Are you excited about your upcoming 21st birthday?
If you live in America, you’re probably looking forward to enjoying your first (legal) alcoholic beverage. If you live in Australia, you might celebrate with a delicious and festive Fairy Cake.
And if you were a squire in medieval England, you would have looked forward to your 21st birthday as the day you’d officially become a knight!
Since traditions and customs vary from place to place, it’s hard to know what to do on your 21st birthday. That’s why I’ve put together this long list of 21st birthday ideas to choose from.
Keep reading below for some unforgettable 21st birthday party ideas.
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Classic 21st Birthday Ideas
From barhopping to themed parties, some 21st birthday ideas never go out of style. Let’s start with a roundup of traditional (but still awesome) birthday party ideas.
1. Have Drinks at a Bar
Round up your posse and celebrate with cocktails, shots, or a bucket of beers at a trendy bar in your neighbourhood.
2. Dine at a Fancy Restaurant
Invite your family and friends to dress up and join you for a special meal to share at an upscale restaurant — think fondue, tapas, sushi, or hibachi.
3. Host a Themed Party
Pick a fun theme based on your favourite movie, show, music, hobby, or decade and ask all your friends to dress up for the event! (Tip: Check out the last section of this article for the best 21st birthday themes.)
4. Karaoke Night
Rent karaoke equipment for your home or reserve a room at a karaoke bar and get ready to sing your heart out on your 21st birthday.
5. Go Clubbing
If you love to party, there’s no better way to spend your 21st than dancing and drinking the night away with your favourite people.
6. Wine Tasting
Sign up for a wine-tasting event at a local vineyard, liquor store, or gourmet market and get ready to discover your new favourite vintage.
7. Camping Trip
Load up the coolers, pack your sleeping bag, and spend the weekend in the great outdoors enjoying all your favourite activities.
8. Beach Party
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm (or have a birthday during the summer months), plan the ultimate beach bash complete with tropical cocktails.
9. Hire a Party Bus
There’s no need for a designated driver if you have a party bus (or limo) to drive you around to the hottest bars and clubs in town.
10. Attend a Show
Whether it’s a concert, a musical, a dance performance, or a stand-up comedy skit, you’ll always remember the show you saw on your 21st birthday.
11. Have a Professional Photoshoot
Get ready to feel like a rockstar for the day and hire a professional photographer to take pictures of you in their studio or your favourite outdoor setting.
12. Play Drinking Games
Invite everyone over to your place for a hilarious night of drinking games like beer pong, flip cup, or Never Have I Ever.
13. Do a Pedal Tavern
Many cities now offer “pedal taverns” where a group of friends can paddle around town on a gigantic bicycle that just happens to be equipped with its own bar — can we say awesome?
14. Hotel Pool Party
Book a cabana at a nearby resort and spend the day poolside with your besties, ideally sipping drinks with those cute little cocktail umbrellas.
15. Get a Psychic Reading
Find out what the next 21 years hold for you by visiting a fortune teller for a tarot reading or similar future-revealing service.
Creative 21st Birthday Party Ideas
Looking for some 21st birthday party ideas that are a little less traditional? Check out the suggestions below to find the ultimate party idea for you and your besties.
16. Boozy Brunch
Don’t wait ‘til the sun goes down to start celebrating — enjoy a lavish mid-morning brunch complete with carving stations and bottomless mimosas.
17. Wine and Painting Night
Most cities have studios that host wine and painting events, so reserve a session for you and your friends to enjoy a classy, elegant evening.
18. Go Horseback Riding
Tap into your inner cowboy or cowgirl and sign up for a trail ride through a nearby park, mountains, forest, or beach.
19. Tour a Brewery or Distillery
Your 21st birthday is the perfect time to discover the best beers and spirits made in your local area, so sign up for a tour with your besties.
20. Go Skydiving
Tick this item off your bucket list and go leap out of a perfectly good aeroplane — after the safety demonstration, of course.
21. Local Food Tour
Sign up for a food tour through the best restaurants in your city or choose a themed tour featuring your favourite regional cuisine.
22. Take a Day Cruise
Enjoy a scenic day cruise from a local port of call (or a nearby lake or river) — bonus points if there’s a bar onboard!
23. Attend a Sporting Event
If you’re nuts about football, basketball, or any other sport, why not book tickets to see your favourite team play on your birthday?
24. Visit a Theme Park
Travel to a local theme park and enjoy the attractions or splurge on an epic birthday trip to Disney World, Universal Studios, or another famous theme park.
25. Try Axe Throwing
If you haven’t discovered this activity yet, your 21st birthday is the perfect time to challenge your friends to a friendly axe-throwing competition.
26. Host a Game Night
Invite 20 of your closest friends and bust out your favourite board games or enjoy other classics like Twister, Pictionary, or Charades.
27. Sign up for Surf Lessons
If you’ve always wanted to try it, make your 21st birthday the day you hit the beach, rent a surfboard, and paddle out with an instructor to catch your first waves.
28. Host a Pyjama Party
Why dress up and hit the town when you can snuggle in your pyjamas with your closest pals and enjoy a grown-up sleepover that includes movies, popcorn, and cocktails?
29. Casino Night
Turn your living room into a Las Vegas-style casino complete with free-flowing booze and all the classic games like poker, blackjack, and baccarat.
30. Take a Mixology Class
Grab your mixed-drink-loving friends and spend an evening learning from a master mixologist how to craft your very own cocktails at home.
31. Go Glamping
If sleeping on the ground isn’t your style, elevate your “camping” experience by staying in a luxurious cabin, yurt, or dome.
More Great 21st Birthday Ideas
Still haven’t found the perfect way to celebrate your milestone birthday? Consider one of the unique suggestions below and find one that aligns with your vision!
32. Birthday Spa Day
Who even needs alcohol when you can spend a day with your besties enjoying spa treatments like massages, facials, and mani/pedis?
33. Outdoor Picnic
Pack a picnic lunch with your favourite snacks and drinks and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the park or the beach.
34. Cooking Class
Grab your foodie friends and sign up for a cooking class to learn how to make your favourite dishes at home, from sushi to fresh pasta to Indian curries and more.
35. Book a Hotel Room
Choose a luxury hotel or a charming bed-and-breakfast and book a few rooms for you and your friends to enjoy a birthday staycation.
36. Video Game Marathon
Relive your childhood with a marathon session of your favourite classic games or invite your friends over to try out some of the hottest new video games on the market.
37. Take a Day Trip
Be a tourist for the day and drive to a nearby city, national park, or another local attraction and enjoy exploring the area with your friends.
38. Charter a Boat
What could be better than spending a day on the water fishing, sightseeing, or visiting local islands? (Just don’t forget your sunscreen!)
39. Organise a Scavenger Hunt
You could plan this yourself or ask a friend to do it for you, but the idea is to get out there, explore the area, and ultimately win that grand prize.
40. Go to an Escape Room
Spend the evening solving a mystery in a themed escape room and you’re sure to create a lifelong memory — after you get out of the room, that is!
41. Go Bowling
Bowling alleys are the perfect setting for birthday parties, so get a group together to celebrate your day with bowling, billiards, arcade games, and much more.
42. Host a Clothes Swap
Gather your gal pals and turn your living room into a “flea market” where everyone displays clothes and accessories they don’t want anymore for a fun day of swapping.
43. Build a Bonfire
If the weather permits, build a roaring bonfire where you and your loved ones can gather around to roast marshmallows and enjoy a relaxing evening.
44. Play Laser Tag or Paintball
It’s time for a little friendly competition — round up your posse and spend the afternoon playing paintball or chasing each other around a laser tag arcade.
45. Go on a Mud Run
You’re never too old to play in the dirt, so sign up for a local Tough Mudder (or similar) event in your area and get ready to crawl, climb, and jump your way to an unforgettable birthday.
46. Birthday Photo Booth
Those fun photo booths aren’t just for weddings — hire one for your 21st birthday and laugh the night away with your friends as you take pictures with props, decorations, and more.
47. Volunteer for a Good Cause
Rather than making your birthday only about you, why not give some of your time to a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or another cause that’s close to your heart?
48. Visit an Outdoor Movie Theatre
Attend a screening at a local drive-in theatre or, if there isn’t one by you, hang a projector screen in your backyard and watch your favourite movie under the stars.
49. Tour a Local Art Gallery
Enjoy a leisurely afternoon inspecting work from local artists — who knows, you might even find a unique piece to take home with you!
50. Tick an Item off Your Bucket List
You’re not getting any younger, so you could spend your 21st birthday ticking one or more items off your personal bucket list — think of a place you’ve always wanted to go or an experience you’ve always wanted to try.
Fun Places to Go for 21st Birthday
Are you ready to think beyond the bar and plan a getaway to celebrate your 21st birthday? Consider one of these exciting destinations — near and far.
- Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)
- New Orleans, Louisiana (USA)
- Cancun, Mexico
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Paris, France
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Bali, Indonesia
- Ibiza, Spain
- Napa County, California (USA)
- Honolulu, Hawaii (USA)
- New York City, New York (USA)
- London, England
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Pokhara, Nepal
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Berlin, Germany
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Sydney, Australia
- Key West, Florida (USA)
- Los Angeles, California (USA)
- Santorini, Greece
- Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Boracay, Philippines
- Queenstown, New Zealand
- Budapest, Hungary
- Havana, Cuba
- Barcelona, Spain
- Phuket, Thailand
Bonus: Fun 21st Birthday Themes
You’ve chosen the venue and the activities — but what about the theme? The only way to make your party even more fun is by including one of these awesome 21st birthday themes in the festivities.
- Hawaiian luau
- Toga party
- Literary characters
- Harry Potter
- Jane Austen
- Star Wars
- Masquerade ball
- Rock n’ roll
- Formal (ballgowns and black ties)
- Disney characters
- Famous couples
- Vegas casino
- Garden party
- Painting party
- Escape room
- High tea party
- Downton Abbey
- Wine and cheese
- Pool party
- James Bond
- At-home spa day
- Marvel/DC superheroes
- Arabian nights
- Murder mystery
- Fairy tales
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Vintage travel
- Historical figures
- Game of Thrones
- Lord of the Rings
- Medieval times
What to Do on Your 21st Birthday
To throw a truly memorable birthday party, you need to start with the best 21st birthday ideas.
Save this article and share it with your friends (especially if they’re helping you to plan) so you can brainstorm the ultimate party ideas. If you do, your birthday bash will be one for the record books!
Now that you know what to do on your 21st birthday, what’s next? Check out this article next for inspiration on what to do with your life.