Laid-back Birthday Party: Pizza & Movie - 510 Families
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Laid-back Birthday Party: Pizza & Movie

For my son’s seventh birthday, everything was awesome because we paired the winning combination of pizza and a movie while avoiding all clean-up. We pre-bought movie tickets and warned the restaurant we were coming. Easy peasy.

The main coordination for this type of party is juggling showtimes and pizza restaurants for optimal mood, hunger, price, movie seats, and transit time. (Can you tell I am an Industrial Engineer by training? Nerd alert!) Once those decisions have been made, just show up and relax!

Kid grabbing a slice of Gioia pizza
Reaching for a slice of Gioia pizza | Photo: Maureen Burke

Preparations for a stress-free pizza & movie birthday party for a kid

I like an early movie showtime party. We started the party with cheese pizzas before the children were even hungry (figuring that was better than feeding some hungry beasts later!).  In the days before the party, I recommend you:

  1. Purchase movie tickets online using or similar. You can probably save on fees by buying directly through the theater’s app or website.
  2. Make reservations for the restaurant tables, if possible. Aim for off-hours for smaller restaurant crowds and less overall pizza costs. Though we had the place to ourselves, I would recommend trying to pre-order to avoid overwhelming the restaurant staff.
  3. Bake or buy birthday dessert. I am not a baking mom, and I like these East Bay cake bakeries.
12 assorted cupcakes
Cupcakes by Cupcakin | Photo: Heather Flett

Ideal East Bay spots for movie pizza birthday parties

Here are some locations with movie theaters in close proximity to great pizza places for feeding all those hungry party-goers:

Elmwood/Rockridge Movie & Pizza Party Spots

College Ave has a slew of different pizza places, from Nabolom Bakery and Pizzeria to Zachary’s Chicago Pizza to In the Wood Pub— all located close to Rialto Cinemas Elmwood.

Pro tip: Buy a large serving of popcorn — usually free refills — and divvy it up among the guests with small individual popcorn boxes.

Oakland Pizza and Movie by Lake Merritt

Pick from a number of great pizza places near the Grand Lake Theatre, including (but not limited to!) The Star on Grand, Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, and Sister Restaurant.

Emeryville Pizza and Movie at Bay Street

Head over to Bay Street for Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack and the giant screens at AMC Bay St.

El Cerrito Pizza Party

It’s almost like El Cerrito’s Rialto Cinemas is specifically designed for a pizza & a movie party, with this loved-by-locals movie theater serving pizza, appetizers, drinks, & more directly in the movie theater! A super fun experience for kiddos. If greasy fingers in a dark movie theater aren’t your thing, there is also Papi’s Pizza Roma up the street a bit.

Alameda Movie & Pizza Places

Alameda Theatre & Cineplex is conveniently located near both Tomatina and Marley G’s Pizzeria— two local favorites– as well as a Cinema Grill with all sorts of yummy bites for party-goers.

Visit the {510} Families Birthday Party Guide for a helpful list of venues, entertainers, and sweets providers for all your party needs.

the pizza fruit and breadsticks at the former lanesplitters
Pizza and fruit are the best | Photo: Whitney Moss

Where would you go to celebrate a birthday with pizza and a movie? Let us know in the comments!

The Bottom Line on a movie pizza party for kids

I’m a huge fan. This party works perfectly for any movie your child is dying to see that comes out right around their birthday! And pizza is a great party food to feed a bunch of kids.


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