If it’s your first year celebrating Father’s Day, you may think that this day is all about you. That’s hilarious. Nothing is about you anymore. But just because you don’t get a hall pass from being a parent doesn’t mean you can’t show your family how you’d have a good time. Behold, a Sunday itinerary fit for a king, powered by the crowdsourced intelligence of Foursquare.
You know the app — it can find you pizza that doesn’t suck or a decent rooftop bar. They’ve applied their algorithm to thousands of restaurants, coffee shops, parks, playgrounds, movie theaters, and beer gardens to find 3 family-friendly hotspots in 10 major cities. So go fill up your day with all these Foursquare-verified things you want to do (like eat meat and drink beer), with all those things that your kids want to do (like play outside and not watch you drink beer). The best present you can get from them is a day with zero whining.
You can thank them later for the hour or so of iPhone research you were about to do.
Your kid loves pizza, you love pizza, everyone loves pizza. So your first stop is Detroit-style ‘za joint Emmy Squared, then a stroll through McCarren Park where you can explain “sorry, sweetie, that kickball game is for adults.” End the day with a stiff drink at indoor/outdoor beer garden Spritzenhaus 33. While you get tipsy with German lager, they get tipsy with one of the bar’s Jenga sets.
Stop #1: Emmy Squared
Must Eat: You know what goes great with pizza? More cheese. So order that pie with a side of the Crispy Cheese Curds.
Stop #2: McCarren Park
Must Do: Look out at gorgeous views of Manhattan. Because the pool doesn’t open for another 2 weeks, find the track at the southwest corner of the park and let your kid race the hipsters. (Don’t worry, they’ll let your children ironically win.)
Stop #3: Spritzenhaus 33
Must Drink: Beer, genius. But also note that the seasonal cocktail menu here is en pointe. Try the Flaco’s Fury, made with habanero-infused tequila, pineapple, lime, and ginger beer.
With all that talk about tech and trolleys, you sometimes might forget that San Francisco borders some nice scenery. Start with a hearty brunch in the industrial confines of Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, then hike it off on the trails at Buena Vista Park. Finish with an afternoon caffeine jolt and vegan donuts at the Ritual Coffee Roasters on Haight-Ashbury. (Don’t worry, they’re still donuts.)
Stop #1: Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery
Must Eat: Embrace the Pacific coast and order the Hangtown Fry, featuring fried oysters, scrambled eggs, bacon, spinach, caramelized onions, and grilled bread.
Stop #2: Buena Vista Park
Must Do: Wind through the coast live oak grove as the fog rolls in. You’ll feel like you’re in Lord of the Rings (but one of those forgotten books, where Sam and Frodo adopt kids.)
Stop #3: Ritual Coffee Roasters
Must Drink: Locals rave about the specialty cold brew. Sip it slowly and feel your will to live coming back.
Being a good dad is all about sharing things with your kids, which is why your first stop in LA is The Propagator to split some small-plate pizzas and tacos (sadly, not the same dish). Next, you’ll head to Marina Del Rey to bask among yachts in the California sunshine, while you resist the urge to yell out “I’m On A Boat!”). When the sun goes down, go to the dine-in AMC at Marina 6 where you can watch a movie in a recliner while drinking beer and eating snacks. Just like at home. Wait, why did you go out again?
Stop #1: Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Must Eat: Get ready for the meat sweats, because at this place you are going for it with beer-braised pork belly carnitas tacos and smoked-brisket pizza.
Stop #2: Marina Del Rey Beach
Must Do: If you ever wanted to whip your kid off the back of a wave runner while wearing neon Oakley blades, now’s your chance.
Stop #3: AMC Dine-In Theatres Marina 6
Must Drink: This is a movie theater where you’re encouraged to drink a mojito during Finding Dory. Just keep sipping, just keeping sipping.
The Windy City has an activity-heavy Father’s Day, so mentally prepare. Make your first stop Morgan Street Cafe for the hot roast of your choice, then hit the fountain plaza in Mary Bartelme Park for some quality spritzing. If you can get your kid dried off in time for dinner, Duck Duck Goat is one of Chicago’s best authentic Chinese restaurants.
Stop #1: Morgan Street Cafe
Must Drink: You can’t go wrong with a classic drip coffee. It’s gotten you this far.
Stop #2: Mary Bartelme Park
Must Do: The fountain plaza’s misting steel archway will cool you off after working up a sweat on the playground.
Stop #3: Duck Duck Goat
Must Eat: Eat your wood-fired duck heart out for dim sum, and go with the goat sausage slap noodles as a main course.
No strip clubs, but plenty of action in the ATL. Start with a classy dejeuner (that’s Français for “lunch”) at Bread & Butterfly. The Burger Americain stands out from among all that French cuisine — especially if you’re with kids who only eat ‘murican. Spend the rest of the afternoon doing something equally patriotic — bowling while drinking pitchers of beer. Finally, do the walk of shame through Centennial Olympic Park because you couldn’t break 100.
Stop #1: Bread & Butterfly
Must Eat: If you’re not high on burgers, get the Onion & Mushroom French Dip. As the great Ron Swanson once said, “Steak. You eat it.”
Stop #2: Bowlmor
Must Do: Besides rolling heavy spheres down narrow lanes at wooden sticks, hit up the video game arcade and show your kids what people did before apps.
Stop #3: Centennial Olympic Park
Must Also Do: The Fountain of Rings is a favorite Atlanta spot for families. This sculpture gushes enough water that your kid can practically train for the U.S. Swim Team.
You think this tour of Austin would be all about BBQ, but locals know where to load up on ribs and brisket. Go the other way and grab brunch at True Food Kitchen, where your colon will actually be happy with you after the vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free entrees. Then take a stroll down to the Auditorium Shores at Lady Bird Lake on your way to Butler Park Pitch and Putt, where you can teach your kid the fine art of double-bogeying.
Stop #1: True Food Kitchen
Must Eat: The spaghetti squash casserole. You’re just going to have to put some faith in this restaurant’s faithful on this one.
Stop #3: Butler Park Pitch and Putt
Must Do: Putt, meet pup. Yes, you can bring that member of your family you often leave at home. No, not Grandpa. Your dog. Pups are allowed on Sundays until Noon.
Dallas in June might even be hot enough to cook your brunch out on the sidewalk, but you should probably just have a great one at Filament. Then blast the car A/C on the quick drive to the Dallas World Aquarium so your kid can meet all of Nemo’s fish pals (they’re friends, not food). End the afternoon at Weekend with iced coffee and pastries.
Stop #1: Filament
Must Eat: The eggs benedict might just be the best Southern breakfast you’ll ever have: poached eggs, pulled brisket, cheddar chive biscuits, and creole mustard hollandaise.
Stop #2: Dallas World Aquarium
Must Do: Shark feedings occur daily at 11:30 AM. Use discretion — your child may never want to set foot in the ocean again.
Stop #3: Weekend
Must Drink: The cold brew here is intense. Or, as you call it in your house, just right.
Bond with your kid at a pizza place that has a menu full of pop culture puns (hmm, Spiral Tap or Volume 11?). Continue the alternative cultural education at the Frye Art Museum, a mecca of contemporary art, and end at General Porpoise, a donut shop where you can also grab coffee from rotating local roasters. (Apparently Seattle’s famous for its coffee or something.)
Stop #1: Sizzle Pie
Must Eat: The Peppah Messiah pie (note the Metallica reference) comes topped with fresh mozzarella, sausage, peppadew, and roasted garlic.
Stop #2: Frye Art Museum
Must Do: The Frye Salon exhibition restaged the founders’ collection as it was installed in their home gallery. And if that doesn’t excite your kid, you can just leave them there until they appreciate it.
Stop #3: General Porpoise Coffee and Donuts
Must Drink: Get the Rhubarb and Meyer Lemon Jam donut while telling everyone that’s my jam. Watch your family try to sneak out of the shop and pretend like they don’t know you.
Cookies? For breakfast? Hey, who’s day is it here? Stop at Buttercream Bakeshop for some fancy-ass cookies, then dust the crumbs off and walk over to the National Museum of Natural History, where they can run off a sugar high by bouncing around priceless artifacts. Last stop is Hill Country Texas barbecue buffet, for brisket topped with brisket.
Stop #1: Buttercream Bakeshop
Must Eat: Crunchy Peanut Butter Buckeyes, a peanut butter and cocoa powder confection loaded up with honey roasted Virginia peanuts and sea salt.
Stop #2: Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
Must Do: Pretend you’re king of the monarchs in the Butterfly Pavilion. It’s actually more of an honorary title. Also note that there’s a fee for this, but the museum itself is free admission.
Stop #3: Hill Country Barbecue Market
Must Eat: Brisket, chicken, spare ribs, sausage. You know, your basic food groups. Load up buffet-style, or get a few pounds from the butcher to take home.
Save the cheesesteaks for when out-of-towners visit; the Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods have the urban farms and comic book shops. Grab some fresh-baked zucchini bread and head over to Amalgam, Philly’s newest comic shop. A little Daniel Clowes for you, a little Adventure Time for them. Stay and sip some coffee, or take your comics to Penn Treaty Park for a little outdoor story corner.
Stop #1: Greensgrow Farms
Must Eat: Greensgrow offers seasonal prepared foods, including zucchini bread and their very own Hot Sauce from the Hood.
Stop #2: Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse
Must Do: Talk to the owner, Ariell R. Johnson, the first African-American woman to own a comic shop on the East Coast! She can recommend classics like Wonder Woman and Batman, as well as newer titles that showcase diverse characters and creators.
Stop #3: Penn Treaty Park
Must Do: Find a bench by the water and take in the incredible views of the Ben Franklin Bridge. And when your kid realizes looking at a bridge sucks, there’s a playground, too.
First, you’re gonna rustle up some grub at Biskit Junkie, where you can pack away Texas-sized servings of biscuit sandwiches and burgers. Then head over to the Houston Zoo to see conservation efforts for animals native to Texas (and others that you’d rather observe than eat). And make your last stop the gorgeous, sprawling gardens of Herman Park — because that biscuit sandwich isn’t sitting so well.
Stop #1: Biskit Junkie
Must Eat: The Presley is a tempura chicken biscuit sandwich topped with peanut butter, bacon, strawberry preserves, and tempura tomato. Lord, have mercy.
Stop #2: Houston Zoo
Must Do: There’s a children’s Zoo within the zoo, which features a petting zoo and playground that are great for younger kids. It’s kind of like zoo Inception, but with sheep and goats instead of Leonardo DiCaprio.
Stop #3: Herman Park
Must Do: The best way to see the whole park is to take the miniature train ride or rent a pedal boat. Guess who’s pedaling.