Best birthday party ideas for kids

Whether you're on a shoestring budget or the sky's the limit, we have birthday party ideas your kids (and their friends) will love

Goldfish Swim School

Birthday celebrations for kids are a really big deal, and it's not just about the cake. Chicago has the perfect spot for just about any type of party imaginable—from dance parties and bowling to rock climbing and painting. Here are some of our favorites, perfect for various ages, budgets and styles.

Brooklyn Boulders

Kids are little monkeys on the playground so why not let them do some climbing where the weather isn’t iffy. New York’s latest transplant, Brooklyn Boulders, offers indoor rock climbing for adults and kids. With plenty of qualified staff and a great party room, kids can work their way up the wall and be the envy of all of the other kids’ parties. Parties run two hours and are $45 per person. The fee includes day passes and gear rental for each climber, party room rental, T-shirt, and a staff ratio of 1:5.

Read more
West Loop

Goldfish Swim School

Lil’ swimmers will love hosting their very first pool party at this popular, multi-location swim school. It’s indoors and always balmy, so it’s fun any time of year. Kids can choose a party focused more on swimming or water games or even just hangin’ out on large inflatables in the pool. Parties cost $450-$550 for a two-hour party depending on location. 24 kids max with three lifeguards included (more kids, add additional lifeguard for a separate fee). Party includes cupcakes, use of pool and party room, drinks, decorations and invitations, and a T-shirt for the birthday kid.

Read more
Roscoe Village

Lil' Kickers

Kicking a ball around is a favorite kiddie pastime, so it’s no surprise that this soccer program is a very popular birthday option. Hosted at either the Bradley Place or ChiTown Futbol location, kids can get on the field for soccer play, games and more. There is an option to add on inflatables as well for some bounce house fun. Two-hour parties cost $250-$450 for up to 25 kids max (over 12 kids, add a coach for $50) and includes soccer play, use of the party room and balloons.

Read more
Chicago

Sweet Buddha

Candy: the word that can stop kids in their tracks! This sweet candy shop puts on birthday parties that cater to your kid. From dancing to games, princess parties to painting, you can dream up any sort of party you wish. Things like face painting and henna are available for an extra fee. And, of course, a party here wouldn’t be complete without a candy buffet and to-go bags for an after-party treat. Contact for various package prices. Parties usually run up to two hours.

Read more
Lincoln Park

Facets

Little movie stars will love walking down the red carpet to their film-filled birthday extravaganza. Kids can get the movies of their choice projected on the big screen, their names on the marquee, popcorn during the movie, and tickets to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival or the Facets Family Film Series for their goodie bags. You’ll find space upstairs for partygoers to enjoy cake and ice cream or lunch if you wish. Parties run for two and a half hours and include the theater and upstairs party room for up to 55 guests. $400, or $340 if you are a Facets member.

Read more
North Side

All About Dance

Kids have boundless energy so a dance party just makes sense. This popular dance studio offers up parties full of music, dancing and games. The staff will even glam up the kids with glitter, makeup and temporary tattoos. Parties run for 2 hours and cost $625 ($575 for dance members) and include instruction, use of facilities and goodie bags.

Read more
Old Town

The Kids' Table - Wicker Park

Move over delivery pizza and ice cream. A party at this kids’ cooking school means the little ones can make their own birthday meal. Children ages 2 and up can plan a pizza party, tea party or even a breakfast bash at one of two locations in Wicker Park or Lakeview. Parties cost $475 for two hours for 10 kids (up to 20 kids for an additional fee). Fee includes beverages food the kids cook, a cake of their choice, electronic invitations, chef hats to decorate, and laminated recipe cards.

Read more
Wicker Park

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Legos simply have something kids of all ages love. Take them to the Legoland Discovery Center where they’ll see building blocks galore—mind blown! The center puts on great birthday parties for crowds of all sizes, complete with adventures throughout the Legoland exhibits. Parties run for 3 hours, but guests can stay longer to explore the center. Parties include pizza, cupcakes, admission, birthday crowns, beverages and balloons. Prices range from $600-800 depending on the size of the event.

Read more
Schaumburg

Windy City Fieldhouse

Windy City Fieldhouse hosts unforgettable parties you could safely put in the “choose your own adventure” category. Kids can go the standard route—time on the sports courts—or get wild and crazy with themes like “Mad Scientist,” complete with a science-themed show; “Scavenger Hunt;” or even a build-your-own stuffed animal party. Parties last two to two and a half hours and range in price from $300-$500. Most parties include setup, court time, and instructors.

Read more
Lakeview

Pinstripes

Bowling parties are classic. Kids ages 3-12 can hit the lanes and indulge in favorites like pizza, cookies and brownies right at the lanes. As a keepsake, the birthday boy or girl can order a real bowling pin for friends to sign like a guestbook. Parties run two hours and include food, bowling, shoe rental and free socks. The birthday kid gets a special cap. Extras like special pins and balloons can be added for an additional fee.

Read more
Streeterville

The Actors Gymnasium at Noyes Cultural Arts Center

Instead of running away to join the circus, kids can head to this Evanston studio that often collaborates with Lookingglass Theatre on acrobatic productions. The Circus Arts party package, for ages 8 and up, includes instruction on two circus tricks—juggling, unicycling, trapeze or tightwire. Imaginastics, for younger kids, has the skilled and silly entertainers focusing on tumbling, gymnastics and storytelling. If it’s good enough for David Schwimmer, it’s good enough for your budding Bozo. $375 includes 60 minutes of instructional time and 30 minutes for cake (bring your own) for up to 15 children; pay $75 for up to five more kids.

Read more
Evanston

Bubbles Academy

If you dream it, Bubbles can create it. This whimsical spot will take care of all of your party needs—you just need to take care of the food and goodie bags. If your child dreams of being a superhero, the staff will create a party around that theme. Princesses and pirates? No problem. The talented instructors can lead sing-alongs and art classes, or you can opt for open play with bubbles, balls and building blocks. Packages start at $650, or $550 if you are registered for a class.

Read more
Lincoln Park

Children's Museum of Immigration at the Swedish American Museum

Party kids get private access during normal hours to this Andersonville kids’ museum, where they can board a replica steamer ship on a “trip” to America, “milk” the wooden cow and row a Viking ship. Celebrate with your own spread in a small adjacent classroom (setup and cleanup are your responsibility). Museum staff will lead a themed craft and game (Pippi Longstocking, Viking or pioneer) for an additional $5 per child. $250 (members $150) for 2 hours of party time for up to 20 kids (30 guest maximum).

Read more
Andersonville

Easel Art Studio

Critics' pick

Your budding Picasso will love this kid-focused art studio in Wicker Park. A party here allows the little ones to rotate through age-appropriate crafts—fully smocked, of course. The team will work with you beforehand to approve the projects. You can choose to order food from anywhere or take advantage of the discount Easel has with Piece Brewery and Pizzeria. Once art time is over, toys and a stand-up sandbox will provide even more fun. No need for goodie bags because kids get to take home their art. Parties cost $350 plus $14 per kid for the projects. Fee includes the space, teachers, and, if you choose, face painting or temporary tattoos.

Read more
Bucktown

Little Beans

Critics' pick

This cute play space modeled after a town with its own grocery store, fire station and auto shop also hosts full-service birthday parties. If you want to add to the party, the team can help with food and decorations and even balloon animals or music. For summer parties, check out the back deck full of water toys and a private ice cream shop. For $550, you can get the standard package that includes two hours of fun in the play space and a dedicated Bean Buddy who will do all of the setup and cleanup. 

Read more
Lincoln Park

Heritage Littles

If you're looking for a fun space with a relaxed vibe, this new Lincoln Avenue spot should be your pick. Part bike shop, part photo shop and part event space, it's one of the more unique options. The party space has a special perk: a built-in milk and cookie bar with plenty of cookies. The staff is happy to help with ideas and even supply face-painters or parties in a box (courtesy of Land of Nod) for an additional fee. The rental fee for parties is $325 on Sundays for two hours for 15 kids, including setup and cleanup. Saturdays cost $425. Bring your own decor and food.

Read more
West Lakeview

Historic Wagner Farm

Experience a real farm (not a petting zoo) with a party at this Glenview Park District spot. The Lil Farmers package (for ages 3–6) offers crafts like birdhouse painting and games such as Pin the Spots on the Cow, plus face time with sheep, draft horses and cows. Splurge on a horse-drawn wagon ride, $125 per 30 minutes. $270 for 90-minute parties for 10–25 kids, $305 package for older kids includes craft supplies, games and two staff helpers.

Read more
Glenview

Inside Out Art Studio

Master mask maker Jeff Semmerling opens his Lincoln Square art studio to party people ages 7 and up to make their own creations (from a kid-sized basic form) or other crafts (puppets, sculpture, jewelry). You’re welcome to bring your own food and party decorations. $225 for 12 kids, $300 for more than 12.

Read more
Portage Park

Pump It Up

Critics' pick

Kids with boundless energy will enjoy bouncing from inflatable to inflatable, sliding down slides and using their imaginations around every corner. Party packages run from classic, which includes use of the facilities, to ultimate, which includes pizza and drinks, decorations and goodie bags. Of course, you can always add-on a theme for a fee—superheroes, perhaps? Birthday parties run 2 hours and include 80 minutes of jumping. Prices range from $225-$579 depending on the day, time and what you include.

Read more
Lincoln Park

Roots Handmade Pizza

If you plan to have a lot of adult guests in addition to kids, this is a great pick for its awesome Quad City pizza and, if you choose, Midwestern craft beer. There are two main spots in the restaurant, an upstairs and downstairs space, that can be transformed into the perfect party spot. The team will let you bring in your own entertainment or toys, and if you are looking for a great cake or treat, next door's West Town Bakery can whip up something great. Party prices vary based on time of year, room and amount of refreshments you want, so call for details.

Read more
West Town

The Wishcraft Workshop

This cheerful North Center storefront personalizes parties from start to finish. Chat with the owners ahead of time to tell them what makes your child tick (he raves about robots or she’s bound for a life in theater), and they take it from there with custom invites, birthday banners and an art project to suit your kid’s style (recycled water bottle robots, for example). $375 for a two-hour party for 10, $435 for up to 15, $495 for 20; $15 per additional child. Includes invites, paper goods, art project and embroidered T-shirt for the b-day kid.

Read more
Lakeview

Comments

1 comments
John M
John M

These are some great birthday party options. Something that really stands out is that they are able to be used for all ages for the most part. I personally like the idea of being able to have a birthday party that is in the pool. That would be a great way to ensure that everyone is able to have fun. Thank you for sharing. 


http://www.theprincessandhercowboys.com/2014/09/17-toddler-activities.html