Burlingame has a longstanding reputation for being a prime spot for families on the Peninsula—it boasts terrific schools, tons of trees and parks, and a tight-knit community made up of friendly neighbors. As of late, it’s developed into an even hipper ‘hood, attracting cool new shops, fitness studios, and eateries. And with the renovation of Burlingame Avenue complete (and Broadway not far behind) kids and their parents can stroll along the downtown’s widened sidewalks hitting up all the latest spots in style without ever being far from the beautiful outdoor spaces that first put this family-friendly hotspot on the map.
Photo: Laguna Park by Jenn Wade
Washington Park is Burlingame’s oldest and best known, located downtown a block from the Avenue and adjacent to the community center. It offers two play structures—one for littles and another for bigs—with an impressive eight slides total. There’s also monkey bars, sliders, climbing walls, ladders, bridges, and musical chimes plus a sandbox with water spout (active only in summer) and play train. The only downside to Washington Park is that it’s home to two swings and they are both for younger children so expect to take turns frequently. The park has ample open space though with benches and picnic tables, which make it a perfect birthday party choice; grass for running free and playing ball; tons of majestic trees and a rose garden (a favorite spot for photo shoots); two basketball courts; tennis courts; and newly installed bocce ball courts. Public restrooms are available outside and indoor restrooms with a changing table are easy to access in the neighboring community center.
850 Burlingame Ave
On the opposite side of town in the Easton Addition is Ray Park, another top choice for younger and older children alike. With multiple play structures, a sandbox with sand toys always available to everyone, swings, slides, climbing walls, public restrooms, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas, and a grass field, there’s not much this outdoor play place doesn’t offer. Ray Park is set amidst the trees so it is best visited in summer when the shade is welcome. It’s also next to Lincoln School. Kids can enjoy the school’s playground after hours and on the weekends but be mindful that it can get busy once the older kids are let out for the day. If you’re hungry, there is a great neighborhood deli – Adeline Market – just around the corner with sandwiches, snacks, ice-cream, and drinks.
1525 Balboa Ave
Laguna Park is the perfect spot for parents with multiple children who keep them running in more than one direction. It’s fully gated and offers play structures, swings for little and big kids, a spacious sandbox, two picnic tables, benches, and adjacent tennis courts. Laguna Park is very nearby Broadway so families can pit-stop there before breakfast, lunch or dinner together. The park is most active (and wonderfully sunny) during the mid-morning when you can be sure to find an impromptu play date any day of the week!
1414 Laguna St.
Pershing Park, a former elementary school, is only a few blocks from Burlingame Avenue in the quaint Burlingame Park neighborhood. Although it’s smaller than the others mentioned, it packs a lot into the outdoor space with four swings, two play structures, basketball courts, beautifully manicured lawns surrounding the playground, shaded picnic areas, and a really cool rope climbing structure. Park your car at Pershing to play and then walk three blocks downtown for lunch or an early dinner with the family; the kids can get out some energy beforehand and you won’t have to worry about paying for the meters. There are no public restrooms at Pershing Park but Walgreens and Safeway are nearby for potty emergencies.
138 Crescent Ave.
Photo: Sky High Sports
Sky High Sports
This indoor trampoline park lives up to its name and encourages jumpers to “bounce off the walls.” If you have active kids at home, it is a great outlet for them to burn off some extra energy, as it offers a foam pit, rope swing, dodge ball, and Sky High Hoops. There’s even a special Kids Court for little jumpers under the age of 8.
1524 Rollins Rd.
All Fired Up
Family-owned All Fired Up is full of all kinds of all-ages fun. The ceramic studio lets kids and parents paint pottery creations of their own making, is staffed by a kind and helpful team, and hosts birthday parties starting at $23 per child. It’s ideal for the crafty kid, especially on rainy days.
344 Lorton Ave.
Burlingame Parks & Recreation Department
Located a block from downtown and the train station, the community center presents families with an endless variety of activities for children (and adults) of all ages from the favorite Peninsula Music Together and My First Art classes to youth sports and teen programs. Check the seasonal schedule regularly for sign-up times as classes book up early.
850 Burlingame Ave.
Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia
You may be more excited about this museum than your kids but it’s a small and easy spot just off Burlingame Avenue so stopping by for a quick visit is pretty effortless. The Burlingame Museum is home to all of Pez’s 900 unique characters. Don’t leave without checking out the Classic Toy Museum and Banned Toy Museum too.
214 California Drive
Photo: Plant Cafe Organic courtesy of Beth Malarky Bruce
Blue Line Pizza
Blue Line Pizza, a spin-off of the beloved Little Star Pizza in San Francisco, became an instant hit. Pass through the tight indoor space to get to the expansive patio, which includes cover from sun and rain, heat lamps, and enough empty area for kids to run around (without being judged) while you wait for some of the most delicious salads and pizza in town.
1108 Burlingame Ave.
Tomokazu Japanese Restaurant
This spacious restaurant delivers fast service and delicious Japanese food. Little ones will love Tomokazu’s udon, many rolls without raw fish, and teriyaki specials. Live lobsters at the front entrance provide entertainment and free ice cream to end your meal are added reasons for a visit.
1101 Howard Ave.
The Plant Café Organic
While The Plant Café Organic originated in San Francisco, the Burlingame location is one of its most expansive with a large dining room, ample bar seating, outdoor tables for al fresco dining, and an adjacent café for grab-and-go bites and juices. The Plant serves up gourmet eats and drinks that are as healthy as they are tasty. It’s likely Burlingame’s most popular locale for brunching with babies so reserve a high chair in advance if you’re stopping by on the weekend.
1395 Burlingame Ave
Crepevine serves up breakfast favorites, salads, entrees and you guessed it, crepes. It’s a chain but you’d never know it based on the friendly, personal service at the Burlingame location. Everyone at this eatery will stop to say hello to your children and will remember whether you prefer an indoor, outdoor, booth or sidewalk table. A line can form on weekends and during lunchtime but it moves quickly and it’s rare to wait for a seat. Food is delivered promptly and portions are huge so you can easily share with your kiddos, if they’ll allow it!
1310 Burlingame Ave.
Broadway Grill is one of the borough’s most diverse spots. It’s a top choice for drinks and dates on the Peninsula, and features live music most nights, but it’s also a perfect family-friendly restaurant. Broadway Grill offers booths, tables upstairs, tables outside, crayons for kids, bathrooms with changing tables, high-chairs, and fast service without compromising its sophisticated menu of steaks and seafood, white table clothes, and adult ambiance. Bottomless mimosa brunch on the weekends is a bonus.
The chain’s dependable sandwiches, soups and desserts are all here, as are sweet samples that kids will love while waiting in line to order, plenty of highchairs, a changing station in the (single) restroom and plenty dogs that are pet dining al fresco.
1152 Burlingame Ave.
Village Host is an institution in Burlingame and for good reason. Even though it’s almost always busy, you never have to wait for a table thanks to ample seating and space. Order your pizzas at the main counter first and then head to the bar if you want drinks and/or bowls for the salad buffet. Older kids can entertain themselves in the back where there are new and throwback video games and younger kids can sneak a peek at the televisions, watch themselves in the mirror on the back wall, or run the length of the place while waiting for pizza. For the perfect family night out, head across the street for ice cream at Preston’s afterwards!
Photo: Yogurtland by Jenn Wade
And for dessert…
Preston’s Candy & Ice-Cream
Preston’s Candy & Ice-Cream has been a staple for 60 years. While Preston’s is best known for its hand-made candies (which can be customizable), its biggest appeal remains dozens of flavors of ice cream. Benches outside are a good place to enjoy treats and factory tours are available for a behind-the-scenes look at this historic candy shop.
This make-it-yourself froyo spot promises “endless yogurt possibilities” and it delivers. With at least 10 different flavors, plus twice as many topping options, it’s the Disneyland of frozen yogurt. Though you are technically in charge of your own portions, there’s only one cup size and it’s huge so it can be easy for kiddos and parents to get carried away. Lots of benches, stairs, and an upstairs patio area make Yogurtland a true dessert destination downtown.
225 Primrose Rd
Photo: Powell’s by Yelp’s Linda F.
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe is best described as a blast from the past. With walls of classic candy, treats, toys, gag items, decorations and gelato, it excites every age customer. Don’t miss the Pac Man arcade machine.
1166 Howard Ave.
Blush Organic Frozen Yogurt
The sweetest thing about this joint is that you won’t feel guilty giving its goods to your kids. All yogurt is organic and boasts health benefits. Another plus? Blush also carries a limited selection of San Francisco’s famed Mitchell’s ice-cream. There’s plenty of seating indoors, loud and lively music for added ambiance, and punch cards that get you free yogurt for every eight cups purchased.
1212 Donnelly Ave.
Photo: The Podolls
The Podolls, on Primrose right off Burlingame Ave, is one of the best new shops in town, offering sustainable women’s clothing handcrafted in San Francisco. Owned by husband and wife team, Lauren and Josh Podoll, The Podolls offers effortless and chic silhouettes for every occasion plus accessories from favorite local designers Freda Salvador and Marisa Haskell. A highlight of The Podolls is its adorable and cool kids collection called Podots—versatile styles sewn up in the same exclusive prints and handwoven textiles as their women’s collection. Oh, and don’t miss the play structure directly across the street where little ones can run wild before checking out the covetable wares in this gem of a store.
251 Primrose Rd.
Baby Couture is a Burlingame classic. Though it recently moved locations, it is still on Lorton, one block off Burlingame Avenue. Don’t let the new, smaller space fool you. Racks of haute items and not-so-basic basics remain, ensuring a fashionable first wardrobe for newborns, babies, and toddlers.
311 Lorton Ave.
Photo: Five Little Monkeys by Yelp’s Ivy V.
Five Little Monkeys
Five Little Monkeys is arguably the best toy store in Burlingame. Let your kids enjoy the train table on display while you browse the latest selection of smart, fun toys by age group. There are also dedicated sections for dress up, dolls, plush toys, books, and cars. Gift-wrapping is available as are rewards for every $250 spent.
1111 Burlingame Ave.
Nature at Play
This hidden toy store is in a plaza just off the main drag. It’s worth venturing into with its classic and often hard-to-find toys, games, arts and crafts, including an impressive selection of wooden and educational playthings. A few cool toys are always on display and frequent sales on quality items make Nature at Play worth visiting regularly.
1375 Burlingame Ave.
Did we miss any of Burlingame’s best spots? If so, tell us in the comments!