Ah, Portland, where we can drink coffee and entertain our kiddos at the same time. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to get out of the house with baby for a few minutes, or a wild and rocking good time for your kindergartener while you have some quality time with your laptop, we’ve got you covered with these family-friendly indoor places to play.
Half coffee shop, half play place, these businesses have a little bit of everything for parents of younger kids.
Bright windows illuminate a business that’s half cafe and half play area, perfect for kids up to seven or so. Sip on coffee (or something stronger, grownups, like beer and wine) and enjoy grownup or kid-friendly meals and snacks. Perch on a stool at the bar to oversee littler players in the play area. There’s lots to do: a play structure with slide, kitchens, dollhouses, wheely ladybugs to ride, and plenty of art and train table activities to go around. It’s also air conditioned in the summer for a nice relief when your house isn’t. A $3 entry lets kids play all day.
On the other side of town, Sellwood serves up mellow mom time (or any caretaker) with a sweet small indoor play area including lots of toys and a small play structure with slide. In dry weather, the patio beckons with outdoor play houses to explore. Check the event calendar for visits from musical guests like Olive and Dingo and The Rock ‘N’ Roll Fairy. $3 per child for play time.
A Few Kid-friendly Coffee Shops
Sure, you can take a well-behaved kid into any coffee shop you’d like, but some are set up more than others to make the younger ones welcome. There are A LOT of coffee shops in Portland and especially on and around Hawthorne, but here are a few of our favorites that make special steps to attract customers of all ages.
This Woodstock outpost has a kids’ corner set up with plenty of toys and blocks, so you can enjoy your own space — except maybe on weekends, when we hear it gets a smidge crowded. There’s also seating around the kids’ area so you can enjoy your latte in relative peace.
These days, quiet play is requested in the play area at TaborSpace. It’s not a place for a rambunctious play date, but if junior is willing to build with blocks, you’re set for a precious hour in this stained glass room in Mt. Tabor Presbyterian. The non-profit coffee shop sells Bakeshop goodies, and has great coffee with volunteer baristas making drinks.
Not too far away from Kids at Heart Toys, Flying Cat Coffee is a laidback spot to grab a cup of coffee with a side of Wi-Fi for you, and a hot chocolate with a side of toys for the kids. There’s even kid-sized furniture to keep the little ones comfy.
Fillmore is the place to be in Montavilla for the 3-and-under set. Just inside the front door of this coffee shop (which sells pizza for lunch and dinner, another enticement for local families) is a train table. Junior can serve himself a latte just like yours with the tea set stashed behind that train table.
For some, this coffee shop was maybe a little *too* kid-friendly, until they opened up a playroom in the back. Now kids can play in a sweet area all to themselves, with kid-sized furniture, dress-up, play kitchens, and more. There’s also a kids’ menu, for when those stomachs start growling for grilled cheese.
Need something to keep the kids occupied while you chat with a friend at a cafe, or finish some work before a deadline?
Kids at Heart has tons of options for quiet, independent play. We are currently obsessed with Tegu magnetic wooden blocks: they're great for open-ended building and appeal to a huge age range. Usborne books are always fantastic, whether it's a Sticker Dolly Dressing, a brain teaser book, or dry-erase toddler activities. Got an older kid that you want to pry away from their phone? Grab a Rubik's Cube or Keva Brain Builders Set; they'll be wrestling with it for plenty long enough for you to finish your cup!