Birthdays are like seasons—some are welcomed with open arms, and others may take a little warming up to. But truly, you should be doing something fun for every milestone you hit, because what better excuse is there to get all of your favorite people in one room and reminisce about the past year or more you’ve spent together?
When you were a kid, it was so easy to pick a favorite theme or place to host your party. As we got older, the themes tended to dwindle and it became “Meet me at that bar we love!” or “Let’s just all do dinner.” And even if it’s not a particularly special year—aka one of the “big ones”—there’s nothing wrong going all out for an adult birthday party.
Make every year a milestone year with these 35 adult birthday party ideas.
Host a Game Night
Have everyone come in their favorite pajamas or athleisure and bring their go-to 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.
Do a Spa Day
Indulge in DIY facials (or sheet masks), massage trains, and at-home mani/pedis while watching a movie marathon. If you want to go the extra step, host the party at a spa instead.
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 them all at once. Whatever you do, don't forget cake!
Have DIY Wine Tasting
We love a glass of vino and learning a little something. Savvy wine clubs like Winc offer a wine tasting 101 kit that is perfect for parties and digging into the nuances of your favorite bottle.
Host a Film Screening
Rent out a theater at your local cineplex and ask them to play your favorite movie. Hand out the popcorn, candy, slushies, etc., as snacks. (PS: You can also do something similar at your own place.)
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. In lieu of birthday gifts, ask everyone to bring their favorite bottle instead.
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, Dry Bar, or Glam Squad 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
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.
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 everyone goes home with something for their space—like IKEA hacks. You'll have fun and get something new for your home in the process.
Take Over the Local Rollerskating Rink
Host a 70's disco party at the local roller rink. You can wear chic retro gear and knee socks while rolling away to the fun and funky tunes.
Take a trip with your friends to your favorite vintage or thrift store before the party to pick out your perfect outfit.
Host 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 because they do the work for you. Simply download everything you need in advance and you're good to go.
Throw a Coachella-Themed Bash
We’re thinking a flower crown–making station, flash tats, and inflatable floats for days (our favorites are from Sunnylife). A killer dance playlist won’t hurt, either. Bonus points if you only play music from past and present Coachella headliners.
Do a Tarot Reading
With the universe as guide, hire a tarot reader to guide your group through a collective reading and pay special attention to what the reading invites you to consider. Or, host your own tarot reading.
Throw 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.