Where to Eat, Play and Explore with Babies & Toddlers - Phoenix / Scottsdale
Planning a family vacation to Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona with a baby or toddler? The Littlest Passport has gathered parents’ top recommendations of where to eat, what to see and what to do that’s baby and toddler friendly.
TASTY KID-FRIENDLY BRUNCH SPOTS IN PHOENIX / SCOTTSDALE
Matt’s Big Breakfast // website // The Phoenix area is BIG into breakfast, and not just for the weekends. Whenever we visit Phoenix we eat breakfast at least twice at Matt's Big Breakfast, which has multiple locations - including the Sky Harbor airport - and is a hit with locals. The menu is fresh, organic (with cage free eggs) and very hip! Follow the advice of the bon appétit Insider’s Guide to Phoenix and make sure to get the breakfast potatoes. We have visited the Northern Scottsdale location and the Phoenix location- both were excellent and extremely family/baby friendly. - Marni , mother to a 10 month old baby
Snooze // website // Another amazing breakfast place! Their pancakes are delicious, with unique flavors like sweet potato, blueberry danish and pineapple upside side pancakes. The eatery has multiple locations in the Phoenix area, all opening at 6:30am, ideal if your baby is an early riser. The Scottsdale location is located in the Kierland Commons outdoor shopping complex, so you can stroll the area with your little one after breakfast or, if busy, while you wait for a table (the restaurant does not accept reservations). - Marni
BABY-FRIENDLY LUNCH SPOTS IN PHOENIX / SCOTTSDALE
The Gladly // website // If you’ve got a young baby, don’t discredit The Gladly as a great place to dine. Although upscale, the restaurant and staff couldn’t have been friendlier to our baby. The Gladly is famous for its Original Chopped Salad, which my husband and I insist on having every time we visit! The restaurant serves new-American cuisine, with an extensive cocktail and whisky list - and an Instagram feed to drool over. The menu has limited “kid friendly” options, so if you’re dining with a toddler, you may want to pass. - Marni
Whole Foods // website // There will be times that your little one is melting down and needs to be placated with food and napped STAT. Therefore, having snacks and some healthy, prepared foods in your hotel room is essential when vacationing with a little one. So do a grocery run and then grab a quick bite at their restaurant/bar, which includes a Kids Menu. - Owais, father to 2 year old
BEST DINNER RESTAURANTS IN PHOENIX / SCOTTSDALE WITH BABIES OR TODDLERS
Doughbird // website // Go during Happy Hour (2-6pm) and make sure to order the $5 snack specials. Our daughter loved both the Lebanese Hummus with heirloom tomatoes & hearth bread, and the Guacamole with tangerine, green apple, and smoked almond. The parents loved the prices, quality, freshness, and the creative twists on classic appetizers. Doughbird specializes in pizza and rotisserie, so there are plenty of toddler friendly meals, but with adult sophistication. The restaurant has high chairs, booster seats and Etch a Sketches, and our order came out quickly - making this an enjoyable restaurant experience, even with a toddler in tow! - Brandi, mother to 2.5 year old
Hula’s Modern Tiki // website // Hula’s is a fun dinner spot in Old Town Scottsdale - it’s billed as an updated twist on the tiki bars of the 50’s and 60’s. Its excellent Happy Hour has an extensive appetizer menu, making it a great spot for early dinners when you are traveling with young kids. The restaurant opens up to a fenced in patio, which is a great place to sit, soak up and let the little one toddle in close range. - Marni
MOST UNIQUE COFFEE EXPERIENCE IN SCOTTSDALE
Fourtillfour // website // Make a trip to this coffee shop on a Sunday, which hosts European car meet-ups each weekend (classic Porsche meet-ups happen once a month). There is limited seating in this small garage turned hipster coffee joint. There is a patio, though you’ll need to keep a close eye on your little ones, since it is not fully fenced in. But if there’s a car enthusiast - young or old - in your family, this will be a fun outing. The coffee shop is a short jaunt to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and Old Scottsdale. - Owais
TOP 3 INDOOR ACTIVITIES IN PHOENIX / SCOTTSDALE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS
Children’s Museum of Phoenix // website // Our minds (adults’ included) were blown away by this amazing three floor spot for kids. Our two-and-a-half year old loved the two level climbing structure; live concert in the mezzanine; play pizzeria; and the twisting, turning race car ramps. The Children’s Museum is an absolute winner for families with multiple children - Baby Zones in each of the exhibit rooms provide wee ones with a safe area to explore and play while their older siblings play close by (there are also designated playrooms just for babies). We visited twice during our stay, including on our departure day - the museum opens at 9am and is a quick 10 minute drive to the airport. Our daughter was thrilled by our second visit, and we were thrilled that she got to burn off energy before getting on a 5 hour flight. The Children’s Museum gets hectic on weekday mornings (field trips), and on rainy days, so schedule carefully. - Brandi
Musical Instrument Museum // website // A truly unique museum that introduces visitors to instruments used all over the world. Plan your visit to coincide with a Mini Music Makers class (drop-in classes are $12), a fun music time hour with songs and movement that introduces little ones to musical cultures from around the world. One parent can attend the class while the other tours the museum, then after class, switch off and feed your little one in the MIM cafeteria.
Toddlers will especially enjoy the Experience Gallery, where they can strum, drum and interact with instruments from all over the world. Most of the museum exhibits require guided audio - our daughter enjoyed the headphones and listening to the music, but don't expect that the exhibit rooms will hold their attention for extended periods of time. If you’re interested in exploring the whole museum, consider a discounted two-day pass. - Owais
Heard Museum // website // This museum is a favorite. I just love Native American crafts, jewelry and artwork. I find this museum very quiet and very "nap-able" for babies, which means I can linger over the interesting and just plain beautiful collection. The museum has a children's room with self-guided hands-on activities to complement some exhibits. - Marni
TOP OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN PHOENIX / SCOTTSDALE WITH A BABY OR TODDLER
Desert Botanical Garden // website // Reciprocal Membership information // My husband and I are big fans of botanical garden visits with babies and toddlers. Botanic gardens are a great way to enjoy a relaxing stroll with your little one and take in local, seasonal flora. Paved walkways are ideal for toddlers, strollers, and wheelchairs, and unlike hiking or public parks, at botanical gardens you have access to cafes, restaurants, plenty of benches and clean washrooms.
The Desert Botanical Garden was exceptional, allowing us to walk among 12 feet tall cacti and succulent gardens, a truly unique experience if you’re not from the southwest. Kid-friendly programming at the Desert Botanical Garden is exciting and inventive, so be sure to visit the garden’s website prior to your visit to learn about totally cool events (including kid events) and exhibits taking place during your vacation. We visited the gardens twice during our stay, once during the day, and once at night to experience the Electric Desert light and music show, which excited toddler and parents alike. A true highlight of our trip! - Brandi
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park // website // This railroad park was awarded best public park in the United States. The park includes great shaded playgrounds, a giant indoor model railroad, a train that children and their parents can ride, a carousel, and more. It’s conveniently located near many Scottsdale resorts. - Lauren, Scottsdale native
Cave Creek // website // We loved visiting the town of Cave Creek. It's a small cowboy town that had a cute shopping area and a few restaurants. - Marni
Enjoy your stay in Phoenix/ Scottsdale! If you have recommendations for baby and toddler-friendly spots that that don’t appear on this list, please reach out in the comments section!