Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (2024)

Table of Contents
1. Host a themed costume party 2. Plan a cute picnic 3. Sing your heart out at karaoke 4. Book a hotel room or two 5. Host a tarot-reading event 7. Splurge on concert tix 8. Dress up for no reason 9. Go sky-diving 11. Hit up a casino 12. Host a slumber party modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light 13. Share a big 'ole meal 14. Pretend you're on vacay 15. Seek out a view 16. Buy gifts for everyone 17. Host the biggest 21-themed party ever 18. Ride some horses 19. Take a road trip 20. Do a scavenger hunt 23. Just have a girls’ day/night out 24. Two words: spa day 25. Throw a paint ’n’ sip party ZaHi Easel Set 58 Pcs Painting Set ZaHi Easel Set 58 Pcs Painting Set 26. Take a pole dancing class 27. Hit up an escape room 28. Go to a burlesque show 29. Party at a hotel pool 30. Book a bottomless brunch 31. Go on a booze cruise 32. Make all the Jell-O shots Shot Caller Shot Caller, Jello Shot Maker Shot Caller Shot Caller, Jello Shot Maker 33. Take so many Polaroid pics 34. Visit wine country 35. Get that fancy wine pairing 36. Go on a brewery tour 37. Take a mixology class 38. Go to a roller disco 39. Host an adult tea party 40. Create a 21st birthday bucket list 41. Go bowling 42. Hire a private chef 43. Visit a theme park 44. Throw a DIY personality co*cktail party 45. Host a roast 46. Have a trivia night JIALITFUN Game Answer Buzzer 2 Pcs JIALITFUN Game Answer Buzzer 2 Pcs 47. Put on a murder mystery dinner 48. Celebrate at an arcade 49. Organize a bar crawl 50. Have a taco and tequila fiesta 1800 Cucumber & Jalapeño Tequila 1800 Cucumber & Jalapeño Tequila FAQs References

So, you've waited your entire life for this moment: You're about to turn 21. So excited for you, bestie! But I know there can also be a lot of pressure that comes with the milestone. I mean, you only turn 21 once, right? Between picking out the perfect birthday outfit and figuring out which cute co*cktail you're going to ~legally~ consume first, the pressure of doing something memorable can be beyond stressful. And if you need a little help planning something extra special, don't worry, because I've compiled a handy list of 21st-birthday party ideas that'll make you feel like absolute royalty.

Now look, I get that it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to ring in your 21st. You wanna be creative and different! And you want your guests to enjoy themselves. (Most importantly though, you want your birthday to be very Instagrammable.) I get it! Which is I made sure that there's something for everybody on this list. Want to get wine drunk and flash your license at every bartender? Gotchu. Is your birthday tomorrow and you're stressed and have zero ideas how to celebrate? Also gotchu. Want to do something actually unique and not at all boring and cliché? GOT. CHU. Did I mention I gotchu?

If you're ready to do something completely and utterly epic (yes, I'm unironically using the word "epic" like it's 2012, don't @ me), I’ve corralled 50 of the best, most photo-op-worthy 21st birthday ideas that'll have you coming of age in style. Because really, at the end of the day, we’re all just tryna make ’em ask, “Who is SHE?” And She. Is. You.

1. Host a themed costume party

Who doesn't love a good excuse to play dress-up? Pick a fun theme (your fave TV show, a cool decade, the book series you loved as a kid, etc.) and go alllll the way out.

2. Plan a cute picnic

Now, this has got to be the most wholesome way to ring in your 21st year. Secure yourself an adorable picnic blanket and have your guests wear their best florals. Make sure everyone brings fancy baked goods for the full experience.

3. Sing your heart out at karaoke

There's nothing that brings people together quite like a good karaoke sesh. I mean, just watch the first 10 minutes of High School Musical for further evidence.

4. Book a hotel room or two

Fun fact: Some hotels require you to be 21 to book a room with them. Treat yourself to this ~novelty~ and then order a boozy room service experience to imbibe in while surrounded by lots of decorations. Bar downstairs? Take all of your GFs later in the evening and make a night of it.

5. Host a tarot-reading event

Let's get all the crystals, b*tch! You could be meditating, gifting each other customized gemstones, getting tarot readings, or a combo of all of the above. Just make sure they're speaking amaaaazing intentions to you, the birthday queen.

6. Channel the year you were born with a Y2K Party

Hello, early '00s! We missed you! (Well, we missed your fashion.) Having a Y2K party would be so trendy, since the fashions have been back for a bit, and you can always go out afterward looking and speaking like Paris Hilton.

7. Splurge on concert tix

Maybe it's been a while since you went to an event with thousands of people! Maybe your very fave artist is about to come to town! Maybe you just wanna drink and listen to some live music (how chill). If you time it right, you can also bring all your BFFs and make a whole night out of it. Backstage passes anyone?

8. Dress up for no reason

This could be in combination with a bunch of other events on this list, but giving each other makeovers and/or breaking out your best evening gown can either be an amazing precursor to a fancy night out, or just a fun at-home activity while making each other co*cktails. Don't wanna blow all your birthday $$$ on a dress you'll never wear again because you broke the internet in it already? Rent something spectacular from a company like Nuuly or Fashionpass. (News flash: they both have lots of options from Selkie...and now's the perfect time to rock one.)

9. Go sky-diving

Hey, all you adrenaline lovers out there! First off, let's be friends. Secondly, find something that you and your (similarly minded) buddies would love to do and just absolutely go all in on the experience. Like skydiving. You only turn 21 once, after all.

10. Rent a party bus

Parties are somehow 1000% more fun on wheels. Don’t ask me why. It’s just science.

11. Hit up a casino

A very classic 21st birthday party romp: casino night. Find a joint in your area (or hit up Vegas if you’re going all out), squeeze into an aughts-era bandage dress, and try your gambling luck.

12. Host a slumber party

modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (3)

modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light

Granted, this will depend on the size of your place (so you might need to convince a bud with a big apartment to host this), but channel your inner middle school kid—minus braces—and have a fun night painting nails and watching rom-coms.

13. Share a big 'ole meal

And yes I mean this in a literal sense: Fondue or shabu-shabu places let you sit over a big pot of warm delicious liquid and dip lil morsels of food in it (also, it's not hard to replicate the same experience at home).

14. Pretend you're on vacay

Vacations are expensive AF and sometimes more exhausting than enjoyable, so replicate the very same experience with a staycation. You know the drill: a day off work, hotel, spa day, touristy things, dinner at a place you've never been. Go all-in, bbs.

15. Seek out a view

What's the tallest, most impressive building with a roof deck or bar in your area? Go there. While you're at it, take the most Insta-worthy photos/videos possible so that everyone knows you had the coolest 21st birthday. Level-up alternative: Go sky-diving (as mentioned above) or bungee jumping. A view's a view, after all.

16. Buy gifts for everyone

Okay, yes, it is basically all about you, but how fun would it be if all your friends swapped silly gifts, white elephant style! That way everyone can participate in the fun...with you getting the final say as the bday queen, ofc. We've got a whole list of 21st bday gift ideas if you're totally stumped about gifting (for you or anyone else)!

17. Host the biggest 21-themed party ever

Yes, yes, this is cliché, but how about some custom decorations that really push it over the top? Or a ridiculous, OTT, *Roaring 20s* theme? Like, really lean in on the ridiculousness and fun so it's still unforgettable.

18. Ride some horses

All my horse girls, raise your hand. This is maybe an activity you haven't done since you were 10, but rockin' a scenic trail or relearning old skills could be a fun time (so long as everyone's up for it). Alternatives: petting zoo, volunteering at a shelter, or just somehow getting your hands on some fluffy cuties.

19. Take a road trip

Are there any landmarks, restaurants, or hot spots that you've been dying to visit? Get a car (or RV if you're feeling frisky) with your friends and just drive! Don't forget the bomb birthday playlist, though.

20. Do a scavenger hunt

I can see it now: A boozy "you-themed" scavenger hunt at home. Challenge your friends to find specific items at your place, like your fave snack or your go-to comfort outfit. Winner gets the last slice of pizza.

21. Get thrifting

Shopping sprees are cool, but have you ever found the most luxe handbag at your local secondhand place and snagged it for a (relative) steal? Or the chicest jacket you're absolutely gonna wear on your next night out? Feel good about not contributing to the fast fashion problem while treating yourself to a well-deserved gift.

22. ...or design your own clothes

If you wanna tie-dye, really go for it with a sewing machine, or just chop your jeans into shorts, this is the moment. Ooh! Or! You can also do a clothing swap, where you and your pals trade items you don't need in your wardrobe anymore. (Beg your friend to bring that oversized blazer you keep stealing. Just this once? For your bday?)

23. Just have a girls’ day/night out

Wait, you really thought this wouldn't be on the list? I'm never above a classic, bbs. But you can always spice it up with themed outfits, drinking games, or ~extra-special~ dinner and dessert options.

24. Two words: spa day

If you’re looking for indulgence in the name of self-care, a spa day is ideal. Line up all the services you’ve been craving: facial, steam room, mud bath, whatever—sorry, boss, you’re OOO!

25. Throw a paint ’n’ sip party

ZaHi Easel Set 58 Pcs Painting Set

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (8)

ZaHi Easel Set 58 Pcs Painting Set

A paint 'n' sip class is an easy way to get wasted under the guise of art and friendship. So round up your typical Wine Down Wednesday crew and hit the studio.

26. Take a pole dancing class

So, you got super inspired by Lil Nas X's skills in the "MONTERO" music video (same). Why not try a beginner’s pole dancing class? Bring some friends and get ready to test your core strength.

27. Hit up an escape room

All those in favor of banning corporate-bonding escape room events, say, “Aye.” All those in favor of reclaiming escape room events for fun 21st birthday parties, say, “Aye!”

28. Go to a burlesque show

If you’re here for high drama and high glamour, check out a burlesque show. Tamer than a strip club but way more riveting than most acts on a stage.

29. Party at a hotel pool

Book a cabana at your fave hotel pool and take in all the gorgeous views, beautiful people, and delicious small-batch co*cktails. In a word: lux-ur-y.

30. Book a bottomless brunch

Okay, we couldn’t not include boozy brunch on this list—frankly, it’s a rite of passage. Hunt around for the best deal, make that reservation, and hydrate.

31. Go on a booze cruise

Ask your pals to reserve tickets beforehand, then spend an afternoon watching sunsets, taking in the waves, and sipping cute co*cktails while looking even cuter.

32. Make all the Jell-O shots

Shot Caller Shot Caller, Jello Shot Maker

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (12)

Shot Caller Shot Caller, Jello Shot Maker

It's not the whole party, but it's a start. And they’re so freakin’ easy and always a crowd-pleaser.

33. Take so many Polaroid pics

Ditto above, because nothing says “I’m young and fun!” like snapping a bunch of photos with a nostalgia-inducing real-life camera. The morning after, arrange all the shots on a cute surface so you can share ’em on the gram.

34. Visit wine country

Grab your crew and plan a visit to a vineyard. Who doesn’t want to frolic in fields of grapes?

35. Get that fancy wine pairing

Book a table at that fancy restaurant you’ve been dying to go to, and when they ask if you want the chef’s wine pairing, say hell yeah, because you’re 21 and that’s what adults do.

36. Go on a brewery tour

You’ve def never had a drink before tonight, so why not make your first one at a brewery with some friends? Many places offer small-group tours, so the party can double as a learning opportunity. The more you know, y'know?

37. Take a mixology class

Think of it as a debutante ball for your now-of-legal-drinking-age self.

38. Go to a roller disco

It's returned to public consciousness in recent years. Think: Beyoncé’s “Blow” music video and Maddy’s backstory montage in Euphoria. Why not make it real life?

39. Host an adult tea party

Whether you are a die-hard fan of The Crown, are obsessed with Meghan Markle, or just...love tea, this might be the cute bday outing you’ve been looking for. Many hotels hold high tea or you can stage the whole thing at home.

40. Create a 21st birthday bucket list

Have your friends drum up some zany dares, write ’em on a poster, and bam! You’ve got your activity list set for the whole damn night. (Make sure one of them says “raid the buffet.”)

41. Go bowling

Reserve some lanes at your local bowling alley and have a ball. It's wholesome! It's fun! And it's super easy to plan.

42. Hire a private chef

Dealing with restaurant reservations can be a pain in the butt—especially if you're planning on celebrating with a big group. Instead, opt for hiring a private chef. It's not only way cooler and fancier (it's giving Kardashian family energy!), but you also don't have to leave the comfort of your home. And you still get the dinner experience you imagined without leaving your house! You and your friends will be feeling like A+ celebs after this one!

43. Visit a theme park

Rollercoasters and your besties? A guaranteed good time.

44. Throw a DIY personality co*cktail party

Gather your pals and have them create one-of-a-kind co*cktails based on your personality traits. For example, are you energetic? Perhaps someone can whip a mixture with an energy drink. Or if you're sweet, one of your BFFs can make a fruity concoction. The more creative everyone is with their drinks, the more fun it'll be!

45. Host a roast

Because there's nothing more entertaining than your loved ones all in one room, teasing you about the silliest things. There's no doubt people will be screaming and crying on the floor laughing during this!

46. Have a trivia night

JIALITFUN Game Answer Buzzer 2 Pcs

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (20)

JIALITFUN Game Answer Buzzer 2 Pcs

Put your friends to the test and see who knows you the best with a game of trivia all about you. Warning: It will get competitive!

47. Put on a murder mystery dinner

Why have a regular ol' dinner when you can have a ~murder mystery~ dinner!! Here's what you gotta do: plan a faux murder (a trip through Google Search can help you with that), assemble your suspects, and form witty, tricky clues. On the day of, you can decorate with spooky decor to really set the scene. BTW: Don't forget to inform your suspects before the dinner happens!

48. Celebrate at an arcade

Pac-Man, Dance Dance Revolution, and some pitchers of beer will 10,000 percent get the party started. Promise.

49. Organize a bar crawl

Draw out a map of local bars and order them based on where you want to go first and so on. Add some spice to it by assigning certain shots you have to take at a particular bar.

50. Have a taco and tequila fiesta

1800 Cucumber & Jalapeño Tequila

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (21)

1800 Cucumber & Jalapeño Tequila

Set up a taco station with ingredients like tortillas, meat, cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and more so that people can just make their own buffet-style. And another station with tequila-based bevs. Then voilà! (A piñata would make a fun addition too, IMO!)

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (22)

Megan Uy

Associate Shopping Editor

Megan Uy is an associate shopping editor at Cosmopolitan, where she searches for the best products in all things fashion, home, beauty, sex, gifts, and more, so you don’t have to. When she’s not writing for the site, she’s whipping up some cool and trendy content for the fashion section of the print magazine. She’s been with the brand since 2019 (when she was an itty-bitty editorial fellow), and she's also written for Delish, House Beautiful, and People. Follow her on Instagram to get some BTS of the editor life and chaotic NYC content. Also, feel free to hit her up if you ever wanna discuss the madness that is TikTok.

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (23)

Annabel Iwegbue

Annabel Iwegbue is an assistant editor at Cosmopolitan where she primarily covers lifestyle and fashion. Before joining Cosmo, she covered entertainment at Harper's Bazaar, The Knockturnal, and Black Film. She's originally from Charleston, South Carolina, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Cinema Studies from New York University. You can check out some of Annabel’s work here and also find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (24)

Hannah Chubb

Lifestyle Editor

Hannah Chubb is the lifestyle editor at Cosmopolitan, covering all things home, travel, food, health, career, and more. She spends pretty much every hour of every day curating the internet for the best new products, trends, and travel destinations. You can typically find her looking for houses she can’t afford on Zillow or Airbnb, planning her next meal before she gets to the restaurant, or taking all of the Justin Bieber classes over and over and over again on Peloton. Follow her on Instagram.

Turning 21? We've Got 50 Creative Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration (2024)

FAQs

How do you celebrate an unforgettable birthday? ›

Rooftop Bliss – Unique Birthday Celebration Ideas

Think fairy lights creating a magical ambiance, comfortable seating arrangements, and the gentle breeze adding to the overall charm. Whether it's an intimate dinner for two or a lively gathering with friends, our rooftop venues promise an unforgettable experience.

What makes a 21st birthday special? ›

This pivotal occasion is marked by legal rights and newfound responsibilities, as young individuals step into a new chapter of life. In various cultures, the 21st birthday is associated with significant privileges, such as voting and legally consuming alcohol.

How do you make a 21st party fun? ›

Look below for some party-filled ideas!
  1. A Themed Party. A big party is definitely in order for such a milestone! ...
  2. A Costume Party. A costume party is always a good idea. ...
  3. A Fancy Bash. Greet your adult life in style! ...
  4. Vegas Night. ...
  5. Nightclub-Hopping. ...
  6. Party Bus Renting. ...
  7. Bar-Hopping. ...
  8. Mixology Class.
Apr 22, 2024

What is the 50 year birthday celebration called? ›

Meaning of golden jubilee in English

the day exactly 50 years after an important occasion, or a special event to celebrate this: celebrate something's golden jubilee The local hospital will be celebrating its golden jubilee on Thursday. Birthdays & anniversaries.

How do you throw an unforgettable party? ›

Here are some steps to take to host a memorable event.
  1. Plan Effectively.
  2. Send Catchy Invitations.
  3. Make Your Home a Party Place.
  4. Decorate the Tables.
  5. Give the Party a Good Start.
  6. Regulate Food and Drinks.
  7. Make Your Guests Feel Special.
  8. Engage in Games.
Dec 1, 2022

What is your memorable birthday celebration? ›

The birthday at my school was memorable but the birthday party at my home made the day even more memorable. Also, my mother invited all my friends from school and the colony to the party. I received so many presents and we played a lot of games. We played games like musical chairs, tag, egg-and-spoon races, and more.

What is the best message for a 21st birthday? ›

21st Birthday Message Ideas: What to Write in a Card or Text
  • 21st Birthday Message Inspiration. ...
  • Congratulations on Reaching this Milestone! ...
  • Embrace the Adventure Ahead! ...
  • Always Believe in Yourself! ...
  • Thank You for Being You! ...
  • Welcome to Adulthood! ...
  • Celebrating Your Achievements. ...
  • The Best is Yet to Come.

How do I make my party not boring? ›

Tips for Hosting a Fun Party
  1. Choose a Creative Theme. A well-thought-out theme can set the tone for your party and make it more engaging. ...
  2. Plan Interactive Activities. ...
  3. Hire Live Entertainment. ...
  4. Make It a Foam Party. ...
  5. Offer a Variety of Food and Drinks. ...
  6. Create a Comfortable and Inviting Atmosphere. ...
  7. Set the Stage for Socializing.
Jul 18, 2023

What do you need for a 21st birthday party? ›

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a 21st Birthday Party: Everything You Need to Know
  • Choose a Theme. A theme can make your party more fun and cohesive. ...
  • Know what your want (or don't want) from your venue. ...
  • Pick a Venue. ...
  • Consider your budget. ...
  • Plan the Menu. ...
  • Arrange Entertainment. ...
  • Send Out Invitations. ...
  • Choose Decorations.
May 27, 2022

What is turning 50 called? ›

Turning 50 has also been considered a golden birthday year, and many people choose to decorate with black and gold. Any of the above ideas can be easily translated to a 50th birthday party—just go extra big on the 50th birthday invitation, golden birthday gift, and cake!

What is a 50 year celebration called? ›

A golden jubilee is the 50th anniversary of an important or special event.

When you turn 50 quotes? ›

50th birthday quotes
  • “You don't get older, you get better.” – ...
  • “If you haven't grown up by age 50, you don't have to.” – ...
  • “Count your age by friends, not years. ...
  • “By the time we hit 50, we have learned our hardest lessons. ...
  • “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” –
Oct 25, 2021

How can I make her birthday unforgettable? ›

Seven sweet ways to surprise your girlfriend on her birthday
  1. 1) A weekend getaway. ...
  2. 2) A video gift. ...
  3. 3) Be romantic. ...
  4. 4) Create a journal. ...
  5. 5) Start her day off right. ...
  6. 6) Plan a surprise party. ...
  7. 7) Treat her to a romantic dinner. ...
  8. Choose a thoughtful gift for your girlfriend.
Feb 27, 2023

How do you plan a memorable birthday? ›

Plan A Memorable Birthday Party With These Useful Guidelines
  1. Choose the Perfect Theme. ...
  2. Create a Guest List and Send Invitations. ...
  3. Plan the Party Decorations. ...
  4. Hand-Baked Goods. ...
  5. Organize Fun Activities and Games. ...
  6. Prepare a Delicious Menu. ...
  7. Entertainment and Music. ...
  8. Capture the Memories.
Oct 1, 2023

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated:

Views: 6339

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.