It’s ok to say it out loud: going out to eat with kids, especially toddlers, can be a little stressful. Kids are kids, and they like to squirm, run around, sometimes spill things, etc. Key parent hack: a go-to list of kid-friendly restaurants where children can do their thing, and you can relax. (Either because it’s super casual or lots of other parents are there—usually both.) Bonus: many of these spots are outdoors, making them perfect for enjoying some al fresco dining with the family. For more recs on dining out with kids in NYC, check out our favorite brunch spots and our top picks for the best pancakes in NYC. And if you’re looking for more ways to keep your toddler happy and engaged, read this!
Brooklyn Restaurants Where Your Toddler Can Run Around
Brooklyn Crab has three stories of open-air dining, making it a great spot to enjoy lunch or dinner and a view of the Statue of Liberty and waterway (bonus: play a game of I Spy to find water taxes, boats and more). They offer lots of seafood (see: Crab), but also have some more kid-friendly fare, including burgers and mac-and-cheese. While you’re waiting for a table, play a round of mini-golf or corn hole in their backyard.
24 Reed St.
Greenwood Park has been a not-so-hidden gem of the neighborhood since opening a decade ago. The expansive outdoor area offers plenty of space for dining and running around. The menu offers up a great variety of plates (think: Beyond Burger, Mezze Plate and a Spring Salad), as well as great options for the little ones like hot dogs and mac-and-cheese. In recent years, the space has added a retractable rooftop which makes it a great spot rain or shine.
555 7th Ave. (Between 19th and 20th Streets)
Time Out Food Hall
Time Out Market has a ton of different food and drink options, which means even the pickiest of eaters can find something to enjoy – from Jacob’s Pickles and Wayla to Ess-A-Bagel and Clinton Street Baking Company. Every family can get what they like then eat together at their outdoor dining area, filled with picnic tables and with a great view of Jane’s Carousel. Once you finish eating, you can venture to the nearby playgrounds and take in the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.
55 Water St.
Like Time Out Market, the beauty of Industry City is that it has something for everyone. You can stop at Sahadi’s and grab hummus, pita, cheese and olives; visit Japan Village for ramen or sushi or hit up their food hall for burgers and hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches and more. After you get your eats, wander over to the greenspace between Courtyard 5 and 6 to burn off some energy. The space is surrounded by seating so you can grab a seat while your kids run wild. Or, head to Courtyard 1 and 2 and eat while your kids play in the sandbox or catch a live show during the weekends. The space offers lots of options – both for food and play!
220 36th St.
Roberta’s is known for can’t-be-beat pizza and this off-shoot of the popular Bed-Stuy spot is not an exception. What this spot does offer, though, is easy access to the beautiful Domino Park, situated right on the water and with stunning views of the Williamsburg Bridge. Enjoy some ‘za in their outdoor dining area or take them to go and sit on the turf in Domino Park before or after hitting the playground.
6 Grand St.
This beloved BBQ spot offers plenty of seating inside, as well as outdoors. A hit with families, it also means that if you go during the day or early evening, you’ll be surrounded by parents also wrangling small children. Their big menu offers small plates, salads, combo platters, sides and everything in between, including vegetarian options. You can enjoy lunch or dinner and hit the nearby Ample Hills for dessert (which also has a lovely outdoor dining area).
604 Union St. at 4th Avenue
Popina is a neighborhood favorite. Known for delicious food and a beautiful backyard filled with picnic tables and strung lights, it makes for a great place to have dinner as a family or meet up friends. Located a short walk Brooklyn Bridge Park, you can spend the day playing by the water and then enjoy a great dinner. The menu highlights seasonal vegetables, pasta dishes and small bites, plus house-made desserts.
127 Columbia Street
Columbia Waterfront District
Known for delicious tacos and margarita’s Chilo’s now has two locations, both with great outdoor seating. Their original location in Bed-Stuy has a small outdoor seating area, while their Greenwood location has an expensive outdoor seating section making it perfect for families or big parties. Grab a picnic table, a slew of tacos and cheers your parent friends while you enjoy a summer evening out.
740 5th Ave. at 24th St.
323 Franklin Ave.
Known for deliciously-topped pizza with perfectly crispy crusts, Fornino’s Brooklyn Bridge Park location offers stunning views along with your meal. Situated right on Pier 6, you can dig into pizza after a morning or afternoon at the nearby playgrounds and enjoy a leisurely meal in their outdoor dining area. Or, grab lunch then take the nearby ferry to Governor Island for a full city adventure. The restaurant is now open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and does take reservations here so you can plan in advance.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Manhattan Restaurants Where Your Toddler Can Run Around
Ellington in the Park
Located right on the Hudson River, you can enjoy dinner at Ellington in the Park after a day at the nearby playgrounds. Enjoy a crisp glass of wine, a salad and some pizza while the kids nibble on chicken fingers or a quesadilla from the kid’s menu. The large outdoor seating area offers plenty of space to enjoy dinner and the stunning view.
Riverside Drive & W. 105th Street
Take in a beautiful view of the Hudson River while dining on their casual French fare (hello, Hazelnut Chocolate Tarte with French Vanilla Ice Cream!) Once you finish up your meal, you can head to one of the nearby playgrounds.
225 Liberty St.
This beautiful spot offers stunning cityscape and a large outdoor area perfect for families. Grab an early bird dinner or hang out on the rooftop on Sundays (no kids after 6 pm Monday-Saturday!) and dig into a delicious dinner and enjoy the view.
63 W. 38th St.
Shake Shack, Madison Square Park
NYC’s original Shake Shack location is situated in the beautiful Madison Square Park, a slice of greenery in the middle of Flatiron. Grab your burgers, fries and shakes and sit in their outdoor seating area, then hit the park’s playground located on the other end of the park.
23rd and Madison Avenue
Madison Square Park
Turnstyle Underground Market
A true urban space, Turnstyles offers you the chance to dine underground. Located at the entrance of the Columbus Circle subway stop, you can enjoy dumplings, hot dogs, empanadas and more. Grab your food and dine at one of the small tables set up for the public before jumping on the train to go on your next adventure.
Queens Restaurants Where Your Toddler Can Run Around
Pig Beach, Astoria, Queens + Gowanus, Brooklyn
Both Pig Beach locations have huge outdoor spaces – at least compared to many city spots. Filled with picnic tables and offering a slew of delicious BBQ eats, Pig Beach is a great spot to take the kiddos in the early evening or afternoons before the late-night rush. Choose from pulled pork, ribs, beef brisket, hot dogs, slaw, mac-and-cheese and more. Your kids will love the fresh-from-the-BBQ food and can play nearby once they finish while you enjoy your meal.
35-37 36th St.
480 Union St.