Outdoor Dining with Toddlers

Let’s face it, dining out with little ones is not fun. At all. But when you have toddlers, you need to get out of the house eventually and because I love to help the people, I have done some research to find you places in Lake County where you can enjoy outdoor dining with toddlers without getting the side eye from other diners.

outdoor dinning with children

Outdoor Dining with Toddlers 

Outdoor Dining with Toddlers

Jesse Oaks
18490 W. Gages Lake Rd., Gages Lake | (847) 223-2575

I know what you’re thinking: you want me to bring my toddler to a bar?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Because Jesse Oaks is more than a bar! It is a restaurant that serves fun food, has sand volleyball, lots of outdoor space and fun drinks for mom and dad. It’s a perfect place to people watch and not get stares from judging eyes when your kids start running around in the sand pits. That is unless there is a volleyball game in progress, then you will get stares so don’t let your children do that.

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RJ’s Eatery
1913 E. Grand Ave., Lindenhurst | (847) 356-2300

With amazing views of Sand Lake, RJ’s offers a distraction of water (don’t let the kids go in) and music that plays over the loud speakers on the patio. They are known for their pizza, but their hamburgers are incredible as well. The menu also offers lots of toddler-friendly dishes like mozzarella sticks, french fries and pasta. RJ’s made our list of best gluten-free pizzas here. Tuesdays are Kids’ Night, where kids’ meals are only $2.99 (they also have a gluten-free kids menu).

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Emil’s Pizza Mundelein
604 N. Lake St., Mundelein | (847) 566-8879

Emil’s Pizza Grayslake
161 Center St., Grayslake| (847) 543-8879

Emil’s is known for their amazing pizza and if you have toddlers, most likely they love pizza. But Emil’s also offers a great patio at the Mundelein location and a small, but very private, courtyard at the Grayslake location. Both locations are perfect for messy toddlers who love to throw their pizza sauce all over the place. They also offer chicken strips and fries in addition to other great kids favorites if pizza isn’t their thing.

Emil’s also made our list for Best Wings in Lake County.

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Outdoor Dining with Toddlers
Photo Source Fairmont Shores on Facebook

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Fairmont Shores
37641 N. Lake Shore Dr., Lake Villa | (847) 497-4500

We’ve written about Fairmont Shores several times at Little Lake County for Best Wings, Best Fish Fry in Lake County and Holly wrote a great review about this place being one of her favorite places to eat with her family. With a huge deck facing Fox Lake, lots of outdoor seating, a menu that offers something for everyone, your toddler is sure to love it here.

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The Freeze
131 Hawley St., Grayslake | (847) 223-2262

Formerly Tastee Freeze, The Freeze is a great place to take toddlers. With picnic tables, a park just down the street, a fire station across the street and ice cream for dessert, it’s like a toddlers dream. Visit The Freeze on Facebook to check out all they have to offer.

outdoor dining with children


Fast food with outdoor eating 

Multiple locations throughout Lake County.

Butterburgers, chicken tenders, custard and most locations have outdoor umbrella table seating. See the website for the closest location to you.

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Multiple locations throughout Lake County

Most Chipotle locations have some sort of outdoor seating as well as a great kids menu. This is one fast food place that I don’t feel necessarily guilty about indulging for our kids. See the website for the location closest to you.

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McDonald’s Restaurants
Multiple locations throughout Lake County
2250 E. Grand Ave., Lindenhurst

Yes, there are many fast food restaurants and McDonald’s is no exception. But our favorite McDonald’s in Lindenhurst has a park right next door which makes it a perfect place to take your toddler.

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs
6102 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee

The only Portillo’s in Lake County with outdoor seating, this is a great place to take the kids and get some amazing Chicago-style food.

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Did I miss any of your favorite spots? Let me know in the comments! 


About Kari Wagner Hoban 36 Articles
Kari loves to write and take photos, not necessarily in that order. Her journey started in 2010 when she sat down to write a few words on a private blog. She pressed “public” a few weeks later and the rest is history. Kari loves making people laugh, being real, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She also really loves her dog Buddy and fish Lucy. When she is not busy writing or going through the Starbucks drive thru, you can find her talking to her plants Zoe, Evie and Albert. She didn’t name Evie. Her nine year old did. But she's totally an Edna so that’s what Kari calls her when her nine year old isn’t home.

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