My preschooler and I recently spent a string of chilly gray days visiting these Twin Cities coffee shops to give you an idea of where you might bring your little one(s) for both a cozy indoor play space and a decent cup of joe. If you know of a similar place where kids can spread out in an area dedicated to them, please drop us a line.
We recommend calling ahead to verify play spaces are open until social distancing guidelines are removed.
Kid-friendly Twin Cities Coffee Shops in Minneapolis & St Paul
Sovereign Grounds | Minneapolis
Owned by one of our charter school families, I was especially eager to get to this Twin Cities coffee shop. This is a place that takes children seriously; hence the full name Sovereign Grounds Indoor Playground & Coffeehouse. It tops our list of java joints to bring the kiddos because the space is large (an entire dedicated room), clean (don’t forget to remove your shoes to save the new carpeting), and stocked with quality playthings. Tables are a little squeezed, but their proximity to the toys means you can easily keep an eye on your kid while you sip great coffee and chat with a friend (should you be so lucky to do so). Prepare for a buzz of morning activity that eases up after the lunch hour. A bathroom is conveniently nearby and the coffeehouse menu includes fresh bakery items, interesting salads, and plenty of inexpensive child-pleasing snacks. Don’t miss this one — the biggest thumbs-up from my 3-year-old.
Dunn Brothers Coffee | Linden Hills, Minneapolis
Kids can enjoy a small space with a chalkboard and a shelf of toys while parents might manage to get their daily caffeine intake at a very nearby table. In my experience with Dunn Brothers, I think many of the franchise locations carve out a spot for kids; this particular locale is my favorite because it’s located in lovely Linden Hills. There’s so much within walking distance of this Twin Cities coffee shop for kids to enjoy (see our 5 Spots to Stop in Linden Hills, Minneapolis post) that it’s easy to make an afternoon of it, once properly caffeinated, of course.
Riverview Cafe | Minneapolis
Props to the Riverview Cafe for having a carpeted nook set aside for the preschool-and-under set. There are not large tables nearby to accommodate food, drink, and mom gear, but there a couple couches with a clear vantage point of the littles. Mine had an absolutely wonderful time playing with the generous assortment of plastic vehicles (thankfully nothing noisy). If you pop in over the lunch hour, there are sandwiches, salads and yummy (but spendy) desserts as well as snacks and juice boxes for kids.
Ginkgo Coffeehouse | St Paul
Ginkgo’s little space for children is tucked away between some shelving and is fairly no-frills. There’s a shaggy patch of carpet to sit on and blackboard along the wall to scribble on with a few stubs of chalk. A few toys and books at this Twin Cities coffee shop will entertain preschoolers for a short while – maybe long enough for mom to nosh on a grilled panini or some of Gingko’s special veggie lasagna? A kid-sized scoop of ice cream is an inexpensive treat.
Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe | Hopkins
FFTC was there — scarfing cupcakes, sipping coffee and with the kids happily occupied — when this sweet shoppe hosted its grand opening summer of 2016. Kids can get busy baking their own cupcake creations while you sit a spell nearby.
Silverwood Park Café | Saint Anthony
The Visitor Center at Silverwood Park is a great way to sneak in coffee, art and nature all in one. Bonus that they keep a kid-friendly cart of books and activities. The downside, you do need to watch them near the art, but the upside is you can explore the park a little before heading home.
FIKA | American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
While FIKA itself is not particularly kid-friendly, it is a wide open space with lots of light and delicious pastries. Because its located at the entrance to ASI, it can be combined with a visit to the family gallery to become a kid-friendly outing. The best time to visit is on Kids At The Castle days.
Black Sheep Coffee Cafe | South St. Paul
“Black Sheep in South St Paul is very VERY kid and family friendly! Lots of toys, comfy armchairs (nursing friendly), As well as larger tables” Thank you to our reader, Allie, for this recommendation.
Fig & Farro | Calhoun Square, Minneapolis
“FIG AND FARRO vegan restaurant has an amazing kid area with a loft, lots of books and toys. They also have a great kids menu. We went there last night and were so impressed!” Thank you to our reader, Jenna, for this recommendation. We did check it out and she is right, the kids area is amazing. Kids meals are $5 or $3 for the “Three Bite Club”. The lunch menu includes an Espresso bar. They tell us that the bartenders will make a “Milk Flight” of macadamia, almond and coconut milks for kids.
Minisota Play Cafe | Maple Grove
Thanks to Reader, Cassie, for reminding us to add the Minisota Play Cafe. Note that, unlike the rest of these options, there is a cover charge to visit. Children 1- 9 years old cost $10.00; and babies 6-12 months are $5.00; Under 6 months is free; Adults and children over the age of 10 have a 1-drink minimum or $3 admission. However, also unlike the other spaces, this cafe is more of a “play space with a cafe” as opposed to a “cafe with a play space”.
Community Grounds | Columbia Heights
Thank you to Chris for this suggestion. With its mission to be a welcoming gathering space, Community Grounds has a large play space for children. They are currently only open on Thursdays from 9am-2pm and Fridays from 5pm-8pm.
More indoor play suggestions
Need to get out of the elements for the day? Try one of these activities:
Twin Cities Indoor Playgrounds & Play Areas – use our comprehensive guide to find a new space to wear those littles out.
Twin Cities Indoor Waterparks & Pools – splash, slide and swim away the cold weather blues.
Open Gym for Kids – keep the little ones moving indoors throughout the chilly months.
Kids Storytimes – hosted at highly kid-friendly venues around the Twin Cities. Great free entertainment.
Indoor games for kids – 75+ ideas to beat boredom when you’re stuck inside. And categorized by age!
I hope these suggestions for Twin Cities coffee shops can help make a dent in your winter. My little sidekick and I thoroughly enjoyed our research and would love to hear about where YOU meet up for coffee, conversation and a little playtime.
Note: The featured image shows A Cupcake Social, which permanently closed in 2020.