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American Girl Place
Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castell American Girl Place

The best restaurants with play areas in NYC

Head to NYC's delicious restaurants with play areas if you have the munchies and need to keep the kids entertained

By Dorkys Ramos and Danielle Valente

If your stomach is gurgling but the kiddos have ants in their pants, head to NYC's best restaurants with play areas—a happy medium for everyone involved. 

While you're taking a much-needed sip of Stumptown coffee, you'll be able to let the tots enjoy mini indoor playgrounds for kids, outdoor activities and fun games while you refuel. Spots like Lark Café and PLG are casual eateries where you can unwind, and even the bustling Brooklyn Crab offers cool amenities: Where else can you play a round of mini golf and enjoy a fish lunch?

After tackling your list of things to do with kids in NYC, find the nearest restaurant with play areas NYC has on its roster and order up!

Restaurants with play areas

Photograph: Courtesy Elk Brooklyn Cafe

1. Elk Brooklyn Cafe

Restaurants Windsor Terrace

Elk has a large backyard space with a heated and air-conditioned tent and shed that serves as a full-time playroom. That means sing-alongs, classes and events can take place every day of the year—and they do! When an engaging activity isn’t on the menu, little ones can grab from a selection of toys, blocks, rocking horses and games for all ages.

Photograph: Courtesy PLG Coffee House and Tavern

2. PLG Coffee House and Tavern

Restaurants Brooklyn

Nervous parents with finicky toddlers don’t have to worry about forcing their kids to sit still for a meal here. A kids’ corner with books, toys and games is set up with tiny chairs and a table so little ones can explore and play while parents enjoy a shot of espresso to handle the rest of their day.

Photograph: Courtesy Lark Cafe

3. Lark Cafe

Restaurants Cafés Brooklyn

Owned by two mothers, Lark Cafe was opened to be a space where families could come with their kids without the stress of keeping the squirmy little ones in check. The coffee shop uses an attached separate store front as a kids’ play area where daily sing-alongs, story times, classes and other family-friendly activities help kids meet and bond with others in the community.

Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

4. American Girl Café

Restaurants Cafés Midtown West

American Girl’s retail space is every little lady's dream. The 40,000-foot shop spans two levels and offers pretty amazing features, including a salon for dolls and kids! A signature studio allows shoppers to personalize their mini-me's with their own designs, and a media studio hosts instructional classes and activities. When you're done making purchases, refuel at the mecca's café, where you can enjoy a hearty lunch, high tea and events like Caligraphy and Lunch—all with your favorite doll by your side, of course.

Shellfish steam pot at Brooklyn Crab
Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

5. Brooklyn Crab

Restaurants Seafood Red Hook

If you’ve worked up an appetite exploring the labyrinth that is IKEA, walk a few blocks to Brooklyn Crab to recharge. At this Red Hook hotspot, little bellies can opt for selections such as fish and chips, catfish po’boy’s or chicken tenders while the adults in the crew munch on entrees like the Atlantic King Crab Roll and Snow Crab. There’s a huge deck with picnic tables overlooking the Red Hook Channel and Hudson River, plus an eight-hole mini golf course out back! Dinner—and entertainment—is served. 

Photograph: Courtesy Kellogg's NYC

6. Kellogg’s NYC

Restaurants Midtown West

Cereal is a Saturday-morning staple for all kids that oftentimes includes a Kellogg's product. But make no mistake, this Union Square gem is no ordinary breakfast outpost. Expect a unique twist on classic flavors you know and love, such as Life in Color (which is a combination of Fruit Loops, lime zest, marshmallows and passion fruit jam). Did you know that Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi created the menu selection? You know you're in for something special. Plus, the Tropical Carnivàle Game Corner is a great place where kids can channel their sugar rush!

Photograph: Courtesy Good Day Play Cafe

7. Good Day Play Café

Things to do Play spaces South Brooklyn

This hotspot is a win-win for the whole family. The cafe and playground hybrid will give parents the opportunity to snack and socialize while their kids run wild. Youngsters will be able to slide into a ball pit, create masterpieces in the LEGO station, test their agility at the angled climbing wall, run around the matted play area and explore the wonders of the magnetic wall. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad can enjoy a cup of Stumptown coffee and finger foods while the tots release all of that pent up energy. Let the kiddies refuel with juice and cookies once they've wrapped up their adventures, and don't forget to explore the possible birthday party options available! 

8. Dave & Buster’s

Restaurants American Midtown West

The behemoth food-entertainment venue offers virtual-reality simulators, arcade games, bowling and other fun games—plus Philly cheese steaks, salads and burgers when you need to get gain some strength before you go head to head with your friends


9. The Coop

Restaurants Coffee shops Bay Ridge

Indoor and outdoor play spaces make this Bay Ridge cafe super family-friendly all year round. A chalkboard wall is perfect for tiny artists in the making while colorful graffiti art serves as inspiration. The carpeted outdoor corner is also filled with carts, blocks, mini rocking horses and cars they can scoot around in. Inside, tots can easily pass the time making their own meals at a play kitchenette and have their pick from buckets of toys. Parents will find kids’ craft sessions, face painting and other activities on the calendar.

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