Great Philly Spots for a Kid’s Birthday Dinner
No time to party? Plan a festive meal in town at these special spots.
Maybe you didn’t plan a party, or maybe you did, but your kid’s birthday is midweek and you want to do a little something special. Sometimes a nice dinner with family is all that’s needed…or all you have time for! Here are some great, kid-friendly restaurants where you can celebrate your child’s birthday without the fuss.
1500 Walnut St.
Kids can paint their fries with a paintbrush of ketchup and literally shoot chocolate directly into their mouths with a giant syringe. If that doesn’t say “Happy Birthday,” I don’t know what does. The atmosphere is laidback but you can still get a cocktail if you want, and your kid’s decadent chocolate dessert will come with a sparkler.
Dim Sum House
3939 Chestnut St.
With two kinds of dim sum menus (Shanghai and Cantonese), there’s something for every palate, and plenty to go around. Get the soup dumplings if you know what’s good for you. The ambiance and upstairs location are just different enough to feel more special than a typical weeknight meal, and they even have small private rooms you can reserve if you want a big family dinner.
138 S. Second St.
If your kids are into history, this is a must-do. A throwback to the 18th Century, the atmosphere and the costumed waitstaff make City Tavern like no other place in town. Even the menu is inspired by colonial times, but there is a kids’ menu with a more loose interpretation for non-adventurous palates (you’ll find chicken tenders and other favorites). Plus, it’s a short walk to Franklin Fountain for a massive ice cream sundae after dinner.
Hibachi Penn’s Landing
325 Columbus Blvd.
Hibachi is always a fun dining experience, as kids are dazzled by the tabletop culinary wizardry that goes into making their meal. Plus, this spot has great views of the river and Ben Franklin Bridge.
2313 Frankford Ave.
Obviously, the pizza is great (from standard to inventive variations), but what really makes this place a celebration in itself is that it is also the world’s first pizza museum! Pizza Brain’s Museum of Pizza Culture holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of pizza memorabilia. You’ll find ads, art, toys (including lots of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, obviously), and much more lining every corner of this small converted rowhome. Plus, it’s right next to Little Baby’s Ice Cream, so you know where you’re getting dessert!
Bud and Marilyn’s
13th and Locust streets
Did you forget to buy your kid some cupcakes? One slice of Bud and Marilyn’s Funfetti cake is the size of your kid’s entire face, and makes cupcakes look like day-old muffins. It’s a celebration on a plate, and all the sugar you should have in a week, which is just about as birthday as you can get.
901 N. Delaware Avenue
Also known as 2019’s greatest gift to Philly, this Northern Liberties spot is more than we could ever have dreamed: a craft beer hall with a menu full of kid-favorite foods, an indoor pirate ship playground, old-school Nintendo games, and more kid-friendly diversions. The only downside is that this place is only open Wednesdays through Sundays, so if your kid’s birthday is early in the week, you’re out of luck.
3636 Sansom St.
Booths that will change colors at the press of a button, and a sushi bar that operates via conveyor belt—this is not your average Japanese (fusion) spot, and is just extra enough to be a memorable birthday meal.
Seasonal: Delaware River Waterfront
If your kid is lucky enough to have a birthday when the waterfront attractions are open, head to RiverRink (in summer or in winter!) and pair your meal at The Lodge with some skating afterwards, or go to Spruce Street Harbor Park in the summer for a riverside dinner of boardwalk treats– and you may even be lucky enough to be there on a night with live entertainment.
Lead photograph by Laura Swartz.