Put on your pink and head to 12 Oaks Mall to check out the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck and Barbie…
Detroit has some wonderful local options for beer-loving parents, but sometimes you have to take the show on the road. Whether you’re heading to Chicago for a holiday weekend, Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, Up North for summer adventures, or staying close for a day trip, these itineraries will help you plan some great pit stops along the way. I’ve included a selection of places that have proven to be at least arguably kid-friendly (a relative term) on our own family journeys, but I encourage you to check out this awesome map maintained by the Michigan Brewers Guild to uncover your own hidden gems.
Of course, always take your time and drink and travel responsibly!
CHICAGO (94 CORRIDOR)
- Dark Horse Brewing Co // Marshall, MI
We’ve been stopping at Dark Horse for years, and it has only continued to get more fun for both kids and parents. Several years ago, there was just a giant sand pit out back with a few picnic tables and kids’ trucks. Now, there’s a full scale outdoor stage and seating area, bag toss, and a rotating collection of toys scattered around. They’ve got pretzels and pink lemonade and lots of kid-friendly menu items. Inside there’s a fish tank table that’s sure to be a hit.
- Latitude 42 Brewing Co // Portage, MI
The brewery is spacious, and they’ve got high chairs and a large kids menu with activities and crayons.
- Bell’s Brewing Co // Kalamazoo, MI
Bell’s can get packed if you hit it at the wrong time, but it’s always a solid stop and they take care of kids. There are high chairs, and they’ve got a kids menu.
- Arclight Brewing Co // Watervliet, MI
Arclight is one of our favorite stops. They’ve got communal seating in a large warehouse space, with tons of board games and activities. Outside is a new patio area with a bocce court, disc golf, and lots of tables. No food, but you can order in pizza from the place down the street and they sometimes have food trucks. The beers are top notch.
- Transient Artisan Ales // Bridgman, MISome of the best beer in the state–nay, the country! The space is small, but in the spring and summer the doors are open and there’s a small patio. Does a patio equal “kid friendly”? I’m going with yes. No food, but you can BYO. There are lots of good options right on the same street.
- Greenbush Brewing Co // Sawyer, MI
Greenbush isn’t so much a brewpub anymore as a compound. They’ve basically expanded to cover the whole block, with a few different locations. On one side of the street you can drink and play bocce; on the other side is the full restaurant (which has a Lego table). No kids menu, but good options like mac and cheese.
- Three Floyds Brewing Co // Munster, IN
To get to Three Floyds on the way to Chicago, skip the Skyway—it’s worth the detour. Not overtly kid friendly, but it makes the list because you just have to go for the beer, which you can’t get locally. (You won’t be able to get Dark Lord without sacrificing a kidney, but the other beers are well worth it.) When we went, they did have a high chair, but not a kids menu. We made do.
- 18th Street Brewery // Hammond, INAlso out of the way a bit, but SO worth it. Superb beer, friendly staff, and a big warehouse space that works for kids. A big bonus is the menu, which is absolutely stellar. As you’re driving to 18th Street, you’re going to look around the warehouses and lots and wonder if you’re in the right place. You are.
WEST SIDE (96 CORRIDOR)
- Old Nation Brewing Co // Williamston, MI
Home of the 2017 Michigan beer sensation M-43, the pub is a must for any beer lover, kids or no. Luckily, they also go out of their way to make the pub extremely kid-friendly, with a great staff, a big kids menu, complimentary crayons, and butcher paper on the tables (doodling encouraged).
- Founders Brewing Co // Grand Rapids, MI
More kid-friendly than the new Detroit outpost seems to be; they’ve got high chairs, tons of space, a huge outdoor area, and some of the best beer around. There are a ton of other Grand Rapids breweries to explore as well, and most are kid friendly.
- Pigeon Hill Brewing Co // Muskegon, MI
Small but inviting with a great patio and garage doors open in the summer. Friendly staff and good beer.
- Unruly Brewing Co // Muskegon, MI
Right down the street from Pigeon Hill in a bigger space with a large patio and a great pizza menu.
- Perrin Brewing Co // Comstock Park, MI
Perrin is just a short drive north from Grand Rapids and worth it; some great beers and a very cool space.
- Oddside Ales // Grand Haven, MI
Oddside also has some outdoor seating, as well as board games and lots of space to move around. The beer is great and they used to have a goldfish swimming in a growler; not sure if he made it.
- Paddle Hard Brewing // Grayling, MI
Good for a pitstop on the way to Bellaire or Charlevoix/Petoskey, Paddle Hard has nice indoor and outdoor seating and the menu has options for everyone. The main bonus here is that the beer list includes Paddle Hard original brews as well a great selection of other beers, heavy on Michigan breweries.
- Shorts Brewing Co // Bellaire, MI
One of Michigan’s heaviest hitters, this spot is about as family-friendly as they come. You’ll pretty much always see kids at Short’s, and there’s a giant second room in the back with communal tables for big groups. They even have kid-friendly events like Santa at the Brewpub on Christmas Eve (hot chocolate and candy canes for the kids mean more time for mom and dad to sip a beer).
- Burnt Marshmallow Brewing // Petoskey, MI
This tiny spot is actually in the same tasting room as Rudbeckia Farm and Winery. Indoors isn’t super kid-friendly, but there’s lots of outdoor space for kids to roam, and the grownups can choose from great beer and wine options. The food is farm fresh; when we went, they had little apples from the farm out for complimentary snacking.
- Hop Lot // Sutton’s Bay, MI
Hop Lot is basically an Up North oasis for parents and kids alike, offering beer, wine, cider, and non-alcoholic beverages. There’s a full kitchen menu and a massive beer garden where everyone can play lawn games, roast marshmallows and hot dogs, and dance to live music. In the winter, the beer garden lights up with heated igloos so you and your family can stay cozy.
- Stormcloud Brewing // Frankfurt, MI
Be sure to make your way west to check out this great spot for friendly conversation and delicious beer. There’s a pub with food and a patio downtown, as well as seasonal tasting room at its brewery on the east side. The tasting room has 12 taps, space for food trucks, and a beer garden.
- HOMES // Ann Arbor, MI
HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) combines original brews with a fun Korean menu (including fresh rolls and bulgogi fries). Lots of space and big TVs make it a great spot for watching games.
- Tenacity Brewing // Flint, MIMake an early pit stop as you head up 75. Tenacity has great beers and ciders as well as a non-alcoholic nitro latte that will blow your mind. There’s green space and a nice big patio, as well as a variety of food trucks.
- Original Gravity Brewing Co // Milan, MI
This small brewery has nice indoor and outdoor space, with lots of games and coloring books for the kids in the back.
- Witch’s Hat Brewing Co // South Lyon, MI
Lots of space and very friendly staff. The last time we went they were hosting a coloring contest with fun pictures and boxes of crayons provided. The beer is top notch.
Bekah Page-Gourley is an attorney and contributing writer for LittleGuide Detroit. She lives with her husband, Jason, and son Isaac, in Lafayette Park, Detroit. They love experiencing the city’s growth, hosting visitors and talking about Detroit’s virtues with anyone who will listen. Bekah and her family love going to Detroit City Football Club and Tigers games, Eastern Market, the Riverfront, and Downtown.