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Dear Philly, Here I Come With A 1 Year Old

Hi Philadelphia.

I'll be in town this week with my wife and our 1 year old. Probably once a day it'll just be me and the kid eating lunch at a restaurant. He does pretty well at restaurants as long as the wait isn't absurd for seats or food. He also is a pretty flexible eater. I'm open to eating anything too.

Quick breakfast options are welcome as well.

We'll be mostly in the convention center/ city hall area, but are willing to walk and have a car as well.

We might hit up the Please Touch museum, zoo, or aquarium, so options near those work too.

So where should I go, Philly?

Thanks everyone!

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  1. Reading Terminal Market http://www.readingterminalmarket.org at 12th and Filbert Sts is a must do for breakfasts and lunch. My favorites are the pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place, muffins and apple fritters at Beiler's, and roast pork sandwiches at DiNic's. There is ample seating at the market and kids would do fine here and like to "feed the pig." Do hit the market between Wednesday and Saturday when the Amish merchants are open (including the Dutch Eating Place and Beiler's).

    There is literally zilch to eat near the Please Touch Museum, the zoo, and the aquarium unless you're overly adventurous and willing to walk a lot and/or enter a sketchy area.

    1. We ate at a.kitchen the other night. around the last place i'd have thought of bringing a baby, but there was 1 there (in a restaurant-supplied high chair) and a few other kids under 5.

      1. I agree on Reading Terminal Market. Many options for breakfast and lunch, and not far from the convention center. You are also very near Chinatown, which gives you good lunch and/or dinner options, and almost everyplace there is kid-friendly. I particularly recommend Rangoon (Burmese cuisine) everyone I ever send there loves it,.

        1. Last year I went to the Reading Terminal Market with my then 1 and 2 year old boys. It was great. The pork sandwiches at DiNic's are amazing! And so many options for a treat like cookies, candy, etc. We shared an apple fritter type thing from one Amish store. Would highly recommend going to RTM at least once. Your son will love it.

          1. Reading Terminal, as others have said, plus Chinatown. You're pretty much in it/at the edge of it at the convention center.

            I love Vietnam Palace and the service there is always fast and, from what I've observed, family-with-kids friendly.

            1. Thanks for all the tips everyone! Looks like we'll be hitting Reading Terminal Market once or twice and the same for some of these Chinatown recommendations!

              1. We take our daughter to the please touch museum often. I agree there is nothing for lunch in the area so we always take a short drive to the fair mount/ art museum area. A favorite is the Belgian Cafe on Green Street. It does not at first seem like a kid friendly place but the place is always full of families with kids and our daughter always gets fantastic treatment from the staff. They have good food (really good burgers, Belgian style fries and mussels) and a good brunch menu. They do not have a kids menu but when my daughter was one she was crazy for their sweet potato hummus. Also in Fairmount is Jacks's Firehouse. They have a kids menu and their staff is also great. Fairmount is also a pretty area to stroll around on a nice afternoon.

                1 Reply
                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  The fries at Belgian cafe are awesome, but they are pretty much the complete opposite of Belgian-style frites.

                2. Mmmm, Jack's Firehouse has a great brisket sandwich!

                  If you feel like getting out of the city, there's also a children's museum in Cherry Hill - the Garden State Discovery Museum. While you're in South Jersey, visit the Pop Shop in Collingswood, about 15 min away.



                  1. In Fairmount Park, we have the Smith Playhouse and Playground -- wonderful free fun for children ten and under. (The Playground will open in April for the season.) The building was designed and built specifically as a playhouse by parents in memory of their son. Follow dining recommendations for Fairmount area.


                    1. Thanks for all the help everyone!

                      We had a great time in Philadelphia and hope to visit again soon. The zoo and the please touch museum were big hits with my son. We spent hours at each and would have stayed even longer if it wasn't nap time.

                      The aquarium was fun as well, but we only needed about 90 minutes to see it all, and it probably wasn't worth the cost for a one year old. Both the aquarium and the zoo are adding new sections in the next year or so for younger kids, so that may add to the fun even further.

                      We also enjoyed a warm afternoon in the playground at Seger Park. It was a great set-up there with three separate play areas for the youngest, middle, and oldest kids, meaning there was fun equipment for kids of all ages, which is often not the case at playgrounds.

                      Anyway, onto the Chow:

                      We had a great lunch at Vietnam Palace - We tried a couple appetizers and an entree in the early afternoon and the service was very prompt and friendly. They were even helpful when my son started to get tired and we needed to wrap things up quickly.

                      We had several meals at the Terminal Market, which was a lot of fun for my son to walk around as well. Great for kids and everyone there was very nice. We liked the breakfast so much at Dutch Eating Place that we went back the next day! Fluffy pancakes, great fresh orange juice, great sides, and everything was really fresh and flavorful. As an added bonus, we got to sit down right away both times, which is thanks to going there on weekday mornings, I suppose. We also had a really good lunch at The Original Turkey, where we shared a table with some really friendly people and discovered that my son will eat anything as long as it's mixed with cranberry sauce.

                      Also while wandering the area towards the playground (which is a lovely neighborhood) we found Capogiro Gelato, and were very happy with that choice as well. If we had a couple more days we probably would have spent some more time exploring eating options in that Washington Square West neighborhood (if that's the right name for it).

                      Everyone was also absolutely right that there aren't many options near the zoo, aquarium, or please touch museum. I brought snacks with us so we just headed back downtown to eat after each activity. Also for any future travelers to the please touch museum - the please touch cafe is pretty bad. If you enjoy typical prepackaged or rewarmed low-quality museum food, you'll love the please touch cafe. Unfortunately we went on our way out of town and just ate there anyway. But the museum itself, again, is great. My son's face at the pretend supermarket was priceless.

                      Thanks again, we loved your city!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: gothamdarkknight

                        Thanks for posting a your follow-up impressions and your advice! So glad you had a lovely time.

                        1. re: mookleknuck

                          Thanks for the post. Glad you liked the pancakes!

                        2. re: gothamdarkknight

                          aw, we love you back.............. hahah

                          1. re: gothamdarkknight

                            Thanks for the report . . .We really do love you back (and all visitors must do the RTM). Next time bring Philly pretzels for snacks ( :)

                            Now I must brave the flower show on Monday . . . wish me luck!

                            1. re: gaffk

                              Beats braving it this Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, and next Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Whew...that's a lot of trips!