Top 10 Family Dates in the Northland

Prior to the birth of our daughter in July 2014, my husband and I were quite the about-towners. As one of the few families in our social circles without children, we were able to attend events, check out new places and plan fun spur of the moment outings just about anytime. It was really important to us after we became parents to continue to explore the Northland and get out and about. We just had to figure out how to do it with a little one in tow. These are our Top 10 family date spots in the Northland:

  • Chicken and Pickle: this fun eatery and game center in North Kansas City describes itself as “a chef-driven, casual eatery & bar with pickleball courts, shaded beer gardens and backyard games.” and while the description doesn’t sound kid friendly, it is! They have an amazing menu, big picnic tables where you can spread out and dig in to some delicious and kid friendly grub, pickleball courts you can rent and some amazing yard games including a huge Battleship board.
  • Parkville’s Main Street: We love visiting downtown Parkville for a casual morning or evening of fun. Parkville offers some great eateries that are family friendly, including our family’s favorites Stone Canyon Pizza and Parkville Coffee. Also check out Parkville Mini Golf for some serious family fun on their 18-hole miniature golf course; the Parkville Farmer’s Market to browse through on Saturday mornings from late April through October; great retail shops, and no trip is complete without a stop in to Old Town Sweets and Antiques for a sweet snack. And if you need to run off some of that ice cream, there’s always English Landing Park for some great family walking trails and playgrounds.
  • PowerPlay Entertainment Center: Geared toward people of all ages, PowerPlay is a huge complex that offers bowling, laster tag, a carousel, carnival style rides, go karts and a zip line. We love that there are options for even smaller kids. Our three year old loves the carousel and would happily ride it all day long. They also offer buffet dining options along with a carnival themed concession stand for fun treats.
  • Outdoor Movie Series: We have discovered that there are some awesome summer options for outdoor movies near us! Outdoor movies are typically sponsored by a city or community, and are put on for free on weekend evenings during the summer. You can bring your own snacks and drinks, chairs or blankets, and some even offer additional activities before the movie. We recently stumbled upon the Smithville, Mo. Downtown Courtyard Movie Night, with sprinklers out for the kids to play in before the movie started. We’ve also had fun with movies in the park in North Kansas City, Gladstone’s Linden Square and in the Village at Briarcliff.
  • Zona Rosa: We love Zona Rosa for a great place to get outdoors when the weather is nice, but there are some great options for indoor activities too. Catch a great outdoor concert in their Town Square during the summer or play in their fountains; enjoy free fitness classes from the North Kansas City Hospital Wellness Corner including yoga, zumba and many others; have a blast playing old school video games, pinball and skeeball at Draftcade while enjoying their awesome menu (kids welcome until 8PM during the week); and enjoy some indoor play time at The Grove indoor play place and in Barnes and Noble’s children area.
  • Line Creek Trail and The Kansas City Northern Railroad: Our daughter is in love with the idea of packing a lunch and taking off on an adventure, and our current favorite is heading down to the Frank Viydak/Line Creek Park to enjoy the Kansas City Northern Railroad. This Northland gem is run by a group of volunteers from May through September. They run three historical trains over a half mile track for the bargain price of $0.75 for two loops around the ½ mile track. But don’t let your adventure end there! You can hike or bike the Line Creek Trail from the park as well. There are some beautiful spots for a picnic along the way, or make use of the picnic tables in the park. While it’s not the wine, cheese and afternoon nap picnic of our pre-kid days, it’s a mighty fine way to enjoy being a family.
  • C.W. Parker Carousel Museum: OK, not TECHNICALLY in the Northland, this amazing spot is located in Leavenworth, Kan., just across the river from Platte City. Honestly, it’s such a great spot that I couldn’t leave it out. The museum showcases  three restored carousels, including one that is 103 years old and still in working order, plus restored individual carousel horses and band organs. The museum offers special events, birthday parties and of course rides.
  • Retro Bowl: We discovered earlier this year at a birthday party that our toddler LOVES to bowl! There are a couple of fun bowling alleys in the Northland, but our favorite is Retro Bowl in Liberty. They have great food and a really fun atmosphere, plus they offer $5 all you can bowl on Sundays.
  • Shoal Creek Living History Museum : This awesome slice of history is located in Hodge Park and boasts 21 structures, with 17 of them being authentic 19th century buildings dating from 1807-1885. For the Little House on the Prairie fan in each of us, Shoal Creek Living History Museum is a step back in time. The museum grounds  are open seven days a week to explore, however the interiors of the buildings are only open during special events (of which there are a ton!) or with a paid admission.
  • Brunch: Easily our favorite weekend date meal pre-kid, and one we weren’t ready to give up post-kid. Although it seems ridiculous, because we all know how utterly terrible a meal out with a toddler can be, there’s just something about an indulgent and leisurely Sunday brunch out that tames even my three year old. Some of our favorite Sunday brunch date spots are Nick and Jake’s, BC Bistro, Ginger Sue’s and Granite City Food and Brewery. Cheers!

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