The holy grail of parenting = a great cafe combined with a great park (also a kid who sleeps through the night, isn’t a fussy eater etc etc but that’s all for another time).

Of course it’s possible to BYO snacks to a playground or BYO toys to a cafe. But the perfect cafe and playground combo means there’s something for them and something for you, right?

Here’s a list of my Top 18 cafe and playground destinations, where (a) the cafe is within sight of the playground or no further than across the road and (b) the food is worth recommending and the playground is at least passable.

Note this list excludes cafes that provide their own indoor or outdoor play areas.

 

1. Go West Tuck Shop + Woodlea playground

A large, thrilling and interesting playground that’s worth a special trip. Combine it with Go West a fantastic, light-filled eatery that wouldn’t be out of place in the hip inner city and Woodlea’s got my vote.

Go West, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

 

2. Serotonin + Golden Square Bicentennial Park

serotonin burnley

Serotonin is a health-conscious cafe where everything on the menu is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Across the road is a park and small playground with train-spotting opportunities

Bonus points – you can collect a picnic basket and rug from Serotonin, order from the takeaway window and they’ll bring your food out to you in the park!

Serotonin, 52 Madden Grove, Burnley

 

3. Curator’s Collective + Queens Park playground

olivers garden

Curator’s Collective is a sweet lake-side cafe within sight of a popular playground in Queens Park. The playground could do with an update to be honest but it’ll still keep the kids amused while you sip your latte. Just beware of the pigeons – step away from your food and BAM it’ll be gone.

Curator’s Collective, 778 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds

 

4. Cowderoy’s Dairy + Jacoby Reserve

cowderoy's dairy

Cowderoy’s Dairy is an old-style milk bar cafe within sight of a small playground.

Cowderoy’s Dairy, 14 Cowderoy St, St Kilda West

 

5. Little Captain + Hewison Reserve

Little Captain St Kilda East

Little Captain is a sweet but slightly ramshackle cafe which wouldn’t be particularly remarkable on it’s own – but it has a back entrance that leads straight to the fenced playground at Hewison Reserve. 

Little Captain, 353 Inkerman St, St Kilda East

 

6. The Boathouse + Maribyrnong Park

maribyrnong park

Along the shores of the Maribyrnong River you’ll find a large marine-themed playground, a coffee kiosk and The Boathouse restaurant. Depending on how busy the kitchen is sometimes you can order from The Boathouse menu and get it take away from the coffee kiosk.

The Boathouse, 7 The Boulevard, Maribyrnong Park, Moonee Ponds

 

7. Farm cafe + Collingwood Children’s Farm

The Farm Cafe, Collingwood Children’s Farm, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

The Farm Cafe is a brilliant little cafe focusing on local and seasonal produce (with one of Melbourne’s best milkshakes) on the site of Collingwood Children’s Farm. On the second Saturday of every month there’s a popular Farmer’s Market too and you can enter the farm for only $2 adult and kids free.

The Farm Cafe, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

 

8. Green Park Dining + playground

Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park Dining offers sophisticated brunch fare in North Carlton with a back area that spills out into bike racks and a small playground.

Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

 

9. Federation Square and riverside eateries + Artplay playground

Artplay playground melbourne

Federation Square and Birrarung Marr offers many places where you can get a feed (including ACMI Bar & Cafe, Pilgrim and Riverland). Then enjoy the sprawling Artplay playground at Birrarung Marr. Bonus points for excellent ice cream at Popstic by the river.

Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

 

10. Saluministi + Buluk Park

Saluministi Melbourne

Saluministi serves rustic Italian-style panini, coffee and sweets. The unusual playground at Buluk Park and the beautiful Library at the Dock makes this playground + cafe combo one of our favourite stops in Docklands.

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands

 

11. Hanhdorf Fine Chocolates + Montrose Community Playground

montrose playground

Possibly the only playground in Melbourne with an adjoining chocolate shop!

Hahndorf’s Fine Chocolates, 960-962 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Montrose

 

12. The Foodrinkery + playground

The Foodrinkery, 22 Banksia Street, Burwood

The Foodrinkery is a small cafe that not only provides its own play area but opens its back gate into a large local reserve with playground.

The Foodrinkery, 22 Banksia St, Burwood

 

13. Cubbyhouse Canteen + playground

cubbyhouse canteen

Cute child-friendly cafe next to a local park and playground. A more ‘grown up’ and upmarket option is nearby Gardiner and Field who also offer takeaway lunch packs (sandwich, salad and treat) that you can take to the playground. 

Cubbyhouse Canteen, 43A Union St, Armadale

 

14. Square and Compass + Fitzroy Gardens

square and compass cafe

Square and Compass boasts a light-filled interior with courtyard just a stone’s throw from the small dragon playground inside picturesque Fitzroy Gardens. At the bottom end of Fitzroy Gardens (near Wellington Parade) there’s also child-friendly Kere Kere cafe.

Square and Compass, 222 Clarendon St, East Melbourne

 

15. Leroys +Paine Reserve

Leroys Newport

If you STILL need entertainment after the cubbyhouse and toys at Leroys then there’s a small playground in front the Newport Community Hub at Paine Reserve. Another alternative cafe for the same playground is The Backyard.

 

16. Hank Marvin Market + Alma Park East

Alma Park East playground, Alma Rd, St Kilda East

If you visit Alma Park East on a Saturday morning then the food trucks and produce stalls are there for the Hank Marvin Market.

17. Yarraville Gardens food trucks + Yarraville Gardens playground

Yarraville Gardens

Every Friday night and weekend lunch/dinner a rotation of food trucks line Yarraville Gardens. The playground within the park is large and suits all ages.

 

18. Coburg Farmers Market + Harmony Park

Harmony Park, 187-195 Gaffney St, Coburg North

Every Saturday Coburg North Primary School holds a farmer’s market and the school grounds are just behind the awesome Harmony Park.


Where are your favourite cafe + park combos in Melbourne?

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