Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Philadelphia
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Traveling with kids can prove to be quite the challenge when it comes time to eat. Luckily, Philadelphia has dozens of top-notch kid-centered restaurants that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters and keep little ones occupied throughout the entire meal. If you’re visiting the city with your kids, these are the top restaurants you should check out.
If you’re in the market for a slightly higher-end dining experience, Jones on Chestnut Street strikes the perfect balance with its traditional comfort food like fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf with whipped potatoes and buttered peas, and beef tenderloin in red wine sauce with baby carrots and herbed potatoes. Like the food, the atmosphere is cozy, too, with many booths upstairs and downstairs.
Nifty Fifty’s in the Northeast section of the city is a 1950s-style venue that caters to kids’ love of sugary drinks, classic diner food, and arcade games. The retro diner boasts an impressive selection of malts and milkshakes, including tiramisu, apple pie cheesecake, Fluffernutter, and chocolate banana flavors. If that’s not enough to make kids go crazy, the diner also offers more than 100 handcrafted soda flavors that range from standard cola and Dr Pepper to the offbeat yet delicious toasted marshmallow and cotton candy. For families with little ones in tow, the restaurant also serves complimentary name-brand baby food.
The Pop Shop
For those of you looking to escape the city buzz, take a short 15-minute trip to Collingswood, N.J., just across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The quaint town is family-friendly, and it is home to The Pop Shop, a 1950s-style soda fountain shop. The Pop Shop offers "quirky American-diner comfort cuisine" with a kid’s menu divided into "big squirts" (age 6 to 12), "little squirts" (under 5), and "baby squirts" (babies). For the older crowd, The Pop Shop has sandwiches, burgers, and salads, however, grilled cheeses are what they do best, with a choice of 30 different delicious versions. There are also old-fashioned fountain drinks like egg creams.
Max Brenner on Walnut Street is the ultimate Philadelphia stop for chocolate lovers of all ages. While the place offers fanciful drinks and gourmet fare for adults like chocolate martinis and Thai-style chicken satay, there is also kid-friendly fare, like Really Cheesy-Really Crunchy Mac & Cheese. But the highlight of this restaurant chain (there are locations in Boston, Las Vegas, and New York City) is its chocolate.
Chocoholics will be satisfied with meals like The First Chocolate Burger, served with strawberry ketchup and vanilla cream mustard, and the Huge Chocolate Syringe, which is exactly what it sounds like — a large chocolate-filled tube kids can squirt right into their mouths. All sorts of chocolate milkshake concoctions and sundaes are also available for the younger crowd, although adults might have a hard time resisting these drool-worthy treats, like banana tempura fondue, a "Snowy Vanilla Popsicle,", and chocolate chunks pizza (double chocolate melting chunks served with a choice of hazelnut bites, bananas, peanut butter, or roasted marshmallows).
Cameron Simcik is the Philadelphia Travel City Editor for The Daily Meal.
20 Plant-Based Recipes That Kids Will Love
When in doubt, eat more veggies! We’re always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables and whole foods into our diet, so we’ve rounded up all of our favorite easy plant-based recipes that also happen to be totally kid-friendly. Read on for serious dinner inspiration, whether you’re a full-on vegetarian or just looking to decrease your meat consumption.
12 Restaurants You’ll Actually Enjoy Dining at With Your Kids
Going out to eat with the entire family can be tough. High chairs, crayons, mac-and-cheese–these seem to be the hallmarks of what most people look for when they’re searching for a place to bring the rugrats. Loud, brightly-colored rooms that cater to young eaters by creating an experience where tears, tantrums and spills can go almost completely unnoticed.
And look, there are plenty of those kinds of places out there. Most diners, a lot of suburban restaurants, pizza joints, every fast-casual operation ever invented — all perfect. Iron Hill? That place is ideal because it’s planted squarely at the intersection of kids menus and beer lists. It’s a bar that you can bring your kids to without being, you know, the parents who bring their kids to the bar…
But sometimes you’re looking for something a little different. Sometimes you want to sit at an actual table and eat something that’s not chicken fingers. You want to take a chance and push the family-dining envelope a little.
Personally, I am of the opinion that nearly any restaurant can be kid-friendly provided the kids in question know how to handle themselves in that sort of environment. But the only way kids can learn that is to practice, which means taking them out into the world and showing them an environment that’s not Chuck E. Cheese’s or the local Chipotle.
So with that in mind, we’ve put together a three-part list. Part one (amateurs) contains places to get started — a bunch of the most forgiving dining rooms in town. Part two (good eaters) is for those who’ve had a little experience dining out, but might not be ready yet for fine dining. And finally, part three (pros) is a short list of restaurants where the food is for real, the vibe is more adult, but bringing kids inside won’t get you the stink-eye from servers, staff or couples looking for a quiet, romantic evening away from kids.
Sure, you could just take the little ones to Mickey D’s or Pizza Hut. There’s literally nothing they could do to embarrass you there. But eventually, they’re going to have to learn how to hold a fork and not take off their pants in public (though, granted, I haven’t entirely learned those lessons yet), so when you’re looking for a restaurant that doesn’t come with its own playground attached, and something to eat that’s better than stealing fries from your kid’s Happy Meal, here’s where to start.
Shake Shack // Center City, University City, KOP Mall
Fast-casual, an approachable menu full of excellent burgers, fries and shakes, plus all the trappings of an actual restaurant–like tables, chairs, silverware and no clown mascot. The place is almost always loud and crowded, so any small outbursts are likely to get drowned out fast. And should a full-scale meltdown happen, you’ve already paid for your meal (one of the benefits of counter service) so you’re always free to walk right out and take your lunch to go.
Yes, there are lots of pizza places (and lots of suburban restaurants) that are kid-friendly, but I’m including Olce here because it has three very important things going for it. 1) The staff honestly likes seeing kids and families in the dining room. 2) There’s outdoor seating surrounded by a large grassy area that’s perfect for letting the kid’s run out the crazy once they reach their sitting-still-and-waiting limit. 3) The pizzas here are awesome, thin-crust, scratch-made masterpieces–primarily the roasted corn pizza which happens to be one of my favorite in the region. Finally, Olce is the place I took my kids to get them used to eating out, so I can personally vouch for this place as being an ideal Little League for budding gastronauts.
Honey’s deep-fried cookie with Little Baby’s ice cream
First, servers in costumes. If that kind of thing doesn’t freak your kids out, they’ll probably dig it. Second, City Tavern won an award for having the best kid’s menu in America, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Third, the menu in question offers things like cornmeal-crusted chicken fingers, fish and chips, and Colonial-style turkey pot pie specifically designed to mimic the main menu’s 18th century inspirations while taking into account the tastes of younger diners. And finally, the staff is 100% prepared for having kids in the dining room. They deal with it every single day and, at this point, are basically ninja-level experts in handling anything that your children can dish out. No matter how bad of a day they’re having, these veterans have seen worse. And if you’re a parent, you know exactly how comforting that kind of knowledge can be.
Honey’s Sit n’ Eat // Graduate Hospital and NoLibs
They’ve got a short kids menu, but plenty of things on the normal, grown-up menu that your kids will love. But more important than that, they have a dining room that’s regularly full of families and a staff accustomed to dealing with the unique challenge of feeding all ages.
Okay, so your kids have got an appetite. They’ve moved beyond the simple things like chicken fingers and high chairs, but aren’t yet comfortable enough in a restaurant environment to handle linen napkins and 14-course tasting menus. What you need is somewhere that’s a little more grown-up, but not quite downstairs at Double Knot. A dining room with a net, as it were. And we’ve got a couple places that are perfect for you.
This restaurant was built right across the street from Clark Park and designed to be the restaurant that friends and families want to go to after a day at Clark Park. There’s a solid bar for the grownups, plus pizzas and pastas, and a good kid’s menu for the little ones. And while, at night, Clarkville is more of a restaurant for the neighbors, while the sun is up the whole place is just bright and happy and good for all ages.
The staff is so smooth here I can’t imagine anything they can’t handle. The menu is approachable and better than you expect it to be at nearly every turn. And since this is the Garces Group’s experiment with the all-day cafe model, during the day it’s often filled with neighbors and families ducking in for a quick bite of the surprising Italian menu or scoring a personal-sized pizza that’s scaled just right for kids.
You might find it surprising, but we talked to a bunch of Junior Gastronauts while doing research for this piece, and the one restaurant that kept coming up over and over again? Pizzeria Stella. If you think about it, though, what’s not to love? Excellent, interesting pizzas. A pasta menu that’s even better. A bright, open location that gets a lot of tourist traffic. And a staff that’s accustomed to dealing with all kinds of different parties. So if you’re looking to make the jump from take-out and fast-casual to an actual sit-down meal of pizza and pasta with the young ones, give it a trial run at Stella first and see how it goes.
There are not a lot of options for family-friendly dining in Point Breeze, but with the amount of young families moving into the neighborhood, that’s going to have to change soon. Until it does, there’s always On Point, which prides itself on being a kid-appropriate destination with high chairs, kid’s cups (with games on the side), a changing table and a kid-dinner and brunch menu full of snacks like cheesesteak spring rolls, fresh fruit and nachos that anyone can enjoy. Being a BYO with fish tacos, steak frites and chicken wings makes it easy on the grown-ups, too.
Humpty’s Dumplings // Glenside and Queen Village
Seriously, it’s a dumpling restaurant. And who doesn’t love dumplings? Apple pie and Buffalo chicken for the kids, spinach and ricotta (plus maybe a salad) for the adults and everyone’s happy.
For The Pros
Okay, so your little bundles of joy are experienced diners. They turn up their noses at fast food, know the difference between penne and tagliatelle, and complained when they went to Kyle’s birthday party at Bounce U and the pizza came without arugula on top. They’re ready for something more challenging, and so are you, so it’s time to try…
It is one of the best restaurants in the ‘burbs, a relative of the award-winning joint of the same name in Princeton, NJ, and just happens to be attached to the King of Prussia Mall. But don’t let that spook you because this place is awesome for two reasons. First, it is an excellent restaurant with a killer menu full of Asian-influenced options (and the best riblets you will ever have). Second, because it is attached to a mall, families and kids are bound to end up here, meaning that no one is going to be surprised when you roll in with your progeny in tow. If they already know how to behave in a sit-down restaurant environment, all the better. The staff is going to love you.
The new food hall smack in the middle of Chinatown is already a gathering place for teenagers, families, locals and serious eaters looking for curry, bao and bulgogi. But it’s also a great place to bring kids who want a taste of the exotic because it is always loud, always busy, offers a ton of options (everything from sit-down Korean upstairs at Dae Bak to poke, falafel and pork buns down below) and is primarily made up of counter-service, quick-serve food stalls. While not a place where the young diner will learn anything about proper table manners, it is an excellent spot for expanding palates and adventurous tastes. Plus, they’ve got ICE NY Thai rolled ice cream for dessert, so if you have to resort to bribery, now you’ve got your leverage.
Since the day it opened, this friendly spot from Jeremy Nolen has been a place primarily concerned with feeding the neighbors. They do brunch, lunch and dinner, offer a solid menu of American classics, and are just casual enough that families with kids can be completely comfortable in the bright, relaxed dining room.
KID *FRIENDLY* RESTAURANTS
Walt Disney World is, naturally, a very child-friendly place and you will find that children are welcome at all of the restaurants with one exception – Victoria and Albert’s in the Grand Floridian Resort.
There are, however, some restaurants that are particularly good choices for families with children. It is always wise to do your homework and look at the menus of the restaurants you are thinking about eating. Some places are much better “winging” it with what your child may like and others will stick to the kids’ menu!
Over the last few years, Disney has made a concerted effort to offer healthier choices for kids and will designate those with a “Mickey Check” symbol on the menu! You can read more about that HERE.
This list is for parents with children of any age, but is focuses primarily on kids under 10. You know your own children best so use this list as a guideline when planning your WDW vacation.
A Note For Parents of Picky Eaters: Most WDW restaurants can accommodate even the fussiest eaters. Meals can be prepared without sauces if your child prefers them that way and spaghetti and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, while not on the menu, are often available if you just ask. Buffet-style restaurants are also good bets for picky eaters as they are able to take just the things they like in amounts as large as they would like. A number of the buffets have special “kids” buffet sections, too.
MAGIC KINGDOM – For Magic Kingdom Menus Click Here
Casey’s Corner – The main draw here is hot dogs. They come in a variety of styles (chili, cheese, foot long, etc.), corn dog nuggets and desserts and beverages are also offered. Best to eat lunch before 11:30 a.m. or after 2 p.m., before 5 p.m. for dinner.
The Crystal Palace – Located at the castle, end of Main Street, on your left, just off the pathway to Adventureland, this restaurant offers three buffet-style character meals per day. The Characters-in-Residence are Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. These characters can take a long time to make their rounds so be patient.
Plaza Restaurant – Tucked away on the path that leads up to Tomorrowland Terrace, this is a popular spot for kids and adults. Children love the sandwiches, burgers and chicken, but will return for the ice cream sodas, malts and sundaes. It is one of the smallest locations so reservations are a must!
Be Our Guest – One of the most popular restaurants in the park. Reservations for dinner (full service) are hard to come by. The wait line for lunch (quick service) can get very long. There are three themed ballrooms to dine in. The main ballroom holds the most tables, the West Wing is quite dark and may not be the best for very small children, the Music Box room is small and cozy. The menu is not particularly child-friendly, however grilled cheese is available for lunch and baked macaroni and cheese at dinner.
Cinderella’s Royal Table – located on the second floor of Cinderella Castle. Cinderella herself is on hand to greet guests in the Grand Hall. Food is pre-plated, but is all-you-care-to-eat. The other characters will come around during your meal.
Pinocchio’s Village Haus – Another fast-food spot, this restaurant is located in Fantasyland to the right of the entrance to “it’s a small world.” Pizza, PB & J, chicken nuggets and mac and cheese — all kids’ favorites — are available. Bonus — you can peer down into “it’s a small world” from some of the seating.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe – This large fast-food spot is located in Frontierland, very close to Splash Mountain. It offers burgers, tacos and other standard fast-food fare.
Liberty Tree Tavern -Dinner is served family-style and special kid-friendly items like macaroni and cheese are offered.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe – One of the largest fast-food spots at the Magic Kingdom, Cosmic Ray’s offers spit-roasted chicken, burgers, salads, soups and more. It is located across the path from the Speedway in Tomorrowland. One of the best toppings bars in the Magic Kingdom. Entertainment in the big room is Sonny Eclipse’s lounge show.
Epcot – Future World – Click Here for Epcot Menus
Electric Umbrella – Counter service spot serving up standard burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, with ample seating both indoors and out.
Sunshine Seasons – This food-court dining area, located in the Land pavilion in Future World, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.! Features an open kitchen, five stations and a centralized cashier (think Pepper Market or All Stars/Pop Century Food Court). The wood-fired grill features rotisserie items including Ancho-rubbed beef, Moroccan chicken and grilled Atlantic salmon. The Soup and Salad station features the freshest herbs and vegetables from The Land greenhouse. The Asian Wok Shop offers noodle bowls and stir fry including a Mongolian barbecue and wok station. Each station offers vegetarian and children’s items as well as grab-and-go foods.
The Garden Grill – This restaurant is also located in the Land pavilion. It is a full-service restaurant that offers dinner character meals with Farmer Mickey and Chip and Dale. Food is pre-plated. Kids have their own foods to enjoy including chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese and more.
The Coral Reef – The big draw at this restaurant is the view of the aquarium through several floor-to ceiling windows. Children seem to be mesmerized by this view and parents often manage to get a quiet and relaxed meal while their kids are otherwise occupied. Make sure you request a table near the windows when you arrive.
Epcot – WORLD SHOWCASE – Click Here for Epcot Menus
Each of the countries in World Showcase has its own restaurant or restaurants. All of them welcome children, but some are more appropriate than others, particularly if your kids don’t like to sit still for too long.
Biergarten – The Alpine dinner-show with an “oompah band” that’s presented here is very festive and children seem to love it. Unless your party is large you may share a table with others. A buffet is offered at both lunch and dinner (note that while some entertainment is offered at lunch the show is only presented at dinner). Sausages, German pot roast, noodles and chicken are offered and even a picky child can usually find enough to his/her liking.
Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot offers three Princess Character meals a day. Breakfast is American fare and lunch and dinner offer Norwegian cuisine for adults and American style for kids. All meals are served family style at the table.
Teppan Edo – This restaurant, located in the Japan pavilion, is very similar in style to the Benihana chain. Diners are seated at large tables (unless your party is large you will share a table with others) and Japanese chefs prepare meals at grills built right into the table. Children, in particular, seem to love the chefs’ antics.
Via Napoli – best pizza at Walt Disney World, order individual size or large for the whole family.
DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS – Click Here for Studio Menus
50’s Prime Time Cafe – Waiters and waitresses at this restaurant play “Brother” and “Sister” to diners while “Mom” cooks in the kitchen. Diners who want dessert without having finished their meal will be appropriately (and humorously) chastised and it is not unusual to see servers and diners engaging in a game of “Airplane” before dessert is granted. Kids seem to get a big kick out of seeing Mom and Dad being reprimanded for various infractions (mine did!) and many kid-friendly foods are offered. Oh, and if you are asked to go wash your hands before you eat make sure you notice the color of the soap!
ABC Commissary – located along Commissary Lane, to the left of the Chinese Theater. Good spot for quick lunch or “fast-casual” dinner. TV show clips are shown on large TVs.
PizzeRizzo – Muppet themed fast-food restaurant is the best place for pizza at the Studios, with lots of seating indoors and out.
Sci-Fi Dine In Diner – Guests are seated at tables shaped like vintage cars and are entertained by a series of movie trailers from B-grade science fiction films shown on a large drive-in type screen. This restaurant tends to be dark (and shows some old “scary monster” type clips) so if your children have trouble with this it might not be the place for you.
ANIMAL KINGDOM – Click Here for Animal Kingdom Menus
Flame Tree Barbecue – a counter service restaurant with lots of outdoor places to sit and take a break.
Pizzafari – Great place for kid-friendly meals.
Rainforest Cafe – located at the entrance to the Animal Kingdom, or there’s an entrance just inside the turnstiles to the left. The audio-animatronic animals located throughout this restaurant are enough to keep a child entertained for hours. There is even a tropical thunderstorm every 20 minutes. (If your kids are afraid of thunder this might not be the place for you, however.) Reservations are not accepted here and the wait often gets very long. If you want to avoid a wait your best bet is to get there before 11:30 or between 3-5 p.m. Works well as an end of the day meal.
Restaurantosaurus – burgers, hot dogs, chicken and corn dog nuggets make it a great place for many families. Also offer lots of indoor (air conditioned) seating.
Tusker House – if you are looking for a more substantial meal, Tusker House offers a character buffet at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Click Here for Menus
Boma – Many parents shy away, fearing the authentic African cuisine will not be enjoyed by the kids, however Boma offers lots of “American” options (like macaroni and cheese). Before or after your meal, head outside to see the animals on the savanna. Often Cast Members are at the viewing areas to educate and answer questions.
Beach Club – Click Here for Menus
Beaches & Cream – Modeled after an old-fashioned ice cream shop this restaurant offers burgers, hot dogs and ice cream and is a good choice for a quick meal. Be sure to make a reservation!
Cape May Cafe – A character buffet is served here every morning. Currently it is themed to Minnie’s Beach Bash. At dinner (no characters) an all-you-care-to-eat clambake is served buffet-style and a separate child-sized buffet is also offered.
Boardwalk Area Click Here for Menus
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast – Trattoria al forno – Join Prince Eric and Ariel from the Little Mermaid and Flynn Rider and Rapunzel from Tangled for a character breakfast.
Contemporary – Click Here for Menus
Chef Mickey’s – One of the best places to meet the Fab 5 Disney Characters. Located on the 4th floor Concourse, this buffet-style restaurant features carved meats, a variety of salads, a special kids’ buffet and a make-your-own-sundae and dessert bar that is not to be believed. Dine here for breakfast or dinner.
Fort Wilderness – Click Here for Menus
Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue – This dinner show offers a wild-west themed vaudeville show with a troupe of six singers and dancers along with banjo and piano players. Dinner consists of all-you-care-to-eat ribs, chicken, corn, beans, salad, bread and strawberry shortcake. All seating offers good views and cast tries to include the balcony in on some fun.
Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue – Another fun dinner show with a twist. They offer a barbecue spread with live entertainment and characters. This is one of the few places you can dance with Mickey and Minnie to your heart’s delight. No autographs are given but it’s lots of fun. There is a live band and a master rope-twirler too.
Trail’s End – Located in the Pioneer Hall complex this restaurant offers breakfast and dinner buffet-style meals. There are no characters here, but the buffets are extensive and offer many kid-friendly items.
Grand Floridian – Click Here for Menus
1900 Park Fare – This restaurant is a little more low-key (well, at least when the organ is not playing). Breakfast and dinner buffets are offered, complete with separate kids’ buffets. At breakfast characters include Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter and some Pooh Friends. Dinner is Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Feast hosted by Cinderella and Prince Charming, with the Evil Stepsisters.
Old Key West – Click Here for Menus
Olivia’s Cafe – only full service dining at Old Key West.
Polynesian Village Resort – Click Here for Menus
‘Ohana – ‘Ohana means family and that is the focus of this large restaurant. Breakfast features a character all-you-can-eat meal with Lilo and Stitch. Dinner is an all-you-care-to-eat affair with various meats (turkey, chicken, beef tenderloin, shrimp, sausage and ribs) served from 3-foot long skewers. There is a Hawaiian singer on hand to entertain and a variety of games are played throughout the evening involving both kids and adults. Come hungry! These meals are served family style, there is no buffet. Characters are only at breakfast, not dinner.
Disney’s Spirit of Aloha – This luau-type show celebrates the “spirit of aloha”, as well as the sights, sounds and tastes of timeless Polynesia. Enjoy traditional Polynesian music as well as the Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride from Lilo and Stitch in an open-air theater. Recommend families purchase Main Floor 1 seating for the children to be as close as possible to the live entertainment.
Port Orleans Riverside – Click Here for Menus
Boatwright’s – This is the only full-service restaurant at Riverside. It offers a variety of entrees and is very family-friendly. Boatwright’s serves dinner only.
Wilderness Lodge – Click Here for Menus
Whispering Canyon Cafe – This large restaurant is located just off the lobby of the resort. Dinner is served family style in large cast iron skillets and includes ribs, chicken, turkey, beans, corn-on-the cob, salads, breads and more. The lunch menu offers a similar feast or you can choose a la cart from the menu. Breakfast has a wide variety of options. The main draw here, however, is the hijinks of the servers. Pretend gunfights often break out, stick pony races are organized and children often find themselves deputized before the night is out. It’s a lot of fun!
In addition to the above noted restaurants each WDW resort also offers a snack bar. A variety of fast foods are available at each. Picabu, on the first floor of the Dolphin, is open 24 hours.
DISNEY SPRINGS – Click Here for Menus
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza – build your own custom pizza for a set price under $10. Gluten-free pizza dough available.
Food Trucks – Disney has added food trucks to the area and it offers families a quick, but fun way to stop for a bite to eat. Each one offers something different.
Homecomin’ – Offers down-home cooking most will enjoy including fried chicken and mac and cheese.
Rainforest Cafe – The audio-animatronic animals located throughout this restaurant are enough to keep a child entertained for hours. There is even a tropical thunder storm every 20 minutes. (If your kids are afraid of thunder this might not be the place for you, however.) Reservations are not accepted here and the wait often gets very long. If you want to avoid a wait your best bet is to get there before 11:30 or between 3-5pm.
T-Rex – Owned by the same company that does Rainforest Cafe, so this restaurant is very similar, except with a dinosaur theme. Beware the large dinosaurs may frighten small children.
ESPN WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS – Click Here for Menus
ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill – location is perfect for sports-loving guests that don’t want to miss any action. Seven large HDTVs in the area and the menu is typical “tailgate” fare. Children can get grilled cheese and uncrustables.
The Best Late-Night Eats in Chinatown
This Malaysian spot was my favorite restaurant in Philly for a while. The roti canai will change your life. Crisp and chewy at the same time, hot from the oil, thin as tissue, served with a chunky curry — it’s unlike any other roti I’ve had anywhere. Sitting at a table after dark on a Saturday night with my wife, a couple cold Tsing Taos, a plate of roti and some beef rendang remains one of my happiest restaurant memories. 117 North 10th Street
A small, hole-in-the-wall Cantonese restaurant thats serves as a late-night go-to for many Chinatown regulars. Service is almost always an issue, but if you’re looking for salt-baked crab, mei fun, pan-fried noodles, or bowls of snails in black bean sauce, this is your spot. 942 Race Street
A La Mousse
This is an unusual one, even for Chinatown. It’s a French bakery doing a kind of fusion baking with Asian ingredients (matcha, lychee, green tea, mango), plus a tea house and cafe offering everything from shots of espresso to milk foam teas. Also, though it doesn’t open until noon (really), it stays open until 11 p.m. or midnight every night. 145 North 11th Street
This is a bunker of a place, long and windowless and decorated like a Midwestern Hilton ballroom. But you can get a Stinger at the bar, salt-baked shrimp with chiles, Chinese casseroles, jellyfish prepared five different ways if that’s your thing, lobster with minced pork — really, anything you could possibly imagine. But the kitchen knows what it is doing, the staff is friendly, the beer is cheap, and the Peking duck is excellent. That’s reason enough to check it out. 134 North 10th Street
Chuan Kee Skewer
Chuan Kee is kinda like a Chinese fondue restaurant, because its specialty is hot pot skewers — sticks full of meats and vegetables made for dipping into the hot pots in the middle of the table. It’s unusual, but also kind of awesome, and the kitchen also does things like fried soft-shell crabs, bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms, lamb soup, pickled chicken feet, and fried bananas for dessert. 927 Race Street
Shiao Lan Kung
Sure, David’s Mai Lai Wah gets all the press as a late-night Chinatown destination. But you wanna know a secret? Shiao Lan Kung is where the even cooler kids are hanging out. Or the ones who don’t want to wait for a table (or a drink) at David’s. Shiao Lan Kung has a bar, it’s open until 3 a.m. on the weekends, and the menu is full of delicious fried things. Plus, the service staff is fast and knows exactly what they’re doing. 930 Race Street
Who Doesn’t Love a Good Meatball?
They’re savory, flavor-packed, and so customizable. They also happen to be some of the most kid friendly food around.
- Served alongside tzatziki and warm pita, these Mediterranean Meatballs are full of warm spices and are a family-friendly way to introduce new flavors to your table. I will also add that this is one of the best toddler friendly meals!
- It turns out everyone’s favorite Swedish Meatballs are even tastier when homemade and not ingested while shopping for furniture. Who knew? . Crusty bread, stretchy cheese, delish meatball. Need I say more?
- Yes, these Teriyaki Meatballs with Roasted Broccoli are as delicious as they sound. Make extra.
- We toned down the spice a bit and now these Turkey Meatballs in Creamy Red Curry Sauce are a new family favorite.
- These Classic Meatballs with Tomato Sauce just may take the top prize for the most kid-approved, oft-requested dinner of all time. Pro tip: make a huge batch and freeze some for easy, make-ahead meals.
Best of Philly
Instead of boring crayons and paper, this Italian restaurant gives kids a knob of raw pizza dough to twist, pull and roll out while you sip on an icy beer and savor that big bowl of prosciutto-stuffed long hots. (And yes, they’ll bake the dough.) Additional location in Pennsauken. Read More »
1700 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA | 267-324-3127
A kids&rsquo menu that runs all day, a happy hour that runs every day, a location that&rsquos steps away from the Schuylkill River Trail, and fancy pastas and wood-fired pizzas from Jose Garces, the city&rsquos OG celeb chef? Who says it&rsquos impossible for parents to find balance these days? Read More »
2401 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-333-3331 | Website
Chef Jeremy Nolen clearly put as much thought into what went on his kids' menu as he did his grown-up one. The result: a list of little-one favorites (burgers, mac and cheese) made from scratch with quality ingredients. We suggest nudging your kids to order pappardelle with butter and cheese — it's creamy and simple in the best of ways — while secretly hoping they don't finish the whole plate. Read More »
700 South 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA | 267-239-0906 | Website
Farm & Fisherman Tavern + Market
Chefs Josh Lawler and Todd Fuller have unlocked the mystery of getting kids to eat well: Make their meals fun, and at least as delicious as grown-up dishes. Every kid's entree here (think fried-to-order fish and grass-fed beef burgers) is served on an old-school TV tray with a veggie that actually tastes good and a huge homemade cookie the consumption of which ought to allow you to enjoy your craft beer and smoked chicken wings in peace. Read More »
1442 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ | 856-356-2282 | Website
Legal Sea Foods
Perfect for your little fancy-pants, because the kitchen does wood-grilled kids' portions of the catch of the day and offers a one-pound kid's lobster for $17.50 Read More »
680 West Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA | 610-265-5566 | Website
Serious Neapolitan pies (try the Covaccino) in a tiny, casual dining room where no one hates you for bringing a stroller through the door. At least, not immediately Read More »
249 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA | 610-933-1355 | Website
Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant
A respectable kid's menu for junior (including a gluten-free version) and a growler of Full Nelson for Dad, no glass necessary. Read More »
See website for locations Website
Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant
No matter where you live, there's probably one in shouting distance. And we've never seen a restaurant that consistently handles children-even unruly, picky ones-better than Iron Hill. There's plenty for kids to eat other than chicken fingers and hot dogs (though don't worry, they have those, too). And best of all, there's good beer for mom and dad. Read More »
See website for locations Website
The young staff at the various Marathon outposts are surprisingly tolerant of your shrieking spawn, and the kids' menu here (which includes a rugrat version of their famous matzo ball soup) is the best around. Plus, all of the locations have liquor licenses, so when the kids ask why you're walking so funny on the way out the door, just remind them that Daddy drinks because they cry. Read More »
See website for locations Website
Avenida doesn't just say it's kid-friendly. The kids' menu is nugget-free (flat-iron steak! Pollo frito pan-roasted chicken!), and the staff talks to, sings to and jokes with el nios all while Mom and Dad eat grown-up food like the succulent pork pibil. Read More »
7402 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA | 267-385-6857 | Website
Trolley Car Diner
Running a family-friendly dining spot is harder than it looks: Cater too much to the kids, and parents want to blow their brains out cater too much to the parents, and parents still want to blow their brains out (because if the kids ain't happy, ain't nobody happy). This neon-bright '50s-style Mount Airy spot gets the blend just right: The kids' menu (which comes on an old-school Viewmaster cool!) offers up crowd-pleasing kid fare like chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese, while the regular menu has enough ambition and variety (including great veggie options, like an eggplant grinder) to make grown-ups happy, too. Mom-and-dad bonus: great craft beers and boozy adult milkshakes. Read More »
7619 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA | 215-753-1500 | Website
Best things to do in Philadelphia with kids
1. Philadelphia Magic Garden
Little ones will love wandering through this whimsical space, its winding walls filled with colorful glass and tiled mosaics. First, stop by the front desk to snag your scavenger hunt card then explore interactive corners where kids can touch tiles, tools and hear stories about the space. Drop in for free daily tours that will teach all about the garden&rsquos muralist, Isaiah Zagar, and be sure to check the website for monthly special events, like family-friendly crafternoons and live musical performances after-hours.
2. Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
With rope mountains to climb and slides to zoom down galore, this 16,000-square0foot playhouse is every child&rsquos dream come true. Younger tots will love roaming and hiding in the three-storied playhouse while older kids eagerly explore nearly seven acres of jungle gym fantasies. But beware, adventurers of all ages will quickly become addicted to the famous 39-foot-long slide with a daring (but kid-friendly!) 13-foot wide slope. Prepare to hear one too many &ldquoJust 5 more minutes?&rdquo
3. Please Touch Museum
Break the rules at this museum where curious minds of all ages are encouraged to play in two fun-filled exhibit floors. Kids can navigate an indoor hedge maze, sail across a tabletop river, launch a rocket or stargaze while learning about creatures of the forest. The museum&rsquos super cool &ldquoCents and Sensibility&rdquo exhibit arrived in January 2019 and explores the concept of money in a playful way. Kids will be captivated by the Dollar and Cents Scale, which teaches you how to add combinations of coins to make a dollar, and the Money Maze, which asks you to direct a &ldquomoney ball&rdquo through a labyrinth while learning about spending, saving and sharing.
4. Philadelphia Zoo
Fly, swing and leap on over to America&rsquos longest-standing zoo for an afternoon of animal adventures to remember. First, dive into the newest addition, KidZooU, for a few furry up-and-close encounters, interactive exhibits and climbing structures. Then pay a visit to nearly 1,300 animals from the rare black and white ruffed lemur and the Chinese alligator to zoo favorites like the jaguars, hippos, bears, rhinos and more. Finally, unwind in a sail aboard a swan boat or choo-choo on the kiddie train express.
5. Franklin Institute
Escape rooms, VR and giant hearts&mdashoh my! Inquisitive minds of all kinds will love spending the day at this science emporium. Find out how your body can help power a lightbulb or put Newton&rsquos Laws of Motion to the test with a playground of pulleys and pendulums. Then, gear up to operate a massive crane before finding out who will crack the code first in a puzzle-packed escape room challenge. And don&rsquot forget to get lost in the museum&rsquos AR experience that you&rsquoll just have to see to believe.
6. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Museum of Art houses a stunning collection of over 240,000 pieces of original art, ranging from sculptures to furniture collections from historic Philadelphians&rsquo homes. Kids will love the family art cart in the galleries, where they can sketch from the masterpieces as well as Sunday family tours, specifically geared toward the younger set. Guides center the tour on a specific theme (colors, shapes, etc.) and then lead children through the museum in search of examples in the collection.
7. Eastern State Penitentiary
This one&rsquos great for older kids (ages 7 and up)! The former penitentiary, which was abandoned for more than 20 years before becoming a museum, offers a vast history of fascinating inmates&mdashsuch as Al Capone&mdashand prison culture. You can take guided or audio tours through the space (stops with adult content are marked accordingly in the event you&rsquod like to skip them). Be sure to pick up a scavenger hunt booklet (free with admission) so your kids can find all of the items on the list.
8. Mutter Museum
Come one, come all and marvel at some of the world&rsquos medical mysteries. From over 2,000 of the oddest objects ever ingested by the human body to the many intricacies of the Soap Lady, this museum, run by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is also one of only two places worldwide where Albert Einstein&rsquos brain resides&mdashliterally. Examine it up close, or peruse a collection of 139 human skulls and learn about the study they helped. er. head.
9. Jkidphilly at the Jewish Learning Venture
Part of the Jewish Learning Venture, this program seeks to connect kids and families within the vibrant community of Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs and offers different activities throughout the year to that end. Check out the calendar for an ever-changing selection of events and celebrations, including craft days, baking events and afternoon park playdates.
10. Fireman’s Hall Museum
If you&rsquove got a kid who loves firetrucks, this is a great way to spend an afternoon. Just outside of Old City, this restored firehouse offers close-up looks at antique firetrucks as well as artifacts rescued from some well-known fire-related events. Upstairs, kids can try on firefighter gear, sit and read books, and make 911 calls on a pretend phone. The tiny gift counter offers fun take-home items such as stickers, patches and model firetrucks.
11. City Hall Observation Deck
Once the tallest habitable building in the world, City Hall sits right in the middle of Broad Street and until 1987 was the highest structure in the city. Kids will love the winding walk through the building and the thrill of standing right at the feet of the giant statue of William Penn is unmatched. Call ahead to get tickets for the elevator ride up as only four people are allowed on it at once.
12. Diggerland USA
Kids who can&rsquot keep from building will love this unique amusement park made just for them. Just across the bridge from Philadelphia proper in West Berlin, New Jersey, you&rsquoll find an amusement park populated with authentic digging machines of all kinds . Want to drive a tractor across tons of dirt? Your kids can do that. Want to use an excavator to dig holes? Your kids can do that, too. And if the petite parties involved would rather take a backseat, parents can certainly participate.
13. Philadelphia Orchestra
Mini maestros and petite pianists alike will enjoy the city orchestra&rsquos family-friendly concert, including Morning at the Movies (featuring soundtrack hits from Fantasia to The Force Awakens ) and seasonal favorites like a haunting Halloween show and a Christmas spectacular. Arrive early and take part in free pre-concert festivities like instrument introductions, behind-the-scenes tidbits and more. For even more tot-sized fun, check out the Sound All Around concerts&mdash45 minutes of music-accompanied storytelling&mdashand all-inclusive weekly performances for children with sensory sensitivities.
14. Linvilla Orchards
Come for the scenic hayrides and stay for the legendary apple cider donuts. Whatever you choose (did we mention you can pick your own produce?), this 300-acre family-owned farm is worth visiting. Just a half-hour drive south of Philadelphia, the farm also features a giant wooden playland with tractors to board, a furry friend-filled barnyard, and a market stocked with freshly baked pies, canned jams and homemade fudge. If you&rsquore visiting from early spring to late fall, you can fish in Orchard Lake or sign up for a variety of seasonal classes from terrarium-building to cooking with peaches.
15. Betsy Ross House
There are lots of history-related things to do in Philly, but the Betsy Ross House is one of the ones that really makes an impression. Kids can tour through the house, looking at all the rooms, and chat with &ldquoBetsy&rdquo as she explains her role as a flag seamstress. Be sure to stop and take a peek at her final resting place, which is right on the property.
16. Franklin Fountain
Delighting dessert connoisseurs since 2004, this local ice cream shop is so much more than a simple, old fashioned scoopery. Sink your spoons into epic sundaes like a rocky-road ridden Stock Market Crunch, slurp up a creamy milkshake (named one of the best in America!) or sip on a classic hand-drawn soda. Kids will quickly begin drooling over two dozen house-made ice cream flavors, from chocolate and cotton candy to teaberry gum and caramelized banana&mdashand don&rsquot even get us started on the topping list.
17. Adventure Aquarium
Ever heard of a Chocolate Chip Sea Star? Come sea what they&rsquore all about in this medley of marine life. Home to 14 interactive exhibits, over 45 different sea creatures and just a 15 minute drive from the city, the aquarium invites little ones to pet a friendly stingray, chat with shark experts and awe at the panoramic view of sea turtles. They&rsquoll also love watching daily feeding with penguins and hippos, deep-diving into a show at the 3-D theater and sailing away to the KidZone where plenty of hands-on activities await.
18. US Mint
Philadelphia&rsquos Mint does not print paper money, but it does stamp coins by the tens of millions per day. This self-guided tour explains what the process entails from start to finish and explores the history of making money. Along the way, kids will get to design their own virtual coins, try to lift a sack of nickels and see what happens to all the money that falls off the conveyor belts.
Philadelphia is famous for more than just its cheesesteaks, though we can&rsquot deny that it&rsquos worth the trip just for a bite at Joe&rsquos Steaks + Soda Shop . Locations in Fishtown and Torresdale offer traditional cheesesteaks, Chazarama (cheesesteak with hot sausage) and other filling sandwiches, plus super delicious sundaes, sodas, egg creams and milkshakes in a variety of flavors. For the pint-size folks, there&rsquos also a kids&rsquo menu with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and chicken tenders.
20. Independence Seaport Museum
This museum along the Delaware River gives a comprehensive maritime history of the Delaware Valley. Kids can spend time learning about the Delaware River and some of the catastrophes that have happened over the years through an interactive exhibit or take a peek at tattoo artwork that has been a staple among sailors and pirates. Be sure to check out the boat workshop, where kids can watch actual boats being built from scratch.
20 Kid-Friendly Restaurants That'll Make Your Life So Much Easer
Let's face it: Not all restaurants cater to kids &mdash and that's okay! But for those nights when you want to dine out as a whole family, go to one of these establishments that have menus for picky eaters and discounts for youngsters. Everyone will leave satisfied.
This kid-friendly restaurant has been serving families delicious food since 1935. All items on their kid's menu includes a beverage, entree, and a Friendly's signature ice cream sundae.
Olive Garden created five special characters &mdash Ollie the Olive, Gina Grape, Bene Breadstick, Tonya Tomato, and Ricky Ravioli &mdash to keep kids entertained while perusing their very own menu.
Bob Evans has the cutest kids' menu around. We're talking bite-size pancakes, a Little Piggy Pancakes, and Tic Tac French Toast.
Wendy's kids meals have a serious focus on health: Not only does the chain swap out fries for fruit, but all kids' menu items are 750 calories or less and their food is never frozen.
With over 250 kid-friendly combinations possible on Panera Bread's menu, your child is guaranteed to find something they'll enjoy. Panera also designed a specific menu for kids with low-calorie options like chicken noodle soup and a turkey sandwich.
Not only is everything on the kids' menu under $10, but you can get free birthday desserts when you sign up for the Applebee's email list. The restaurant offers the typical kids' meals (chicken tenders, burgers, grilled cheese) as well as a few healthy options, like sides of carrots, broccoli, apples, or yogurt.
It's true: IHOP will be known as IHOb for a limited time thanks to the restaurant's new burgers, but that doesn't mean it's going to stop serving breakfast. IHOP's kids' menu has the Create-a-Face Pancake, which comes with strawberry eyes, a whipped cream nose, and a banana-piece mouth and it's guaranteed to make your child smile.
Given the name, we shouldn't be surprised there's some pretty great deals that take place on Tuesdays at this restaurant. The best one for families is that with the purchase of an adult entrée, your kids eat free from 5 p.m. to close.
Chick-fil-A's kid perks include an indoor play area and healthy kids' meal options &mdash like a side of fruit and juice boxes. Pro tip: You can trade in the kids' meal toy for a cup of vanilla ice cream.
Chuck E. Cheese's motto isn't "Where a kid can be a kid" for no reason. While this chain is known as a great space to host birthday parties for kids, it's also a great spot for a night of family bonding. Buy some pizza and entertain your children with a few arcade games while you eat.
If your family is full of big barbecue fans, head to Outback Steakhouse where the kids' menu features child-size portions of grilled chicken breast, sirloin, and baby back ribs. If there's a birthday in the family, make sure you download the rewards app to receive a free vanilla sundae with chocolate syrup.
Take the kids to Cracker Barrel on their birthday, and they'll receive a free dessert. There's no sign-up necessary &mdash all you have to do is tell your waiter. Kids can enjoy food as delicious as their parents' meals, with tasty options like country friend shrimp and chicken and dumplings.
No need to convince your offspring to have dinner with you when it means they can enjoy breakfast for dinner at Denny's. On Tuesdays, kids eat free from 4 to 10 p.m. with the purchase of an adult entrée and beverage.
While your kids might think the best part about eating at McDonald's is the toy inside every Happy Meal box, the fast-food chain offers a few healthy options that will appease parents too, like apple slices, yogurt, juice, and milk.
Head to T.G.I. Friday's for family dinner night on Tuesdays from 3 to 9 p.m., because (guess what!) kids eat free. But not all locations offer this deal, so check with your local restaurant before venturing out.
The only thing better than the promise of a milkshake every time you go to this restaurant is the news that you could save money too. Head to your neighborhood Steak 'n' Shake on any Saturday or Sunday and with every $9 purchase, the restaurant offers a free kids' meal.