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21st Birthday Ideas – 54 Cool, Amazing, And Fun Things You Can Do

We all know how hard it is to find something to do on that all-important birthday. It’s the age when you can finally drink, so why wouldn’t you want to celebrate that with something special? But what to do?

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21st Birthday Ideas

Because there are plenty of options for you to choose from: a party at your local brewery, hiring a limo, booking a vacation for you and some of your dearest buddies, pool party, slumber party or going to a club. But which to go for?

Well, we’ve consulted with some of the best party scientists in the country (that’s right, such a job exists) and they’ve given us a detailed and scientifically accurate list of 55 of the best party ideas for your 21st birthday (see also “50 Amazing 19th Birthday Ideas“). So why not have a read and give yourself some inspiration?

1. Get Yourself To The Coolest Bar In Town

Because who doesn’t want to be seen living it up with a glass of champagne in the coolest bar in town? You can drink now, so why not make all the other guys who still can’t drink jealous?

However, when it comes to finding the right bar, then you’ll want to book ahead. Make sure you get a head count of who is coming and book a few months in advance.

2. Get Your Birthday Checklist Sorted

If you are struggling to think of what to do, then you should compile a checklist.

Whether it is trying to hit a certain number of bars or judging how many bowls of punch you’ll need to make for your house party, a checklist will help you map it all out.

You can even make it into a sandwich board that you can wear when you go out, checking off all the crazy things you have earmarked as you go.

3. A Wine-Tasting Night

Just because you’re 21, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the finer things in life.

If you want to try your first alcoholic drink but don’t want to go too crazy, then why not invite your friends around for some wine and nibbles?

Wine is a very strong alcohol, so you’ll need to make sure that you really like the stuff before you go splurging hundreds of dollars on a really decent bottle. Also, remember to drink responsibly!

4. Go To A Few Clubs

Why limit yourself to just one club?

Most of the time if you go into town, there will be more than one strip that has plenty of bars and clubs along it. You can try cocktails in one bar and then switch to beers in another.

This is a great night out if you have lots of friends and you are having trouble finding enough space to fit them all in.

This will save you money on renting a hall and your friends can go off and do whatever they want.

5. Book A Vacation

Book A Vacation

If you have the cash at 21 years old (see also “18 Essential And Fun Things To Do As An 18 Year Old“), then why not get away from your small hometown and go somewhere exotic with either your family or a group of your friends?

You can find lots of clubs in other countries and drink just like you would at home.

The great thing about getting away is that you can some unforgettable memories between you and your friends.

You can take pictures, and videos and post them to your socials so that nobody will ever forget your 21st birthday.

6. Get A Bottomless Brunch

If you fancy a drink during the daytime, perhaps with your mom or dad, then why not get a boozy brunch?

This could be a great way to kick off a day of celebrations, which will allow you to look sophisticated while still drinking alcohol.

This is a great way to spend your birthday with your family before going out with your friends.

Sometimes it is hard to integrate your family with your 21st celebrations, as you might feel that you have outgrown them, so this is a nice compromise.

7. Visit A Brewery

If you prefer a nice pint of beer to a glass of champagne, then we would recommend that you get yourself down to your local brewery.

This place has plenty of ales and beers that you can sample, although you should be wary about getting too drunk at these events.

There are a lot of breweries that cater to events such as birthday parties, so put out some feelers and see what each different brewery offers on their tours.

You can always arrange to go out to a bar after the tour has finished.

8. Have A Staycation

If you like the idea of being somewhere new but don’t want to go too far from home, then why not book a hotel or a venue in your hometown?

This way you can convince yourself that you are in a different state without having to go to the expense of booking a long-haul flight.

The other bonus about a staycation is you can pick a hotel that is close to the clubs.

It will also be safer and cheaper to get home, as you might not have to rely on taxis. Get a pool so you can have somewhere to relax the day after.

9. Throw A Party With A Theme

Who doesn’t like dressing up as their favorite Marvel character?

The sky is the limit with a themed party: films, music, television, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s. This is great for creating talking points and making plenty of great memories.

Certain themes will be cheaper than others. A 70s theme will be quite easy to achieve in most fancy dress outlets and won’t cost you that much to get the full outfit.

10. Birthday Photo Session

Birthday Photo Session

If you have booked your own venue and you want to curate various things to do, then we would recommend that you have a photo booth.

Again, this is a great way to mark the occasion and give you and your friends a chance to dress up in wacky costumes.

You can probably hire a photographer for most of the night, but having a party photo booth will probably be the cheapest option.

That way you can have the pictures printed straight away for people to put in their wallets.

11. Do A Mixology Lesson

If you are looking for something fun to do that is creative but also involves lots of booze, then we would recommend that you get involved with a mixology class.

This will teach you how to make cocktails, which is not only fun but valuable knowledge to have for the future.

The price of these will all depend on which venue you decide to go with. There are some places that charge per hour, although you get block bookings and spread out the price if you have enough people.

12. Hire A Pedal Tavern

If you’ve never heard of this, it’s a fantastic idea and a unique thing to do for your 21st birthday party.

This is a large portable bar essentially, where you and your friends peddle around town while you are drinking.

If you want a memorable birthday, then this one is at the top of our list. You’ll need to make sure that you have enough friends to make this one seem easy.

However, you might expect to lose a few people along the way the more beer you consume.

13. Beer Pong

A classic of frat boy movies and parties all across the country, this is a great and fun way you can get drunk quickly with your friends.

By the end, it is doubtful as to whether anyone will be keeping score, but it’s certainly an effective way to kick off your birthday party.

14. Hire A Photographer

If you are concentrating on having fun, then you won’t want to be worried about getting the right pictures all night. Therefore, hiring a photographer will really take the stress off.

Also, they are professional and will get some high-quality pictures of your special night out.

This will be the more expensive option, so you should be sure that you want good pictures of your night out.

Also bear in mind that if anyone gets too drunk and damages the equipment, then you will have to pay for it.

15. Make A Cake From Booze

Why take the trouble of making your own cake from batter and icing when you can just stack some cans on top of each other to make a cake that you and your friends can drink?

Also, if anyone knocks it over, it won’t make a mess!

This will make a decent centerpiece for a buffet and is a great choice for anyone you know who really likes their beers.

You might have some trouble stacking them at first, just make sure that nobody goes near them before the birthday celebrations begin!

16. Disposable Cameras

Again, if you are worried about trying to get your picture taken but don’t want to go through the hassle of continually getting your camera out, then why not give some disposable cameras to your friends?

This way, you can get some great snaps and it’s no big deal if the cameras get lost when things get messy.

Once you get the film cameras collected, then you can send them to the developers and have a whole photo album of pictures from different perspectives.

That’s one of the great things about this idea: you can have so many views of the same party.

17. Charge One Shot To Enter The Party

Why not get your friends to pay a fee on the night – only to surprise them by revealing that the fee is actually a shot of booze?

This way you can guarantee that even before entering the party, everyone is on their way to getting super smashed!

You can even set up a fun toll system, where a person has to take a shot every time, they use the toilet or comes away from the dance floor.

However, you might have to appoint a designated sober person to police this system.

18. Shots That Look Like Birthday Cake

That’s right, these exist. They are very sweet and are topped with hundreds and thousands, which makes them a very tasty shot. All you’ll need is some whipped cream, vanilla and a few shots of vodka.

You might want to make sure that nobody has any intolerances to gluten before you dole out these cakey shots. However, we are sure that most cake recipes will be amenable to you making a gluten-free version.

19. A Drunk Barbie Cake

Why not celebrate the end of your youth by making a cake that shows Barbie spread-eagled over the top, absolutely out cold after a night out on the tiles?

You can even incorporate your own Barbie doll from when you were a child.

20. Hangover Kits

Just because you’ve turned 21, that doesn’t mean that you should be irresponsible with your drinking.

Just take a bag and fill it with mouthwash, toothpaste, vitamin pills and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated for the long day after.

On a more serious note, a hangover kit can be used to keep you awake and alert the next day. It will also help you recover quicker and will stop you from becoming sick.

Make sure you research many hangover cures, so you can stick as many as possible in your hangover bag.

21. A Bouquet Of Booze

For this, all you need is a metal bucket with an armful of booze. You can mix it up with as many bottles and cans as you like.

Why not try wine, champagne, bottles and cans of beer, creating something that you and all your friends can sample?

This is one for people who like to try lots of different types of booze. Make sure that there is something for everyone in this bouquet. You can share it with your friends if this becomes too much to handle.

22. Glitter And Liquor Bottle

Why not decorate your bottle with some customized glitter bottles? This way you can make your party completely unique.

Your friends can also keep a memento of the event after they have finished their beers.

Make sure that the materials that you use are not flammable and that you can recycle them after your party to cut down on the amount of waste.

23. Boozy Cupcakes

If you want something a little different, then why not insert shot glasses into cupcakes so that after your friend takes a shot then they can enjoy a lovely sweet treat afterward?

However, you’ll need to make sure that you tell people that there’s a shot glass in there first before handing them out.

24. Make Your Own Birthday Sash

If you want to be the center of attention for your birthday bash, then getting a sash with your own name on it is the best way of saying: “This is my birthday, so buy me a drink please!”

However, don’t be surprised if it gets lost as the night gets messier.

You can put nicknames, inside jokes or pictures on your sash, there is no limit to the number of ideas that you can use.

You can also get it color-coded, so why not have a sash for each important member of your party to mark out their different traits?

25. Make A Birthday Banner

Birthday Banner

If you don’t fancy wrapping yourself in birthday decorations, then you should deck out your home instead.

You can spruce up your tired old apartment or family home with glittery banners all bearing your name.

You can make your birthday banner as big or small as you like. You can have one big banner that runs across the whole side of one room, or you can have a series of small banners that you can hang up in every corner of the room.

26. Balloons And Champagne

You can do so much with balloons, including making your own birthday mural. Why not have pink balloons in the shape of a champagne glass overflowing with bubbles?

You can fill them with glitter and pop them to start the whole birthday bash off with a bang.

The great thing about balloons is that you can make any picture out of them. Why not try and make your own face out of a collection of balloons?

27. Make Your Own Photo Collage Wall

Your birthday is meant to mark a very special occasion and to look back on all the cherished memories that you’ve made up until then.

This is why having a wall surrounded by pictures of you and your friends will be the perfect way of looking back as you celebrate going forwards.

By allowing your guests to take home a few pictures, you can be sure that everyone will have a memento to take home. Just make sure you have all your pictures backed up digitally before you do this!

28. String Lights

Another great birthday decoration, it will bring your drab living room or rented a hall, creating an almost nightclub effect. You can also stick these lights to the wall easier than fairy lights or single-bulb lights.

You can also have string lights cascading from the doorways to form a partition between each room. This way you can have different colored lights to represent different rooms at your party.

29. A Sequined Backdrop

If you want to create that shimmering effect that they have in nightclubs and bars, then buy a strip of your own sequins and glue it to the back wall.

This is great to add that touch of class, especially if you have rented a hall with very sparse furnishings.

30. Numbered Balloons

numbered Balloons

When it comes to getting your age out there, you’ll want to advertise it to the world. This is where balloons make that statement in a simple and fun way. You can then let them off at the end of the night.

31. Hang Up A Neon Sign

You can buy plenty of personalized neon signs, so buy one that either spells out your name or advertises the fact that you have just turned 21.

You can keep this neon sign for as long as you want, maybe even put it up in your bedroom.

32. Balloons In The Shape Of Champagne Bottles

Create that party atmosphere by getting these balloons that are shaped like one of those party staples. This will also broadcast the fact that you’ll be enjoying the finer things in life on your birthday.

33. Get A Disco Ball

If you are a fan of the 70’s or you just want to create that shimmering effect on the dancefloor, then we would recommend that you get one of these giant disco balls.

These are very cheap yet they completely transform the ambiance on your dancefloor. No party should be without one!

34. Massive Balloons

It’s your birthday, so don’t sell yourself short by having small balloons. Giant balloons equal a larger-than-life personality, so say it loud and proud with balloons.

You can have balloons of all different shapes and colors, you can even have balloons made up of various family pictures.

35. Create An Arc Of Balloons

Arc Of Balloons

This is great for when guests enter the party. You can create your own color scheme and you can pick up plenty of balloons for next to nothing.

At the end of the night, when everyone is smashed, you can pop them instead of cleaning them up!

36. Stage Your Own Disco-Themed Party

Grab yourself a disco ball, some of your favorite 70’s themed songs (we can recommend ABBA and the BeeGees) and some afro wigs and flares and you can easily conjure up your own 70’s-themed party.

One of the best things about this sort of party is that the music is guaranteed to get everyone up on the dancefloor.

Whether it is funk, soul or traditional disco, you can beat some of the beats on a 70s playlist.

37. Anything By Clothes Birthday

This is one of the most inventive and fun ideas that you can have for your party (see also “Amazing “Anything But Clothes” Party Ideas“), testing you and your friends and forcing them to be creative.

You’ll be surprised at some of the outfits that people pick: trousers made from Styrofoam cups, a bin instead of a dress or a hat made from staples!

38. Tropical Party

It is easier than you think to pick up some palm trees, get some Hawaiian necklaces and make yourself a few bowls of pineapple punch.

This party can be thrown together very easily and is great if you want to distract yourself from a cold winter’s day.

39. Cowboys From Space Party

You might think this is an unusual theme, but not everybody wants a standard party. All you need are some classic cowboy hats wrapped in tin foil with a couple of toy ray guns (see also “Protecting Teens – Why Stopping Gun Violence Is Important!“).

Throw in a few inflatable aliens and you’ve completed this unique party theme.

40. Jungle Themed Party

Jungle Themed Party

Again, with a few simple decorations, you can recreate the feel of the great Amazonian rainforest.

Ask your friends to wear bearskins and bring spears. However, you might have to make allowances for the fact that they don’t have champagne bottles in the jungle.

41. True Or False Party

This was an idea that was started on social media, where people have to wear one fact on their T-shirt and people have to guess whether or not it is true.

This is a great way to get a conversation started and bring your disparate group of friends together.

42. Buy An Espresso Machine

When it comes to gifts, then it can be rather difficult to know what to get someone.

However, if you know someone who can’t get enough coffee in the morning, then they would certainly enjoy an espresso machine to make it for them.

43. Buy A Camera

If you know someone with an eye for images but without the means to take a decent picture, then you can buy them a camera to encourage a fledgling ambition.

Film, polaroid or digital, there are plenty that you can choose from, all ranging from different prices.

44. Buy An Automatic Wine Bottle Opener

That’s right, these things exist. This is a great way of getting those pesky wine bottles open.

If you know someone who likes a little drop of white or red at the end of a stressful day, take the hassle out of opening a wine bottle with this handy gadget.

45. Buy Some Bar Essentials

A scaled-down bar that fits inside a handbag, what’s not to like?

This comes with a shaker, a stirrer and a pack of cards detailing so many different types of cocktails it would be hard for a person not to want to get stuck in immediately.

46. Buy A Whiskey Hip Flask

Hip Flask

We all know that friend who is a secret drinker. Well, why not add that touch of class to their sneaky drinking by getting them a hip flask for their 21st birthday?

This is also a great gift from a dad to a son confirming him as a real man.

47. Get Them A Bath Robe

A bathrobe is one of the comfiest things a person can have. If it is thick and fluffy, then they’ll be padding around in it for most of the day.

You can get a robe in any color you like and it is the ideal gift for both men and women.

48. Buy Them A Belt Bag

This is very useful for all sorts of reasons. You can keep your passport in it when you’re on holiday, you can also use it as a handy place to keep make-up, especially if you are out on the town for your birthday!

49. Tumbler For Wine

This is a very high-quality drinking tumbler that is designed especially for wine. It will keep your wine at the desired temperature and will ensure that its chemical composition will not change, which is often what causes your wine to taste really bad.

50. Mixology Book

If you are looking for plenty of cocktail recipes for you to try at home in preparation for your birthday, then you could always buy someone a book full of some of the best recipes that money can buy.

51. Drunken Jenga

If you are looking to spice up the normal party games (see also “300+ Of The Funniest And Most Shocking Truth Or Dares For Teens“),, then why not add alcohol to the occasion?

Drunk Jenga is one guaranteed to get the fun started, although make sure that you don’t argue too much when all the pieces come tumbling down.

52. Cup Flipping

All it takes are a few hundred cups, some booze and a lot of patience. This is a great way to get you and your friends majorly drunk.

Despite how simple this game is, there are actually plenty of rules, so make sure you read them before getting stuck in.

53. Never Have I Ever

This is a dangerous game when someone says ‘Never have I ever…’ followed by a secret.

If the rest of the players have also experienced that secret, then they also have to drink. This is another way to get drunk and find out your deepest, darkest secrets about your friends.

54. Drinking Roulette

This is another extremely dicey game to play as you could end up drunk before everybody else on your birthday if you get a few colors in a row.

Make sure that you pace yourself when you are playing drinking games as you’ll want to remember every detail about your 21st birthday.


We hope that our suggestions have helped you to decide what you’ll be looking for at your next 21st birthday party.

The really great thing is that there are plenty more ideas online and you can mix and match as many of these suggestions as you like.

Simon Lewis