Looking for Kids’ Party Venues can be challenging. You need to consider location, size, and costs; lots of things to think about when all you want to do is throw your child an awesome birthday party!
The best kids’ party venues are really the ones that fit your budget and your style. If you have a fairly large budget and don’t want to put too much effort into planning, meaning you’re ok with spending $500+ to host a party with about 15-20 of your child’s friends then a party package at a kid friendly restaurant will work great for you. But if you’re on a tight budget or want a party complete with decor, cake, food, and games in a certain theme then you’ll have to get creative in choosing your venue.
Here are some of the best Kids’ Party Venues we’ve found and used. I’ve separated it in 2 sections; one for the “I don’t want to do anything but show up” folks and the other for the obsessive DIY party planner like us. To be fair we’ve hosted both types of birthday parties for the kids. It just depends on how much planning time we have and what mood we’re in. Either one works, the kids just want to have a great time!
Venues for when you don’t feel like doing much:
Chuck E. Cheese, Dave & Buster, and other family friendly chain restaurants.
There’s at least one of these restaurants in almost every town; if not something similar for sure.
These restaurants cater specifically for kids. They have party packages that include pizza, drinks, and game tokens for each child. Some upgraded packages might even come with ice cream and gifts for the birthday child. They’ll set up your tables in their party section and decorate it with table clothes, paper goods, and balloons. They’ll also provide some sort of entertainment during the party and a host or hostess will be assigned to your group.
Some venues require that you purchase the birthday cake from them. Chuck E. Cheese allows you to bring your own cake but not ice cream.
If you have adults attending you’ll have to purchase food alá carte for them. We had a Chuck E. Cheese party for Devon’s birthday a few years ago. He invited about 15 kids and their parents. The final bill was well over $500. Pretty hefty for pizzas and sodas. (I think you get a large pizza and a pitcher of soda for every 5 kids).
The good thing was we didn’t have to do a thing! No set up and no clean up! And the kids were very entertained. (We did bring treat bags for each child, that was not included in the party package.)
Here’s a fun venue and quite budget friendly. We hosted Devon’s last birthday party at a nearby bowling alley on a Sunday evening. The alley had a $1 a game special every Sunday after 5pm.
All you have to do is reserve the last 2-3 lanes in the alley, rent shoes for everyone who wants to bowl, and order food from the snack bar or restaurant. You’ll be surprised, the food at many bowling alleys is really quite good! (We go to Aiea Bowl for dinner often and we don’t even bowl! The food at their restaurant is that good!)
You can bring your own cake and pretty much do your own thing at the bowling alley. This party party ended up costing less than $300 for about 10 adults and their parents and other family members.
An Ice or Roller Skating Rink!
Here’s another fun venue for a kid’s party, and you don’t have to do much except maybe bring the cake!
Most rinks offer party packages that include skate rentals, tables in their party room, pizza, and drinks. We’ve never hosted a rink party but we’ve attended some, it was always lots of fun!
Indoor Bounce House, Mini-Golf, and other amusement centers.
Amusement centers are great kids’ party venues. Many places offer party packages that include admission, party area, food and drinks.
We hosted Dion’s party at the indoor bounce house at the mall a few years ago. They provided the tables and we supplied the rest. Since we were stressed for time (his birthday was a week before my son’s big wedding) party food was pizzas and sodas from Sam’s Club. When the kids were done bouncing we walked them over to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor for cake and ice cream (we supplied the cake and ordered the huge bowl of ice cream they paraded around the restaurant before taking it to our table.)
For the great party planners:
Really the best kids’ party venues for Do it yourselfers who must have a theme and all that goes with it is your house. In warm weather you can do it in the backyard.
Home is really the most economical kids’ party venue. Not only is it free, but there are no rules and time limits, other than your rules. Hosting the party at home allows you to do anything you want, serve whatever food and beverage you want, and decorate the way you want.
Most of the time you’ll use the furniture you already have, so no need for rentals. And there are walls to hang party decor on. Most venues have rules, lots of them, regarding decor. Many don’t allow you to nail or tape anything to their walls or hang anything from their ceilings, I don’t blame them, I’m not a big fan of nailing things to my walls. But holding a party at home allows you to fill the wall up with posters like we did for Devon’s Super Hero Party. (Use removable tape so you don’t have to repaint your walls after the party).
You can hang balloons, banners, etc. from the ceiling too!
Hosting a party at home really allows you to unleash your creativity and stretch your party dollars. Instead of paying for party packages that are usually charged per child you can use the money on food and beverages and even favors and decor.
If you don’t want to cook, consider catering. There are many options out there ranging from picking $5 pizzas from Dominos to party trays from Subway or Panda Express. Shop around for the best deals!
But if you can’t fit everyone inside, then head for the back yard, that’s our favorite choice!
If the weather is good (we live in Hawaii so it’s great almost all the time) then move your party to the backyard.
Hosting parties in the backyard has all the advantages of having it in your house, just with more space. We’ve hosted all sorts of events in our backyard, birthday parties, family reunions, bridal and baby showers, and holiday parties.
The one draw back to backyard parties is that it may involve rentals if you don’t have enough outdoor furniture for guests to use. On really hot days you also might want to rent a tent for shade, unless you own your own tent.
For larger backyard parties we’ve rented tents, tables, and chairs. The cost will vary depending on what you rent, so check party rental companies in your area for pricing.
A reminder from someone who’s learned the hard way. Don’t forget to turn off automatic sprinklers when hosting a a backyard event!
Your neighborhood park!
If you can’t fit everyone in your house or backyard then host it at you neighborhood park. We’ve hosted many birthday parties in our community park.
The large open spaces make parks great party venues, lots of room for kids to play party games and run around. You can pretty much do what you want as long as it’s within the park rules. The only draw back is that you must cart everything to and from the park, so choose one close to home if possible.
If you’re hosting a party at the park you may have to rent a tent, tables, and chairs if the park doesn’t have shade and tables. Also some parks do charge a small fee or a clean up deposit. (Our community park holds a deposit check for $100 which we get back as long as we clean up after the party). You might also need a permit if you’re guest list is large, so check on park rules and fees before planning your party.
Having said that parks are great venues for themed parties. We used our park for Devon’s Pirate Party (we had a treasure hunt around the park, ship races, and walked the plank!) and for Jett’s Thomas the Train Party (we rented a huge inflatable bouncer the kids all enjoyed).
In fact we’re hosting Devon’s 9th. Football Themed party at the park next month. Stay tuned for details!
The community pool!
A swim party is always fun, specially in the summer. Most community pools will rent out the pool and party room for a small fee. If you don’t have a community pool check out the YMCA.
We helped a friend plan and host her son, Jaxon’s, Paw Patrol party at the YMCA.
The reasonable rental fee included exclusive use of the pool and gym for 3 hours. We were allowed to bring our own food and beverages and play party games in the gym.
Community Centers are great venues for larger parties (50-100+), more formal events, or in bad weather.
We’ve hosted several events at our community center including my son’s rehearsal dinner and the twin’s Onederland themed first birthday party. We’re currently planning my husband’s Disco Themed 60th. Birthday party and have rented the community center yet again.
The great thing about renting Community Centers is that the rental fees usually include tables and chairs. Some even include the use of a kitchen for warming food ( they usually don’t let you cook on site). My caterer loves the kitchen facilities!
But there are rules (our center has plenty of them). Some require hiring security and buying event liability insurance (ours requires both). They also don’t allow you to nail things to the walls and hang decor from ceiling. So check with your community center before planning your event.
So whether you’re a DIY party planning diva or one who wants to let someone else do all the work there’s a perfect kids’ party venue for you. The key thing to remember when looking for a venue is to think outside of the box! Don’t limit yourself to the pizza places that sell party packages unless that’s what you really want. Look around and don’t be afraid to ask local businesses if they’ll rent you their venue, it may not have occurred to the owner to do that just yet! (Jaime approached her local My Gym owner and managed to rent the space and parking lot for Jett’s Farmhouse Party last year. They had pony rides and petting zoo in the parking lot!)