Adult birthday ideas in the Seattle area
May 3, 2013 8:09 PM   Subscribe

My husband is turning 30 in about 2 months and I need to plan a party for him in the Seattle area. I have no idea what I'm doing.

I informed my husband ages ago that if he wanted something more on his birthdays besides dinner and a movie with me, he had to plan it himself. I am not a person who cares much about birthdays, and am terrible at planning events/wrangling people. However, he has informed me that I am basically obligated to plan something for his 30th. I know he would prefer it if I was able to surprise him.

We don't actually live in Seattle, but I'm thinking about having it in that general area because it's convenient for friends and family. I don't have any idea of what to do in the city, and hope you guys can give me some inspiration. I would like to do something fun/adventurous/quirky, followed by a casual dinner. I don't have much money to throw at this, guests would be paying for their own meals, and I could pay a couple hundred dollars for the "event" at most (if it was something where each person was expected to pay a reasonable entrance fee themselves, our guests would be fine with that).

Guests will probably range from kids to his parents, who are pretty cool. We will also have our baby (ten months old) in tow, but Grandma can take care of him if I want to join in the fun. Due to said baby, it will be an early night. I don't know how many guests, probably about 8 - 12. It would be best if I didn't have to pin down an exact number ahead of time, because I know from experience that's nearly impossible.

Husband likes: running, movies, video games, books, outdoor activities, karaoke, casual but good food, having one or two drinks, rock music.
Husband doesn't like: watching sports, dancing, "partying."

So hit me with your ideas for fun, unique activities and restaurants!
posted by Safiya to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The harbor cruises are really nice and family friendly.

If the family are adventurous eaters, then maybe a good Vietnamese restaurant (Tamarind Tree is fabulous).

Or if they're less adventurous, Tutta Bella does nice woodfired pizza's.
posted by brookeb at 8:13 PM on May 3, 2013

Good time of year for an electric boat rental! They're good for a party of around a dozen people. It's on Westlake by Lake Union, just north of China Harbor. You can rent for as little as an hour, so far as I know; bring your own drinks and food and cameras. These are small boats, no head (toilet), so keep that in mind. They don't care about the number of guests as long as it's not overloaded.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:19 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'll just say that you can rent Jump Planet and Pump It Up and all those other kinds of kids' bouncy house places in the evening for adult events. They will even cater -- with booze.
posted by KathrynT at 8:23 PM on May 3, 2013

karaoke at Seattles Best Karaoke ( followed (or preceded) by dinner at any of the restaurants downtown/queen anne/cap hill.
posted by jacalata at 9:00 PM on May 3, 2013

Best answer: Lunchbox Laboratory, south lake union location. Check out their Rumpus Room.. Has video games, casual seating and very nice people to deal with. Foods great too!
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 9:03 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

The electric boats Sunburnt mentions are plenty of fun on a nice day. A family member had a birthday cruise on one a few years back— pack a picnic-like meal, putter around the lake for a little while. People who want to drive can drive and people who don't can sit around and watch scenery or eat and talk. Or, you could do it before/after a restaurant type meal if that's more to your liking. (Warning: avoid the China Harbor restaurant.) There are also some swankier/more expensive boat rentals and lake tours.

You could visit the EMP. It's kind of a mixed bag depending on their exhibits and whatnot, but it seems like it matches a few of the things he likes.
posted by hattifattener at 9:16 PM on May 3, 2013

Yes, seriously, do not eat at China Harbor. If you want to eat, Westlake by the lake is pretty desolate for good food. SLU, Fremont, Eastlake are all far far better options. I'd recommend Uneeda Burger on Fremont Way in the 40s, or Brouwers for a beerier time, or El Camino (both by the rocket) for some Cadillac Margaritas.

SLU has lots of great options including some Tom Douglas places that're terrific, but the whole hood is overrun with Amazon employees, so try to rent a room. Rumpus Room at the Lunchbox Lab is a brand new and LL is good food in a fun atmosphere, so I second that suggestion wholeheartedly.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:28 PM on May 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

I just wanted to add that family members on both sides own small speed boats on the other side of the sound, so renting a boat probably wouldn't be especially interesting.

Also, his family are really NOT adventurous eaters, so burger/steak/pasta/brewery type restaurants are where it's at. I'll take him out for sushi on his actual birthday.
posted by Safiya at 9:45 PM on May 3, 2013

Best answer: Possibly Gameworks? I'm not that into video games myself, but a friend had a birthday celebration there recently and I was surprised by how much fun I had! I didn't eat there so I can't really comment on the food but there are plenty of other options in the area that you could take advantage of before or after.
posted by a girl and her dog at 9:58 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Somehow, the local Seattle economy supports not one but TWO flying trapeze places. So, I vote for flying trapeze party. Adventurous and quirky, fun for all ages (... maybe the baby stays on the ground), and lots of nice hanging out nervously chatting and catching up and bonding and laughing and swinging through the air, upside down, on a trapeze, with a harness, over a net. The first trick you learn is *really* accessible, and I've found ECTA, at least, to be friendly and conscious of guests' comfort/fear. I haven't been to SANCA, but I'm sure they're equally accommodating.

However, I've never booked a party, so I don't know if the cost qualifies as reasonable for your guests. ECTA occasionally offers deals to lure people in, so maybe it's worth an inquiry if that order of magnitude meets the standard. (Feel free to PM if you have trapeze-related questions. I'll happily enthuse about ECTA &/or flying trapeze for pages, with the caveat that I'm still a very new student.)

Also on the possibly-not-reasonable side is indoor skydiving at iFly in Tukwila (just south of Seattle). I've never been, but it *sounds* fun/adventurous/quirky.

More reasonably, you might try a climbing party at one of the local climbing gyms (maybe Stone Gardens or Vertical World; they also have Eastside locations, and there may be other gyms too.) It's probably $250-300 for two hours, equipment, and two instructors who will work the ropes while you take turns climbing the wall. Might be kinda ho-hum if your outdoorsy husband already climbs, but if he doesn't, the first time's a real treat. At least, it was for me.

If you don't mind driving further south (or want something that won't trigger fear of heights?), it might be fun to visit Northwest Trek - wildlife park with PNW animals. (They have some kind of zipline adventure thing up too, which sounds quite fun, but likely requires too much pre-planning. Also, fails to not trigger fear of heights.)

A bit north-east, there's a trampoline gym in Kirkland and you could call and see what they offer in between kid's birthday party and corporate event. There might be other trampoline gyms in the area.

Even a bit norther & easter, there's Adventura in Woodinville, which could be followed by dinner at Redhook Brewery (minors permitted in pub before 9pm). I can't find rates online, though, and I suspect it's going to be unreasonably pricey.

In two months, it will be nice weather for kayaking. (Well, this weekend's sunny mid-70Fs is probably nice weather for kayaking too. Need to remember to go outside.)

I get all my quirky hobbies from Groupon.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 12:02 AM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If he likes board games, you could rent a room in the Cafe Mox wing of Card Kingdom in Ballard. They have beer, wine and food. If you spend some minimum amount on that, you get the room for five hours free, though this policy might change in the future. You can borrow games from the Card Kingdom half and play in Cafe Mox, or bring your own.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 AM on May 4, 2013

How cute ..add some more mirchi ;p I like the idea of karaoke party, maybe hire a kit instead and do it in someone's basement, with disco lights.
posted by infini at 1:44 AM on May 4, 2013

Eat at bucca di beppo, maybe? That's a fun family place with decent food and prices.
posted by tristeza at 8:14 AM on May 4, 2013

To surprise him, begin planning a party at home. Buy some corny Over The Hill stuff at a party store, leave it in the bag (with the receipt, so you can return it) somewhere he'll find it. Have a friend or family member "flub up" by asking him what they're supposed to bring to dinner that day. But make the surprise party sound like dinner at home with cheesy decorations. Spend a bit of time making sure the grill works, and cleaning the house more than usual, to support the party-at-home idea. The boat ride sounds fun. Get another couple to "invite" you to their anniversary or birthday celebration which will turn out to be his birthday party. I'm not a fan of surprise parties, but it sounds like he'll appreciate your attempts to surprise him.
posted by theora55 at 8:22 AM on May 4, 2013

You could always do a picnic potluck event (which is good for children.) Just choose a nice park somewhere in Seattle, and have everybody bring a dish. That might be a nice laid-back way to celebrate that keeps costs low and doesn't require too much effort. Maybe cap it off with a ball game or something.
posted by egeanin at 8:57 AM on May 4, 2013

Best answer: Laser tag?
posted by knile at 4:17 PM on May 4, 2013

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