It’s Saturday night and your sitter bailed. Don’t fret: While your plans to hit up a South Beach club are effectively canceled, you can still find lots of things to do with kids in Miami that won’t make your weekend feel like a wash. In fact, there are probably more kid-friendly restaurants in Miami than you even knew existed. With more family-friendly dining than ever before, you can opt to get gussied up for a night of grilled seafood or go for a low-key lunch of foosball and burgers. The best part: grown-ups are sure to have a good time, too.
Kid-friendly restaurants in Miami
One of the best Sunday brunches in the city is tucked away inside the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key. At La Mar, Chef Diego Oka churns out Peruvian marvels ranging from ceviches and causas to anticuchos and wok-fried rice. Little ones can distract themselves with the restaurant’s sea-themed coloring book and spill-proof cup, while grown-ups take in the magnificent view of the water with a signature pisco.
Photograph: George Apostolidis
What kid doesn’t love grilled cheese? The award-winning food truck’s permanent location in the Upper Eastside serves up some of the ooey-est, gooey-est and most creative cheese sandwiches in the city—like the Frito Pie Melt with house-made chili, American cheese and Fritos on sourdough bread. The back patio is a great space to let kids stretch out their legs a bit, while the the classic board games the restaurant keeps on hand also come in handy.
It might be tempting to eat inside and enjoy the sleek, contemporary dining room at this beautiful Brickell mainstay, but its outdoor terrace is where you want to be. Situated inside the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, Edge’s kitchen—helmed by Chef Aaron Brooks—consistently churns out some of the best meals in the city, including dishes like the 24-ounce saw cut ribeye and the Florida seafood cazuela. Outside, kids can explore the restaurant’s spice and herb garden and end the night with s’mores they’ve roasted themselves in the fire pits on the terrace.
Arguably some of the best burgers in the land, Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack knows how to deliver a tasty patty. The Coral Gables outpost has foosball, shuffleboard and ping pong—all sure to keep the kids busy while you wait for your frozen custard concrete. Dogs are also invited to lounge on the outside patio (with a frozen canine Pooch-ini, of course) making this a full-on family affair.
Before 10 pm, both dogs and children are welcome in this outdoor hub of food, drink and entertainment in the heart Wynwood. There’s plenty of space for children to run around, but when they tire of that, there’s also an edible garden and live music to help keep them entertained. Several different food concepts hold court here, which makes pleasing a variety of picky palates an easy job.
Willy Wonka has nothing on this South Beach sugar emporium. Up front, the bulk bins overflowing with sweets and adorable rubber duckies are sure to lure little ones in, but it’s the brasserie in the back that cinches the deal. Massive-sized plates of pancakes, burgers, rainbow-bun sliders and whimsical sundaes are sure to please the kids in the crowd, while the adults partake in goblets of candy-filled cocktails. Hey, when in Rome…
Round up the whole family and make a night of it at this bowling alley/social hall in Doral. Air hockey and pool tables round out the offerings here, but the in-house restaurant holds its own. The kids’ menu is full of the usual suspects—think grilled cheese, hot dogs, pizza and sundaes—while the regular offerings feature inventive takes on comfort food classics.
At this open-air wine and beer garden, you can sit back and enjoy the views of the Intracoastal while your little one makes quick work of the cornhole and Giant Jenga situated on the courtyard. Grab a table by the fountain and order up a slew of Italian-inspired small plates. Mushroom-topped pizza with black truffle white sauce, meatballs and baked rigatoni make for easy crowd pleasers, while the adults sip on a spritz or one of the beers on tap.
While this Aussie-owned coffee klatch in the Gables knows its way around an expertly made espresso, it’s the overly generous portions of its homemade, rustic fare that keeps diners coming back. But better than that is the kids’ play area in the back that allows you to dig into this cozy café’s highly addictive smashed avo toast and vanilla waffles while little ones entertain themselves with toys and books.
Nothing beats a home-cooked dinner at grandma’s house, but Amelia’s 1931 is a close second. Named after Chef Eileen Andrade’s (Finka Table & Tap) grandmother—who founded local favorite Islas Canarias with her husband—a meal here is like venturing to your very own Abuela’s house. The space is small but warm, with family photos, vintage tchotchkes and mismatched China pulling together the look. Kids will love the Cuban Tots smothered in cheese and corn, while grown-ups’ palates are well served by Asian-Cuban-fusion dishes like steamed buns stuffed with aji amarillo chicken. Bonus: the excited din in the room easily masks any noise your little one might make.
By day, this 30,000-square foot riverside station makes for the perfect family-friendly afternoon outing. With a carnival-like atmosphere, little ones will get a kick out of lawn games such as cornhole and ping pong, along with the live acts featured weekly. A rotating roster of vendors and food trucks accommodate all sorts of palates, along with three bars and a fish market/raw bar by local seafood favorite Garcia’s. Your pup is even welcome to join in on the fun—just make sure they’re leashed.
The whole family can get into #TacoTuesday at the Downtown Dadeland outpost of this fast-casual Mexican joint. On Tuesday nights, not only do kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée, but you’ll also find face painting, balloons and the occasional clown to entertain the younger crowd.