I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of coffee, but when I became a mom that cup of coffee became a necessity for making it through the day. However, as soon as you have kids you also discover how hard it is to actually sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Many of the cafes I enjoyed hitting up before I was a mom, suddenly felt like super inconvenient spots to try and bring a baby along to.
Back in my hometown of Vancouver there are actually a number of “play cafes”. These are game changers for parents! I can’t even express how amazing it is to be able to enjoy a coffee and a muffin while my kids have a blast in the adjoining play area (and I’m not talking McDonald’s play places).
Every time I’m back visiting Vancouver I hit up Kokopelli Cafe. This coffee shop provides a dedicated spot with a ton of toys that appeal to kids of all ages.
Vancouver also has a popular spot called Circus Play Cafe. At this cafe, parents pay a small admission fee to have their kids play in a very large, fun area.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything quite like this here in Ottawa…at least not yet. There is some exciting talk that Westboro could soon be getting a play cafe of its own. So stay tuned for updates as that takes shape. I know I would be a frequent customer!
Even though Ottawa might not yet have a play cafe, there are still a lot of kid-friendly coffee spots out there. So here are three spots where I love taking my kids.
Little Jo Berry’s opened just over one year ago in the Wellington West neighbourhood. It is a vegan cafe that offers a ton of gluten free option. Now, I’m neither vegan nor gluten free, but I can’t deny how yummy these goodies are.
Their homemade pop tarts are personal favourites for both me and my kids. The menu changes daily, and they even serve ice cream! Their coffee is excellent, though you won’t find any milk or cream here. They serve almond milk and soy.
Little Jo Berry’s isn’t a huge place, but there is room for a stroller or two and there are a number of high chairs available. This cafe is extremely welcoming to kids. In fact, on every table there is paper and crayons for colouring as well as letter and number blocks for playing. At the back of the cafe the colouring works of art done by children are often on display.
The Wild Oat Bakery on Bank Street has been a fixture in the Glebe for nearly 20 years. Half of the business is a bakery and the other half is a sit down cafe. The menu is changing all of the time, and they have so many options for eats, you and the kids are bound to find something you like!
Wild Oat is very popular and the cafe can get busy, so if you want to get your choice of table it’s best to try and avoid the noon lunch hour rush. I usually go just before noon and the kids and I have our pick of table, no problem. My kids love the smoothies and grilled cheese sandwiches.
There isn’t a ton of room at Wild Oat, but they offer high chairs as well as a small kid table area that hosts a few toys and a number of books. My kids love to choose a few books and bring them back to the table. It helps extend our stay and allows me to drink my WHOLE cup of coffee. I also find the staff at Wild Oat to be incredibly kind to kids.
There are two Oh So Good coffee houses in Ottawa. One in the Byward Market and this one on Richmond Road. The Richmond Road location is incredibly spacious, and an easy place to go with kids.
Oh So Good is locally owned and operated and it specializes in delicious desserts. There are also plenty of breakfast and lunch options, smoothies and of course, coffee. The Westboro location offers plenty of room for meet ups between parents. There’s enough room for multiple strollers. At the back of the cafe there is a small picnic table for kids, a few books to read and a large chalk board for colouring.
The staff at the Westboro location have always been very welcoming to parents and kids and they try to make everyone feel at home.
So, there you have it. Three of my go-to places to grab a coffee with the kids in tow. I’m always on the look out for new kid-friendly spots, so I would love to hear your favourites too! And stay tuned, hopefully Ottawa will have it’s own play-cafe soon.