National Coffee Day is Oct. 1, 2023. There’s no better place to celebrate than in Seattle, where coffee is an integral part of the culture, especially for parents. It’s a way for us to refuel, sure, but it’s also a great outing with kids, especially when you want to meet up with a friend or need to get out of the house on a grey, drizzly day. So the next time you need a little pick-me-up, head to one of these Seattle coffee shops and bring the kids. They can enjoy play areas and special treats and you can grab a really good cup of coffee.
Bryant Corner Café. This “bakery, café, bar and diner all rolled into one,” as one reader says, always accommodates little ones, with lots of family-friendly weekday specials. The menu is upscale diner and changes with the season — think chorizo burritos, guac burgers and ginger mojitos. Bonus: Toys and coloring pages for the kids. 3118 N.E. 65th St., Seattle. 206-525-1034
Wunderkind. This café in northeast Seattle, near University Village, has two separate Lego play areas, one on each floor. All dining tables have excellent sightlines to the play area. Legos and yummy snacks (Beecher’s mac ‘n’ cheese) keep the kids happy. Espresso and a nice selection of beer and wine keep parents sated. Classes and camps are offered periodically, and make sure to check out the birthday party packages. You can get a day pass or 30-day unlimited pass. Check the Facebook page for birthday party closures. 3318 N.E. 55th St, Seattle. 206-854-7186
Seattle Meowtropolitan Cat Café. Serving Herkimer Coffee, Seattle’s original cat café makes kitty-inspired lattes and macarons, serves lots of other treats, and has a “cat lounge,” where (if you pay a fee) you can visit with more than a dozen cats, most of which are up for adoption. If you don’t want to pay the charge, kids can look through the windows of the cat room. It’s $13/person for a visit to the cat lounge and kids must be 8 or older; book online. 1225 N. 45th St., Seattle. 206-632-2330
Firehouse Coffee. Firehouse has not just a table, but a small room (with a door!) to keep the kids busy. Take your drinks and Macrina pastries into this Ballard coffee shop’s small playroom, close the door, and enjoy in (relative) peace while your child plays. Ahhh. Lot parking available. 2622 N.W. Market St., Seattle. 206-784-2911
Swansons Café. This hidden gem, located in the conservatory inside Swansons Nursery in north Ballard offers coffee, pastries and light meals. Visit for the tropical atmosphere, sweet treats or breakfast and lunch menu, and stay to watch the koi in their own private oasis. After lunch, pull the kids in a wagon and plan your garden while strolling through the lush rows of plants. 9701 15th Ave. N.W., Seattle. 206-782-2543
Couth Buzzard Books. This community spot in the Greenwood neighborhood pairs two of our favorite things, used books and espresso. You’ll also find a children’s section, board games to play and good snacks.8310 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle. 206-436-2960
Mighty-O Donuts. They don’t have a kids’ space, but they do have organic, vegan doughnuts that are trans-fat-free. And they taste pretty darn good. Oh, and the original café in Wallingford is located in a vintage Seattle building just a short walk away from Green Lake. Check out the location in Ballard, too, with a window for watching the doughnut-making action. Also find cafés in Green Lake, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union and Denny Triangle. Multiple locations.
Cloud City Coffee. Located a scone’s throw from the triply awesome park that is Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, Cloud City Coffee is a real neighborhood “third place.” Going there is like visiting a friend who happens to be a terrific baker and has a living room with comfy couches and a genuinely welcoming atmosphere. Delicious baked goods are made in-house. Breakfast burritos and sandwiches offer heartier options. 8801 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle. 206-527-5552
Top Pot Donuts. We love the Wedgwood location for outings with kids: The covered outdoor seating is very Seattle-by-way-of-Palm-Springs. The doughnuts stacked in a glass case at the front counter are irresistible, and the ice cream is Wedgwood’s best. And it’s a short walk to the Wedgwood library or an excellent treat stop on the way to or from Magnuson Park. Multiple locations.
Grateful Bread. Just across the street from Wedgwood’s Top Pot Donuts sits this hippie-era gem. A comfortable corner is devoted to children’s books and toys. A wide porch area offers picnic-style seating on warmer days. Soups, sandwiches and artisan breads are the house specialties, along with espresso and baked goods. They have occasional folksy live music at both the Duvall and Seattle locations. 7001 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle. 206-525-3166
Kaffeeklatsch. For having brought good coffee to downtown Lake City, this German bakery is already beloved. It also boasts excellent bread and desserts with impossible-to-pronounce German names; yummy sandwiches; a small kids’ play area and games. Plus, because it’s in a useful little strip mall, you can shop at Bartell’s, walk to the bank, go the library or take care of other mini-errands in one sweep. 12513 Lake City Way N.E., Suite H., Seattle. 206-462-1059
West Seattle and White Center
C&P Coffee serves espresso from awesome Lighthouse Coffee Roasters and baked goods from Essential Baking Company, and has couches and kids’ books and a few “just right” chairs for littles. 5612 California Ave. S.W., Seattle. 206-933-3125
Dubsea Coffee. Enjoy Stumptown Coffee and goodies from the best-loved bakeries in town (Macrina, Le Fournil, Little Rae’s bakeries, Mighty-O Donuts). For the kids, a reader tells us, there are toys, books, a changing table in the bathroom and room to roam, though not a separate play area. 9910 8th Ave. S.W., Seattle. 206-708-6806
Seattle Center, Queen Anne and Magnolia
Serendipity Café. Opened by Magnolia families for Magnolia families, Serendipity is a favorite in the neighborhood. Playroom, good coffee, extensive kids’ menu, appealing options for adults (including “grown-up mac and cheese”) — what’s not to like? It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Air conditioning, too! 3222 W. McGraw St., Seattle. 206-282-9866
Central District, Capitol Hill, Madrona and South Seattle
Tougo. This beloved neighborhood hangout in the Central District boasts a good kids’ play area in the back. It’s also dog-friendly! 1410 18th Ave., Seattle. 206-860-3518
The Station. Located in new digs just across from Beacon Hill’s light rail station, this coffee shop (serving Fulcrum Coffee) aims to serve as both a community hub and a safe haven for all kinds of people, and it hosts the Beacon Hill Block Party every year. “Great coffee with awesome community involvement,” says a reader. Its sister business, the Wine Station, is just down the street. 1600 S. Roberto Maestas Festival St., Seattle. 206-453-4892
Issaquah Coffee Company. Located in Gilman Village, you’ll find Stumptown Coffee, comfy chairs (or outdoor seating on the porch) and a great play area for kids, complete with a train track. 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd. #46, Issaquah. 425-677-7118
Crossroads Bellevue. This ultra-family-friendly Bellevue mall (play spaces, coin-operated rides, giant chess, international food court) also has some good caffeine stops, including Starbucks and The French Bakery. 15600 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue.
Hoffman’s Fine Cakes & Pastries. Spacious and kid-friendly, this spot offers lots of yummy treats and a breakfast and lunch menu. Kiddos will love all the fun (and delicious) cookie options. Next door, find Redmond’s grand new downtown park; across the street is Half Price Books. 16175 Cleveland St., Redmond. 425-828-0926
SoulFood Coffee House. This community-driven coffee shop in downtown Redmond has a nice play area, reports a reader, replete with toys and books. SoulFood also hosts live music and other events. 5748 Redmond Way., Redmond. 425-881-5309
Five Stones Coffee Company. Although Five Stones doesn’t have a play area, readers tell us it has “amazing coffee,” “super-friendly staff,” “a welcoming vibe,” and “delicious toasts with toppings like ricotta, honey, etc. that kids love!” 8102 161st Ave. N.E., Redmond. 425-242-0099
Thruline Coffee Co. Located in the heart of downtown Kirkland (near Peter Kirk Park and the Kirkland Library), this family-friendly shop roasts its own coffee beans and boasts treats from Alki Bakery. While it doesn’t have a dedicated kid’s area, they do offer a kiddie hot chocolate or juice for free, with adult purchase. 136 Park Lane, Kirkland. 425-803-9081
North of Seattle
Café Aroma. Kitty-corner from Crest Cinema is this sweet café that boasts great coffee, a kids’ play area in a separate room and comfy chairs. The space used to be a 1940s-era gas station. 509 N.E. 165th St., Shoreline. 206-440-0690
Frost. Frost bakes up artisan doughnuts and macarons in crazy-cool flavors (Butterfinger blast and caramel apple fritter, to name just two). 15217 Main St., Mill Creek. 425-379-2600
Diva Espresso, The Hangar. Tucked away in Kenmore, just a block off the Burke Gilman Trail, is an intriguing public space called The Hangar, with a public plaza, a fountain, indoor spaces (that you can use and reserve for free) and a branch of Diva Espresso, which, a reader tells us, has “inexpensive, kid-friendly drinks and great coffee for parents.” Multiple locations.
Honey Bear Bakery at Third Place Commons. Homey Honey Bear Bakery lives on at Lake Forest Park’s Third Place Commons, one of a number of good eateries in the food court. There’s a good-sized play area, a giant chess area, live performances on the adjacent stage and, of course, all the magic of the bookstore. 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park. 206-366-3330
South King County and South Sound
85°C Bakery Café. This Hong Kong-based chain of Taiwanese bakeries, offering 50 varieties of pastries, has a price that can’t be beat: Most items are less than $3. Use the Tukwila location as a launching point for fun at Southcenter Mall. There are also locations in Bellevue, Renton, Federal Way, Edmonds and Lynnwood. Multiple locations.
Auntie Irene’s. Just a few blocks from the Des Moines Marina, you can settle in at this cozy shop with an ice cream cone, latte or pastry. They also serve paninis, sandwiches and salads. No time? Cruise through the drive-through. 22504 Marine View Dr. S., Des Moines. 206-824-0249
Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes. This sweet little shop is located in old downtown Renton, and offers cupcakes with fun flavors, plus cookies and other desserts. We think your crew will probably be occupied with the treats in front of them, but if not there are toys for them and wifi for you. 900 S. Third St., Renton. 425-235-1717
Anthem Coffee & Tea. The Puyallup location of this family of cafés (it has four other South Sound locations) is a hip meeting place for families, offering coffee, tea, even beer, if it’s been that kind of a day.210 W. Pioneer, Suite 101, Puyallup. 253-881-1445
Red Elm Café. Run by three sisters, this Tacoma café offers ethically sourced and delicious coffee from Caravan Coffee and a small, but inspired, breakfast and lunch menu ranging from grilled cheese to Aussie toast. Kids can get wiggles out at the small play area, and there’s a community room you can book for your next meeting. 1114 M.L.K. Jr. Way, Tacoma. 253-327-1791
Wanna Cupcake. This Puyallup pick offers a wide range of cupcakes (including gluten-free options), as well as soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies and, of course, espresso. 2102 E. Main St., #112, Puyallup. 253-256-5566
Lift Bridge Coffee. Visiting downtown Tacoma? Fuel up at this urban multi-roaster coffee shop on the main floor of Court House Square. Enjoy the historic architecture and art on the walls while noshing on Spilled Butter pastries. Important note: It is not open on weekends. 1102 A. St., Tacoma
The Spar. You might not think The Spar (Tacoma’s oldest saloon) would be kid-friendly, but you’d be wrong. The Spar serves coffee as well as breakfast and lunch fare. A reader raves about the chill atmosphere and little nook with toys for kids. 2121 North 30th St., Tacoma. 253-627-8215
More fun treats with kids ...
Editor’s note: This article was originally published many years ago and updated most recently in September 2023.