Credit for this play date idea goes to my mama friend, L. She is expert on all things downtown, as far as I'm concerned. And she is the one who introduced me to this fun eating/playing combo at The Border Grill and Bonaventure Hotel - both on Figueroa, connected by a fun little bridge that our kids love to race across to see who wins.
Usually first up is a meal at Border Grill. Happy Hour is pretty hard to beat - excellent options for grown-ups and kids alike, wait staff and management are delightful, and parking is validated (or, if you're feeling really adventurous, take the Metro - up the cool factor with the kids). Can't go wrong with kids bean and cheese tacos, poblano quesadillas & chopped salad for parents, and creative cocktails (with or w/o alcohol) like minty lime cooler or pomegranate lemonade.
Once our little ones have filled their tummies, run around and charmed the employees, gotten multiple tours of the kitchen, and used bathrooms where "you don't have to press the button for the soap, it just comes out automatically," we say our goodbyes, zip up a quick escalator (or elevator) and over the bridge that spans Figueroa, and land on the grassy area at the base of Bonaventure Hotel.
Last but not least, we and our tuckered tikes mosey into the hotel and hop onto the elevators, which could be a ride at Disneyland for all they care. We go up and down a few times - as much as my motion sick stomach can take - and it is utterly thrilling. Honestly, the views are pretty awesome. On a clear day, you could definitely see the ocean.
Give this a whirl some day. You won't be disappointed!