Planning a children’s birthday party can be fun, but also stressful given the vast amount of options. And your child may have a preference, but if your kids are anything like mine, it will change every 10 minutes. So how do you decide? One way is to consult Google on where to have a children’s birthday party. It will give you a lot of local results that will be specific to your area. But it also takes time. So we’ve put together some of our favorite venues for hosting a kid’s birthday party. You can find most of these is just about every city!
For our kiddo’s 3rd birthday, we rented out a gymnastics center for a couple hours. It was fantastic! There is minimal prep work and it’s an easy way to keep kids busy for as long as you need. The kids were running all over the place and looked exhausted at the end (which also meant happy parents). Gymnastics Centers will often allow you to use everything in the facility – ball pits, trampolines, balance beams, bars, you name it. And many will offer you a time slot for a private party.
This is also a great idea if you have a range of ages because there’s something for kids of all ages to do. We had 1 year olds all the way up to 6 year olds.
- Affordable: we paid $200 for the gymnastics facility rental and the party room. Not bad for the Chicago area.
- Widespread: The Little Gym or My Gym are two popular locations that are found all over. You can also check your local park district.
- Well-liked by everyone: it’s one of the few ideas we found that could accommodate 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds along with the older kids. Girls, boys, babies, toddlers, big kids. Who doesn’t love gymnastics?
Fun party favor idea: Ribbon Wands
Another venue for a kids birthday is the local ice skating rink. An outdoor rink may be seasonal, but an indoor rink can be used year round. Most skating rinks will allow an hour or two for skating and then additional time in a party room. Typically you would pay for the rink rental, party room rental, and rental skates for all the guests. When I looked around at pricing, it was lower than anticipated. This may be a better option for slightly older kids, but most ice rinks will have skates for littles, too.
- Year round activity: you can rent an indoor rink anytime throughout the year.
- Unique: it’s not something every kid does, so it’s something new for kids to experience
- Low prep: doesn’t require much set up
Fun party favor idea: Instant snow powder
This is a popular birthday party option for a lot of families due to its low cost. Most park field houses are incredibly affordable to rent. Our local park district charges $63 for 3 hours. Some places are even less – not bad! You have a lot of options here too. If it’s nice out and there’s a playground nearby, that could provide entertainment. You could also use the space and come up with your own theme. Bring some outdoor games and have a sports party. Rent a projector and go with a movie theme. Gather up some art supplies and host an art themed party. The options are kind of endless here and can be personalized to your child’s favorite activities.
- Party size: most park buildings can fit a lot of kids, so you won’t be as restricted to limit guests as you might with a different venue
- Bring in what you want: Within reason, you’ll likely be allowed to bring in whatever food, decorations, activities you want without the constraints of other venues
- Affordable: One of the least expensive options
Fun party favor idea: Jump ropes
Pool parties aren’t just for summer. You can also rent an indoor pool and have a splash party anytime throughout the year. This is a good option as it is generally well liked by all kids. You don’t need much as pools can entertain kids for hours. Just keep in mind, if you are renting through a local facility, the costs can add up. And if you are having trouble locating an indoor pool, check local swim schools. Most host birthday parties. Also note that reservations fill up way in advance for pool parties, so decide early if you want to go this route!
- Safe pick for all ages: no matter what ages kids will be attending, pools are popular amongst all age groups
- Can accommodate large groups: If you want to invite the whole class, this is another option that can hold a large group of people
- Entertaining: you don’t need to worry about kids getting bored
Fun party favor idea: Reusable summer straws
Indoor playground or bounce house
If you are looking for unique places where you can have a children’s birthday party, this is a good option. Indoor playgrounds are exactly that: a playground under a roof. We have several of these near where we live. And everytime our kids go to one of these parties, they have a blast. Especially for younger kids, you can’t go wrong with climbing, slides, jumping, etc. It’ll always be a hit. The costs on these can be a bit higher, which is the one drawback. For older kids, check out an indoor trampoline park.
- Very likeable: kids go crazy for it
- Convenient: parents can drop off or stay and join
- Easy to plan: show up and let the kids run loose without all the planning mess
Fun party favor idea: Superhero capes with masks
When you think of painting venues, you’re probably thinking of those wine and paint nights for adults. But it’s actually a good activity for kids too. Just substitute the wine for juice. Find a local art center and arrange a party. You can paint canvas, make clay sculptures, bead jewelry, or whatever else your venue offers. If your child is the creative type, this is a great choice for them.
- Kids take something home: one of the biggest perks is guests will have something nice to keep
- Good for smaller groups: If you want to keep the party smaller with just a few close friends, this one is perfect
- Unique: You haven’t been to a billion art parties like some of the others
Fun party favor idea: Wikki Stix
When the weather is warm, plan an outing to the local mini golf course. You have to be careful of weather, so proceed with caution. But as long as you aren’t planning during rainy season, this is a great party idea. It’s especially nice for older kids when you’re struggling to come up with something. It’s generally very affordable – maybe $5-10 per guest, which isn’t bad when compared with other places.
- Budget friendly: it won’t cost you a fortune, especially if you have a smaller group
- Easy to get reservations: typically you don’t need to make reservations as far in advance, so it’s a nice last minute idea
- Some include food: a lot of these mini golf places have packages with food, so it truly is an all inclusive birthday party experience
Fun party favor idea: Foam golf balls
For older kids and teens, choose a sports themed party. Many of the venues on this list are geared toward a younger group, but this one will please the older crew. Rent out a batting cage or a nearby Topgolf. You could even look for a local gym and let the kids play basketball, soccer, or any kind of favorite sport. Plus a lot of these have shelter so you aren’t governed by the weather.
- Perfect for older kids: you won’t have to worry if it’s too babyish
- Easy: Parents can drop off their kids, which makes it super convenient
- Length: there’s a set start and end time. Let’s be honest, that’s so much easier than a sleepover.
Fun party favor idea: Wrist ball
When you are looking for where to host a children’s birthday party, you’ll probably always stumble on this one. It’s a popular choice because it’s a year round activity and kids just gravitate to it. Even my 3-year-old participated in his first bowling party recently. And he loved it as much as my 5-year-old. But older kids and teens can also find a bowling party entertaining. Places like Pinstripes or Bowlero host some awesome parties!
- One stop shop: most bowling alleys have food in house, which lessens your planning.
- Liked by all: no matter what size, age, personality, bowling is something every kid can get behind
- Year round: no weather conditions to worry about
Fun party favor idea: Neon punch balloons
Transform all your child’s friends into rockstars. Instead of bringing someone to your house to do hair and nails, skip the mess and head to a local salon. You could probably ask just about any hair salon or spa if they do birthday parties, but there are some special kid salons that go extra. Snip-its and Pigtails & Crewcuts are two national chains that specialize in birthday parties.
- Every kid feels special: every child gets to be treated like a prince or princess
- Unique: You probably haven’t been to a dozen of spa/salon birthday parties
- Interactive: each child can pick out their own colors/styles
Fun party favor idea: Fleece spa headbands
I can’t live in Chicago and not put this one on the list. Even if you don’t live in the city with America’s greatest pizza, you can still host a special pizza party for your child. Kids love pizza, so this is an easy win. Some pizza places have arcade games, but you can also bring in your own activities. Check around to see what kind of packages are offered. If you want some entertainment with your pizza, you may have to do a little work and bring in some activities. Some places like California Pizza Kitchen allow kids to make their own pizzas and tour the kitchen. Ask around because your local pizza shop may plan around your preferences.
If you prefer to go the dessert route, you could also sub in a local ice cream or frozen yogurt store
- Kid-friendly: I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid that doesn’t love pizza
- No planning food: Some of these venues require you to supply the food, but this is another one stop shop
- Convenience: Pizza shops are everywhere so it often isn’t hard to find a place to book
Fun party favor idea: Mini Pizza Boxes (fill with cookies or another tasty dessert)
For smaller kids, head to the local zoo. You’ll get access to the zoo for guests and some type of party space for your group. This is a good option if you want to invite the whole daycare or school class. Zoos are always a hit with kids and it’s a bit more flexible letting kids explore at their own pace.
Good for large groups: Given that zoos cover a large area, this is a good activity if you plan on inviting a lot of guests
Popular with kids: You can be confident that it will be well liked by all guests (even parents!)
Easy planning: There’s not much to it. The zoo provides all the entertainment you need. You’ll just need to bring the food/cake.
Fun party favor idea: Animal Felt Masks
Not exactly an offsite venue, but a viable option if you want something affordable. You won’t have to pay a venue fee, but you will have to plan entertainment. Let your kiddo come up with a theme that suits them and plan some games. If you prefer someone else run the entertainment, you can hire an entertainer to come to your home. No longer are clowns the only option for children’s entertainment. There are people who will come and host a science party or a spa party. You can hire a character to come visit. There are even bubble entertainers, mobile arcades, and roaming zoos. The possibilities are endless.
Affordable: You are in complete control of costs. If you are looking for budget ideas, you can DIY much of the party entertainment
No guest limits: most venues will have a limit to how many guests you can invite (and some are quite small). If you host a party in your home, you can invite as many guests and you want.
Easy set-up: Since the party is coming to you, the set-up can start as early as you want. You’ll feel less of a rush to get things ready. Most venues will only let you set up a half hour or an hour before party time.
Fun party favor idea: Pre-made slime with mix-ins
The options are endless. If you’re researching where to have a children’s birthday party, this is just the tip of the iceberg. These are some of the more popular options you can find in almost any town. And this list covers a wide age range. But don’t forget to check out local options, too. You may come across something totally unique!