When you are a single parent exploring a new town with a preschooler in tow, one of the first things you look for are places where you can get work done or have a conversation with another adult while your child burns some energy. Ideally, such wonderful place offers a contained indoor playground with toys and reading material to keep children busy and uninterested in mom's whereabouts, plus an adult-seating area with access to WiFi and some kind of food and beverage.
In Los Angeles, where we lived before moving here, there were plenty of awesome places to choose from. One of my favorites was in Redondo Beach and came equipped with comfy loungers, multiple tables, supervision for the youngest ($10/day), and a food service area that served delicious fare, including wine and beer!
Finding good options in Playa del Carmen hasn't been easy. Businesses here aren't very good in marketing themselves as kid-friendly so the best way to find anything is by joining local Facebook groups and posting questions, and by checking out as many places as you can come across.
As far as I know, there isn't a single place in Playa that combines children's play and adult working/socializing space per se, so a parent's best bet is to pick up a table at a local restaurant with A/C and a children area of sorts.
Here's a list of places I've tried. WiFi and quiet time not guaranteed.
3XL Burger - This small but neat burger joint comes with a toppings bar, veggie options and a little children's area with toys and books. Food is prepared from scratch so expect about a 20-min wait. Calle 8 Norte x Av. 25 & 30, across from Walmart Centro
Boston's Pizza - Restaurant chain offering a full bar and an indoor play area with a climbing structure. Pizza is tasty and good for sharing, and they have decent salads, too. Just don't expect great service. Av. Constituyentes & Av. 115, Col. Ejidal
El Hongo - Funky outdoor space that uses recycled materials as part of the décor. Children can explore an open library, play with rescued toys, do puzzles and more. You'll enjoy tasty homemade food at great local prices. Just don't forget to bring repellent as mosquitos here are relentless. Calle 19 Sur / Diagonal 80 Sur & Calle 85 Sur
Fiesta Inn Hotel - Centrally located, the hotel's rooftop has two kid-friendly swimming pools accessible to non-guests with a minimum restaurant/bar consumption. Great place to enjoy a sunny day in good company with yummy food and drinks. Av. 10 & Calle 28 Norte
HOT Casual Food Plaza Inn - Located on a street mall close to Plaza Las Américas, Walmart La Cruz and SAYAAB Planetarium. There's a supervised playroom on the second floor (don't forget to tip the attendant!) and you can watch your kids while you eat downstairs via closed-circuit monitors. Fresh salads, soups, sandwiches, and Mexican dishes. Plaza Inn, Av. Kantenha & Av. 58 Norte
La Parroquia de Veracruz - Popular place for Mexican-style breakfast and traditional food. Great coffee. It offers an enclosed area with a climbing structure that can be somewhat overwhelming for the younger ones. Av. Balamkanché, Mz 30, Lt2, Playacar, Carretera Tulum - Cancún
La Vagabunda Fiesta - Don't expect great food or fancy drinks here, but kids love jumping on the inflatables spread out in its outdoor area and there's a swimming pool, too. Good place for hosting your kid's party. Av. 28 de Julio & Carretera Cancún - Tulum
Lido Beach Club - On the beach, next to Zenzi, with a tiny kid area on the sand. Great adult ambiance, and good food and drinks. Good option for catching up with a friend. Av. 1 Norte Bis, part of Hotel Colibri Beach
Lucky Wings - Along the highway, in the plaza next to Playacar and right above La Parroquia de Veracruz, you'll find this restaurant that serves chicken wings, salads, and other casual American food. The play area is wide and open, featuring a pirate ship and slides for the kids. 50 Avenida Norte 825, Ejidal, Playa del Carmen
Mi Ranchito Playero - Not the best location, as it's right on the side of the highway as you approach Centro Maya, but it does offer a secured and supervised playpen with a trampoline, toys, and cartoons. You eat al fresco from different food trucks featuring Thai, Sushi, Mediterranean, and other yummy things, as well as adult beverages. Live music in the evenings. Don't forget to tip the girl watching the kids! Carretera Cancún - Tulum & Calle 5 Sur, Col. Ejidal
Norawa Park - Far from Playa Centro but worth the drive if you're looking for an open space with a swimming pool, play structure with swings and a slide, and different food options provided by resident food trucks and seafood restaurant Chiltepin Marisquillos. Kids can color and paint on-site on certain days. Full bar, upbeat music, and shaded seating. Av. Solidaridad x Muyil & Av. Misión del Carmen
Perché No - Nice place to have a chilled glass of wine and a variety of Italian dishes including salads, pasta, calzone, full entrees and different variations of pizza. My personal favorite, the Sofia Loren, comes with shrimp, arugula and cherry tomatoes. Small kids area in the back of the restaurant. Av. Balamkanché, Mz 30, Lt4, Playacar, Carretera Tulum - Cancún (same plaza as Office Max)
Toks - Restaurant chain serving traditional Mexican cafeteria-style food with monthly specials. Its enclosed play structure has slides that keep the little ones entertained for a while. Soccer games are usually playing on large TV screens. Expect service to be slow and the place to be loud. It has a children's menu with specials. Plaza Las Américas on Av. Chemuyil, next to Sears
Vips - Another restaurant chain offering traditional Mexican cafeteria-style food and good deals for lunch. It has an enclosed climbing structure and a children's menu with monthly promotions. Carretera Cancún - Tulum, Playacar, next to Sam's Club or try their new location on Constituyentes and 30 Avenida
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