Where to eat with kids downtown? Here are 4 fantastic recommendations!

Hell’s Kitchen

They open at 6:30am and serve their Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes all day long. What more could we ask for? Hell’s Kitchen may be in the business district (80 South 9th Street), but it’s open all weekend …. and it’s perfect for families with kids. It’s accessible by the Skyway, providing a great opportunity to stretch your legs in winter. Once inside, the seating area is spacious, there’s lots of room to walk around with an antsy toddler, there’s great space for stroller parking and it’s loud enough that you generally don’t need to worry about the volume of your kids’ conversations. 

Wilde Roast

Located across the river from downtown (65 Main Street SE), this is another great area for kids and families. While you’re in the neighborhood, enjoy a walk over the Stone Arch Bridge and down the picturesque Main Street, wave to the horse-drawn hansom cabs or the Segway-riding tourists as they pass by, get a close-up view of St. Anthony Falls and stroll around the ever-peaceful Nicollet Island before heading to the Wilde Roast for a bite to eat. Although they may not have a kids menu, they do offer all the essentials – beverages in enclosed cups with a straws, (adult-sized) mac & cheese entrees, and sides of fresh fruit and tater tots. Indoor and outdoor seating are both child-friendly. Make sure you save room for gelato or dessert after your meal!

Smack Shack

A favorite in the North Loop neighborhood, you might not immediately think of the Smack Shack (600 Washington Ave North) as a spot for kids … but if you didn’t then you’d be missing out. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating where kids can be kids (read: not necessarily quiet!), and when you need a little extra entertainment, head over to the lobster tank. If the restaurant’s not too busy, the friendly staff is happy to pull a lobster or two out of the tank so kids can get a closer look. Again, there’s no kids menu here, but they offer several kid-friendly munchies, like lobster corn dog starters and sides of baked beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread and lobster mac & cheese. 

Yogurt Lab

The downtown branch of this local franchise is located at 80 8th Street South, in the IDS Center. OK, so it’s not exactly a place to take your family for a well-balanced meal. However, it does offer the endless entertainment of mixing your own sweet treat using 16 flavors of frozen yogurt and a well-stocking toppings bar. All sales are based on the weight of your final masterpiece, though sample tastings are free. One of the greatest things about the Yogurt Lab is that it’s located on the Skyway level and is open on Saturdays and Sundays (Sat: 11a-5p; Sun: 12p-4p). It provides a great destination for a long indoor walk on a cold winter weekend. Best of all, the Crystal Court provides an ideal setting for enjoying your treats on one of the benches and burning off some steam by running around the massive water feature.