Reasonable Priced Venues for a 5 Year Old’s Birthday Party in the District?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

I am a little stuck and wondered if you could help. My daughter turns 5 in June and we want to have a birthday party at a 3rd party vendor in the city and not in MD or VA. The zoo has great parties but is a little expensive. We are looking into the building museum too. I wondered if you had suggestions for any other ideas that we could explore that wouldn’t be astronomical.”

36 Comment

  • So Serendipity 3 closed in Georgetown? Maybe treat the lil feller to a golden opulence sundae?

  • We did my daughter’s last part at All Fired Up, the ceramic painting place in Cleveland Park. Prior parties were at the Washington Harbor ice rink (not helpful for you) and Silver Stars Gymnastics in Silver Spring (not what you asked).
    I am curious, though – why a venued party? My daughter has a December birthday, and every single year we lament about how lucky parents of kids who have summer birthdays are – go to a park, have a BBQ, go to a pool, etc. – there are so many more options. Take the easy way out!

    • anonymouse_dianne

      Yeah, why a venue for 5 yo? Rule of thumb is one child per year, or six kids total. You don’t need a “venue” for that!

      • notlawd

        Really? Where does this rule come from? So you had no kids at your kid’s first birthday?

      • I’ve never heard of that rule. All the parties from when I or my brother (he’s 8 years younger, so I clearly remember his parties) were too young to have actual friends consisted of all my parents’ friends and their kids. The picture from my first birthday has more than a dozen kids. Though at 5, the kid might be in kindergarten and the parent may want to invite the class. Now, these were generally backyard affairs with maybe my mom dressing up as a clown. I think the only “venue” I ever got was a picnic table at my neighborhood park (my bro did do Chuck E Cheese’s for his 4th birthday…jerk).

  • Rock Creek Park Horse Center may still do “pony parties.” Most 5 year old girls I’ve known would think that was the greatest.

  • rent out a picnic area in a park, or room in a rec center, through the DPR website? you could even hire a clown, magician, person who brings reptiles, etc (the free Washington Family magazine always has ads for this stuff).

    All Fired Up and Art Jamz do parties. Ft Dupont ice rink might be possible too (and perfect if she wants a Frozen-themed party!). Their website says groups of up to 15 don’t need special reservations.

    Finally, might a small ice cream store or bakery be willing to host? They could show how the food is made, let kids make a sundae or pizza or something, and then you could plan some activities (pin the ice cream on the cone?). I’d start with Ice Cream Jubilee since kids could play at Yards Park after.

    • We rented out a picnic area at Rock Creek Park. Make sure to rent it now as the prized spots next to restrooms and playground are booked way in advance. The offspring has a summer birthday and we booked the spot in January. I think the spot number was #24. Make sure to book for the entire day if you can do it. That avoids having to deal with cleaning up with people that had it before you. Also, be warned, people will squat in that spot even if they don’t have a permit. Make sure to bring your permit with you so you can get the squatters to leave. And, RockCreek doesn’t allow balloons or animal shows – so no pet a pony or bunnies party.

    • notlawd

      A friend had her daughter’s 7th birthday party at Seventh Hill Pizza in Capital Hill. The party was before the place opened so it was just us. The kids decorated aprons and then made their own individual pizzas. They even had mimosas for the adults! It was an awesome experience.

  • justinbc

    When asking for restaurant / venue / etc recommendations it usually helps to set a defined budget for people to respond to. Your idea of “reasonable” or “astronomical” might be very different than mine or others.

  • Ugh our “ice cream shop” idea included birthday party space where kids could make their own ice cream flavors. Boooo for not wanting to really take the leap on all my business ideas! lol

    Anyway, I’d do Rock Creek. My son’s a fall birthday, so…..yeah, nothin outside sadly. Bloombars does birthdays too I think

  • We had our five year old’s party at the Metropolitan Club. Nice location and the staff is great with kids!!

  • Some yoga places do little kid birthday parties. Here is one:

  • Egad

    Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights does kid birthday parties.

  • You can have a pool party at the Wilson Aquatic Center! They have a room you can rent and have pizza and cake (I think its $100 deposit, but I think you get the money back after the room is cleaned). I would check out other DCPR facilities as well!

    • I did this when i lived in Virginia at a rec center and it was great! The kids had a ball! You can control the food, cake etc… The only pain was having to lug the stuff in and out. Ended up being quite reasonable for 15 kids and life guards on duty so not only you keeping an eye out.

  • KSB

    For my daughter’s 5th birthday, we snagged some picnic tables at Glen Echo Park, ate sandwiches and cake, and bought each kid a ticket to the carousel.

  • We have had parties at the Building Museum, Audubon Naturalist Society, Adventure Theater (Glen Echo, MD), and a Fire Station (in Falls Church), Laser Tag (Virginia), Bowling (Bethesda).

    We have been to parties at the Zoo, Lucky Strike in Gallery Place, a bus that comes to your home and has a gym inside for the kids to play in, some nature kind of place on MacArthur Blvd, an outside lunch and games followed by the Rock Creek planetarium. Recently attended a birthday party hike in Rock Creek with a gang of 10 year olds that ended at Pierce Mill and followed with food at one of the tables in the park.

  • We did our four year old’s birthday at The Little Loft in Capitol Hill (11th and Penn SE). It was great and I think it would be a fun place for a 5 year old if they were into arts & crafts.

  • Yards Park. Get there early and reserve a spot (assuming you don’t have a caterer, etc) – best of all, its free and their wading pool/waterfall is perfect for your age group. If you want something grander there, you can submit a request – no idea how much it costs. It’s worked out well for the parties we’ve been to…and it’s metro accessible.

  • Scrap DC (in Brookland) does crafty birthday parties for kids.

  • Original poster here. Thanks for the great suggestions. People asked why a venue. I am due with a baby right at my daughter’s birthday and want to have a birthday in a can ready to go in case a grandmother needs to take over if the baby comes early.

    While I am a fan of 5 friends on your 5th birthday, our school has a birthday policy of inviting the entire class or just one gender. She loves the boys in her class equally so she wants to have them all.

  • Baccio in bdale. They’ve got pizza and ice cream. We had my neice’s 4th bday there and they were super nice and it became an amazing kiddo dance party.

  • I just want to offer the perspective of the longer term. Having done a lot of parties both at home and away when my kids were little, the relatively simple things we did at home are what I remember best now–like, who was there, what the kids talked about, how we planned it and what we served.

    For instance I once pulled together a dress-up tea party for my Dec.-born daughter when she was 7 or 8, because she was beginning to enjoy drinking tea with me. I served a a wide range of decaffeinated and herbal teas for the guests to sample, combined with different snacks. They also got some running-around time, and homemade cake and store-bought ice cream. It was definitely not expensive, and one of the best things we did on a birthday.

    I don’t think it needs to be fabulous or fancy to create great memories, which is certainly what you ultimately want out of the experience.

  • We just had a party at Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department for my 3 year old’s birthday. The program is newish but was a great experience. This violates your DC-criterion but not by much. They dedicate 1-2 people to help set up. The space is nice and big enough for at least 30 kids (we had 17). The set up crew (parents) can arrive 30 minutes before party time to set up your own decorations, food, etc. We brought cake, bagels, a few balloons, drinks, and a bunch of our own toys to make ply stations (crayons/markers/paper for coloring, trucks, legos, toy animals). Some of the on staff EMTs joined to hang out with the kids. The kids went nuts running around and playing for an hour, then you go up to the firestation see a firefighter demo the gear and all the kids get to go into a firetruck. Then back down for cake. They provide goodie bags for the kids.

    This may or may not be good for a 5 year old girl, but is certainly is a great option for many out there. Very reasonably priced as well.

  • We attended our 5 year old daughters classmates’ birthday party at Menchies on U street. They did a great job, and the kids had a great time. They open up before the store does and let the kids have full reign of the space, Menchie came for pictures with the kids, they have a chalk board and activity sheets to color, tours of the back of the store, healthy nutrition information. one of the best parts was they facilitated the pizza for the party. I would check them out!

  • I manage the birthday parties at the National Building Museum!

    Not sure on your price range – parties are $350 for the first 15 children, with a maximum of 20 children. We do require families booking parties to be a museum member, so if you’re not already, it is an additional $90, but that also makes you a museum member for a full year.

    You can email us at [email protected] if you have other questions!

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