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Best Sweet 16 Venues: Celebrate Your Coming Of Age In Style

by Louise W. Rice
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As odd as it might sound to someone outside of the US or Canada, sweet 16 parties are a time-honored tradition. The child you’ve been taking care of is slowly maturing into early adulthood, and some people like to celebrate that. They make it into an event that the teenager will remember for years to come. Whether it’s formal or informal, lavish or modest, this birthday party is important, and sweet 16 events require the appropriate sweet 16 venues.

But what is considered a proper venue? Is there a set of strict rules when it comes to throwing a party like that? Obviously, the answer is no, but that doesn’t change the fact that throwing the best sweet 16 parties can be difficult without finding the appropriate place. With that in mind, I’ve decided to cover some of the best sweet 16 venues out there, 46 of them, to be exact.

But before you and I take a look at these sweet 16 venues, there are a few things you ought to consider prior to even thinking about throwing a party. After all, finding the proper spot for partying is key to having a good atmosphere and getting the party to go smoothly.

What Should You Consider When It Comes to Sweet 16 Venues?

Budget

Some parents like to go all out for their child’s sweet 16. After all, these parties can cost anywhere between $300 and $25,000. The question then remains: should your kid’s party be the best thing ever, or can you cut corners?

The good news is that you really don’t need to spend too much to throw an amazing sweet 16 party. Finding a good venue is definitely one part of that. As long as you can cover the basic costs of renting a place, you’re good to go.

Guests

Not every sweet 16 party has to focus on the teenager’s friends and schoolmates. In fact, some celebrate this event with their adult family and friends happily on the guest list.

Now, regarding age, what should you be looking for when searching for sweet 16 venues? Well, it all depends on what type of party you plan on throwing. If it’s a party with just teenagers, a decent venue for the young would suffice. However, if there’s an adult family crowd, make sure that the venue is suitable for all ages.

Weather

Outdoors, indoors, or a combination of the two — everyone has trouble deciding on one of these options, and that’s not unique to sweet 16 parties. So, the best way to decide is by checking the weather forecast for the day of the party. Is it going to be raining or sunny out, will there be wind, will it be humid or dry? It all really depends on what time of year it is and where the party will take place.

Personally, I always pick a venue that has a solid interior AND a great outdoor space for guests. That way I can cover more ground, and people won’t have to stay cooped up inside (or outside, in case there’s some nasty weather afoot).

Services

More than a few venues will offer some special services. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do your research. Sometimes these services can greatly improve your party and leave a lasting impression on the guests.

Capacity

When organizing a party and looking for a venue to book, you need to have an exact number of guests in mind. After all, imagine what would happen if you booked a hall for 50 people and ended up inviting 200.

As you do your research, always ask the venue owner about the guest capacity in advance. Booking a space that can hold far more than your guest count also works. However, I advise against that, since your teenager’s sweet 16 party will look half-empty.

Availability

One of the biggest problems with the best sweet 16 venues is that everyone wants them. So, if you call the venue owners to set up a date, don’t be surprised to find out that the date you have in mind is already taken.

When this happens, you have two options. Either book the space for a different day or seek a new venue for the date you’ve decided on.

Parking

Some of the guests will arrive by car, and they’ll need a decent parking space. If possible, book a venue that has its own parking lot, or even one that’s near an available lot for the guests to park.

Catering

Will you bring your own food and drinks to the venue? Or would you rather the venue cover the catering instead? Whatever you pick, you’ll need to fit it into your budget. But keep in mind that there are places that do not cover catering, or others that will charge for food and drinks per person.

Restrictions

Some venues will allow you to hire a DJ or set up a stage, but not all of them. So, when booking, find out what you are and aren’t allowed to do at the venue.

List of Options for Sweet 16 Venues

Before I move on, I should note that this won’t be a typical list. I won’t go too in-depth into the topic and will just briefly mention some of the options since there are 46 (that’s right, 46) of them to choose from. However, I will sort them into a few different groups.

Venues that Handle Catering

Some parents want their children to have their sweet 16 parties at a place that serves its own food and drinks. If you’re one of those parents, I suggest booking a restaurant or a country club. There are also various banquet facilities that specifically handle food and drink parties.

The options listed here might have some restrictions, however. A restaurant might not necessarily allow you to play your own music or hire your own MC. In addition, some restaurants and banquet facilities are not exactly popular with the young crowd; after all, it’s a sweet 16 party, and the place shouldn’t bore your teenager and their friends.

Budget Venues

The three options I listed above are great for catering, but they might not be the most cost-friendly. So, if you’re looking for something that can fit in your budget, try the following three options instead:

• Local gyms or YMCAs
• Church recreation halls
• Local community centers

The great thing about these venues is that they allow you to bring anything you want (a DJ stand, a dancefloor, etc.) and you can do your own catering. In addition, they have plenty of space for dancing so the guests won’t feel cramped.

Venues for Specific Activities

This list will probably be the longest one since it covers a wide range of venues that can host an amazing sweet 16 party. So, in order to organize all of these venues properly, I’ve divided them into some subcategories.

Sports-Based Venues

• Yoga studios
• Tennis courts
• Swimming pools
• Skateboarding parks
• Roller-skating rinks
• Rock climbing spots
• Miniature golf courses
• Indoor soccer fields
• Ice rinks
• A horse ranch
• Gymnastics centers
• Go-kart facilities
• Bowling alleys

Hobbies and Crafts

• Cooking class facilities
• Indoor trampoline centers
• Karaoke bars
• Laser-tag facilities
• Movie theaters
• Music studios
• Paint-ball facilities
• Video arcades

Other Interesting Venues

• Dance clubs
• Amusement parks
• Aquariums
• Art studios
• The beach
• Beauty salons and similar venues
• Botanical gardens
• Campgrounds
• Comedy museums
• Farms
• School gyms
• Planetariums

Every single one of these venues offers an interesting activity for the guests to partake in. For example, you can book an ice rink and have your guests enjoy a night in the most elegant way possible. On the other hand, a good laser-tag or paint-ball facility can be awesome for a bit of competitive fun.

Of course, if you prefer the classic sweet 16 venues approach, you can always book a dance club or a school gym. Both have lots of space and the atmosphere there is electric, perfect for your loved one and their teenage friends. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box — booking a planetarium or a private beach might just make your teenager’s 16th birthday the best they ever had.

Venues for Deep Pockets

Naturally, there are parents out there who can afford something a bit more extravagant. If you’re not afraid of spending a little more, then one of the following seven options will definitely be up your alley:

• Hotels
• Mansions
• Historic homes
• Lodges/Chalets
• Yachts or boat cruises
• Science centers
• Art museums

All of these options will require you to pay extra, but think of the reaction your soon-to-be-16-year-old will have. Imagine them and their friends on a yacht! How about them chilling in the same home that some of our forefathers lived in? The possibilities are endless, and you’re guaranteed to get a top-notch service.

Can Your Home Be One of the Best Sweet 16 Venues?

With COVID-19 still “at large,” people are figuring out some of the most creative ways to organize sweet 16 parties. But even without the pandemic, people often wonder if celebrating at home is an option.

Naturally, there are plenty of advantages to throwing a sweet 16 party at home. First of all, you get to choose your own date, time, decorations, activities, etc. Next, you don’t have to worry about time restrictions, and your guest list can include anyone you want. Finally, your home is perfect for an intimate, laid-back type of sweet 16 parties, so your budget doesn’t have to suffer.

Of course, celebrating at home comes with its own set of restrictions. While you don’t have to do the catering, you still have to do the clean-up after the party is over. More importantly, the size of your home will restrict the number of people you can invite. Lastly, some boys and girls simply do not like celebrating at home — they want their party to be the biggest thing ever, and a house party doesn’t exactly scream “huge.”

Best Sweet 16 Venues: Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a whole bunch of sweet 16 venues to choose from, both classic and innovative. All you have to do is crunch the numbers and see what works best for you and your teenager whose birthday is coming up. With the right venue, you can make their sweet 16 a memorable one.

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