One too many trips to an arcade-filled pizza joint with a rat-turned-mouse mascot can make these child-centric establishments feel not-so-special come birthday time. To usher in your wee one’s next year of life, these places are the best of the best for kid-friendly celebrations even adults will love. 

Photo: shankar s. via Flickr

Best Birthday Songs

Alero Restaurant

It doesn’t get more festive than a Mariachi band belting out a birthday ditty; most days you’ll find sombrero-wearing guitar players strolling through this U street hot spot, but if you come here on an off- night, don’t worry! The restaurant staff will sing with the same gusto of its resident Latin band, shaking maracas and pounding (loudly) on drums. Your kids are sure to remember this birthday rendition for years to come.

1301 U St., NW (U Street Corridor)
Buca di Beppo
Yes, it’s a chain-restaurant. (Sigh). But the fun, kitschy atmosphere paired with its unique, upbeat hand-clapping birthday song make it a great place to cut cake with family. And the best part, the cake (with a festive, Italian flag) is free on your birthday! 
1825 Connecticut Ave., NW (Dupont Circle)

Best Birthday Desserts

Osteria Marzano

Skip the traditional birthday cake at this modern, brick-oven pizza joint where — in addition to classic Italian desserts — you can order a dessert pizza for your favorite pie-lover: instead of tomato sauce, this oven-fired dough is topped with Nutella and gooey, toasted marshmallows. And, yes!, it is a full-size pizza… if you can’t finish it, it heats up well in the microwave for a next-day celebration. 

6361 Walker Ln. (Alexandria, Va)



Co Co Sala

This chocolate-themed lounge has a very grown-up feel, but despite it’s swank-factor, it is kid-accommodating. Ask for a seat at the “Chocolate Bar”  — where artisanal chocolatiers handcraft sweets — and even the oldest members of your party will feel like kids again. Skip dinner all-together and opt for a three-course dessert experience for your little birthday boy or girl with each sweet dish bearing a special, chocolate birthday message. 

929 F St., NW (Federal Triangle)

Best Overall Party Atmosphere


A meal at this Shaw output feels a lot like a day at a carnival with menu options like top-your-own personal sized funnel cake and milkshakes with fluffy cotton candy topping. Little ones will enjoy the giant Jenga (perfect for tiny fingers). And a day at the carnival wouldn’t be complete without one of those vintage-y photo strips — Halfsmoke offers a free photo booth to capture the birthday festivities. 

651 Florida Ave NW (Washington, DC)
H Street Country Club
On most nights, H Street is more bar than Mexican restaurant, but this game-themed cantina is not just for “big kid” parties.  Come here on family night (Tuesday) and indoor miniature golf is just $4 per person with the purchase of dinner. It is also family friendly between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to putt putt, this country club has other boardwalk games like shuffleboard, skeeball and giant Jenga. 
1335 H St., NE (H Street)

What restaurants do you visit to celebrate a birthday. Tell us in the comments section below.


–Meghan Meyers