Whether you take your coffee black or pumpkin spiced, we can all agree that fueling up at a spot that welcomes kids puts the pep in our step as parents. We’ve got a list of San Diego’s best coffee shops for families that have turned brewing your perfect cup of joe into an art form. One shop on our list even offers a music, story and snack time for kids so you can get your fix while the littles have fun. Read on for where to order up your new favorite cup of joe.

Parakeet Cafe

A little birdie told us to fly straight to Parakeet Cafe for delicious coffee and delectable eats, and we're so glad we did! The cheery space features vibrant, neon and hand-painted parakeet print wallpaper that will instantly bring a smile to your face. But that's just the beginning of all there is to chirp about. Parakeet Cafe's coffee drinks, comprised of ethically sourced beans, house-made syrups and alternative milks, pair beautifully with their healthy, creative menu. They believe "indulging in your health should be just that: indulgent. Every item on the menu is full of lush, organic ingredients, bright flavor, interesting textures and beautiful color."

We love the turmeric latte, an enticing blend of turmeric, ginger, vanilla, cardamom, honey and almond milk, paired with their cacao waffle served with coconut yogurt, organic fresh berries, banana, chia, cinnamon and coconut sugar. Additionally, you'll find something for everyone's taste from their extensive menu of savory and sweet breakfast and lunch items ranging from decadently topped toasts and robust salads to comforting soups and hearty breakfast entrees served all day. Their pastry case is straight out of heaven, with plenty of vegan and gluten free options to choose from.

Parakeet Cafe's newest location at One Paseo in Del Mar offers plenty of inviting, indoor and outdoor seating that's perfect for parents and their little chickadees. 

Top tip: Don't miss their vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. This sweet treat will give you something to tweet about all day long!

Three locations:

3745 Paseo Pl. Suite 820
San Diego, CA 92130
858-345-1688

927 Silverado St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-412-5627

1680 India St.,
San Diego, CA 92101
619-255-1442

Online: parakeetcafe.com

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Communal Coffee

Located in hip and trendy North Park, Communal Coffee offers coffee, flowers, gifts and a community-minded, inclusive atmosphere. A true coffee-junkie’s haven, this unique bean house proudly serves up San Francisco’s acclaimed Sight Glass Coffee as well as breakfast and lunch favorites. The onsite flower shop by Wyld Blooms will bring a little sunshine to your day. Snag a bouquet of wild blooms for home or snap a few photos for your Instagram feed. Because let’s face it: Coffee + Flowers = Instagram love. Check out Communal Kids by Seed & Song offering music, dance, stories, snacks and drinks for wee ones. Click here for info on Communal Kids events. Communal Coffee also has an outdoor location in South Park.

Insider’s Tip: We recommend the Lavender Honey Latte. For the littles, try the Iced Creamsicle drink.

2335 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92104
619-363-7737

South Park:
2221 Fern St.
San Diego, CA 92104

Online: communalcoffee.com

Mostra Coffee

The aptly named Mostra Coffee ('mostra' is Italian for show, exhibition, or performance) lives up to its name by offering innovative brewing experiences and flavors that elevate grabbing a cup of joe to an art form. Additionally, Mostra was just named 2020 Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine. 

This elegant yet cozy neighborhood coffee shop features 'English Industiral' inspired design and has the first three-head, Mavam espresso machine in San Diego. The machine was built into a low bar-top so customers can witness the brewing process themselves. Mostra invites the community to warm up in their friendly, relaxing environment to make connections and enjoy great coffee. We love their impressive list of signature drinks including the Campfire Latte: oozing with flavors of mocha, graham cracker crumble and honey and the Bibingka Crème Brûlée Latte: inspired by a Filipino dessert, a Crème Brûlée Latte made with
coconut-infused whole milk, topped with coconut powder as well as their Choconana: house-made banana milk mixed with Brazil Cold Brew.

12045 Carmel Mountain Rd.
San Diego, CA 92128
858-304-0061
Online: mostracoffee.com

Cat & Craft Cafe

For a truly unique coffee-going experience, add canoodling with cats to the mix! Cat & Craft is North County's first cat café, and it boasts “Purr-over” coffees from Manzanita Roasting Company alongside “Catprese” toast and Hazel & Jade pastries. You'll get to cuddle adoptable kitties from rescue organization Love Your Feral Felines during your visit. (Married owners Andrew and Caroline Vaught hope to rehome 500 cats in the café’s first year.) If you'd rather admire the kitties from a sneeze-free zone, a glass viewing wall separates the café and the cage-free cat lounge. Visit during Kiddie Cat Hour, where you can reserve a one-hour session to pet and play with the kitties.

3211 Business Park Dr.
Vista, CA  92081
760-295-1181
Online: catandcraftcafe.com

Caffe' Calabria

That's amore! Italy meets San Diego at this charming coffee caffe' that serves up award-winning espresso, tea and Italian sodas. You can also come in at lunchtime to enjoy a panini or Neapolitan pizza (served Weds.-Sun. from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.) with your fave coffee drink. Additionally, Bread and Cie delivers fresh pastries daily as an added sweet touch to your fuel-up! An enticing ambiance and the aromas of coffee brewing and pizza baking? Sounds like heaven!

3933 30th St.
San Diego, CA 92104
619-683-7787
Online: caffecalabria.com

Hawthorn Coffee

Hawthorn Coffee is as family-minded as a coffee house can get. Owned by a father/son duo, Kevin and Dylan, Dylan's young sons often frequent the shop. The clientele consists of many parents with kids as well as expecting parents. Kevin says, "Part of the reason why is that we believe in welcoming everyone, and that means everyone. Our philosophy is that kids can do no wrong, so we let them have the run of the shop. And since kids generally make noise, we let them do that, too. And that, in turn, makes parents very relaxed." In addition to this fantastic, inclusive atmosphere, Hawthorn Coffee means business when it comes to the perfect cup of joe. They serve Cat & Cloud of Santa Cruz, CA, Dapper&Wise Coffee Roasters of Beaverton, WA and Arcade Coffee Roasters of Riverside, CA, in their shop because of their "commitment to that sweet balance, blend, and consistency of deliciousness." Save us a seat!

3019 Adams Ave.
San Diego, CA
619-501-4882
Online: hawthorncoffee.com

Old California Coffee House & Eatery

Officially named the oldest coffee shop in San Marcos, Old California Coffee House & Eatery is a local favorite. This charming coffee shop features lots of well-loved sofas and chairs, an eclectic collection of instruments, funky décor and free WiFi. The fire pits on the patio are lit nightly to make for a cozy place to gather. Play games with the fam, listen to music, or simply chill. The coffee and food menu are expansive and reasonably priced. We recommend the Snickerdoodle specialty drink for the munchkins or the kid-at-heart. Don’t forget your four-legged furry friends. They are welcome on the patio!

1080 W. San Marcos Blvd. #176
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-744-2112
Online: oldcalcoffee.com

photo: Elizabeth Silva

The King’s Craft Coffee Co.

Tucked away in east Poway, The King’s Craft Coffee (TKC), was founded by local dad and former defensive lineman for the San Diego Chargers, Cory Withrow. Poway’s first specialty coffee shop, these guys serve up single origin brews sourced from small holder organic farms. TKC features an outdoor seating area for kiddos to burn off some energy and plenty of seating for tired parents. In true Poway fashion, this coffee shop has a small town vibe that your whole “brewed” can get hip to. A portion of TKC’s sales are donated to non-profits and they've partnered with regional organizations like Rady’s Children’s Hospital and Poway Pop Warner. Grab your cup of java then head over to North County Soccer Park, where the pee wee league plays (ages 4-11) or spend the afternoon a short distance away at the scenic Old Poway Park.

14530 Espola Rd.
Poway, CA 92065
858-842-3717
Online: thekingscraft.com

Brew Coffee Spot

In the heart of La Mesa, the family-owned Brew Coffee Spot has gained the attention of local families. This coffee house uses award-winning coffee beans that are 100% certified organic and responsibly sourced. And Brew Coffee Spot sees roasting beans as a science. Since coffee and tea are 98% water, they take their water purity very seriously. To ensure great tasting drinks, they use a configurable water system that delivers reverse osmosis and blended filtered water. Brew Coffee Spot offers a wide variety of food—including vegetarian and vegan options—a pretty extensive coffee and tea selection, and hello, free WiFi! Need we say more? Join in on the fun with family game night, a painting workshop, live music, or a fair trade jewelry show. We promise, Brew Coffee Spot will be your new fave.

6101 Lake Murray Blvd.
La Mesa, CA 91942
619-713-6698
Online: brewcoffeespot.com

Copa Vida

City dwellers take heart! Copa Vida, nestled in East Village, has it all: location, chill vibes, great coffee and tea and food. Whether you’re new to the coffee life or a caffeine connoisseur, Copa Vida’s take on coffee and tea is approachable and welcoming to all. Copa Vida offers hot and cold espresso pressure drinks—including single origin brews—an extensive tea list and breakfast, brunch and lunch. Copa Vida has an open concept with giant windows that open to the street. Perfect for people watching! And add to all that, Copa Vida is walking distance to Petco Park at the Park which offers a kid’s play area, little league field, picnic area and more. If the littles are up for it, end your day at the nearby San Diego Central Library, where you can join a guided tour.

Insider’s Tip: For parents on the go who can’t spare a moment waiting in line, Copa Vida offers a self-service honor bar until 10 a.m. on weekdays. Simply help yourself to a cup of java, leave some cash, and off you go!

905 J. St.
San Diego, CA 92101
619-501-7529
Online copa-vida.com

Nutmeg Bakery & Cafe

Two words: pastry case. But Nutmeg Bakery and Cafe also offers so much more. This artisan bakery serves up delicious coffee drinks and a mouthwatering breakfast, brunch and lunch made using sustainable, organic, local ingredients. Nutmeg is also a dream come true for those on alternative diets, as you'll find vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy-free menu items to enjoy––even from the pastry case. High chairs, a laid-back ambiance and an open floor plan make it easy to bring the kids along for your fix.

Nutmeg just opened a second location in Scripps Ranch as well!

12640 Sabre Springs Pkwy.
Ste. 107
San Diego, CA
858-486-8863

New Scripps Ranch location:
10755 Scripps Poway Pkwy.
Ste 107
San Diego, CA 92131

Online: nutmegsd.com

––Elizabeth Silva & Beth Shea

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