Five Fun & Unconventional Portland Birthday Party Ideas


We all know the drill: a birthday is coming up and we want to make it memorable for our kids. Whether it’s a homemade birthday party or going “all out,” from clowns and magicians, bowling and swimming parties, to wall climbing, ice skating, and trampolines, there are venues for birthday parties sprouting up throughout Portland.

Here are FIVE birthday parties places that have caught my eye. 

1. Make + Take Studio

After attending a crafty kids’ Mini-Camp, our first experience at Make + Take Studio left us wanting more. I was in love with the space and everything they had to offer, and my kids had a great time making soaps and bath bombs during their camp. Make + Take Studio hosts workshops and events for kids (and grown-ups!), teaching how to make lotions, candles, bath bombs, soaps, and more. And they do birthdays, too!

They throw standard birthday parties for up to ten kids, with a choice of two activities. No need for goody bags, as kids get to take home their own creations. Better yet, why not plan your own birthday party with your mom friends and make a night of it?

2. Art a la Carte

Art ala Carte is a revolutionary art concept created in the Pacific Northwest, is purely mobile, traveling around the metro area. Borrowing from the concept of salad bars, AAC magically transforms them to art bars, for “all-you-can-make art.” Artists of all ages load up seemingly endless art supplies, all salvaged from a variety of sources. Options include everything from pom-poms to buttons, paper towel rolls to stickers, empty cigar boxes and bits of fabric to fake flowers and string. And they cater to birthday parties, too!

When we first encountered them at the library for a Fairy House workshop, we were blown away. My kids were so engaged, I was in shock: I had not seen them spend ninety minutes doing anything before… ever! And the thought my eight and five-year-olds put into constructing and detailing their fairy house was beyond anything I had seen them do at home. It made me wonder if these were the same kids I had brought with me! 

3. The Oregon Reptile Man


Richard “The Oregon Reptile Man” is amazing! Established in 1991, The Reptile Man shares over sixty exotic reptiles from around the world as educational ambassadors to nearly 500 organizations yearly. We first encountered him and his “pets” at our local library. He put on such a mesmerizing show, even the adults were captivated. 

His standard package includes 17 reptiles presented over the course of one hour. The program is designed to educate and entertain in a safe and professional atmosphere. He is also known as the Oregon Pigeon Man, and provides one hour small group pigeon shows October through April. 

4. The English Tea Garden

I am guilty of loving a good tea party. When my daughter was little, I might have used her as an excuse to plan and host tea parties for her little girlfriends. What fun I had thinking of the themes, creating the menu, finding the decor, and then putting it all together and watching the girls have a blast. 

When Jannah-Rae and I first went to the English Tea Garden in Happy Valley for her seventh birthday we knew we were hooked. Not only do they host bridal showers and Victorian high tea, they also throw together fabulous birthday parties that are a tea-time fantasy come true! Their party table holds up to 27 guests, and the menu can be altered to the party’s needs. Each party includes decorated table settings with centerpieces, covered with linen and lace table cloths, cloth napkins and jeweled napkin rings. They also offer a myriad of fancy fun hats for the ladies to don while sipping their tea.

5. Campfire and Barnyard Parties

Everybody loves a great campfire; why not make it into a birthday celebration? I was delighted to learn about the campfire and barnyard birthday parties offered by Luscher Farm.

A campfire party offers old fashioned weenie roast and s’mores, a farm-themed masterpiece, and a real bonfire. The barnyard theme, catered towards younger children, offers the children a chance to tour the barnyard and engage in an age-appropriate crafts. Staff takes care of the fire, provides hot dogs, buns, condiments, and s’mores supplies. Parties are offered on Saturdays with a cost savings for Lake Oswego residents. 

Check out more birthday ideas at our Birthday Party Guide!

Do you have a favorite birthday parties place to share? Please leave them in the comments!

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Lebanese in origin, Ranya became a US citizen in 2007. Shortly after meeting Jeff through a job ad in Beirut in 2003, she moved to Portland to pursue a doctorate at PSU. From there, the two of them moved to the East Coast to begin their adventures. The last fourteen years have seen them in Portland, OR twice; in Arlington, VA twice, in Columbia, MD as well as Lebanon and Morocco. In her current life, Ranya is a teacher’s aide who loves to embark on special projects with her daughter. Their signature Mama-and-Me activity is hosting their friends for formal tea parties. She is trilingual, and is passing on the torch of language to her children who are fluent in English and Arabic. Ranya is passionate about hot yoga, and enjoys long walks. She absolutely hates driving, and reserves it for cases of dire need. She believes in the wonders of snuggles, and advocates their daily use. She lives a walking distance from her all-time favorite restaurant, Saburo, with Jeff, Jannah-Rae and Yousef. They share their one-bathroom house with her parents and Leo, the Arabic-speaking cat. Ranya writes thoughts, tots and essential oils on her blog Ranya, the Memory Keeper.