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Seeking INFANT-Friendly Establishments

Here in Portland, there are no shortage of things "kid-friendly".  Amy, however, is having the hardest time finding establishments that are more geared toward the younger set, "infant-friendly", if you will:

I am the mother of a 13 month old, Titus, and we have been on several outings- but I have had a very hard time finding "infant-friendly" establishments versus "kid-friendly" establishments.  My son is a very active 13 month old, and has been walking for some time now, and we are having a very hard time finding places and activities that are infant or toddler friendly.  We have been to PB & Ellies, but I live near the Portland Airport so we do not make it to that side of town very often.  He really enjoys the zoo, but with the weather so hot currently, we don't last long outdoors.  It could be activities with or without other infants, although that helps in maintaining his interest.  He is in daycare, so he gets great interaction with all the children/toddlers 4 days a week and is very social.  He doesn't last long in the stroller if we are not on the move, so I am looking for play spaces, restaurants, and businesses in general that cater to the very difficult 1 year old crowd.  Thank you for all of your suggestions.


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Try Sip-N-Kranz...a great coffee shop in NW with a kids play area.
The East Side Community Center off of Stark street near Mall 205 has their gym open several times a week during certain hours for a play time. I also hear that Mt. Scott Community Center has a wading pool.
OMSI has an infant area that I was at constantly.

Cafe sip-n-play is our FAVORITE!! It's just over the 205 bridge so very close to you. Check out there website...www.cafesipnplay.com. This cafe is ALL about the infants and young children. A majority of the cafe is a large play area for the little ones to play and they even have family freindly restrooms with little sinks and potty's....I can't say enough about this place you must check it out!!!

'caters to the very difficult 1 yr old crowd'?...he's not going to be a difficult one yr old forever. just take him where you want to be. i don't know if there's a need to find an adult establishment that CATERS to a one -YR-old. ??

Try http://www.cafeauplay.org/ (also mentioned in a past urbanmama post).

Back home, in California, the local cinema brew pub used to host a "babes in arms" movie night for Moms with very little ones--if McMenamins doesn't do something similar, it would be worth lobbying for. Cheers!

I know what you mean about the one-year-old difficulties... it's a challenge at that age to find a place that will allow them to safely explore and develop their new motor skills.

The places that worked for us at one year:
- Parks with lots of shade (Mt Tabor, Lents)
- Forest Park, arboretum, japanese gardens
- The waterfront over in the Riverplace development (quieter than the eastbank)
- New Seasons (grab a snack and eat there while exploring the dining area)
- Sip & Kranz
- Urban Grind
- Lloyd Center, upstairs where the offices are (lots of open space to crawl/run/explore with hardly any passerby)
- Jantzen Beach mall (great merry-go-round and hardly any people = good for exploring)
- The library, even when it's not storytime
- Restaurants with open space or outdoor space (we had good luck at laughing planet, equinox, kennedy school, lots of pizza places)
- Kid/baby stores (milagros, mother natures, etc.)

Can you tell that this was an issue in our house, too? Our daughter didn't like the stroller either and was a very, very active one-year-old. Good luck!

As mentioned above Kennedy School has been our family favorite for going out with friends with toddler in tow. When the kid gets squirmy, we can take him out (with a beer in our hand) to wander their vast hallways and ramps. A toddler's dream - and not too bad for mom & dad either.

I live in NE too and the Laurelwood Public House and Brewery is very infant/toddler friendly. www.laurelwoodbrewpubl.com They have a play area right in the middle of the dining room. Azteca mexcian restaurant on 15th & NE Broadway also has a play area for kids in their main dining room. I think the Kennedy School has Mommy Matines on Fridays. I had dinner there last night without my two kids, but nearly every other table had an infant or toddler. I also spend time at Milagros on 15th & NE Killingsworth. It's great for letting little ones play while you shop. Extracto coffee shopt (just across the street from Milagros) has fantastic coffee and a play area for kids. It's rare to visit the place and not see the kiddos playing in the back and the toys are geared for toddlers.

The Children's Museum CM2 up by the zoo also has an area for the younger set. My daughter loved that area when she was around the age of your son.

the st. johns pub (mcmenamins) offers mommy matinees on wednesdays. here's the link:

There is also Old Wives Tales, with a very kid friendly menu and a play area. Also, my now two year old loved (and still does love) the wading pools at Portland Parks during the summer. We also often go to Finnegan's to play with the toys they have on display -- although we inevitably end up buying something!

Vita Cafe on NE Alberta has a great outdoor patio with a bocce court and kids area. We've been there many times and they are extremely kid friendly, sipply cups, both soy and organic milk, smoothies and a healthy kids menu. Kids love to play on the bocce court or in the garden area.

The Vita even has a kids happy hour- kids eat for $1 every night from 5 to 7pm. If only they served $1 pints during the kids happy hour, we'd be in heaven. :)

of course you want to let your little one explore. that's what it's all about. some of my recommendations are repeats from other posters, but that way you know it's good,eh? ; >
~ Wilshire Park play area - perfect for 1 -3 yr olds.
~ OMSI - couldn't have lived w/out a membership from 1-3yrs old.
~ Kennedy School - it's too hot now but you can use the soaking pool too. if you live close enough it's even free. inside, the ramps and stairs are fun for a young one, and great for peek-a-boo.
~ Oregon Zoo's sand box - it's huge and has a slide in it. we didn't even know it was there until my daughter was 2.5
~ Peninsula Park rose garden & large grassy area - great for running, sniffing, seeing many colors, splashing hands in the fountain, etc.
~ Tin Shed on Alberta - they have a nice outdoor area little ones like to explore. it's just west of the patio seating area. this is where we discovered our daughter liked grits. (thanks, tin shed!)
I'm sure I'll think of a bunch of other places later tonight but that's my list for now.
Have fun!

I'm so glad you asked! I love these suggestions. The library is still a bit hard for us - "looking" at board books means a lot of reshelving for me.

NE Urban Grind is one of the most infant/kid/nursing friendly place I've been to. There are several play areas, including an infant room that are used by the church on Sundays and lots of mamas during the week. Be prepared for the service to be backed up (they really need more staff), children from infant to preschool age playing everywhere (with very few squabbles) and for the most part some pretty friendly mamas (who in my experience all seem to keep a mama eye on all the kids). I've been going since my 2yo daughter was 6mos old and have even taken my 4yo nephew to play with us.

The Target Store on 11826 NE Glisan St (right off of 205) is connected to a mall that is only half filled with stores. You can whiz through Target for some excitement, then walk the quiet mall. There is even a little play area and a really cool toy store. And it's air conditioned!

There is a GREAT new restaurant open in Cedar Hills area- not Cedar Hills Crossing, but the center located directy off HWY 26 and HWY 217 (where they merge). It is a REAl family restaurant- they have a HUGE childrens section filled with books, art projects, manipulatives, a doll house, tool bench, etc, etc. The best part is- for a small fee, your child enters the "performace area" and the adults go to the table to eat a great meal while watching the children through large cut-out windows in the wall that divides the eating area and the childrens section. The child can travel in and out of the space- visiting parents for a while and then going back in to play. The children also get fed a great meal! We went with my 3 yr old and a friends 2 yr old, it was FANTASTIC! The providers in the performace area all have backgrounds in childcare and are comletely screened. Visit Granda Leeth's restaurant for a different dining experience. You won't be sorry!!

I feel your pain...we were in your shoes 1-2 years ago and only in the last 6 months or so feel like we're venturing out again, particularly with restaurants and eating out. For fun and play outings, our favorite spots were/are Children's Museum/OMSI, the zoo, the indoor play gyms and classes through parks & rec, and coffee shops around town with friends. Outside fun is usually at different parks around town--Anders has caught on that each neighborhood has it's own park, and that every park is a little different so he loves to visit all of his friend's parks. Yesterday we went to Irving Park and he LOVED the sprinklers! And of course, Jamison Square and Sip N Kranz in the Pearl are summer staples.

For eating out, I second the repsonses above and will add Mississippi Pizza on Mississippi St., particularly on Friday evenings. They always have live music, which is fun for the kids and the parents, and there's always a group of little kids dancing up front and wandering around the place. We literally quit eating out for probably a year because we found it so stressful when he wouldnt sit still, wouldnt eat, and we couldnt enjoy our meals. Had we known about this place, I'm not sure we would have hesitated to take him there though. If it's any consolation, it DOES get better--Anders now has the ability to sit still (for more than 10 minutes!) and enjoy a meal out with us, which is really fun.

Haggis McBaggis Children's Shoe Store! There is a slide and a ball pit and "crocodile pit". I know that they just started their summer shoe sale so you might find some comfortable sandles for him to wear around town!!!

Just wanted to say thank you to all the fellow "Urban Mamas" who responded. Titus and I will have plenty of places to try next week as we venture out during my vacation. Thank you again everyone! - AE

I found the website for Grandma Leeth's:


Has anyone ever tried a restaurant in southeast called the New Copper Penny? Greek food? I notice they have a kids play area and I'm wondering if it is worth checking out: http://www.newcopperpenny.com/grill/play-area.html

Have you tried Me Too Cafe in Beaverton? just curious -

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