The holy grail of parenting = a great cafe combined with a great playground or 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 19 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 or the playground is worth recommending.
1. Aintree Cafe + Woodlea playground
A large, thrilling and interesting playground that’s worth a special trip. It's also within walking distance to another four playgrounds (Frontier Park, Pioneer Drive, Muster Drive, Nugget Place) so you can playground hop!
Aintree Cafe, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank
2. Serotonin + Golden Square Bicentennial Park
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
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, 14 Cowderoy St, St Kilda West
5. Little Captain + Hewison Reserve
Little Captain is a sweet but slightly ramshackle cafe which wouldn't be particularly remarkable on its 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
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 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. Have brunch then go see the animals!
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. Park Street + playground
Park Street offers sophisticated brunch fare in North Carlton with a back area that spills out into bike racks and a small playground.
Park Street, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North
Find Hotels and Airbnbs in North Carlton, Melbourne
9. Federation Square and riverside eateries + Artplay playground
Bonus points for excellent ice cream at Popstic by the river.
Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
10. Saluministi + Buluk Park
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
Possibly the only playground in Melbourne with an adjoining chocolate shop! Play shop at Montrose Community Playground then head around the corner for a sweet treat.
Hahndorf's Fine Chocolates, 960-962 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Montrose
12. The Foodrinkery + playground
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
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
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
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.
Leroys, 5 Mason St, Newport
The Backyard, 19 Mason St, Newport
16. Rogue District + Warr Park
At Rogue District you'll find Korean-inspired but still approachable cafe fare, a sheltered courtyard at the back and a colourful public playground right next door.
Rogue District, 179 Albion St, Brunswick 03 9386 7750
Admittedly this is more of a great playground/ok cafe combination (rather than great cafe/ok playground) but the North Point Cafe and handy kiosk make North Road Foreshore Playground an appealing stop for Bayside families.
The cafe does have a mesmerising fish tank inside!
North Point Cafe, 2b North Road Brighton
18. Upsy Daisy + Booran Reserve
A trip to the vast playground at Booran Reserve is an all-day affair so thank goodness for Upsy Daisy. This aqua-hued cafe served a wholesome menu across the road from the main entrance.
Upsy Daisy., 1062 Glen Huntly Road, Glen Huntly
Click here for the best family-friendly cafes in Melbourne
Click here for more child-friendly cafes with outdoor play areas
I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!