Next Level Cafes to Take Family Fun Up a NotchBy Marnie Brodersen
Posted Oct 16, 2019
What do you take with your spot of tea? Cream, sugar, and some furry feline fun? It takes a lot to get our kids' noses out of their tablets these days, and restaurants and cafes are upping their games accordingly. From singing and dancing servers and adoptable cats to cuddle to indoor golf and amateur spy games, the possibilities for cafes that provide a full day (or close to it!) of family fun are seemingly endless. We've rounded up some of our favorites across the U.S. and shared them below.
KittyTea Cat Cafe in San Francisco, California
Photo courtesy of KitTea Cat Cafe
Cats can get a bad rap for being aloof so the folks behind KittyTea Cat Cafe decided to show people once and for all just how friendly felines can be. Mom and/or dad can sip on one of four different kinds of delicious green tea and the wee ones can enjoy a S'More Chocolate Chip or Paw Print cookie - all while getting a ton of calming cat snuggles. You can feel good about being a patron of this place, as the cats are not only up for adoption, the owners also often rescue cats from neighboring high-kill shelters. Pro Tip: Make sure to book ahead, as they set limits to provide the best possible experience for all involved.
The Airplane Restaurant (AKA Solo's) in Lakewood, Colorado
As Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Base and the Peterson Air and Space Museum, it's only natural that this historic aviation restaurant would put wheels down here. The Airplane Restaurant centerpiece is a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker. Forty-two passengers can sit in the Boeing KC-97, and the whole restaurant seats 250 - in other words, this is a sight to behold. Despite its size, reservations are suggested if you'd like to sit in the actual plane.
Built in 1953, this magnificent airplane refueled aircrafts throughout the world. Then, in May 2002, it began its second mission - to be the preeminent aviation restaurant in the United States. Displaying hundreds of pictures, memorabilia and rare artifacts, Solo's offers much more than great food. It offers a flight through aviation history. Nothing could be better for parents who typically expect peanut pilots-in-training to be entertained at restaurants on a wing and a prayer. The whole family will be flying high for weeks afterwards.
Casa Bonita in Denver, Colorado
Photo Courtesy of Casa Bonita Denver
If you have a child with the "Look, squirrel!" attention span, Casa Bonita will cure what ails you. In fact, there is so much to gaze at while there, the only problem will be getting your kids to eat. This historic restaurant on West Colfax Avenue in the Denver suburb of Lakewood opened in 1974. It's not all that shocking that it took a year to build considering the famous pink tower facade stands 85 feet tall, the fountain in front was shipped in pieces from Mexico, and the dome is covered with 22-karat gold leaf that features the statue of the last Aztec emperor, Quahuatomec. Whew.
The property boasts over 52,000 square feet and seats over 1,000 guests. Between the sheer size, the private dining rooms, banquet halls, and the entertainment - Black Bart's secret hideout, puppet shows, arcade games, and 30 other attractions - it's no wonder this is a popular destination for birthdays and other special occasions. Pro Tip: As Cartman once recommended in a well known episode of South Park, the only way to go here is to get the sopapillas.
H Street Country Club in Washington, D.C.
Photo courtesy of H Street Country Club
If you look at their website, you might mistakenly assume H Street Country Club is an adults-only establishment. And while it is 21 and up the majority of the time, kids can get in on the fun on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday-Friday before 7 p.m. Your tiny gamers will have their heads on a swivel, as this D.C. staple features skeeball, shuffleboard, giant Jenga, and indoor golf and basketball. Whether parents partake in the action or hang back to enjoy the bottomless brunch or tantalizing tacos, this is a place that everyone will want to visit again.
Hello Kitty Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo Courtesy of Jessica P. on Yelp
If you and/or your littles are Hello Kitty fans, this is a perfect pink pitstop on the renowned Las Vegas Strip. As with all things in this area, the sweet treats and cold drinks at the Hello Kitty Cafe are a bit pricey, but the kitschy decor and Hello Kitty vibe you love make it well worth it. Take in the sites as you sip a Thai, peach, or mango iced tea and nosh on a Hello Kitty donut or macaron. Located just across from the MGM, it's ideally located and bigger than any of its other locations. If you really want your wee one tickled pink, pick up a super soft squishy while there.
Miceli's in Los Angeles's Universal City
Photo Courtesy of Jennica R. on Yelp
Ever wondered where all aspiring musicians work while waiting to get their big break? Wonder no more, as they're all here, catering to the post-Universal Studios crowd at Miceli's. You'll be transported back to the 1940s as you and the kiddos are serenaded with Italian arias, classical standards, and musical show tunes, all while enjoying the authentic Italian cuisine. If lasagna and other Italian fare is not your kid's jam, they'll surely love the pizza.
Ellen's Stardust Diner in New York City
Photo courtesy of Ellen's Stardust Diner
As if the neon lights and nonstop attractions of Times Square weren't enough, this place knows that its residents - and your children - never sleep. Much like Miceli's on the west coast, Ellen's Stardust Diner is home to the future stars of the Broadway stage. You and your family will savor the whole experience, from the unparalleled diner food to the world famous singing waitstaff. It's the perfect post-tour stop to cap off sight-seeing in The Big Apple.
Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Photo Courtesy of The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant
An experience like no other, The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant is something you'll choo choo choose again and again...that is, if you're lucky enough. Having launched in 1970 with 19 red cabooses, The Red Caboose now boasts 38 cabooses, a mail car and a baggage car. There are 10 sleeping rooms that sleep from 2-6 people. Your wee conductors will also love that they can watch trains go by while dining in their onsite, train-themed restaurant, Casey Jones' Restaurant. Stay overnight in a real caboose for just $99 with this CertifiKID Deal.
The Good Dog Cafe in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Photo Courtesy of Good Dog Cafe
This place has quite literally gone to the dogs, and canine lovers in Fayetteville couldn't be happier about it. Many of us don't like to leave our pooches at home and savvy business owners who've picked up on this are throwing us a bone. The Good Dog Cafe has treats for your dogs, delicious breakfast and lunch for hoomans, and locally-brewed espresso and coffee for joe pros. Once you've taken in the rustic charm of this tiny, funky home-turned-coffee-house, you can meander out to the common play area for neutered dogs. No pooch? No problem.
The family of three that opened Good Dog Cafe want to promote a health-conscious lifestyle, so they provide homemade syrups for the coffee, milk alternatives, sugar substitutes, and even vegan or keto options. Also, with beer and wine coming soon to the menu, there are rumors that evening hours, music and entertainment might be right around the corner. Pro tip: Make sure to check your schedule, as they are only open Thursday-Sunday (expanded hours are coming soon).
Aquarium Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee
Photo Courtesy of Aquarium Restaurant
Mini mermaids and, ahem, mer-men will swim for joy over this unique restaurant located in the Opry Mills Mall. The underwater excitement begins right away as the family is seated around a 200,000-gallon aquarium tank, which is home to more than 100 species of sharks, stingrays, and tropical fish from the South Pacific, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. True fish fanatics can even get a behind-the-scenes Aquarium Restaurant tour to learn about everything from water filtration to fish food preparation. The seafood is phenomenal but if you feel a bit hesitant to dive into that all things considered, regulars also highly recommend the steak.
Brentwood Social House in Austin, Texas
Photo Courtesy of Brentwood Social House
Looking to find a dynamic experience that's fantastic for both kids and parents? No day is ever really the same at the Brentwood Social House ... except the fact that they're constantly serving premium tea, coffee, beer, wine, and housemade European-inspired baked goods, pies, sandwiches, and other goodies. Depending on the day that you and your fam drop in, you can experience live music, craft sessions, needle felting, story time, morning acoustic tunes, and much more. "This again?" is the new "Are we there yet?" but this place is an instant solution to both of those tired kid complaints. To boot, their backyard has a playscape and is dog-friendly. Talk about a one-stop shop for family satisfaction.
Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Photo Courtesy of The Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Kids and parents alike will ogle the decor of the Mai-Kai, which has been in business for over 60 years. In fact, it's home to the longest-running Polynesian show in the United States, and that includes Hawaii! Boasting flaming tiki torches, waterfalls, lagoons, orchid collections, and palm-thatched roofs - all meant to resemble an authentic Polynesian village - this place is awe inspiring. And with prime steaks, Asian specialties, fresh seafood, and over 50 unique tropical drinks, the fare is as fantastic as the fun.
Maidens and warriors will perform songs and dances as part of the Mai-Kai Islander Dinner Show, wowing with the spectacular Samoan fire knife dance and so much more. What's even more fun is kids can get in on the act. Their very popular Kid’s Islanders Revue runs every Sunday from June until November. Family members of the Mai-Kai owners, friends and employees join the professional dance troupe, thrilling the audience with their ability to move in time with the bombastic beat. Pro tip: Make sure to leave time to linger in the lovely Mai-Kai Gardens.
Ninja New York in New York City
Photo Courtesy of Peter S. from Yelp
Make sure everyone in your party has a strong ticker before heading to this haunt in the Japanese village, as these stealthy ninjas are ready to take your party by surprise from moment one. Waiters jump through the walls and perform magic and card tricks, making this anything but a ho-hum dining experience. While the sushi is a crowd favorite, you want to make sure that you order a couple of the experiential Ninja art dishes. These feature special effects such as dry ice and a fire display, adding to the furtive fun. And although Ninja NYC isn't touted as being a children's restaurant, per se, it is kid-friendly. In fact, they will often bring out stickers, origami and other Japanese toys for the kids to enjoy while waiting for their ninja nibbles. It is generally regarded to be expensive but parents and minjas (mini ninjas) alike will tell you that Ninja New York is well worth it. It's perfect for a birthday or other special occasion.
For even more interactive family fun, check out The Best Pop-Up Museums and Experiential Art Exhibits to Visit With Kids.
CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!
Explore More Categories
'ParentPreneurs': From Messy Minivan to Multimillion Dollar Company
Real Mom Reviews
Zigazoo: The App Every Parent Should Get Their Kids This Summer
Ready For a 5-Star Trip to Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya?
Electric Gamebox: An Immersive, Awe-Inspiring Experience
The Traveling Shows Your Family Won't Want To Miss in 2022