Birthday Freebies in NYC: Where Kids Eat Free & Nab Gifts
Rent-out-the-whole-museum and hire-a-marching-band kid birthday parties have their fans, but when it comes to that memorable day, we think it's nice to find a few birthday freebies.
Of course, there are plenty of at-home, DIY ways to celebrate your child's birthday for FREE, from leaving cute notes on the mirror to playing hooky. But it's also the one time of year you can take advantage of all those corporate birthday clubs that promise to make your kid's big day even more special with fun birthday freebies like complimentary gifts, food, and other deals.
We've rounded up a mix of local spots, with a lot of national chain restaurants and play spots thrown in, which all offer birthday goodies. Some are specific to kids, though adults can snag a few birthday freebies, too. Most require an email-list sign up.
Find more fun for your little one's big day (maybe even a marching band) in our Birthday Party Guide for NYC families.
Restaurants With Birthday Freebies
The restaurant offers a freebie for the birthday kid. Because the chain operates as a franchise, the freebie varies from location to location. Expect to nab a free appetizer, entree, or (most likely) dessert.
Get a free pretzel treat on your birthday at Auntie Anne's.
A birthday means a free cone if you're a part of the Birthday Club at Baskin Robbins.
RELATED: NYC Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free
Get a free birthday meal at Big Daddy's.
Big Daddy's Diner
This local restaurant offers email subscribers a one-time 15 percent-off coupon for registering, plus a free birthday meal.
California Pizza Kitchen's CPK Rewards Program
NYC locations of this West Coast chain are admittedly limited, but sign up for its CPK Rewards loyalty program, and you'll get a free dessert coupon during your child's (or your!) birthday month.
Who doesn't love a fresh fruit smoothie on their birthday?
No matter your perk level, you always get a free cupcake from Sprinkles on your birthday.
If cupcakes are your favorite, this eatery offers escalating rewards: The more you visit, the bigger your perk. Don't worry, even the lowest level of perks earns you a free birthday cupcake!
For some reason, this is the one restaurant my kids can seemingly always agree on, so we're big fans of the rewards program that lets you earn freebies for every dollar you spend, plus free birthday surprises.
This famed East Coast shaved-ice-and-custard chain doles out freebies to members of its Birthday Club. Parents can add each of their children to their account for this sweet treat. If your nearest location is seasonal, you'll receive a half-birthday treat instead.
You won't leave American Girl empty-handed on your birthday, AG Rewards Programs members receive a free gift. Photo by Jody Mercier
Stores With Birthday Freebies
American Girl Store
If your daughter has hit the American Girl craze phase, be sure to sign up for the store's AG Rewards Program. In addition to earning points on every purchase, your daughter receives a free gift on her birthday, plus "Birthday Girl" stickers for her and her doll if you're dining in the on-site Cafe.
Barnes & Noble Kids' Club
Register for the B&N Kids' Club to enjoy a free birthday cupcake at the bookstore's cafe.
Take a private tour, maybe eat some bubbles, and get a special treat at the end of the tour at CAMP. Photo by Jody Mercier
Sign up for (free) Camp membership, and take advantage of a super cool birthday celebration that includes a private tour of CAMP with a counselor, and a little something special at the end of the tour!
Other Fun Birthday Freebies
Sign your child up for Nick Jr.'s free birthday club, and their favorite character celebrates them with a pre-recorded call. Choose from a variety of popular characters ranging from the Paw Patrol gang to Shimmer and Shine, Dora, SpongeBob, and more.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the venues
A version of this article was first published in 2012; it is updated annually.