If you’d love to go out for dinner but you’re worried your kids will be climbing the walls waiting for the food to arrive, fear not! We’ve found 10 restaurants with exciting and engaging play areas that will keep them entertained while you enjoy a night out on the town at some of the city’s hippest hot spots. Read on for indoor and outdoor restaurant settings where you and the fam can dine out and enjoy everything from bowling or playing arcade games to foosball and giant Jenga.
Punch Bowl Social
A recent arrival to the San Diego scene, Punch Bowl Social is a whopping 23,500-square-foot restaurant, bar and entertainment destination that families will love. It boasts two bocce courts, private karaoke rooms, eight bowling lanes, shuffle board, Bonzini, an arcade, a custom built 360-degree bar with televisions galore for sports enthusiasts and numerous lounging and gathering spots. Even board game lovers will be pleased to find an array of classic games to play. In addition to the endless fun to be had, the food and drink menus are also a hit. The kids menu features tyke-friendly fare ranging from a cheeseburger or enchiladas to a lemon waffle or banana almond butter sandwich. Adults can sink their teeth into delectable salads, burgers, fried chicken and additional comfort foods with elevated flair––and it's great that they also offer tantalizing vegetarian and gluten-free items. Punch Bowl Social's made-from-scratch food is described as "American diner with a fresh, modern take on Mexican cuisine."
Insider's Tip: Cool down with a boozy milkshake (kids can get a non-boozy version!) The Malted Maple Royale milkshake looks like the perfect treat to beat this summer heat.
Good to know: After 10 p.m., Punch Bowl Social is open only to the 21 and older crowd.
1485 E. St.
San Diego, CA
It takes a village! This kid-friendly and dog-friendly 8,000 square-foot multi-level, plaza-style complex fuses dining, lounging and sipping in a playful, relaxed community inspired ambiance. Kids can roam around or plop down on the astroturf, play the giant Connect Four game or bean bag toss. There's open-air seating, cozy fire pits and many ways to eat. You can grab a cup a coffee and a donut or a eat a bigger meal like pulled pork, chicken or salmon. Even more, there's a kids menu with choices like bbq pork sliders and kids get free cotton candy once they finish their meal!
Good to know: Park 101 also hosts many family-friendly events including trivia nights, movie nights in the park and Mom's Who Mimosa to name a few.
3040 Carlsbad Blvd.
Farmer & The Seahorse
One of our favorite brunch spots, Farmer & the Seahorse has an expansive play area complete with several corn hole games, balls and frisbees that kids can throw on the lawn, a grassy area to run and play tag or to use hula hoops or a parachute or stack the large outdoor Jenga game. The restaurant also has a rotation of indoor board games such as Scrabble to enjoy. Be sure to check out their new lunch and brunch menus. Go indulge in their fresh Korean Picnic Salad while the kiddos play.
Insider's Tip: There's live music every Sunday for adults. You'll love the serene, open air setting on the relaxing patio.
10996 Torreyana Rd.
La Jolla, CA
Order up a healthy sandwich or salad at the counter of this charming eatery and let the kids enjoy the indoor and outdoor play spaces. They'll find a foosball table and corn hole on the front patio and giant chalkboard walls for drawing and playing tic-tac-toe in a nice sized nook for kids inside. You'll love the vegan Banh Mi sandwich, they'll love the grilled cheese.
12873 El Camino Real
Del Mar, CA
Bo-beau Kitchen + Bar
School may be on holiday, but littles will beeline to the school bus that's adjacent to the patio to play while big folks chow down on French crafted menu items like porcini flatbread and grilled salmon. Dine inside or out. You'll find the basics for half-pints like chicken nuggets and quesadillas.
Insider's Tip: Call ahead to book a table near the repurposed school bus so you can take a breather while the kids play back to school.
8384 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, Ca
Head to Corvette Diner for some good, old-fashioned 1950s nostalgia. This Liberty Station restaurant practically screams family-friendly. It’s an old-school style diner with tasty eats and ice cream shakes. The best part is the huge arcade where you can buy a swipe card and have a blast. The employees offer some great entertainment too. Dressed in their best 1950s attire, the wait staff has been known to perform Grease classics and The Chicken Dance right in front of your table. If you’re there at the right time, kids will enjoy watching a magician perform tricks and a balloon artist make some fancy creations. Plan for a wait on the weekends; but remember you can pass the time in the arcade.
2965 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106
The Patio on 101
California coastal chic eatery The Patio on 101 is a great go-to spot for building community, offering a full kid’s area with games including tic-tac-toe and lawn games to entertain young ones and an outdoor lounge serving as the adult play area where parents can enjoy comfort food and local beers on a night out while keeping a close eye on their kids. The Patio on 101 also has an indoor-outdoor vibe that’s perfect for pets and enjoying the sea air.
Don't miss the custom print on the wall in the kid's area, which was created by a local artist featuring a drawing of a tree and animals that captivates the kids to explore and discover the details within the drawing.
345 S. Coast Hwy 101
Landon's Gourmet Kitchen
Parent date night with the tots in tow? Yes! Landon’s is a fresh farm-to-table eatery that has kids care right in the restaurant! While you feast on delicious California cuisine, kids can go have a blast in the restaurant’s chic, supervised Playroom and opt to order a meal off the kids menu. Moreover, they can order a meal, read books, play with car racetracks and much more. Also, for older kids, there are video games, iPads and movies. Enjoy gourmet food and grown-up convo with your little tyke being cared for in the on-site playroom.
Read our full review of Landon's Gourmet Kitchen here.
San Marcos Neighborhood
1020 W. San Marcos Blvd., Suite 138
San Marcos, CA
Are your little ones wiggle worms? They can read, play games and kick back and relax or stay busy in the kids only special space at Waypoint Public. All while you dig in to the Hipster Hash and indulge in the "Orangealicious" brunch cocktail. Once they join you at the table, little eaters can chomp down the Cocoa Krispy French toast.
3794 30th St.
San Diego, CA
The Crack Shack
The Crack Shack boasts food the whole family will love as well as a warm and inviting interior and a fun patio with outdoor seating that includes a sandbox for the kiddos. There's also a classy bar area for those who'd like a drink. Casual and local, this cool eatery in Encinitas is definitely worth a family trip.
407 Encinitas Blvd.
––Nikki Walsh, Leah R. Singer & Beth Shea