35 Adult Birthday Party Ideas to Celebrate Another Year of Life

adult birthday party ideas
@jenkay

Birthdays are like seasons—some are welcomed with open arms, and others may take a little warming up to. But really and 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 years) 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.

adult birthday party ideas
MICHELA BUTTIGNOL/MYDOMAINE
01 of 35

Host a Game Night

game night

Sugar & Cloth

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.

02 of 35

Do a Spa Day

spa day

StefaNikolic/Getty Images

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.

03 of 35

Have a Cake Swap

cake swap

Sugar & Cloth 

Is it worth getting a year older without the frosting and candles? We think not. Ask each guest to forgo gifts and bring their favorite cake instead—and then taste them all.

04 of 35

Cook the Night Away

cook a lot of food

Darling Down South

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!

05 of 35

Have DIY Wine Tasting

wine tasting

College Housewife​

 

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.

06 of 35

Host a Film Screening

movie night

 Gpointstudio/Getty Images

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.)

To make it fit for a celebration, pick a theme and watch only movies that go along with it, like romantic movies or 90's favorites (Clueless anyone?)

07 of 35

Host a Mixology Party

mixology

 Marianna Massey/Getty Images

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. Serve up some happy hour snacks along with the drinks and create a killer playlist.

08 of 35

Opt for a Classy Affair

fancy party

Maren Caruso/Getty Images 

We’re talking suits and stilettos, jazz in the background, and plenty of hors d’oeuvres. Champagne toast optional. Host at home or at your favorite neighborhood speakeasy.

09 of 35

Have a Wine and Cheese Night

wine and cheese party

 Carlo Prearo / EyeEm/Getty Images

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.

10 of 35

Try an Urban Winery

wine tasting

 Westend61/Getty Images

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. Plus many wineries offer great menus - call ahead to reserve a birthday cake.

11 of 35

Create Your Own Bar Crawl

bar crawl

Anchiy/Getty Images

Choose your favorite cocktail or craft brew, whether it be mezcal margaritas or tiki drinks. Then, decide on a fun neighborhood and map a walkable or ride-share route to various establishments that serve the best of your chosen tipple.

12 of 35

Play Hostess at Your Favorite Store

host a party

FG Trade/Getty Images

Some boutiques will actually let you throw your birthday soirée on-site (as long as some guests purchase things, of course). Do you love shoes? Ask to have your fête right in the footwear department.

13 of 35

Get Dolled up at Your Place

Makeup products on a bathroom counter

JulieK/ Twenty20

 

Tell your friends to wear their favorite party outfits, and then call an at-home beauty concierge service like BloDry 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.

14 of 35

Have a Jewelry Making Party

jewelry making

 Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images

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.

15 of 35

Spring for High Tea

high tea

​Michael Blann/Getty Images 

Find one at luxury hotels or your local tea room and channel the U.K. tradition, complete with cucumber sandwiches and bite-sized sweet treats. To make it feel more like a celebration, opt for champagne with your tea.

16 of 35

Host a DIY Night

diy

Alistair Berg/Getty Images

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 these IKEA hacks. You'll have fun and get something new for your home in the process.

17 of 35

Take Over the Local Rollerskating Rink

skating rink

 Flashpop/Getty Images

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.

18 of 35

Throw a Great Gatsby Party

1920s party

Sugar and Charm

Celebrate your love of The Great Gatsby and 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.

19 of 35

Throw a Margarita/Margherita Party

margarita

Half Baked Harvest

Most parties are all about the food, and this one is no exception. Make homemade margherita pizzas together—and blend margaritas (alcoholic or not). The dress code? Something with drawstrings.

20 of 35

Host a Murder Mystery Soirée

friends talking

Uwe Krejci/Getty Images

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.

21 of 35

Plan an Active Day

friends playing ball

Westend61/Getty Images

Choose your favorite way to move and round up your guests. Whether it's the bowling alley, beach volleyball court, rock climbing, or a group dance or trapeze class, there is a recreational activity out there for everyone. 

22 of 35

Create a Destination Celebration

pizza

 Westend61/Getty Images

Pick your favorite travel experience and recreate it at home. For example, recreate your vacation in Capri by playing Italian music, eating Italian food, and sipping on classic Italian drinks like Negronis. 

23 of 35

Use a Letter as Your Theme

friends at a party

Roo Lewis/Getty Images

We recommend using the letter of your first name and have everyone come dressed up as something that begins with that. To go all the way with it, only serve food that begins with that letter as well.

24 of 35

Throw a Coachella-Themed Bash

pool party

Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

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.

25 of 35

Host a Barbecue

barbecue

 Maskot/Getty Images

Go casual with a grill and refreshing beverages, and your best pals in the backyard, the beach, or your favorite park. Don't forget s'mores and plenty of outdoor pillows and blankets for lounging.

26 of 35

Have a Luau

luau

Sugar & Cloth

This one's for our summer birthdays! Greet guests with homemade flower leis, craft cocktails in pineapples, and set up your own tiki bar. Bonus points if you throw one on the beach.

27 of 35

Do a Tarot Reading

tarot cards

 Tatâna Maramygina / EyeEm/Getty Images

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.

28 of 35

Throw a Star Gazing Party

beach at night

William Kingsford / EyeEm/Getty Images

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.

29 of 35

Throw a Massive Picnic

picnic

Darling Down South

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.

30 of 35

Give Back

Volunteering on the beach
Klaus Vedfelt/Taxi/Getty Images

If there's a cause you're passionate about, ask your inner circle to spend the afternoon volunteering for your favorite organization. Also ask that any funds intended for your birthday present instead be donated to the organization.

31 of 35

Have a Self Care Day

self care

Hello Glow

Treat yourself and your friends to a full day of wellness. Whether that means getting in touch with your spirituality via a psychic, trying crystal healing, or DIYing sugar scrubs is up to you.

32 of 35

Belt It Out at a Karaoke Night

karaoke

 Flashpop/Getty Images

This is fun at home or at a local karaoke bar, and nothing beats belting out your favorite tunes with friends. To bring out everyone's competitive side, have a prize for the winner.

33 of 35

Throw a Sleepover

friends painting nails

Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

You probably haven't had one since high school, so take it way back with a classic slumber party. Do face masks, eat junk food, catch up on celebrity gossip, and watch your favorite films from your youth.

34 of 35

Host a Dinner Party

dinner party

College Housewife

If you aren't one to make a big deal about your birthday, we get it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate at all. Instead, throw a simple dinner party with a few of your closest friends — just make sure to have a cake on hand!

35 of 35

Get Artsy

get artsy

Sugar & Cloth

Grab the glue guns, craft paper, rhinestones, and scissors. Have a craft night with your best friends and make homemade paintings, origami, or even bedazzle your clothing and accessories, just like you did in the '90s.

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