Ditch the Sitter: Date Night Fun With the Kids

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Spending quality time with your main squeeze can be a challenge for any parent. So why not change things up a bit and create a date night tradition for the entire family? Forget the sitter and head out to one of these parent-tested, kid-approved restaurants.

Kids at Beach

Photo credit: Pacific Coast Grill Facebook page
Pacific Coast Grill

Just steps from the Cardiff shoreline, this swanky seaside restaurant balances fine dining with a casual beach vibe. Your little surfers can kick back and enjoy the funky coastal décor while you take in sweeping ocean views and the sunset. Request a table on the ground-level patio to take advantage of the built-in entertainment: the beach! Kids can build a sandcastle in plain view, while you and yours sip on craft cocktails.

The whole family can share sizeable appetizers like the crispy calamari or white truffle and parmigiano house-cut fries. Pacific Coast Grill is known for creating delicious coastal cuisine using fresh, local, and free-range ingredients at affordable prices. Kid-friendly, simple preparations are no problem at all ­—just ask! After dinner, your beach babes can tickle their toes in water and sand amid a sea breeze only San Diego can offer!

Insider’s Tip: Get there early to get street parking or valet it for $4.

2526 S. Coast Hwy. 101
Cardiff, Ca
Online: pacificcoastgrill.com

Kids Play Area

Photo credit: Travis C. via Yelp

Waypoint Public

In the heart of trendy North Park, this eclectic hipster haven is a neighborhood mainstay. Known for simple, delicious food and beer from all over the world, Waypoint Public offers a family-friendly ambiance at reasonable prices. You and your plus one can raise a pint of your favorite brew while your Bohemian-in-training takes names in the play area. The vibe here is lively and energetic, so the little ones fit right in. Waypoint Public offers a monthly family movie night, and a Traveling Stories program for the kiddos. Every date night should be this easy!

3794 30th St.
San Diego, Ca
Online: waypointpublic.com

Kid Dancing by Music Instruments

Photo credit: Panama 66 Facebook page

Panama 66

If your family loves art, live music and warm summer nights outdoors, check out Panama 66. This vibrant restaurant is nestled in the courtyard of the San Diego Museum of Art’s Marcy S. May Sculpture Garden. Definitely check out Ska-turdays, Soulful Sunday brunch and the other live music acts, and encourage your little musicians-in-the-making to rock ‘n’ roll under the San Diego sky. Panama 66 offers locally sourced, hand-crafted food and drinks, and features more than a dozen local craft beer taps. After dinner, take the bambinos on an evening stroll through Balboa Park to check out the beautiful architecture and historical buildings.

Insider’s Tip: Ride your bike, or show your membership card to receive 10 percent off. Make it an even bigger family affair With Fido as dogs are welcome on the front patio.

1450 El Prado
Balboa Park, Ca
Online: sdmart.org/panama_66

Kids at Lively RestaurantPhoto credit: Thomas M. via Yelp

Besta-Wan Big House 

If your vibe is quirky and cool, lively and casual, Besta-Wan Big House is the place for you. Located just west of the Westfield Carlsbad shopping center, this charming place is both kid-friendly and dog-friendly! Just as laid back as the original location, Besta-Wan Pizza House in Cardiff, this location offers the same friendly and festive dining experience but better! Rugrats will love the eclectic and funky décor, and parents will love the variety of craft and local brews on tap. Besta-Wan Big House is the best when it comes to the fun stuff: hula hoops, pizza dough, a juke box and live music! Parents can bond over a plate of Jimi’s Sausage Nachos, while kiddos sculpt pizza dough into their very own creation. The menu is an expansive selection of salads, sandwiches, pizza, and pasta, all large enough to share!

Insider’s Tip: The restaurant has a super big, slightly secluded table that can accommodate large parties for birthday celebrations or other events.

1814 Marron Rd.
Carlsbad, Ca
Online: thebestawanpizza.com

Kids playing table gamePhoto credit: Thorn St. Brewery Facebook page

Thorn St. Brewery 

Pairing a true craft beer experience with food truck cuisine makes for an adventure the whole family can enjoy. Your family will love this charming, rustic brewery, located in the heart of North Park. Thorn St. Brewery showcases a beautiful tasting room with a 7 barrel brew house in a large open space. You and your better half can toss back a few tasters while the kiddos enjoy truck food fare and play games. Dogs are welcome, too, so feel free to bring the furry kids along! Also, get this: patrons are more than welcome to bring their own food, or have it delivered! Some food trucks offer a Kids Eat Free deal; a schedule of food trucks can be found on their website.

Insider’s Tip: If you’re looking for a little adult fun, the brewery offers trivia nights and brewing classes, too.

3176 Thorn St.
North Park, Ca
Online: thornstreetbrew.com

What’s your idea of a family-friendly date night? Tell us in the comments below where else we should try!

— Elizabeth Silva

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