A Case for Offsite Birthday Parties

little girl turning four celebrating her birthday party a Peek-a-Boo Factory, local indoor playspace
Ilse, celebrating her birthday at the Peek-a-Boo Factory in San Francisco

This year, my daughter, Ilse, asked for a party for her 4th birthday celebration. Ilse wanted to invite her cousins and her classmates to our apartment for cake and presents. While I loved the idea of celebrating her birthday with a party, my husband and I were not keen on having a party in our apartment. There was simply not enough room to accommodate her classmates and their parents and any cousins were going to invite too. Like Ilse’s second birthday party, we decided to host a celebration off-site and an indoor venue (as May can still be chilly for outdoor festivities). Hosting a party off-site is still the best decision we ever made. For those of you considering hosting your child’s next birthday party, I offer my top four reasons for not hosting a party at home.

No mess at home

For the most part, we keep a clean house, even when Ilse’s toys and crafts have homes in all our common areas. Not having a party at home means I don’t have to worry about the mess that precedes and follows a party. The largest party we host at home is Thanksgiving, which consists of roughly 7 kids and 23 adults. Any party larger than 30 persons is too many for our apartment and our sanity.

Extra hands

When hosting parties at home, my husband, Daniel, and I are always working: mingling, cleaning, bandaging a boo boo, and squeezing in bites to eat, etc. We run a well-oiled party machine, but it’s exhausting. Offsite venues often mean extra hands to help, so we can both be part of the festivities. Some of the venues we considered set up our catering, corralled gifts, and decorated. What a treat!

More time to mingle

Good hosts should enjoy their own party. Not hosting a party at home permits us parents to mingle with our guests. When we don’t have to worry about entertaining the children or setting up a buffet, we can have a little fun ourselves, like capturing candid photos of our daughter Ilse with her friends or engaging other parents in conversations in the dreaded kindergarten enrollment process in the city.

Happy Kids

The biggest compliment any party host can receive is that their guests had a wonderful time. In our case, we were fortunate that parents and kids alike enjoyed Ilse’s birthday party, especially the birthday celebrant herself. We could not have successfully hosted a party that large (60 people including kids) at home. A happy kid makes for a very happy parent.

Whether you decide to host an intimate party for four children or a large party for 25 children (like we just did), know that you can choose to not host a party at home and save the dusting for another time.


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Jeanne is a married, full-time working mom with an MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University and BA in Communications from San Francisco State University. She is an Associate Director of Sales for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and loves that her career enables her to promote the city she loves. Jeanne and her husband Daniel live in San Francisco with their two daughters, Ilse and Alice. When Jeanne is not working, writing, or volunteering at Ilse's school, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and cooking from her collection of cookbooks (70 and growing) while sipping Hudson Bay Bourbon. Follow her adventures on Instagram.


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