Dining out with kids can be a delightful experience when you choose family-friendly restaurant chains that offer play areas. These establishments not only cater to the taste buds of both children and adults but also provide a safe and enjoyable space for the little ones to have fun. If you’re looking for a stress-free family meal, here are some of the best options:
Chick-fil-A is well-known for its commitment to providing a family-friendly dining experience. Many of their locations feature indoor play areas, affectionately called the “Chick-fil-A Playland.” These areas typically include climbing structures, slides, and interactive games to keep children entertained while parents enjoy their meals. Chick-fil-A’s menu also offers a range of kid-friendly options, from chicken nuggets to fruit cups.
McDonald’s is a global fast-food giant that has been a go-to choice for family dining for decades. Many McDonald’s restaurants include PlayPlaces, indoor play areas where kids can climb, slide, and explore to their hearts’ content. The Happy Meal, complete with a toy, remains a favorite among kids. McDonald’s provides a wide range of food options, including healthier choices like apple slices and milk.
3. Chuck E. Cheese’s
Chuck E. Cheese’s is a legendary family entertainment center where kids can enjoy pizza, games, and playtime. These restaurants feature arcade games, animatronic shows, and playground areas for kids to burn off energy. While pizza is the main attraction, Chuck E. Cheese’s offers a variety of menu items to satisfy both children and adults.
4. Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen, famous for its ice cream, also offers a welcoming atmosphere for families. Some Dairy Queen Grill & Chill locations have a designated “Treat Center” with arcade games and play areas. This allows kids to have fun while enjoying their favorite frozen treats. In addition to ice cream, Dairy Queen serves a selection of fast-food classics.
5. Sonic Drive-In
Sonic Drive-In is a drive-thru restaurant chain that often includes outdoor playgrounds. Families can order their food from the comfort of their vehicles and watch as their children enjoy the playground equipment. Sonic is renowned for its wide array of beverages, particularly its diverse selection of slushes and milkshakes.
6. In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger may be famous for its classic burger and fries, but it also stands out as a family-friendly restaurant chain. While it doesn’t have elaborate play areas, many In-N-Out locations have outdoor seating and simple play structures. Kids can enjoy their meals while getting some fresh air and playtime.
Whataburger is a popular regional fast-food chain known for its enormous burgers and signature sauces. Many Whataburger locations provide outdoor playgrounds where children can have fun. Their kid’s meals come with a choice of side and a drink, making it easy for parents to find a suitable option for their little ones.
8. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are sister fast-food chains with a focus on indulgent and hearty meals. Several locations offer dine-in areas with play structures. Kids can enjoy the StarPals meal, which comes with a toy and a side item. The varied menu includes a range of options for the whole family.
Friendly’s is a family restaurant chain with a longstanding tradition of serving comfort food and ice cream. Some Friendly’s locations offer an “Indoor Picnic Play Area” where kids can play and explore. The Kid’s Menu includes classics like chicken tenders and hamburgers alongside a scoop of ice cream.
10. Gatti’s Pizza
Mr. Gatti’s Pizza, often referred to as Gatti’s, is a regional pizza and entertainment chain. Their locations often feature game rooms and playgrounds. Kids can enjoy pizza, pasta, and an assortment of arcade games while parents dine on delicious pizza.
11. Cici’s Pizza
Cici’s Pizza is a buffet-style restaurant where families can enjoy an array of pizza varieties. Some Cici’s locations have game rooms and play areas to keep children entertained. The kid’s buffet offers a selection of kid-approved items, including dessert options like brownie bites.
12. Peter Piper Pizza
Peter Piper Pizza is another pizza and entertainment chain with locations primarily in the southwestern United States. Their restaurants feature a variety of arcade games and a kid-friendly atmosphere. The menu includes a range of pizza options and a dedicated kids’ menu.
13. Shakey’s Pizza
Shakey’s Pizza is a classic pizza parlor with roots dating back to 1954. Many Shakey’s locations include game rooms, making it a fantastic place for family gatherings. While pizza is the main attraction, they also offer chicken, mojos (potato wedges), and other sides.
Sizzler is a family-friendly restaurant chain that is more focused on casual dining. Although it doesn’t have elaborate play areas, Sizzler often offers Kid’s Club activities, including coloring sheets and games. The menu includes a variety of options, from steak to salad.
15. Golden Corral
Golden Corral is a buffet-style restaurant where families can enjoy a wide array of dishes. Some Golden Corral locations have dedicated “Fun Zones” with games and play areas for kids. The endless buffet options cater to various tastes and preferences.
16. Red Robin
Red Robin is a family-focused burger restaurant known for its gourmet burgers and bottomless steak fries. While not all Red Robin locations have play areas, many offer interactive tabletop games to keep children entertained. Their kids’ menu includes a diverse selection of meals.
While not a traditional restaurant, IKEA deserves a mention for its family-friendly atmosphere and play areas in some of its locations. After shopping for furniture, families can enjoy a meal in the IKEA restaurant, complete with a supervised play area where kids can have fun.
18. Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery
Perkin’s is a restaurant and bakery chain offering a welcoming space for families. Some Perkin’s locations have small play areas to entertain kids. Their extensive menu includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, along with a variety of baked goods.
19. Sweet Tomatoes
Sweet Tomatoes, also known as Souplantation in some regions, is a buffet-style restaurant with a focus on fresh salads, soups, and bakery items. Some Sweet Tomatoes locations provide game rooms and play areas. The buffet features a range of healthy options that appeal to kids and parents alike.
20. Round Table Pizza
Round Table Pizza is a pizza chain known for its specialty pizzas and comfortable dine-in spaces. Some locations include game rooms and play areas, making it a family-friendly choice. Their kid’s meal offers options like pizza, mac ‘n’ cheese, and chicken tenders.
Choosing Family-Friendly Dining
When dining out with your family, choosing a restaurant with a play area can enhance the overall experience. These family-friendly restaurant chains not only offer a variety of delicious meals but also create a welcoming environment for kids.