Seattle families know how to get creative when it comes to indoor play. We understand (and sort of accept) the fact that we may only get a few months of sunny, warm weather throughout the year, having to resort to parkas, umbrellas and rain boots for the remaining nine months. Or we stay inside. Luckily, there’s no shortage of indoor play spaces in the Rainy City (thank you, thank you, thank you) and when a new indoor play space opens we always welcome it with open arms. Wide open arms. That’s why we jumped on the opportunity to check out Lynnwood’s PlayHappy Café, the newest play space on the block that we’re already totally in love with!

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Passionate and driven owner Lizz Quain is serious about play. She’s a parent who knows the importance of engaging in play and how it provides a host of benefits for little ones, from developing imagination, dexterity  and cognitive strength to promoting healthy brain development and confidence. Quain wanted to build on this, and she has hit the mark with PlayHappy Café.

This isn’t your average coffee-shop-a-la-kid’s corner
Playdate Café acts as a third place; a space between home, work and everything else, where both kiddos and caregivers can feel welcome. Situated in Lynnwood just off the crossroads of the 405 and I-5 freeways, the Café is easily accessible from Seattle and its surrounding areas. The space is huge, devoting its 8,500 square feet to encourage kiddos ages 0-6 and their parents to relax, enjoy and play.

Let’s start with the fab decor
Quain is no stranger to tasteful design; the space is bright with clean lines and an airy, open feel. Playful murals of flowers, butterflies and fairies adorn the walls; the colors are bright enough to please little ones, without inducing mommy-migraines. A wind-around bar bellies up to the enclosed play space so parents can take a load off, sip café Ladro or use the free Wi-Fi while keeping an eye on their kiddos. Comfy restaurant-style booths are soon to come.

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And now for the play area!
At first glance, the space resembles the layout of the much-adored Seattle Children’s Museum. Uncluttered and well-spaced, there are different sections for play. Kids can choose from a bouncy house, a custom-made play town featuring a cozy kitchen area, theater, fire station (complete with costumes, a pole, a slide and a life-sized Dalmatian), a cozy book-nook, a train table and lots of other age appropriate toys. Toddlers can also scoot along the “road” that circles the baby area (just look under the whimsical, full-sized tree, inside the white picket fence). Perfect for crawlers, this smaller area features soft toys and a great spot for big kid viewing.

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When it comes to food, Quain has developed a menu set to impress. No fast food here; we’re talking Quiches fresh from Le Fournil and made-from-scratch salads, soups and paninis, using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. There’s also an assortment of treats straight from local, high quality business (think Blazing Bagels, Little Rae’s Nut-Free Bakery and High 5 Pies, as well as Pinkabella Cupcakes for birthday parties). Soon to come: Mighty O Donuts (oh my!). And get this: everything on the menu is nut-free, and contains no high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors or preservatives. You’ll also find gluten and non-dairy options. There’s even (hallelujah!) house-made organic baby food. Quain didn’t skimp on the beverages either: she serves Café Ladro and The Art of Tea.​

Wait! There’s more…
Include in this space are two main party rooms which are available to host events. Handmade Etsy-worthy decorations give the rooms a personal touch (parents are welcome to bring a few decorations of their own). The dance studio is a little girl’s dream, with fluttering fairies etched on the walls and a floor-to-ceiling mirror, perfect for tutu-admiring. Quain also has plans to open a morning preschool that will take place weekdays from 9:00 am-noon, offering a play-based curriculum. A future retail space and a “quiet room” for parents top off the awesome production that is the Playdate Café. Now, go have some fun!

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Playdate Café
4114 198th Street SW, Suite 3
Lynnwood, Wa 98036

Mon.–Thurs.: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fri.: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sat. & Sun.: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

$8 for all-day play; $6 for siblings or crawlers

Good To Know:
The entire facility strives to be nut-free, so no outside food or beverages are welcome. (Good thing there are tons of yummy snacks to choose from inside!).

Do you think you will give Playdate Café a try? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

–Allison Holm, story and photos