Best Places to Hold a First Birthday Party

baby girl at a first birthday party outdoors holding a lollipop Douglas J S Moreira/Unsplash
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If you can’t (or don’t want to) host a first birthday party in your home, you have lots of options. Whether you’re looking for an indoor venue so you don’t have to stress about weather or an outdoor spot to minimize messes, you’ll find them here. Read on for our best ideas for first birthday party locations. Easy! And now you can go on to stressing about party themes and gifts.

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Park
Local parks are a perfect place to hold a first birthday party and a parent-favorite first birthday party location. Spacious and usually free, parks are a blank slate. Set up bubbles, games, balloons, kiddie pools or anything else your one-year-old adores. Bring plenty of picnic blankets and check to see if your local park allows you to reserve picnic tables in advance.  

Playground
Playgrounds with tot lots are heaven for one-year-olds. Invite all of your birthday child's friends to their favorite stomping grounds and watch the fun unfold. Some playgrounds have gazebos or pavilions you can reserve for your guests and decorate for the party. There may be high demand, so book early! 

Fire Station
One of the best kept secrets of children's birthday parties is that many fire stations will allow you to host your child's birthday party there. And often for free. It's a unique location for a first birthday party and one that will set the bar high for birthday parties to come. 

Pool
If you are lucky enough to live near a pool with features for little ones, look into holding your party there. Most one-year-olds love splashing in zero-entry or shallow pools. Just be sure to tell guests to bring their own life vests for non-swimmers. Many public pools have on-site rooms that can be booked for parties. 

Community Center
For a relatively inexpensive indoor party, see if your local community center has rooms for rent. As a bonus, some community centers come pre-stocked with toys so planning activities will be easier. 

Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Parties are a great excuse to celebrate with food. A kid-friendly restaurant is a good choice for a first birthday party location since they can cater to both children and adults. If your one-year-old has discovered a love for pizza or french fries, select a location that serves them up. Ask in advance if you can bring your own balloons, decorations and cake, and definitely make a reservation. Some restaurants will be able to provide a private room or rope off a section for your exclusive use.

Botanical Garden
If you want to throw an Insta-worthy soirée, head to your local botanical garden. If you are lucky enough to live near one, try to reserve a pavilion. Or, stake out a spot early in the day and set up a picnic for your guests with the blooms in the background.

Zoo
By the time your baby turns one, chances are they already already love the zoo. If this is one of your go-to spots, hold a birthday party there. It's not only a great way to support your local zoo, but it's a fantastic, kid-friendly spot for a party. For a truly unique present, see if you can name one of the animals after your newly minted one year old. 

Children's Museum
Another place your child may already love is your local children's museum. This is the perfect place to celebrate your baby transforming into a curious toddler. Your birthday theme can tie into your child's favorite exhibit. An annual membership make a great tie-in for a gift. 

Someone Else's House
Your home may not be an option for a first birthday party location, but someone else's house might be perfect! Maybe Grandma has a big yard or a great room perfect for entertaining. If so, ask if you can host your little one's party there. Even a neighbor or close friend might be willing to host a small gathering. If your baby has a buddy with a birthday around the same time, ask if you can host a joint party at their home with a fair division of labor. This is an especially good option if the guest list will overlap from daycare or the neighborhood. 

Indoor Play Space
When outdoor parties are not an option because of weather or lack of available space, look for an indoor play area. Make sure they have age-appropriate gear for crawlers and new walkers. Invite a few chums, or if you have money to burn, rent out the entire building for an epic celebration. Many indoor play spots have a private room so be sure to ask about that when booking.   

Your Favorite Spot
Let's be honest: Your one-year-old won't remember their first birthday party. That means there is no shame celebrating making it through your first year as parents instead. Throw a bash at your favorite restaurant that's all about your new family and invite your grown-up friends. Your little one will have plenty of birthdays that are all about them so no need to feel guilty about stealing the spotlight just this once.

RELATED STORIES:
Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Baby’s First Birthday (Without Having a Party)
13 Secrets to a ONE-derful First Birthday Party
You’re Number One! First Birthday Gift Ideas

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