As a parent, I can remember the frustration of trying to enjoy a nice meal out while your kids have other ideas and want to run riot or won’t sit still. It can be embarrassing and ruin your evening out.
After recently witnessing a distressed family in a restaurant in Houston who seemed at their wit’s end with their twins, it got me thinking, how many restaurants are there in Houston with playgrounds to keep the little ones occupied?
So, I set to work and made it my mission to research online to see what other parents recommended and visit the restaurants myself to see if having a playground on site did help to keep those giddy kippers entertained.
Of course, having a playground for the kids is one thing, but you also want to ensure you’re getting good food. So, in this guide, I have put together the restaurants with a playing area for your children. Also, I have looked at which ones have the best service and great food.
I have also noted pricing, as we all know how much eating out can add up to when feeding the entire family.
Best Restaurants With Playgrounds in Houston
So, after rounding up the best restaurants in Houston with playgrounds, let’s look at where they are and what else they offer.
1. Lake House
|Address||1600 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010|
|Cuisine||American, burgers, tacos, nachos|
|Opening Hours||Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Wednesday: 11:00 am till 3:00 pm
Thursday - Saturday: 11:00 am till 8:00 pm
This restaurant offers something to keep the kids entertained, but it’s also a great place to dine with a view for the adults.
Located right by the lake, you can dine alfresco while your kids play in the water fountains. You also have a great viewing point for watching the kayakers on the lake.
This is only a fast food joint, but if you’re looking for somewhere for a low-cost lunch with the children, then it’s perfect, and for what it is, the food was spot on, in my opinion.
They have a great selection of hot dogs for between $3.50 and $5.75, which range from plain to the spicy Texas hot dog with jalapenos, cheese, and beef chili.
They also have a great selection of good-quality burgers and tacos with various toppings, from fajita chicken to sriracha fish. These were also reasonably priced at less than $7.75.
The only downside to this is letting your kids play in the water fountains before you have your meal resulting in soggy children for the rest of your visit, so I suggest taking a change of clothes or a towel.
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2. The 401
|Address||6700 Ferris St, Ste. 150, Bellaire, TX 77401|
|Cuisine||American, Cajun, brunch, Mediterranean|
|Opening Hours||Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am till 9:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am till 10:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am till 10:00 pm
This is the perfect little destination to head to for a great meal out with the whole family. Located just 15 minutes from Houston, it offers great food, excellent service, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Regarding the menu, they have a wide variety of food to offer, such as quesadillas, kabobs, pasta, and grilled chicken, but that’s to name a very small few.
I took my niece with us on this occasion and ordered her the kids’ Mac N’ Cheese, it cost only $6.00, was a good-sized portion, and she enjoyed it. We tried the Parmesan-crusted trout during our visit, which was cooked and seasoned well.
Looking at the rest of the prices, it was all extremely reasonable. My main meal was $22.00, but it was a large piece of fish, and the accompaniments were just as good. My partner had the Tejas tacos, which came with three toppings and cost just $14.00.
Instead of a playground, this place has a cool indoor kids’ entertainment area where they can go and enjoy themselves while waiting for their meals. It has a TV and things they can play with, such as drawing materials and iPads.
The best thing is they have a staff member in the play area who monitors your kids, so if you are lunching with the ladies and don’t want to check that your kids are constantly behaving, they’ve got you covered.
3. Lupe Tortilla
|Address||318 Stafford St, Houston, TX|
|Opening Hours||Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am till 9:00 pm
Friday - Saturday: 11:00 am till 10:00 pm
A great little spot for low-cost Tex-Mex food, Lupe Tortilla is a go-to place for people looking to relax in the afternoon while their kids play in the giant sand pit outside. There are tables around the sandpit, so you can keep a close eye on them while you enjoy your meal.
The service here is always on point, with friendly staff, minimal wait times, and ample seating.
I recommend a few dishes for the food, having been here quite a few times, such as the breakfast nachos, served with refried beans, bacon, egg, cheese, guacamole, salsa, and the smoked chipotle ribs, which are fabulous.
The menu is extensive, and there are lots to choose from, no matter your requirements, so if you’ve got a fussy child or a vegetarian, they can easily accommodate you.
Regarding pricing, as I mentioned earlier, this is a low-cost eatery where you can get an excellent quality, good portion of food for a small price. You can get a large main course for less than $15.00.
I also recommended trying the brunch cocktails, not that I am encouraging drinking with breakfast, but if the feeling takes you, try the Mimosa Rita or the Bloody Maria.
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4. Downtown Aquarium
|Address||410 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002|
|Opening Hours||Sunday - Thursday: 10:00 am till 8:30 pm
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 am till 10:00 pm
This is one of my absolute favorite places to eat in Houston. I mentioned this restaurant before when I was reviewing the best-themed restaurants in Houston, and I will have to talk about it when it comes to entertaining the kids while you dine.
Never mind keeping the kids entertained; this has me distracted for hours.
Downtown Aquarium is a restaurant that is situated within a 150,000-gallon aquarium! Do I even need to say any more than that? Oh, go on then; I’ll tell you more for research purposes.
Of course, the main attraction here is enjoying your meal while watching hundreds of species of sea creatures swimming right past your table, such as moray eels, sting rays, giant groupers, and shovel-nosed guitarfish. They also have a rare species called a Napoleon Wrasse.
If this isn’t enough to keep the kids entertained, there are other forms of entertainment, like the giant splash pad and dancing fountains. Though once again, I recommend saving this for after your meal or taking them a towel and change of clothes, so they don’t get cold.
I know what you’re thinking, the food quality somewhere like an aquarium isn’t usually the best, and you expect to find overpriced burgers and portions of fries. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that even the food here is excellent.
Their menu is mainly seafood based (of course). Still, there is plenty of choice for anyone who doesn’t eat seafood and vegetarians, such as the plant-based burger or Cajun pasta.
I’ve tried many things off this menu (yes, I come here a lot,) and I could sit here all day recommending dishes. Still, I’ll keep it simple and say try the Cajun combo or alligator tacos.
Considering the menu comprises a lot of seafood, which is expensive, the prices here are reasonable. The main courses are around $20.00, and the kids’ meals are about $10.00 and include items such as grilled cheese sandwiches, popcorn shrimp, and pizza.
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5. Crisp Heights
|Address||2220 Bevis, Houston, Tx 77008|
|Opening Hours||Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
This restaurant is somewhere you would probably take the kids if you want a slightly more sophisticated meal instead of one that is totally child-orientated. Let’s face it; some kids are happy to sit and enjoy a meal without the need to run riot.
Crisp has a lovely outdoor patio where you can sit and enjoy your meal and a few drinks while overlooking the kids in the gated play area.
Although it’s not full of garish children’s equipment, there are a couple of swings, a fountain, and a ping-pong table, so there is plenty to keep them entertained for a little while if they start to get a bit antsy.
Aside from the playground, there is a great menu here, which is why it made it to my guide. Many establishments I visit with children’s play areas can quite often be very similar regarding cuisine and food quality. However, I love the menu here at Crisp.
Although it is technically a gastro-style eatery, it serves a high standard of Italian-American-style food, such as blue crab bisque, chicken saltimbocca, and crawfish bolognese. They also have a variety of children’s meals, which cost $7.00 or under, including spaghetti and tomato sauce, grilled cheese, and pizza.
I have to tell you about the adult pizzas here because they’re delicious, and I highly recommend them. I have learned not to share these; they’re too good. The pizzas are all handmade and cooked on a honey stone with a choice of dough (gluten-free is also available for an extra cost).
They have toppings such as truffle, beer can, chicken, and fennel sausage. Of course, pizza toppings are down to preference, but I highly recommend The Caliano.
6. Christian’s Tailgate
|Address||2000 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002|
|Opening Hours||Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am till 12:00 am
Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am till 2:00 am
The Christians Tailgate will be up your street if you’re looking for fast service, fast food, and great burgers.
If you’re expecting any heirs or graces, this is not the place to go, and it focuses on kids, sports, fast food, and booze. However, the food they serve, such as their award-winning burgers, is brilliant.
If you’ve got kids who like to tear around the restaurant and keep you at your wit’s end, then you can often feel like onlookers are judging you; however, here, there is no feeling of judgment, and kids are free to enjoy themselves indoors and in the outdoor playground.
One thing I’d recommend if you’re taking young kids; is to take them around lunchtime or early in the afternoon. The crowds gathering here in the late afternoon/early evening are there for a good time and cheap beer. This can make it a slightly inappropriate environment for really young ones.
Regarding the price, the burgers were all under $15.00. They were served with fries, so a bargain because the burgers were super juicy and massive.
The extras were also really low-priced at $1.00 or $1.25, so if you wanted to get the kids a couple of potions of onion rings and fries, it could be a cheap meal. The pulled pork-loaded fries were excellent, too. We all loved those.
Aside from the kids’ play area also has games for the whole family to enjoy together, such as shuffleboard, darts, and buck hunter. If you want to keep the kids entertained inside, there is also an area with a Nintendo Wii and Xbox.
A Final Word
I hope this guide has given you a bit of scope and made choosing where to dine with the kids less stressful. Whether you’re looking for pizza or seafood, I am sure there is something to please everyone.
Once you decide where you’re heading for your next family meal, check out what else is happening in Houston, such as the 7 Must-Visit Exhibits to Experience Some of The Finest Works of Art in Houston and the 5 Best Strawberry Picking Farms in and Around Houston.