Tag Archives: baby

Pinball, beer, and baby

11 Oct

When my friend’s first child was born in 2005, our weekly pinball dates ended. We didn’t do the research to discover baby-friendly pinball venues. I’m happy to report that with my own baby I still enjoy the fwap of flippers, and there are many pinball palaces that welcome children. My scores are a little lower when I’m wearing the baby, but that gives me motivation to practice. Venues in bold serve alcohol.

Where do you like to play?

Full Tilt Ice Cream 3 locations: White Center, Columbia City, University District

  • Pinball, ice cream, and beer. All ages, live music & other special events. Fun, inexpensive, low-key.

Beth’s Cafe 7311 Aurora Avenue North Seattle, WA 98103-5356

  • 24 hours (attention, parents of newborns: why not go out at 2 a.m.?), diner food (including their famous bottomless hashbrowns). No alcohol.


Pinball at Stella's in Georgetown


Stellar Pizza and Ale House (Stella’s) 5513 Airport Way Blvd S Seattle, WA 98108

  • Kids allowed on one side only. One pinball machine accessible to minors.
  • Full menu–great pizza, lots of kid-friendly choices.
  • Full bar & many outstanding beers.

Hurricane Cafe 2230 7th Ave (7th & Bell)

  • A bit seedy, but several good machines
  • Full diner menu & full bar
  • 24 hr; great place for teens after an all-ages show (with supervision–it’s seedy)

Calamity Jane’s 5701 Airport Way South, Seattle, WA 9810

  • Really, really good food & full bar with great beer and wine
  • A couple of machines

Sureshot 4505 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105-4510

  • Coffee shop with some awesome old machines in the back room

Seattle Waterfront Arcade, at the south end of the waterfront

  • Arcade games, pinball, and a carousel

Seattle Center has some pinball machines in the arcade area. There are two places with beer in the Center House.


Get out there!

9 Oct

I started this blog because I want to share ideas for moms (and dads!) to get out with baby.  Many new parents stay home, alone, because they are afraid. Afraid the baby will cry in a public place. Afraid the baby will need to be fed, or changed. Afraid they will be judged as parents, or other people will dislike their infant.

The bad news: all of the above (and worse) is going to happen to every family. Your baby is going to cry on the bus, in the cafe, and in line at the bank. You’re going to have to change a blowout on the (cold/dirty) floor of a restaurant. People will stare, judge, and maybe even say unkind things. (many more people will be sympathetic and even helpful.)

The good news: it will be okay.  Being embarrassed or frustrated is worth NOT being isolated, bored, or hungry. We all have our shining moments–our good hair days, when everything comes together. We also all have Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days. Babies are little people, and will sometimes be difficult to deal with. It’s okay.

You are a good parent. You’re doing it right. You and your child deserve to be seen and heard.

The best news: the more you get out, the more confident you’ll feel. You’ll see other families and get ideas about what pieces of baby gear work and pick up techniques for entertaining or soothing. You’ll notice what kind of environment your baby enjoys and places that don’t work as well. Your baby will learn how to interact with people in different environments. Hopefully this blog will help you find places that welcome you & baby and avoid those who don’t.

In case breastfeeding is holding you back: 50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere

My favorite: #27 “So that mothers continue to be good consumers, spending their money in stores, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, airlines, resorts, sporting events, and more all while nursing their child (instead of staying at home).”

SeaTac Airport

5 Oct

Transit access and/or parking: Outstanding transit access & ample parking. NOTE: It’s about a 15 minute walk from the light rail station to the terminal.

Accessibility for strollers & little legs: Accessible, a bit large for little people to walk by themselves.

Activities & safety issues: There’s a play area and attached (large) private nursing/pumping area in the central terminal. There’s also a very cool fish mural near the food court.

Food/drink (for kids and adults): lots of choices, including places with grown-up drinks to help make it easier to fly with kids.

Restrooms and changing table: lots of restrooms, all with changing tables. Also noticed seats for babies in the accessible stalls!

Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: I found it welcoming.

Space/privacy to nurse: nursing area and plenty of other space.

Baja Bistro

3 Oct

Baja Bistro is one of our favorite places. Great breakfasts and fantastic drinks. The servers are friendly and the overall ambiance is relaxed and welcoming. This is one of the few places with a full liquor license on Beacon Hill.

Note: Baja Bistro is also known as Java Love. There’s a full-service espresso shop in the restaurant, and a 21+ bar accessible via the other entrance.

Location & hours of operation: 2414 Beacon Ave S;  Mon-Sun 8am-10pm

Transit access and/or parking: close to BH Light Rail Station & #36 bus; on street parking

Accessibility for strollers & little legs: tight quarters for a stroller, no stairs so perfect for little legs.

Cost: Happy hour is a great deal with $3 tacos & other snacks. Regular menu is reasonably priced; expect about $10/per person without drinks. Margaritas are so good you should budget for them.

Activities & safety issues: this is a restaurant. Bring your own small toys/activities.

Food/drink (for kids and adults): outstanding Mexican food, fresh & authentic. Very good margaritas.

Restrooms and changing table: no changing table, 2 clean restrooms.

Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: very, very friendly & welcoming.

Space/privacy to nurse: no special place, but they’re perfectly comfortable with nursing mothers

Beacon Hill gems

3 Oct

Our neighborhood has great restaurants–and every single one of them has been baby-friendly. I haven’t noticed any changing tables, but we live close enough it hasn’t been a problem.

Baby-friendly is an understatement. The owners and staff of Baja Bistro, The Station, El Quetzel, La Cabana, Tasha’s, Red Apple, and Cucina Filipina welcome babies and kids with open arms. They smile, coo, and chatter at babies and toddlers.  I’ve seen special meals/snacks brought out to keep the little ones entertained. More than once, people have asked if they can hold our baby while we eat.

I’ll write specific reviews for each place, but I want to shout out loud how amazing our community is.

Transit with baby

28 Sep

Why take mass transit with a baby? Why not? Seattle’s transit system isn’t perfect, but with the addition of Light Rail in 2009 it’s a whole lot easier to get around.

Two major transit agencies in Seattle: King County Metro and Sound Transit Link Light Rail. Metro Trip Planner is here. and Sound Transit information is here.

We haven’t taken the baby on a Seattle bus yet, because we live only a few blocks away from the Beacon Hill Light Rail station. She rides the train less she’s in a car. The baby enjoys walking to and from the station and watching people on the train–especially when they talk to her. I love not having to circle (or pay) for parking.

I find it easier to carry the baby in a sling, wrap, or carrier than to lug a heavy car seat or navigate a stroller. The Moby Wrap is fantastic, especially for very young babies and ling naps. The Ergo is super comfortable and has storage pockets. There are dozens of baby carriers and, like buying jeans, you really need to try them on to see what fits. Birth and Beyond has a great selection–they even host a workshop to help practice different techniques!

Bus Chick is the best resource out there for the hows and whys of taking mass transit with kids. If you’re not following her blog, you should check it out.

Some starter tips:
  • Get an Orca card and register it online. Get two, so there’s an extra if you have guests or lose one. Depending on how frequently you ride transit, you’ll either want a monthly pass or an E-Purse.
  • Travel lightly. Carry a minimum number of diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, etc.
  • Consider a backpack versus a shoulder strap diaper bag. Shoulder straps slide and can be cumbersome when you’re wearing a baby. Use your pockets for wallet, cash, keys, etc. I use a clip-on key ring and attach it to my belt loops or the inside of the diaper bag.
  • Give yourself lots of time. If you’re trying to make it to a workshop that starts at 10 and the trip planner estimates you’ll arrive at 9:55, take the earlier trip. Metro buses don’t run as frequently as light rail, so be sure to get to your stop with a few minutes to spare. Also keep in mind that you probably don’t walk as fast with a baby as you do without, so plan for longer walking time from the station.

South Lake Union Park/Center for Wooden Boats

27 Sep

On Sunday 9/27, we struck out for the newly opened South Lake Union Park. We started on light rail to Westlake then walked over to the South Lake Union Trolley Streetcar stop a couple of blocks away.

The streetcar took us all the way to the new park, where we discovered the Fremont Sunday Ice Cream cruise (an adventure for another day) and explored the Center for Wooden Boats display boats. Visitors are encouraged to climb aboard the Arthur Foss, an historic tugboat. There’s even a working head (toilet) for toddler emergencies!

There’s lots to see and plenty of activities for older kids and adults. Baby enjoyed people watching, climbing in and out of the boat, and being outside. Parents enjoyed the views.

Great views, gently sloped grassy knolls, and lots of footpaths in this park. No toys, but if your little ones absolutely must have a slide there’s a small play area nearby.

At a glance:

Open Hours: park is open during the day
Cost: Free! Center for Wooden Boats and cruises charge and/or request donations for their services
Fun for parents? yes
Fun for kids? all ages
Caution–as the name suggests, South Lake Union Park is near water. Watch kids carefully.
Activities available: tours, walking, boat rental, cruises
Food/drink available: none in park, nearby restaurants
Restrooms/changing table: public restrooms in the Armory; emergency bathroom available on the Arthur Foss
Accessible via transit? yes
Parking nearby? There is a parking lot.

Welcome to Baby on the Town!

27 Sep

I’ve been looking for a website to tell me where I can find changing tables, baby-friendly servers, and good food. As far as I can tell, this info isn’t available in one place.

Let’s see what we can do about that! Leave a comment with information about your favorite places–and places you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy’s baby. If you’d like to blog, let me know.

Where do you love to go? Why? Where have you struggled while shopping/eating/playing pinball with your baby?