Birthday party ideas for teens and tweens - 510 Families
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Birthday party ideas for teens and tweens

As our kids get older, birthday party needs change. With a handful of our staffers already having planned birthday parties beyond age 10, we’ve got some ideas to share for East Bay parents. Whether your child wants one splurgey activity with a friend or two or a gaggle of friends for a marathon bonding session, we think you’ll find inspiration here: Instagrammable museums | Special Events & Outings | Art & Maker Parties | Jumping and climbing | Arcades | Hecka Creative At-home Parties | Hotel Pool Party | Tons more birthday ideas!

This post contains affiliate links.

pop up tent
Pop-up shade tent with cheap garland has been the setting for many of my backyard parties. At the last one, I handed out a “mystery bag” of craft supplies to girls divided into three teams and they had to come up with a piece of home decor.

East Bay Birthday Party Ideas for Teens and Tweens

Instagram-focused “museums” in San Francisco

Hooptopia (San Francisco)
Warriors-themed interactive installations allow guests to shoot hoops and pose for photos that make them look like superstars. Buy a ticket for each guest and follow up with a casual meal in Thrive City, where the installation is located (we suggest Gott’s Roadside for burgers and fries). See ticket prices and details >

Museum of Ice Cream (San Francisco)
A series of candy-colored rooms with ice cream samples offered to guests at every turn, a small group of kids will enjoy navigating this “museum” together. See ticket availability >

Art and Maker parties for teens and tweens

Paint-your-own-pottery: Brushstrokes (Berkeley) This pretty studio space enables kids to select an item to paint– or choose a mosaic project. Plenty of indoor and outdoor space for food and cake, and an optional softserve truck add-on. Learn more > or Color Me Mine (Alameda) Located in an outdoor shopping center, these paint-your-own-pottery parties are convenient and fun. Learn more >


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Jewelry-making: Blue Door Beads (Piedmont Avenue) and Beadazzled on Solano Avenue (Berkeley) offer parties for kids 8-14.

Play-Well Teknologies has designed a project for kids over 7: creating a battle track for competitive jousting — out of LEGOs. If this is your child’s passion, learn more >

Special event outings for a small group

Sporting events

Depending on the time of year, tickets are not hard to come by for these local teams:

  • Oakland A’s or SF Giants game
  • Harlem Globetrotters (for January birthdays only, these guys put on a great show in Oakland one weekend per year)
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Oakland Roots

Amusement Park Outings


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  • Six Flags
  • Great America

Water Parks and Swimming Pools

Find a discount for current shows and events >

At-home party concepts & services

Vivarium birthday party
Vivarium will bring a giant snake to your birthday party | Photo: Sally Mason

Game Zone Party Truck will bring a mobile video game theater to your house or Laser-Tag kits that allow kids to battle at the location of your choosing (empty playground after dusk).

Games2U video game truck offers inside-the-van and outside-the-van gaming options for kids. Also, lazer tag, booger wars, and candy cannon. What? Your tweens will know what that means.

games2u video game truck
Inside the Games2u video game truck | Photo: Rasheed Photography

Cupcake Wars – DIY this party by baking, but not frosting, two cupcakes per guest in advance. Provide lots of cupcake decoration choices. Offer various rounds of judging and funny awards. At my daughter’s party, my son awarded one of the cupcakes “Looks Most Like a Litter Box”.

cupcake wars party
Cupcake Wars: We offered the guests this cake stand to take photos of their creations after judging, before eating. This less expensive version comes in multiple colors >

East Bay Vivarium has a great reptile show that enables kids to touch and hold lizards, snakes, and tarantulas! Great for little kids too, but it never gets old.

Backyard camping – Pitch a tent and let them bring comfort items from the house into it. Provide mini-flashlights as a party favor (here’s a multi-pack) and friendship bracelet supplies as an activity.

Make-and-take party with Pew Pew kits – Order in advance a set of names and extra icons – hearts, donuts, instagram icons, that the kids will paint and assemble. Contact Lizz, the etsy shop owner, for a discount on a party-size order. Learn more > (Get free shipping with code 510FAMZ)

pew pew kit
Custom laser-cut items paired with acrylic paint and brushes you provide will keep kids busy and produce unique party favors. (Get free shipping with code 510FAMZ). Found here >

Arcade and Entertainment Centers for tween parties

Plank (Oakland)
Restaurant, hip bowling alley, and modern arcade all in one. No special party room needed. Learn more >

John’s Incredible Pizza Company (Newark)
Admission includes food, including dessert, and gaming. Party rooms are available, but not necessary. Learn more >

Round1 Entertainment (Concord)
Large arcade center with on-site bowling alley, karaoke rooms, and concessions. Learn more >

round one arcade
Looking out over the gaming floor at Round One | Photo: Whitney Moss

Jumping and climbing parties for older kids

Sqvadron (Concord)
This serious parkour gym has impressive obstacles and technical equipment for kids turning at least 8. Fans of American Ninja Warrior will love it. Learn more >

Sky High (Concord)
Trampoline park with party table option. Packages include pizza and soda. Learn more >

Bridges Rock Gym (El Cerrito)
Kids parties include an hour of rock climbing and slackline instruction followed by access to a table and chairs for snacks and cake. Learn more >

Rockin Jump (Fremont)
Another trampoline park option to consider. Learn more >

Athletic Playground (Emeryville)
Parkour activities in a safe environment with great instructors. No dedicated party space is included in these packages. Learn more >

Quarry Park (Rocklin, CA)
Better as a “bring one or two best friends” kind of day, we loved this ropes course for teens with big energy.

Athletic playground obstacle course ages 7 to 12
Athletic Playground parties include a challenging but safe obstacle course | Photo: Justin Bench

Order a crazy photo drop background to make any party memorable >


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