What to Do for Your 21st Birthday: 19+ Epic Party Ideas (2024)

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A guide to creating the most exciting and memorable 21st birthday experience

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1Share a fancy dinner with friends.

2Have a boozy bottomless brunch.

3Bring a picnic to the park or beach.

4Belt out some tunes at karaoke.

5Go on a pub crawl.

6Throw a costume party.

7Have a 1920s-themed party.

8Organize a scavenger hunt.

9Host an old-fashioned slumber party.

10Do a game night with friends.

11Head out to a concert.

12Treat yourself to a spa day.

13Go on a road trip.

14Sail away on a day cruise.

15Rent a party bus.

16Have a casino night.

17Visit an amusem*nt park.

18Plan a bonfire.

19Head to a drive-in movie theater.

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Co-authored byGlenn Carreau

Last Updated: September 18, 2023Fact Checked

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Turning 21 is a big milestone, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to celebrate it in style! Coming up with the perfect activity can take some thought, but if you need help brainstorming ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a complete guide to 21st birthday activities, party themes, and celebration inspiration.

Things You Should Know

  • Throw a party at home! Host a themed costume party, a slumber party, or a game night.
  • Go out and enjoy dinner or brunch with your friends. Visit attractions like an amusem*nt park, a spa, a concert, or go on a road trip.
  • Do outdoorsy party activities like a picnic or scavenger hunt. Host a bonfire with lots of s’mores.


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  1. Spend the evening eating like royalty at your favorite restaurant. Invite a group of friends you’d like to hang out with and make reservations at a restaurant for your birthday evening. Indulge and pick something fancy if you can afford it, or go to your favorite restaurant and get whatever you want.[1]

    • Try a tapas, fondue, or family dining restaurant—somewhere that will give you dishes that can feed a whole table of people rather than everyone ordering individually.
    • If you're having a big party and want catering, order everyone the same entre to save some cash. It'll be much cheaper than giving people an option.
    • You could also sign up for a cooking class and make the gourmet dinner yourself—with a couple of friends helping!
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  1. Celebrate your legal drinking age in style with brunch co*cktails. If brunch is more appealing than dinner, do that instead! Find a restaurant that serves all kinds of delicious breakfast foods—and, of course, one that offers bottomless drinks for your whole table.[2]

    • Host brunch at your place instead, and invite everyone for food and co*cktails. You could even set up an omelet or pancake bar for attendees.
    • Take an online mixology class with your whole group of friends before the party so you know how to make all the best co*cktails.


Bring a picnic to the park or beach.

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  1. Enjoy the great outdoors and a scrumptious meal at the same time. Maybe a celebratory meal sounds good to you, but you’re looking for a more creative venue. No problem! Find a picturesque park, a scenic viewpoint, or a beach where you and your friends can go for a picnic. Bring food, blankets, drinks, and even a tent if it’s going to be a sunny day.

    • Planning the picnic is easier if everyone brings something. Ask each guest to bring some food, and coordinate in a group chat to ensure nobody brings the same thing.
    • If you go to a park, you could turn a simple picnic into a whole field day! Play lawn games and outdoor team games like tug-of-war, capture the flag and relay racing.
    • When you're planning an outdoor party, always have a backup plan in case the weather is stormy.
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Belt out some tunes at karaoke.

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  1. Karaoke is a great bonding activity to enjoy with your favorite people. Find a karaoke place where you can reserve a private room (and ideally order all kinds of snacks and drinks, too). Be the star of your party and sing all the songs you love most with your friends at your side.

    • If you don’t mind performing for a crowd, you could also go to a karaoke bar where anyone can get up and sing. And if you need a little extra confidence, you could order some drinks at the bar!


Go on a pub crawl.

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  1. Visit multiple bars in one night to discover all the best drinks. Lots of people choose to go out and drink at a bar for their 21st birthday—but what about a whole string of them? Turn your birthday into a pub crawl and pick a few different places you’d like to visit with your friends. Spend the night hanging out at each bar and sampling a drink or two before moving to the next.[3]

    • Make sure you have a designated driver or hire a driver to bring your group to each bar.
    • For some variety, try hitting up different types of bars! For instance, you might visit an Irish pub, a tiki bar, a lounge, a beer garden, or a bar with live music.
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Throw a costume party.

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  1. Pick a costume theme you love and encourage everyone to dress up. The sky’s the limit! In addition to costumes, be sure to get some themed decorations, snacks, and drinks for the occasion. Ensure your costume theme is broad enough to appeal to friends and family alike. You could make a couple of costumes or props for people who show up without them.

    • For example, you might throw a Y2K-themed party and have everyone show up in early 2000s fashion.
    • Other themes might include your favorite movie franchise, TV show, or game.
    • Themes can also be an aesthetic or time period, like “masquerade,” “Hollywood glamor,” or “disco”


Have a 1920s-themed party.

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  1. Specifically, a 1921 theme helps you celebrate your 21 years in style. It’s your roaring 20s, after all, so why not have everyone show up in 1920s fashions and enjoy a party full of 20s decor? Throw your own birthday party at home, pick out eye-catching flapper outfits, and even set up a place to dance—but do dances popular during that time period!

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Organize a scavenger hunt.

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  1. Scavenger hunts can bring a bit of adventure to your 21st birthday. You could always plan a scavenger hunt yourself—or if you’d like to participate, you can find an online scavenger hunt to do. Spend the day exploring the area and looking for each item on the scavenger hunt list for memorable fun.

    • Most scavenger hunts end with a grand prize for the winner, but you could also hide smaller gifts for people to find along the way.


Host an old-fashioned slumber party.

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  1. Do all your favorite nostalgic slumber party activities from childhood. Remember the slumber parties you used to have in middle school? Recreate them! Host a sleepover party and enjoy a night of games like Truth or Dare and Would You Rather, spend hours talking, and relax with face masks or manicures. End the night with your favorite movie, and have breakfast in the morning.

    • Don’t be afraid to host your birthday party at home instead of a more “glamorous” location. Guests enjoy parties in familiar spaces; your home will make them feel comfortable.
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Do a game night with friends.

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  1. Game nights make for an evening of casual, fun competition. Pick a few of your favorite games, whether they’re board games, card games, video games, or a combination of all 3—and be sure to include some childhood favorites, too. Set out snacks and drinks for everyone, and spend the night gaming!

    • Classic games could include Twister, Pictionary, Monopoly, Clue, Settlers of Catan, and Jenga.
    • If you pick a video game, be sure to pick something multiple people can play at once. For example, you could have a Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros tournament.
    • You could also have a tabletop RPG (roleplaying game) night and do a session of your favorite RPG—like , for instance.


Head out to a concert.

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  1. Experiences (like concerts and shows) can be more precious than gifts. Look for a show you’re eager to see, whether it’s a concert from your favorite band, a musical, or a play. Ask a few friends to go with you and spend your birthday enjoying some top-quality entertainment![4]

    • If you can’t afford a big-name concert or musical at the moment, look for local band gigs and community theater performances instead. They’re significantly cheaper—and sometimes free.
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Treat yourself to a spa day.

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  1. Relax and indulge when you plan the perfect spa birthday for yourself. Pick and choose the services that’ll make you happiest—it’s your birthday, after all. Popular spa treatments include massages, manicures, pedicures, and facials. If your budget is limited, try picking one service you really want and going to a spa specializing in that.

    • If a professional spa treatment isn’t in the budget right now, why not have a spa day at home? Invite your friends over and give yourselves manicures and facials.
    • To make the day extra special, you could always go out for brunch and champagne afterward.


Go on a road trip.

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  1. Find a great road trip spot and spend the day driving with friends. Check out a map of your area; no matter where you live, there’s probably a city, town, beach, national park, or some other attraction within driving distance. Pile into a car with your friends and drive out to your destination—with plenty of snacks, music, and chatter to make the road trip fun.[5]

    • If you have the time and the funds, you could also make it into a mini-vacation and rent a hotel room or two with your friends.
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Sail away on a day cruise.

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  1. Party luxuriously by spending a day on the lake (or ocean). Many lakes, rivers, and ocean port towns have day cruises where you can kick back on a boat, enjoy the sights, and hang out with friends along the way. If party boats seem over-the-top to you, a day cruise could be the lowkey yet special activity for your 21st birthday.[6]

    • If you’re looking for something a little rowdier, try an evening booze cruise instead. After all, over-the-top isn’t necessarily a bad thing!


Rent a party bus.

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  1. There’s no need to worry about a designated driver with a party bus. Just invite all your friends and let the bus driver be your navigator! Party buses also offer plenty of comfortable seating and space where you can talk, watch movies, listen to music, drink, dance, and relax. Check out local party bus rentals in your area to see all the fun options.[7]

    • Be sure to verify the capacity of the bus you’re renting before sending invites. Many party buses are plenty big, though; some can fit up to 50 or 60 people.
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Have a casino night.

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  1. Explore the local casino since you’re finally old enough to enjoy it! Casino parties are a classic activity for a 21st birthday; get all dressed up, head to the casino with your friends, and spend an evening trying your luck at gambling. Many casinos also have bars and even shows you can attend—so you can have a few drinks and celebrate your 21st birthday to the fullest.

    • Some casinos are also resorts. If you have the time and funds, you could rent a room or two at the resort and make a small vacation out of your birthday.


Visit an amusem*nt park.

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  1. Roller coasters are perfect if you’re craving excitement on your birthday. Do you enjoy getting an adrenaline rush from fast rides or munching on carnival snacks? Then consider bringing your friends to an amusem*nt park for your 21st birthday. It’s a fun, festive, and energetic atmosphere, which is ideal for a celebration.[8]

    • If you prefer games to rides but still want a high-energy atmosphere for your party, try going to the arcade or challenging your friends to a night of bowling instead.
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Plan a bonfire.

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  1. Gather around a bonfire for s’mores, stories, and campfire songs. Are you more of an outdoorsy type? Then build a fire pit and start a bonfire in your yard (or somewhere else you’re allowed to do so). Set out chairs and ingredients so everyone can make s’mores, and have a casual night of fireside fun.

    • You could also plan an entire camping trip with tents and sleeping bags and camp out under the stars for your birthday.
    • Plan ahead so you have a backup plan if it gets rainy. For instance, you might roast marshmallows around the stove or a fireplace instead of going outside.


Head to a drive-in movie theater.

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  1. Unwind and enjoy a movie outdoors—with plenty of movie snacks. There’s something whimsical and fun about drive-in movies that regular movie theaters don’t have! Find a showing of a movie you’d like to see at the local drive-in, and have a birthday movie night with your friends.

    • Some places also do movie nights in parks and on rooftops, where you don’t necessarily have to stay near your car. Search locally for an outdoor movie experience that appeals to you.
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      About This Article

      What to Do for Your 21st Birthday: 19+ Epic Party Ideas (42)

      Co-authored by:

      Glenn Carreau

      wikiHow Staff Writer

      This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Glenn Carreau. Glenn Carreau is a wikiHow Staff Writer, currently based in Los Angeles. With over four years of experience writing for several online publications, she has covered topics ranging from world history to the entertainment industry. Glenn graduated with honors from Columbia College Chicago, earning a B.A. in Interactive Arts and Media and a minor in Professional Writing. Today, Glenn continues to feed her lifelong love of learning while serving wikiHow's many readers. This article has been viewed 21,647 times.

      22 votes - 69%

      Co-authors: 8

      Updated: September 18, 2023


      Categories: Milestone Birthday Celebrations

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