family date spot. Walk (or run) among the creative sculptures and quirky snakes created by Niki de Saint Phalle. Even more, littles love the maze entryway. If you go on the second Saturday of the month, you'll find a docent who's full of facts about the artwork.

Insider Tip: This is a great spot for a family photo.

3333 Bear Valley Pkwy
Escondido, Ca
Hours: Tues. & Thurs., 9 a.m.-noon; second monthly Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon
Online: queencalifia.org

Where’s your favorite family date spot? Share in the comments.

—Nikki Walsh

Featured photo via Crack Shack.


10 Family-Friendly San Diego Restaurants to Visit With Out-of-Towners

Be Cool! The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream & Frozen Treats

7 Bowling Alleys Where You Can Strike Up Some Fun