Being a grown-up is great, but there are some things that adulthood kind of sucks the joy out of. Ya know... like, birthdays.
When you're a kid, the idea of having a party and getting older is fun and exciting, but once you reach a certain age, the last thing you want is to plan a party. Honestly, the only thing worse than getting an event planned is feeling like you've aged yet another year.
Birthdays as an adult don't have to be like this, though. You can attempt to recapture the magic of your birthday with a party inspired by the parties you loved attending as a kid.
From roller skating to tea parties, these are some of the best child-inspired, but totally adult-friendly birthday party ideas that will have you feeling like a kid again.
1. Madison Bowl
For the adult with a competitive streak
Madison Bowl has everything you need for a great party: awesome music, cheap drinks, unreal hours (they're open 24 hours Thursday-Saturday), arcade games, killer 1960s vibes, and there's the bowling (of course). It's pretty cheap to rent shoes and get time on a lane, which means that you can keep the party going all night if you want. You don't even have to worry about food, since the Madison Diner, tucked away behind the bar, serves up absolutely incredible burgers and other classic diner staples.
Madison Bowl is located at 4761 Madison Rd. (45227).
2. Tea party at the Bonbonerie
For the adult who still not-so-secretly wants to be a princess
The Bonbonerie serves an absolutely elegant Tea Lunch plate that is perfect if you're looking for an essential princess experience. Finger sandwiches and sweets are served with fruit or soup, along with a pot of tea (their selection of brews is impressive) that you can pour into a pretty floral teacup. It's a great way to celebrate with a small group of friends. Just don't forget to remind everyone that garden party attire is mandatory!
Bonbonerie is located at 2030 Madison Rd (45208).
3. Lazer Kraze
For the adult who still has the energy level of a kid
Let's be real. When you were a kid and you got an invitation for a laser tag party, it was insanely exciting. The folks behind Laser Kraze are party pros, with package options that pretty much run the gamut. Since various Lazer Kraze locations have a trampoline park, arcade, and Go Karts (among other things), you can pick and choose what activities your party gets. You don't even need to book a party to bring a group in; but if you're planning on doing cake and pizza, make sure to call and schedule the event.
Lazer Kraze is located at 7082 Columbia Rd (45039).
For the adult who has the energy level of a horde of kids
Following an afternoon at SkyZone, you might be too tired to keep the party going — but in the best way possible. If you're going to be working out at a birthday party, it might as well involve Ultimate Dodgeball, SkySlam basketball, dives into the Foam Zone, and some intense SkyRobics, right? Don't be intimidated, though; SkyZone said they recently hosted a party of 50 year olds, so it really is fun for all ages.
SkyZone is located at 11745 Commons Dr (45246).
5. Carousel at Smale Park
For the adult who appreciates a dose of whimsy
Carol Ann's Carousel is inside a shelter. And while they host birthday parties for kids, adults of any age can rent the place out during off hours for a party. You can also rent the stunning event space below if you want to go even bigger. No matter how you organize it, the highlight will certainly be the beautiful carousel... and with the carousel's attention to detail and variety of animals, it's sure to be an incredible centerpiece to the party. (Except for the giant cicada figure.)
Carol Ann's Carousel is located at 8 W Mehring Way (45202).
6. Coney Island
For the adult who enjoys an adrenaline rush... and who has an iron stomach
Get the whole gang together for a retro afternoon at Coney Island! Old-school rides like Dodgems, the Scrambler, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Scream Machine (among others) provide tons of amusement. But none can top the infamous Python roller coaster, a monster of twisted steel, multi-story drops, and wild turns. There's also food (best enjoyed after the rides), games, and the massive waterpark as well. Order pizzas at the LaRosa's, wash it all down with alcohol, and let everyone loose in the park for a good, old-fashioned day of fun.
Coney Island is located at 6201 Kellogg Ave (45230).
7. Castle Skateland
For the adult who wants to keep it old-school cool
You don't need mad skating skills to kill it with a party at Castle Skateland. You can rent out the whole rink for you and your guests and have them bring in pizza and soda. Or you can just get the crew together to enjoy some open-skate fun. Enjoy the disco balls and the sweet jams (hopefully you appreciate getting down to Top 40) as you get used to using roller skates again! Bonus: The rink is huge, so feel free to invite anyone and everyone... and their mothers.
Castle Skateland is located at 980 Loveland Madeira Rd (45140).
8. Eastgate Brew & View
For the pop culture-loving adult who doesn't want to miss the latest Oscar noms... or the next big blockbuster
If your idea of a righteous party as a kid involved watching movies all night at a sleepover, Eastgate Brew and View is the perfect adult-friendly version of that. The movie theater shows the latest releases but also has a full bar and restaurant inside, which means you can treat yourself and your friends to the latest blockbuster and some awesome nibbles. The restaurant caters to all appetites, and the bar features craft beer, wine, movie star-themed cocktails, and crazy delicious "R-Rated" milkshakes.
Eastgate Brew & View is located at 4450 Eastgate Square Dr (45245).
9. Mt. Airy Treehouse
For the outdoorsy, tree-hugging adult
If you ever dreamed about (or even actually asked for) a treehouse as a kid, you're in luck, because Cincinnati's Mt. Airy Forest has one that's free and open to the public! The forest itself is a beautiful setting for a group event, and the wheelchair-accessible treehouse really adds to the atmosphere for an adult who wants to spend his/her birthday out in nature. You can't reserve it, since it's totally public and operates on a first come, first-serve basis, though. Maybe you can work off all of the cake and ice cream with a hike through the forest afterward!
Mt. Airy Treehouse is located in the park at 5083 Colerain Ave (45223).
10. The Rook / 16-Bit Bar+Arcade
For the totally, unabashedly geeky adult
Spend your birthday indulging your geekiest fantasies at The Rook. They have several options for party rentals, from private rooms that hold over 100 guests to table reservations and smaller rooms for parties that can have between 12 and 30 people. Add in super fun cocktails and homemade pizza rolls, mini corn dogs (!!!), and tater tots, and you've got an unforgettably-awesome event. For a more free-flowing party, you can simply gather your friends to meet at 16-Bit for some '80s arcade games, and (of course) booze.
The Rook is located at 1115 Vine St (45202).
16-Bit Bar+Arcade is located at 1331 Walnut St (45202).
And with that, I bet you've never been more excited to celebrate your next birthday. If you're still in need of some inspiration, scroll to the top and peruse the photo gallery.