The best kids' cafés in Shanghai

From cool toys to helpful staff to a good cup of coffee for you, these kid cafés in Shanghai tick all the boxes

Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe
Highchairs, comfy naptime spots, a place to park the pram – it takes a lot to have a successful outing with kids. And now that temperatures are dropping and parents are limited to indoor places to play, things get even tougher. But that doesn't mean great venues to hang out with your mini outside of the house can't be found. From cool toys to helpful staff to a good cup of coffee for you, these kid cafés in Shanghai tick all the boxes.

By Sophia Huang

Wheelee

This café's play area has plenty of space for kids to run around, as well as a small Peppa Pig sandpit and a collection of English children’s books, some of which are seriously nostalgic like the Mr Men collection. The menu is simple with the usual Western mains snacks, waffles. Coffee starts at 32RMB.

Price 98RMB for three hours (weekdays); 138RMB for three hours (weekends).

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1358 Akesu Lu

Brut Eatery (Pudong)

Brut Eatery's Pudong location is the local brand's most family friendly to date. The whole space is bright and whimsical: the walls have murals with colourful butterflies and caterpillars, coffee is served up in Brut’s signature cheerful cartoon face ceramic mugs. Inside, a lofted kids’ chill-out space gives off charming treehouse vibes and is stocked with children’s books, LEGO, colouring supplies and stuffed animals.

Price Free; no minimum spend required.

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199 Fangdian Lu

Thomas and Friends Restaurant

It’s all dedicated to the classic cartoon train at this café, from track sets to elaborate flooring and wallpapers. The eating area is a world of its own decorated largely in red and blue, and inside Thomas and Friends episodes play in English.

Fuelling the fun, a kids’ meal set includes a cup of mixed vegetables, a main, fresh fruit and a drink for 98RMB. Set meals for two are also available alongside coffee from Proud Mary Coffee Melbourne.

Price 158RMB for two hours (weekdays); 198RMB for two hours (weekends).

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179 Maotai Lu

Les Bonbons

Suited for younger children, there’s plenty of napping and crawling space inside Les Bonbons. The nap section is blocked off from the rest of the café – a nice touch that ensures smaller kids can rest in a quiet environment. The menu here is also very toddler-friendly, with options like pumpkin congee (18RMB) and mashed sweet potato (18RMB) included.

Price Free for tots below 12 months old. 108RMB an hour (weekdays); 128RMB for two hours (weekends and public holidays).

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Lane 179 10 Guohao Lu

ChouChou BonBon Kids Café

'Premium' Korean children’s café ChouChou BonBon brings childproofing to the next level – nearly every corner in the restaurant and the entire play area is padded. The space is complete with a netted crawling area, trampoline and on-stage drum set.

Toys are imported and the overall design of the place is tasteful, with lots of natural sunlight streaming in through large windows. It's not exactly centrally located, but we're told more branches are in the works.

Price 138RMB for two and a half hours (weekdays); 178RMB for two and a half hours (weekends).

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200 Guoan Lu

Twinkle Kids Cafe

Quality café meets high-end indoor play place at Xintiandi's Twinkle Kids Café. The space is modern and parents can relax knowing cleanliness is a priority – for example, everyone must remove their shoes upon entering including adults. Little ones can burn off energy in the ball pit, on wavy slides or in a mini mock grocery store while Mum and Dad sip on coffee.

Price 188RMB for three hours (weekdays); 218RMB for three hours (weekends).

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150 Hubin Lu

Choo Choo Kids Café

The Jiashan Market location of chain Choo Choo Kids' Café has a whopping seven play zones, including a room with kid-sized gym machines, a play pit filled with wooden blocks and an open area outside for ball games. The café's kids' meals arrive on fun plates shaped like airplanes, houses or animals, which is a sweet touch.

Price 118RMB for two hours (weekdays); 138RMB for two hours (weekends and public holidays).

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259 Jiashan Lu

Green & Safe Le Petit

There is something for all ages here: a speciality market for families, a café for date night and a play area for children. Le Petit also has a picnic-like dining area with green flooring and full-sized trees, a small collection of books and toys and a digital aquarium where you can scan coloured fish and watch them swim on screen.

Price Free; no minimum spend required.

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17 Suhong LuOnline booking

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