Most Family Friendly Restaurants in Phoenix

Photo by Abhishek Vashistha

Photo by Abhishek Vashistha

Nothing says “bonding” like going out to eat and connect with your family, friends, etc. While going to dinner or lunch may be considered a traditionally adult activity, kids enjoy going out to eat, too. It gives them a chance to see parts of their hometown they may never get to see otherwise, and helps them develop an image of their community. It provides a new setting for parents and nannies alike to bond with kids. And, of course, going out to eat is usually pretty fun for all parties involved. 

However, parents and caretakers both struggle to find quality places to eat and explore with children.Taking a child to a normal, “boring” restaurant may seem like a terrible idea for those hoping for an easy lunch or dinner. Luckily, Phoenix is full of family friendly restaurants that are both fun and delicious. 

Culinary Dropout at The Yard

One of Fox’s fastest growing concepts, Culinary Dropout, is a great place to bring the family for sporting events or to meet up with others. While the original Phoenix location is just off of 7th St and Missouri,  the concept has expanded into Tempe. Their menu is centered around a traditional gastropub menu. And to keep the kids - and the adults - entertained, they have ping-pong tables, cornhole boards, and foosball tables out on the spacious, covered patio. 

MacAlpine’s Diner & Soda Fountain

Close to Downtown Phoenix is a Coronado neighborhood staple, McAlpine’s. Stepping into this soda-fountain themed restaurant is like stepping into a time machine. The shop is chiefly known for its ice cream, shakes, malts, and sundays, but hamburgers and hotdogs make a menu appearance, too. Sit the kids at the bar and enjoy your tall glass of sweetness before  ending your visit by wandering through the antique shop next door

Sugar Bowl 

Love the soda shop vibe? Don’t forget to check out Sugar Bowl in Old Town Scottsdale. This iconic pink building specializes in the traditional soda-fountain selection of ice creams, burgers, and sandwiches. Don’t miss the chance to share some literary history with the kids by showing them Family Circus comics featured all over the restaurant. Sugar Bowl has gained much of its notoriety from being featured in the newspaper classics. And no kid can resist being happy surrounded by such bright pink decor! 

La Grande Orange

One of the best places to bring the family in Arcadia is La Grande Orange. Located on the corner of 44th Street and  Campbell Ave, LGO is a beloved artisan grocery, complete with a bakery, pizzeria, and agelato shop. While you wait for you food, browse through their eclectic gift shop collections, filled with fun toys and specialty food items. The whole family will love to find their own unique treasures to take home! 

Lou Malnati's

Have you ever heard of a kid turning down pizza? Of course you haven’t - pizza is a natural staple in a child’s diet! But going out for pizza doesn’t have to be a pizza-and-arcade games extravaganza. Instead, take your family to try some of Chicago’s famous deep dishat Lou Malnati’s. Hidden in the corner of the Uptown Plaza, dive into some cheesy, saucy goodness and finish the meal off with a trip to the neighboring science themed ice cream parlor, Creamistry. 

Camp Social

Another great themed restaurant for families is Camp Social, located off of Bethany Home Road and 7th Street. This summer-camp themedis full of wacky decor, including tire swing chairs and mason jar glasses. Kids can wander to the activity section, filled with arcade games, movies, and a pingpong table. Don’t worry about not sending the kids to summer camp this year - nannies can simply bring the kids to Camp Social!

Organ stop pizza

Home to the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa is one of the best places to bring the kids for dinner and a show. As their name suggests, the menu at Organ Stop consists of the typical pizza shop’s fare - pizza, pasta, and salad. But the main attraction is the Wurlitzer organ, originally built for a theater in Denver. Stop by in the evening to hear one of the four in house organists play first hand, and take the time to learn all about how the wind instrument works. 

The Perch

Looking for a more wild experience? Take the kids to The Perch Pub and Brewery in Chandler. In addition to a delicious pub menu, the store is filled with over 50 rescue birds. Visiting the store is a great way for nannies to explain the importance of taking care of animals properly, understanding their habits, and learning their histories while the kids interact with the different types of macaws and cockatoos. . Adults and kids alike are sure to love this experience!  

Ways to Immerse children in Culture

In this integrated and globalized world, it is increasingly important to raise children in a diverse, inclusive environment. However, it can be very difficult to know how to approach this in a child-centered way. Introducing children to culture locally is a great first step.

Communication and language are the primary bridges across difference. A growing trend in parents today is to teach infants and toddlers American Sign Language before their children are able to speak and even hired bilingual caregivers. While this is a practical way of communicating with a child, it also breaks down stereotypes associated with deafness. This concept can also be transcended to other spoken languages and cultures. Young children in particular are primed to learn a second or third language, as their brain is still rapidly developing their first. Exposure is the key; parents and teachers can use foreign language words interchangeably in casual conversation in place of the child’s first language. For a more structured approach, and for older children, foreign language classes are a great way to immerse a child in a new culture. Most language classes not only teach speaking and writing, but they will also teach children about cultural practices, traditions, and histories associated with the language.

The arts are an integral part of any culture, and are also a great tool to connect children to other ways of being across the world. Children thrive in imaginative environments, and love to explore new materials, sounds, and experiences. Visual art, music, and theater classes not only provide children with unique ways express themselves, but also give them tools to engage with the world and with each other. Community colleges, after school programs, group classes, and private instructors offer a menagerie of classes to children of all ages. Musical instruments, such as the guitar, drums, and piano, are versatile and accessible, as many cultures have either have similar instruments, or have adapted their musical styles to those instruments themselves. Visual and performing arts are similar, and local community centers will often offer classes that focus on Native or some form of non-Western art. Writing and poetry classes, too, can introduce children to important authors, scholars, and cultural figures that aren’t traditionally taught in Western schools. Books are also perhaps the easiest way to expose children to new cultures early; reading stories about and by people from other countries, religions, family structures, and gender norms teaches children to think less about how different we are, but how we can connect.

Other cultural experiences revolve around food, holidays, religions, and traditions. Cooking at home is an enriching way to learn a variety of different skills, including reading, measuring, time management, and cultural competency. It’s truly an immersive, integrative activity that can be scaled for all ages and learning levels. Planning home meals from around the world will also teach children to love trying new things, even if they aren’t food related! Festivals will usually have foods from the cultures they are celebrating, as well as traditional music, art, and dance. Getting children involved with performing or volunteering at festivals and other cultural celebrations is a more involved way of immersing children in culture, but often helps them build relationships and understanding across difference. For very young children, exposing them to international playgroups early on can immerse both them and their families in new ways of being. Similarly, nannies play an important role in a child’s perspective on the world, as they are often a primary caregiver. Nannies enrich children’s lives by sharing their language, culture, food, and values with the children in their care.

Phoenix is a multicultural, metropolitan area with plenty of opportunities to expose children to a variety of cultures. The Phoenix Art Museum and Musical Instrument Museum are great places to start, as they feature exhibits from artists and musicians from across the globe. The Heard Museum features American Indian Art, which is essential for an area with a long history of Native culture. Similarly, there is the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, which allows visitors to tour a real historical site will interacting with its rich history and culture. The Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center is also very immersive and interactive, and allows children to explore the vibrant Latin culture that exists in and around Arizona. The Fiesta de Las Americas is an annual festival held in April that also celebrates Latin culture from the US and Mexico, all the way down to the tip of South America. Near the end of March is the Italian Festival of Arizona, which immerses visitors in Italian music, food, and commerce. Finally, there is another European cultural celebration called the Tournament of Kings Dinner and Jousting show, which is held year round and is more of a performance than an integrative experience. However, it simply goes to show that there is a new cultural experience for every child in Phoenix!