One of our very favorite spots to come as a family is Swede Hollow Cafe. It's on East Seventh, just up the hill from Metropolitan State University. It's not open in the evenings so much, but is a great place to come earlier in the day.What we love about our beloved Swede Hollow Cafe:
-beautiful outdoor seating, including: >a great fountain. Good for kids to play by/in when it's nice out! I like the sculptural faces on it as well.
>a community-run vegetable garden.
>a big, terraced rain garden of native plants and wildflowers--so fun for the kids. there's a little path to follow, and low, wide stone walls to walk on.
>ample outdoor seating
>poetry on rocks and a little door behind which to put your own poetry.
>in close walking distance to Swede Hollow park, which has good plant life, forest, a big tunnel, an old train bridge, a little stream running into still pools of water, lots of steps, a rock-sculpture area, some wetland area, an echo-y tunnel, sumac, touch-me-not, cattails, groundnuts, willow, and all kinds of other fun things.
-great house-made baked goods. I recommend the fruit cobbler, scones, and caramel rolls
-little piece of chocolate comes with espresso drinks
-very kind and considerate proprietor
-atmosphere-Swede Hollow is sun-drenched with a worn, wide-planked wood floor. It's not huge, and doesn't have couches, but while we've always been able to find a table, it's also always busy enough to have private conversations.
-has a high chair
-manages to be both very tasteful and unpretentious
Swede Hollow is one of those places we drove past for years before we actually stopped there, every time thinking it looked like such a promising place. When we can, we come here every week. The only thing we wish is that they were open more later in the evenings. On the rare occasions we have coffee shop time in the evenings, I'd love to go there, either for live music, or for time alone with the kids.
We actually frequented Swede Hollow Cafe for most of the winter last year. We bundled up the whole family in long underwear, sweaters, mittens; the works. We would take a hike, mostly with the kids wrapped on our backs, and then trudge up the big hill for hot chocolate, coffee, and scones at the cafe.