Every year I struggle with the idea of “where” to have our children’s birthday party. I go thru this not once, but twice a year. When I was a kid, birthday parties were simple. They were always thrown at our house–not a venue. That was both good and bad. It was good because we knew exactly what to expect. It was bad because knowing what to expect can sometimes become kind of boring. I’m also not my mom. She was so creative and really liked to surprise me. She would always bake a home-made cake or cupcakes from scratch. She would also have the coolest activities planned for us (kids) to entertain ourselves. And she never complained about the amount of time it took to clean our house spic’n'span before and after the party. That flashback of my mom cleaning the house, decorating the house, mixing the most delicious cake batter with her awesome hand mixer, baking the cake, frosting the cake and decorating the cake give me a smile and fills me with happy vibes. However, it also fills me with anxiety. Anxiety because there’s no way I have the time, the energy, the patience or the passion to do everything my mother did (without any help) for me and my sister by cleaning, cooking, baking and doing all the work required for our annual celebrations. I can feel the anxiety chills as I imagine hosting any type of party at my house the “old fashion way”. So, instead of hosting a good ole cake and ice-cream eating get together at my home, I’ve created a list of venues where I’ve either had my kids parties or am planning on having their parties in the near future. I’d like to share my list with you. This is a list of venues recommended for children ages 1 to 9 years old. Click on the names of the venues for the direct links to their websites. Happy Celebrating!
CLARENDON MOMS GUIDE TO LOCAL BIRTHDAY PARTY VENUES
1. MOBU KIDS This is my absolute favorite place to throw birthday parties for my kids. This is a huge venue with plenty of room for kids of all ages to play while offering a big party room for the parents to take a break and enjoy themselves too. The place smells fresh, clean and is completely “green”. My children have taken classes there and have attended many parties including their own there. They’ve never caught any communicable illnesses there. I believe it’s because of how clean the venue is. The staff is always passionate about what they do and are especially fantastic at time management, organizing the activities and taking care of the small stuff. Located in Falls Church, this is definitely worth the drive. The price is unbeatable beginning at less than $300 for up to 20 kids for 90 minutes to 2 hours of worry-free fun!
2. JW TUMBLES This is is one of the most popular venues in the area to throw birthday parties and take classes. JW Tumbles in Arlington is a very cozy venue offering both the party area and the play area within the same room for little ones. They offer music, zip line swinging, bubbles, sport play, dancing and more for ages one to nine. You get 90 minutes of joy and excitement for your child’s birthday.
3. Sport & Health Kids Club This is my second favorite place to host birthday parties. The party includes: invitations, pizza, juice boxes, decorations, candles, party supplies and party favors. They offer two to three large, spacious rooms for your kids and your guests to spread out. This is the only venue where you have the option of dropping your children off and leaving while your children enjoy themselves under Sport and Health’s staff supervision. There aren’t any venues where you’re able to have “drop off privileges” and not that many other venues that offer to take care of the food and beverages. All you bring is the cake.
4. Be With Me Playseum offers multiple packages to suit just about every consumer. The Playseum is a children’s used book store in the design of a kid-size city offering hands-on fun.
5. Kidville Bethesda If you’re looking for inflatable castles, blowout art table, balloonist and face painting, look no further than the Kidville Bethesda. They also offer pizza, juice for the children and premium party favors. If you’ve got money to burn or want to impress your friends with the amount of money you have to burn, book your party here. Parties for ten children begin at $595 for 90 minutes.
6. Sprinkles Cupcake in DC I had the opportunity to see first hand how fun a party at Sprinkles Cupcake in Georgetown is while attending a Mother’s Day event in 2012. This is a fantastic place to host a Cupcake Decorating Party complete with dozens of cupcakes, generous cups of frosting and sprinkles. They offer vegan cupcakes by request too. The upstairs party room is very feminine and beautiful, just perfect for a birthday party.
7. Buzz Bakery in Ballston/Arlington I was surprised to find out that this cute, cozy bakery near Ballston Mall offers Birthday Party packages. You can choose to host a very small party in the very back of the bakery or on their outside patio next to the water sprinkler playground. Buzz offers cute cupcake and cookie decorating kits for only $5 per child. This is a steal compared to the price at Sprinkles. The decorating kits include: 2 mini-cupcakes, a tiny container of frosting and a tiny container of very stylish sprinkles. This is the perfect place to order cupcake decorating kits and host a party at your house or at a larger venue.
8. American Girl Cafe Tyson’s Corner The all-inclusive package features: a delicious meal with signature pink-and-white cake and ice cream, special goody bags featuring doll tiaras for each guest, a commemorative keepsake for the special birthday girl, a set of invitations and matching thank-you notes. Parties begin at $30 per child and $20 per adult, excluding tax and gratuity. Suitable for ages 3 and up.
9. National Building Museum If you can get passed all the “rules” such as “encouraging your guests to bring “unwrapped gifts, no balloons, pinatas, noisemakers or delivered pizza–this is a pretty nice place to host a party. The museum offers two packages: Craft Activity Party and a Brick City Party. Each includes a welcome activity, hands on program and project and a museum teacher to lead the party. Call for price packages.
10. Tea with Mrs. B Host a royal tea party and etiquette class at the same time with parties by Tea with Mrs. B. All parties are customized to suit your child. They offer imaginative, engaging activities and crafts which can incorporate a preferred theme. Manners instructions are sprinkled throughout the tea party. The use of lovely, crisp linens, fine china, crystal, silver and gold accoutrement is included. Cost begin at $365 for up to 8 guests. $22 for each additional guests with the option of add-ons.