From flashy al fresco restaurants on South Beach to revived diners and dockside dining along the bay, Miami is dotted with family-friendly restaurants that both parents and kids can get on board with. Whether you’re looking for a spot that doubles as an attraction (think bowling and arcade games), want to soak up Miami’s stunning sunsets (and local seafood), or hope to appease picky eaters (or prevent a temper tantrum) with loaded burgers, fries, and candy-coated milkshakes, these eight spots are sure to be a hit.
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1. Big Pink
A SoFi (South of Fifth) staple since the ‘90s, Big Pink is a trendy take on a retro diner. Everything from the Barbie pink-colored façade to the matching Volkswagen Beetles parked out front, to the specials served on stainless steel trays adds to the extremely Instagrammable experience. The late-night spot is open until 5:30 a.m. on the weekend, making it a favorite for the after-party crowd streaming from the clubs, as well as families strolling in for an all-day menu of elevated diner fare like powdered sugar Kobe donut burgers and chicken parm fries. Little ones can also order from the children's menu, which offers basic yet tasty items like pizza, pancakes, mac and cheese, and chicken fingers.
2. 11th Street Diner
For something more traditional that feels like just as much of an attraction, head north on South Beach to the 11th Street Diner. The original, railroad-style art deco dining car from the 1940s serves all-day breakfast classics like pancakes and eggs benedict, plus other American faves like Philly cheesesteaks, tuna and patty melts, and milkshakes. Children ages 10 and younger can take their pick of dishes such as chicken fingers, hot dogs, and pasta with butter. Last but certainly not least, the diner bosts a full bar — perfect for parents craving a milkshake spiked with amaretto or Baileys — plus an entire waffle bar for those wanting to go big at brunch.
3. Sugar Factory
Located on neon-clad Ocean Drive, Sugar Factory is just as its name suggests — a candy shop that could give Willy Wonka a run for his money. These aren’t your typical treats, though. The crowd-favorite Couture Pops are elevated lollies with bejeweled sticks, and shakes come in flavors like chocolate cookie jar (a blend of Oreos, chocolate chips, and pure melted chocolate). Order a snow cone or ice cream sandwich for something sweet to snack on while strolling the boardwalk, or sit inside to order staples like buttermilk onion rings, cheeseburger-loaded fries, and rainbow-colored sliders that come with a rubber duck to take home. While kids can get their sugar high in the form of Butterfinger or Nutella-banana shakes, parents can order smoking cocktails garnished with gummy fruit and cotton candy.
4. Barton G
For a see-and-be-seen spot on South Beach, reserve a table at Barton G. The Restaurant Miami Beach, where the experience is designed to be multi-sensory (meaning everything here is a bit extra). Order a cocktail from the below-zero nitro bar, where Champagne or pear vodka nitro popsicles add a whimsical element to martinis that are anything but traditional. Expect dishes with names like Boo G. Pasta (featuring Caribbean lobster meat, blue crab, and creamy parmesan sauce) and Once on a Blue Moon (spareribs with sticky Korean glaze and Blue Moon air). While some plates may be too off-the-wall for picky eaters, kids will love fun spins like Laughing Bird Popcorn Shrimp (yes, there’s actual popcorn) and lobster pop-tarts. The extravagant desserts, including a giant ice cream sundae served in a martini glass, also sure to please children of all ages
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5. Kings Dining & Entertainment
Out west in Doral, you'll find Kings Dining & Entertainment. The modern bowling alley-meets-sports bar and arcade serves up an extensive menu of burgers, wings, and easy-to-share snacks like fried cheddar bites and buffalo chicken wontons. When it comes to mains, your children can order straight off the kid's menu, which features pizza, pasta, build-your-own tacos, sliders, and more. You and the family can easily spend an afternoon (or entire evening) here catching sports matches on one of the big screens, playing billiards or bowling, or trying your luck with one of the arcade games.
6. Time Out Market Miami
For something fun and informal, head to Time Out Market Miami. This industrial-style food hall houses over 20 different food concepts dreamt up by some of the city's top chefs. Give the kids free rein to surprise the family, choosing dishes from contemporary Cuban Dale Street Food to dumplings from The Rogue Panda, to vegan Chinese from Momofuku and Eleven Madison Park alums. Alternatively, picky eaters may opt for something simpler like a cheese quesadilla from La Santa Taqueria or a kid's Smashburger from Little Liberty’s.
7. Glass & Vine
If you’re looking to soak up some of that Florida sunshine at a restaurant with outdoor (covered) seating, one of the top spots in town is Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove. A live jazz band performs in the evenings from Wednesday through Saturday, while Brunch in the Park — which features items like dulce de leche Belgian waffles and cornflake-crusted French toast — takes place all weekend. The menu here is locally sourced and seasonal, so expect dishes like a Key West mahi sandwich and local snapper with orange garlic sauce and crushed pistachios. Children aged 12 and under, on the other hand, can select their favorite no-frills dishes from the kid's menu (think: chicken tenders, a cheeseburger, or a bowl of buttered noodles).
8. Monty’s Sunset
On South Beach, Monty’s Sunset is a laid-back waterfront spot on the Miami Beach Marina. Of course, the best time to come is before the sunset, so you can watch the show while listening to live music and dining on fresh-caught local seafood or Florida Keys stone crab from the raw bar. And if the kids aren’t the biggest fans of fish, they’ll find plenty of other options to nosh on, like fried mozzarella, nachos, quesadillas, and coconut-fried shrimp.