I recently wrote a blog called Party Planning on a Budget. This blog consisted of several tips to help you throw an awesome party without breaking the bank. One of those tips was on Party Locations...
Party Planning on a Budget Location Tip:
Look for a free or cheap location for your party. You don't have to rent out the most expensive party room in town to throw an awesome party. A party that is fun and keeps the guest entertained is more likely to be remembered than a boring party at an expensive venue. Keep in mind that your house and your backyard are a FREE location to host your party at.
You can't have a party without a location, so choosing a party location is key. Several things such as cost, number of guest, availability, and child's preference can play a role in what location you choose to host your party at. It is also always nice to have a back up location in mind incase of bad weather or an accidental double booking. There are hundreds of places you can host a party at but here are a couple location ideas to get you started. Keep in mind that location availability and locations fees are different depending on where you live.
Your House: Your house and your back yard are both free locations to host a party. If you want it to be more interesting you can have a themed party such as crafts galore where the guest get to make crafts or little chef where the guest get to decorate their own cupcakes. It keeps your guest entertained and is cheaper than renting out a craft place would be. Church: Most local churches have fellowship halls that you can book. If you are a church member it is usually free. The Park: Rent a pavilion at your local Park or hope one is empty the day of so it's free. The children can play ball, swing, and play on the play sets. You can have a few back up games in mind to play just in case. Local Gym:A lot of gyms have party rooms you can rent out or a court you can rent out for cheap, the cost is even cheaper if you are a member. I have also heard of schools allowing student families to use their gym for Birthday parties but it all depends on the school. Public Pool:Most pools have picnic tables that you can use to set up at so all you have to pay is per child that wants to swim.
Factory Tour: Most factories allow you to tour their facilities for free or super cheap. You probably can't open the gifts or eat the cake at the factory but you could always order pizza and go to your local park after the tour is over. Some factories have party rooms so make sure to check with your local factory!
Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch: Depending on the location and season you may have to pay but several apple orchards/pumpkin patches are free to visit and you buy what you want. The more popular ones charge an entrance fee but depending on how many children you have, it may not be to bad. A lot of apple orchards/pumpkin patches usually have several activities for children to participate in as well.
A Barn: You read that right, a barn. Several places rent out their barns for weddings and parties so it can be expensive if it's a nice venue, but if you live in the country you can usually gain access to a barn for free or cheap. What to do in a barn you may ask? Most barn parties are pretty much dance parties. Set up some lights, get a DJ, and have a dance party!
Restaurants: Check to make sure they take reservations or see if they have a party room you can use. Restaurants can be expensive unless you have a small guest list. If your guest list is bigger, you may want to consider a pizza place. Restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese, Gattitown, and Dave & Busters specialize in parties and fun.
Hotel Party Room/Pool: Most hotels have party rooms you can rent that allows you access to the room and the pool. Sometimes it's cheaper to get a suite for the night if it's a non-peak day and have a party instead of renting out the room
Bowling Alley: Most bowling alleys have party rooms and game rooms that you can rent out but it is usually cheaper to rent out two or three lanes and throw your party at the tables and chairs by the lanes.
Movie Theater: Several theaters offer birthday party packages that include the movie, popcorn, a party room, etc... the cost varies depending on the theater and number of people, but it is defiantly worth looking into.
Bounce House / Trampoline Parks: A lot of cities have indoor bounce house places or trampoline parks. They are open for the public but also have party rooms you can rent out while the children run and bounce out all of their energy.
Gymnastics Gym: Several Gymnastics Gyms will allow you to book their gym for a party. The party usually consist of free mat play and playing in the pool of foam blocks.
Karate / Mixed Marshal Arts Class: A lot of Karate/Mixed Marshal Arts places offer party packages. They will teach the children a couple cool moves, play some games, cut the cake with a samurai sword, etc. Every place offers different packages to suit their company so you will have to check with your local Karate/Mixed Marshal Arts place for more information.
Dance Studio: I've heard of some dance studios offering party packages where the children get to dress up and they teach them a dance.
Build-a-Bear: Build-a-Bear has party packages starting at $18 per guest, 5 guest minimum. The packages let each guest make their own little furry friend to keep. Each package contains different things so choose one that best suits you. You can find out more information here!
Michaels: Just incase you didn't know, Michaels is an arts and crafts store. Michaels has a craft room and allows you to book the room for birthday parties. Their package includes craft supplies, an associate to lead the craft, and much more. The craft depends on the location and the age group of the party. You can find out more information here!
Arts & Crafts Class: Several cities have classes you can book that allow you to make a craft such as pottery classes, ceramics class, painting classes, jewelry making, etc. Prices vary depending on the craft of coarse and the names of these locations vary on the city but an example is Painting with a Twist.
Museum: There are free museums out there but most of them charge an entrance fee. You can go on a tour of the museum or find a museum that offers or is specifically for children. There are several children's museums and science type museums out there; some museums offer group package deals.
Zoo / Aquarium / Botanical Garden: Take a few children to your local zoo or Botanical Garden to walk around and pack lunches or you can look into a party package. Most Zoo's have party packages. Depending on what package you choose, you may get to pet some animals, get food and beverages, go on the train, etc... You can find what party packages your local zoo offers online.
Some other places that are fun and sometimes have party rooms for rent/ party packages are:
Roller Skating Rink
Ice Skating Rink
Indoor Rock Climbing Center
Putt Putt Golf
These are just a few basic Birthday Party Locations. There are hundreds of locations you can host your party at and every state/city has different party place and party rooms for you to rent out so you can always search party locations in your area if you are still stumped but hopefully this list helped give you an idea. Best wishes and Happy Planning!