32 Grown-Up Birthday Party Ideas to Celebrate Another Year of Life

Three young people jump backward into pool fully clothed

 Hello World / Getty Images

Birthdays are like seasons—some are welcomed with open arms, and others may take a little warming up to. We believe, however, that every trip around the sun deserves a celebration, and partly because there's no shortage of birthday ideas to be had when marking the special occasion.

Make every year a milestone year with these 32 birthday party ideas, no matter what your age.

Great Grown-up Birthday Party Ideas illustrated graphic
Michela Buttignol / MyDomaine 
  • Board-game bliss. Have everyone come in their pajamas or favorite athleisure and bring their favorite board game from way back when, like Dream Phone or Guess Who? And for an extra dose of nostalgia, have goody bags for the winners.
  • Self-care celebration. Indulge in DIY facials (or sheet masks), massage trains, and at-home mani/pedis while watching a movie marathon.
  • Have a cake swap. Is it worth getting a year older without the frosting and candles? We think not. Ask each guest to forego gifts and bring their favorite cake instead—and then taste them all.
  • Cook the night away. If you don't want to ask everyone to bring their own food, create a menu of your favorite homemade meals, and then cook it all together... or hire a private chef to execute the curated menu.
  • DIY-wine tasting. We love a glass of vino but can certainly stand to dig into its nuances. For a blind tasting at home, Wine Folly says all you need is some aluminum foil and to stick to a single varietal like Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc.
Young women enjoy wine in an outdoor setting
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  • Movie marathon. You could even pick a theme and watch all of the romantic movies or 90s favorites.
  • Host a mixology party. Hire a mixologist (try a local catering company or reach out to your favorite restaurant) to craft custom drinks for your friends all night long based on their favorite ingredients.
  • Opt for a classy affair. We’re talking suits and stilettos, jazz in the background, and plenty of hors d’oeuvres. Champagne toast optional.
  • Have a wine and cheese night. Research the perfect pairings for wine and cheese, or wine and anything really, on a site like Wine Folly. If you want to go all out, offer wine flights to your guests.
  • Try an urban winery. Instead of staying in, head to the city for a wine tasting. Increasingly, the urban winery trend is making it more convenient for urbanites to get the vineyard experience in-town.
  • Have a themed cocktail outing. Choose your favorite cocktail, whether it be mezcal margaritas or tiki drinks, pick a neighborhood, and map a walkable or ride-share route to various establishments that serve the best of your chosen tipple.
  • Play hostess at your favorite store. Some boutiques will actually let you throw your birthday soirée on-site (as long as some guests make a purchase, of course). Have a soft spot for shoes? Ask to have your fête right in the footwear department.
  • Get dolled up at your place. Tell your friends to wear their favorite party outfits, and then call an at-home beauty concierge service like Blo or Dry Bar to come do hair and makeup. If you decide to go out, great—if not, no worries. Just make sure to snap some photos for posterity... and Instagram.
  • Have a jewelry-making party where you craft custom pieces together—and take them home. We’re partial to Kendra Scott’s Color Bar (which has retail locations in some states). Customize everything from metal type to stone color.
  • Spring for High Tea. Find one at some luxury hotels or your local tea room and channel the U.K. tradition, complete with cucumber sandwiches and bite-sized sweet treats.
  • Host a DIY night. You could choose any theme but we personally love those home décor DIYs that aren't too challenging to make, and where everyone goes home with something for their space—like these IKEA hacks
  • Takeover the local rollerskating rink. Wear chic retro-gear and high-knee socks and roll away to the fun and funky tunes.
  • Throw a decade-themed party. Get out those flapper dresses or old-school suits, and learn how to do the Charleston together during a Roaring Twenties-themed celebration. Or pick your favorite decade as a theme. 
Three young people jump backward into pool fully clothed
 Hello Word / Getty Images
  • Have a cookbook party. Choose a cookbook and ask each guest to bring a recipe from the book. That way, everyone gets to sample the entire cookbook at once.
  • Plan a murder mystery soirée. Assign each guest a character to dress up as ahead of time; we’re partial to those pre-planned by Night of Mystery in Hollywood to royal mystery themes. Simply download everything you need in advance and you're good to go.
  • An active bonanza. Choose your favorite way to move and round up your guests. Whether you have them meet you at the bowling alley, beach volleyball court, or rock climbing wall, there is a recreational activity out there for everyone. 
  • Destination celebration. Pick your favorite travel experience and re-create it at home.
  • Use a letter as your theme. We recommend using the letter of your first name and have everyone come dressed up as something (or someone) that begins with that letter. 
  • Put on a Coachella-themed bash. We’re thinking a flower crown–making station, flash tattoos, and inflatable floats for days (our favorites are from Sunnylife). A killer dance playlist won’t hurt, either.
Young women dancing and singing in living room
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images
  • Throw a barbecue. Go casual with a grill and refreshing beverages, and your best pals in the backyard, at the beach, or your favorite park.
  • Have a luau. Greet guests with homemade flower leis, craft cocktails in pineapples, and set up your own tiki bar.
  • Tarot Reading. With the universe as guide, hire a tarot reader to lead your group through a collective reading and pay special attention to what the reading invites you to consider. Or, host your own tarot reading.
  • Have a star-gazing party. Ask everyone to meet outside under the stars and pick out their favorite constellations. The less light pollution around, the better, which means perhaps a trip to a Dark Sky park may be in order. As for guest favors? Name a star after each of your friends.
  • Throw a massive picnic. All you need is a bunch of blankets and your favorite people. Head to the park—ask everyone to pack their own lunch and snacks beforehand. And don't forget the portable Bluetooth speaker and sunscreen, and to check for a dog-friendly location if you plan to bring furry friends.

When throwing a birthday party at a park, check for dog-friendly locations in case you and your guests want to bring their pets.

  • The altruistic birthday. If there's a cause you're passionate about, ask your inner circle to spend the afternoon volunteering for your favorite organization, as well as asking that any funds intended for your birthday present instead be donated to the organization.
  • Take a pottery class. Express your creativity with a ball of clay, and turn it into a vase or your new favorite coffee mug.
  • Have a karaoke night. This is fun at home or at a local karaoke bar.

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