Coffee shops have always been a part of my life.
I worked as a barista at Refresh Coffee in San Diego after I graduated from high school, and I fell in love with quality, handcrafted coffee. I learned that there was life beyond the Starbucks drive-thru and instant coffee. My husband always said he would marry a barista and, lo and behold, he found me. Through dating and into marriage, coffee remained central to our lives. It somehow would always find it’s way into our weekly date nights, day trips, and conversations. Fortunately for us, San Diego is filled with third-wave coffee shops, with owners who truly put their hearts and souls into their work. The coffee culture in San Diego is unlike anywhere else, and it truly fosters a sense of community in our hometown.
When I became pregnant with our son, I eventually had to stop working as a barista; and although our opportunities to sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee would soon be few and far between, our need for caffeine was about to substantially grow (am I right?).
As my son reached toddlerhood, one of the things I quickly learned was that there were a handful of “Kid-Friendly” coffee shops, or places that would be fun for all of us! They provide an outlet for me to get my quality coffee fix, while doing something fun with him.
1. Kaffee Meister (9225 Carlton Hills Blvd Unit 30, Santee, CA, 92071)
We probably frequent this stop the most when our son is with us. Their space is fairly big, with a few comfy couches in the corner. There are high chairs for the littles, and some cards and board games on the shelves to play with older kids. Our favorite thing to do, however, is to grab our coffee drinks and walk over to Mast Park.
It is literally right next door, and my son loves it! It has a big play structure, a toddler structure, and a swing set. There are even a few walking trails in the back, a basketball court, and a dog park. Also, Kaffee Meister is in the same parking lot as the Santee Branch of the San Diego County Library! You can take the kids over to check out some books, or attend one of their free events or classes (times can be found on their website). We love Toddler Music & Story Time on Fridays!
2. James Coffee Co. (2355 India Street, San Diego, CA, 92101)
We love James Coffee Co! They roast their own delicious coffee beans, and it is one of our favorite places to go as a family. It is open later than most coffee shops, and it located in beautiful Little Italy (close to the new Waterfront Park)! James Coffee Co. shares a space with a couple other small shops, so the interior of their shop is very big. This is very helpful for our 15 month old, who is currently Mr. Independent and wants to walk everywhere and not be carried. We can sit and drink our coffee, while keeping an eye on him as he walks a few laps inside. It’s spacious enough so he doesn’t bother anyone, and since it is an open ware-house type space he can babble at toddler volume and not disturb those who are working.
Also, James Coffee Co. has chess and checkerboards built into some of their tables, as well as decks of cards scattered around. We love bringing our high schooler down for a cup of coffee and a game of chess, and kids from even younger ages would love to play a game of checkers or Go Fish. It is a great place for a date night, either with your significant other or your kids! Oh, and James Coffee Co. as a business is completely baby friendly. They have hosted “Mom and Baby Pop Ups” in the past with local baby small shops, a mommy and me photo booth, baby food samples, and more! Be on the lookout for these events!
3. Bean Bar (1068 K St, San Diego, CA 92101)
Bean Bar is a little corner coffee shop in East Village. They use coffee from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters in Vancouver, BC (and it’s AMAZING)! Their space is small and cozy, but it is a great place for kids because of the location. It is directly across the street from the beautiful, new San Diego Central Library. It has over seven floors, a rooftop outlook view, and a GIGANTIC kids section, with fun activities for kids of all ages. Our toddler would spend hours there if he could. If you park in the library parking structure and validate your ticket inside the library, you can park free for two hours (instead of trying to find street parking outside of Bean Bar). Then, you can walk over and grab coffee before you leave! It’s always a fun day for us and the kids.
Try these coffee shops out, and let us know what you (and the kids) think!