Where to Take a 16-Year-Old for His Birthday

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

If you want to know where to take a 16-year-old for his birthday, be sure to keep scrolling. We’ve prepared a few suggestions about this topic, so you can easily find something interesting for you and your kid.

Teenagers are quite complicated. They have a lot of interests and hobbies, so to find a perfect activity for your son’s birthday, you need to figure out what he likes to do. You can’t just ask because that would ruin the birthday surprise, right? Even if you do ask, he’ll probably give you some vague answer that doesn’t help you at all.

This is why you need to take the matter into your own hands and plan the perfect day to celebrate your son’s special day.  However, you should always check with your kid if he likes the surprise, so you don’t do something with him being grumpy all the time.

Before you continue with the article, we’d like to mention a few things:

  • Teenagers are often contradictory. Sometimes they don’t want to be in “the center of the attention”, so they don’t want an event that focuses only on them. At the same time, they want their special day to be acknowledged. You need to balance these two opposites. Plan an activity for your son that wouldn’t put him in the spotlight while also make him feel special.
  • One thing you mustn’t do is “embarrassing” your son. Don’t plan silly things that only kids would like. Your son is mature now, so pick an appropriate activity.
  • Remember that people change over time and teenagers’ interests are changing even faster. You need to be flexible and accept things that he likes at this moment, so you can plan accordingly.

Things to consider

When you ask yourself “Where should I take my 16-year-old son for his birthday”, you need to consider a lot of factors. Before you come up with precise ideas, think about these things.

Your budget

Budget is an important factor that affects your choices for celebration. Maybe you want to do something extravagant but the family finances are tight lately? Or maybe you have a large budget but don’t know how much you should spend on just one day. You need to plan your budget carefully before moving on to the event planning.

Talk with your spouse about how much money you are willing to spend. When you have a serious talk about the family finances you’ll have a precise budget made just for leisure time.

After you set the budget, you need to stick to it. When you’re planning the activities include everything you really need in your budget plans. Don’t spend extra money on excessive things because you probably don’t need them.

For example, if you’re going to the cinema, set the amount to be spent on snacks. If you want to spend money on an extra bag of popcorn in the middle of the movie, you’ll have to give up on something else. That’s why it’s best to resist the urge to spend extra money on snacks, so you can enjoy something you planned for later like arcade games, shopping, etc.

If you think ahead and make a budget, you can also save money by getting coupons for some activities or using gift cards you’ve received over the years. This means more money for spoiling your kid a bit. It’s his sweet 16, so why not?

Individual preferences

You probably know what your kid is into these days, so keep that in mind when you’re planning the celebration. Everyone has their preferences and a unique personality. Some kids are very social while others are a bit shy. Maybe your kid doesn’t like big celebrations. You should respect that and keep things low key instead.

If you have two or three kids, you’ve probably noticed that they like different things and have different birthday wishes. Your younger son might like video games, but your older son might not enjoy the trip to the arcade too.

The birthday boy should have the last saying when you’re choosing the activity. If you notice that he’s not so excited about your surprise, consider doing something else instead. You just need to update your plans (and your budget). The most important thing is that you all have fun!

Be prepared for everything

Like we previously mentioned, your son might not like the things you’ve planned. There’s no need to despair or even to force him to participate in the activities. Instead, you should change your plans and do something he likes. Have some aces in your sleeve and prepare “back-up plans” just in case. You want your kid to have fun, not be grumpy on his special day, right?

Make the experience worth sharing

You might not “get it” but your son’s generation grew up with social media. Most teenagers are very active on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Not everyone of course, but a lot of teens love to share stuff with their friends online. You can be sure that your kid would like to have the opportunity to “brag” about his birthday experience online. Then, make it worth sharing!

Instead of fighting it, offer your son the opportunity to participate in the activities he can share with his friends online. If you go out for dinner, don’t judge him if he takes a picture of his food. You shouldn’t even tease him about it.

Consider including suggestions of “Insta-worthy” spots you can visit on his birthday. If you explore some cities together, go to those places that provide extraordinary pictures. We’re sure your kid will appreciate your attempt to understand the needs of his generation.

Birthday adventures

The best places to take a 16-year-old for his birthday are the ones that provide some kind of adventure. The adventure doesn’t have to be a full blown exciting experience. Something you don’t usually do will be enough to break the daily routine and provide your family with a unique experience. As we already said, consider the things your son likes to do, the food he enjoys, etc.

Note that these activities vary in different families. Some people are just outdoorsy, so they don’t consider bicycling or swimming extraordinary. Others often go out to eat and going to a fancy restaurant doesn’t feel special.

Take a look at these activities and think about what would your family enjoy, or what’s something new you can try:

  • Roller skating (or ice skating)
  • Playing laser tag
  • Going to the sushi restaurant (or any other type that offers “exotic” food)
  • Watching a theater play
  • Playing games at the arcade
  • Bowling, playing darts or pool.
  • Playing games at an arcade
  • Outdoor activities like hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, rock climbing, etc.
  • Going to the beach or a water part
  • Visiting a museum or landmark
  • Kart Racing

Road trips

Going on a short family trip is an excellent way to surprise your son for his 16th birthday. The trip doesn’t have to be extravagant to be fun. Pick an affordable location. You should visit a place near your city, so you don’t spend the entire day driving. Although driving can be fun too if you have enough snacks and games to pass the time.

If you’ve already started giving your son driving lessons, you can go somewhere with little traffic, so he can practice more. A lot of boys would like to get a car for their 16th birthday. If that is not an option, he can borrow your car. Just be sure he learns to properly drive. You can teach him or sign him up for driving school.

There are a lot of birthday trip ideas for 16-year-olds out there. You can enjoy nature and visit national parks or explore big cities. Everything depends on your family’s interests and, of course, budget.

Music events

Most teens enjoy music. They all have their favorite artists, singers, and bands. Whether your son listens to hip hop or metal, you can choose to surprise him by going to the concert together. This needs a bit more planning, so be sure to check the tour dates two or three months prior to his birthday. If his favorite band is having a gig near you, you should definitely get the tickets before they sell out.

Another option for experiencing music is having a party, of course. You can rent a hall and throw a large surprise party with live music or DJs. Alternatively, you can throw a house party with karaoke. That can also be fun if everyone is enthusiastic about singing and dancing.

Sports games

From all the places to take your son, sports games might excite him the most if he’s a huge sports fan. You can watch football, hockey, basketball or any other sport he likes. As with music events, you need to purchase tickets a few months before his birthday. Not only the tickets will be easier on the budget, but you can get a better seating arrangement.

To make it extra special, allow him to bring some friends. Get snacks and soft drinks, so you can have the best experience. If your budget is a bit tighter, you can check out minor league games. You won’t cheer for your favorite team but you’ll have a lot of fun too.

You can also organize home tournaments in sports your son plays. Rent a facility if you don’t have enough room in your backyard. Contact his friends and see if they would be on board for such an event. Ask someone who knows the rules to be the judge. And most importantly, make sure you have a cheerful audience.

Amusement parks

Everyone loves amusement parks. You can’t go wrong with visiting amusement parks for your son’s birthday. They have so many different rides that everyone can find something they like. If you have a carnival or a fair nearby, that’s even better. From rollercoasters to bumper cards, amusement parks are filled with fun activities. Your son can have a unique experience he’ll always remember.

Extreme Sports

This might be too much for some people, but if you’re a family that loves experimenting, you can try some extreme sport. Your son is old enough to go zip lining, bungee jumping, zorbing or kite surfing. If you’re feeling extra daring, you can go skydiving too!

Let him plan the activities if he wants

If your son has expressed his wishes clearly, you should respect that. Let him celebrate his birthday the way he wants! Maybe he asked for “extra money” he could spend on an electronic device? Then offer him a small celebration and a great gift instead of the big birthday party and the gifts he doesn’t want. Some teenagers don’t want to do anything “special” for their birthdays. They just want to order a pizza and play video games. This might seem odd to you but it’s his birthday after all.

Compromise is crucial when dealing with teenagers. You can make a list of suggestions for family activities and let him choose the things he would like to do. Even if you wanted to do something as a family, give him the option to invite a few friends. He’ll surely have more fun if he feels included in your plans! The most important thing is spending quality time with your kid, no matter what you do.


You probably like some of the ideas about where to take a 16-year-old for his birthday. Maybe your son won’t like all of your suggestions, but we’re sure he’ll love at least some of them. You’ll spend a wonderful day together and make his birthday memorable!

If you still need a gift for your son, check out our article on Sentimental gifts for teenage guys.:





You Might Also Like

What to Get a Girl on Her Birthday whattogetmy

What to Get a Girl on Her Birthday

You have a girl in your life and her birthday is only a couple of weeks away. You want to buy her something but you find yourself struggling to decide what to get her. You want to make her happy by making her feel special

Read More »
How to Ask for Presents on Invitations

How to Ask for Presents on Invitations

3 Polite Ways on How to Ask for Presents on Invitations WhatToGetMy Instructional Article Whether you should ask for gifts or not is a delicate question. Some people think it’s rude, while others think there’s nothing wrong with doing it. In most cases, people have

Read More »