Out-of-the-Box Local Playdate Ideas





With the end of school rapidly approaching, I’m already mourning the loss of our beloved schedule. To get out of my own rut, I’m also simultaneously seeking activities to do with my children this summer. When I think of playdates, I think of parks, playgrounds, friends’ houses, restaurants with playscapes, and splash pads. That said, a location doesn’t necessarily have to be classified as a “kid zone” to be an enjoyable activity.

If you’re anything like me, you might be tired of the same ol’ playtime circuit. In the same boat? Here are a few suggestions for out-of-the-box playdates you can schedule with friends and family this summer in San Antonio.

IKEA Meetup
With temperatures already soaring into the triple digits (I’m not a fan), I’m constantly on the lookout for indoor activities to do with my four-year-old and one-year-old. When it’s too hot to go outside and everyone needs a change of scenery, sometimes the only answer is a shopping trip. Enter: IKEA! For those unfamiliar, IKEA is a global home furnishing brand that brings affordability, design, and comfort to people all over the world. It also brings air conditioning, food, snacks, and beautifully-stylized merchandise guaranteed to delight grown-ups and kids alike. 

Last summer, I invited a few friends and their children to meet up at the blue and gold gates for a unique playdate. Our babies and toddlers had a blast riding in shopping carts and exploring the kids’ section with their playmates, while my friends and I enjoyed chatting and shopping. After we explored every inch of the store, we all retired to the cafeteria where we ate lunch together. We came, we saw, we bought, and we ate (and no one got sweaty). I give IKEA playdates a 10/10. 

Explore San Antonio on Foot
I love going on walks early in the morning and in the evenings, but (especially post-pandemic) I’m a little burnt out on my neighborhood loop. One of my favorite ways to explore our beautiful city is to pick new locations for walks with my family. Grab your stroller and check out my current favorite locations to explore in San Antonio:

  • Hot Wells Conservancy: Formerly an 1800s hotel with attractive grounds and parks, the Hot Wells Conservancy is now a newly-revitalized park for San Antonio residents and tourists to enjoy. The deteriorated grounds are well-kept and safely patrolled, making it a lovely sightseeing and strolling opportunity. 
  • The River Walk: No matter if you enter from the Hot Wells Conservancy, the Pearl, Blue Star Contemporary, a downtown city street, or one of the many other access points, our River Walk truly never disappoints. 
  • Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge: The land bridge opened last year and connects the two sides of Phil Hardberger Park. It is 150 feet wide at the top, 165 wide at the base, and broad enough for animals and people to safely cross while feeling a million miles away from urban roadways. Enjoy this peaceful stroll and keep an eye out for animal friends climbing over the hill with you, everyone unaware of the traffic below. 

Learn and Play
Just because school is out for the summer doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. For educational activities that cater to kids, look no further than the following: 

The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) Education Outreach Center
Nestled in the heart of the new Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, the EOC is a brand new, interactive exhibit space. The S.T.E.A.M. immersive exhibits around every corner are sure to inspire tomorrow’s scientists. ‍

Free Fun During “May Month” at Landa Library
In 2005, the City of San Antonio declared May as “Landa Gardens Month.” Each May, LGC hosts a series of free events for the community, showcasing the work and mission of the conservancy—to maintain and beautify the grounds surrounding Landa Library. All month long, Landa Gardens Conservancy is hosting fun, free community events at one of San Antonio’s most historic libraries.

Jazz performances under the stars, a magic show, a painting workshop, yoga, and cooking demonstrations led by local talents are just a few of the many free community events to be held on the lush five-acre grounds of Landa Library throughout the month of May. For a full schedule of Landa May Month events, please visit: https://landagardens.org/may-month-events/

Wishing you all a happy summer—making memories with those you love!

Originally from the Live Music Capital of the World, Katie moved about the country (Nashville, TN, Seattle, WA and Athens, GA) for several years before settling in the Alamo City with her husband and young family in 2018. She's a lifestyle portrait photographer (always finding the good light), outdoorsy (…as in she likes to drink on patios), and an audiobook and podcast enthusiast (especially psychological thrillers). When she isn’t behind a camera or laptop, Katie is exploring the world with her husband, delightful daughter (2018), cheeky son (2021), and tiny pup. You can find her on Instagram (@hersideproject). Favorite Restaurant: Paloma Blanca 🕊️ Favorite Landmark: Mission Marquee Plaza Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Cascarones