17 Things to Do on Your Birthday When You're Out of Ideas

Things to Do on Your Birthday

When we were kids, we counted down the days to our birthdays, but these days, birthdays have a way of creeping up on us. Unless you’re celebrating a milestone year and someone is throwing you a party, it may seem like a ton of effort to plan things to do on your birthday. And to be honest, some years you really don’t want a party (and don’t want to feel guilted into having one). So if that means you want to take a bath and go to bed early, go for it. If you want to spend a weekend away with your girls, round up the troops and book a hotel.

To make your birthday planning a cinch, we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do on your birthday—from going out, to staying in, and everything in between. 

Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday
 Emily Roberts / MyDomaine
01 of 17

Plan a Spa Day

Friends laying out by the pool.

 Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Want a mental detox? Find the most relaxing spa in town and check yourself in for a full day of pampering (Chillhouse is worth checking out if you're in New York.) Mud baths, massages, facials: It's all on the table.

02 of 17

Make Prime Dinner Reservations

dinner at restaurant

 d3sign/Getty Images

That place you've been trying to get into for a while? Enlist your S.O. or a friend and go for a relaxing, low-key meal that's all about celebrating you.

Don't stress about inviting everyone you've ever met to this shindig. The smaller the group, the easier it will be to get a reservation.

03 of 17

Buy Yourself a Gift

birthday presents

Darling Down South

Give yourself a budget and then set out to treat yourself. There's something special about going to a store to pick out a present versus adding something to your online shopping cart.

04 of 17

Book a Luxurious Stay at a Boutique Hotel

hotel room

Maskot/Getty Images 

Find one with a bar and restaurant in-house so you can spend more time relaxing and less time on-the-go. (The Marlton Hotel in New York and Palihouse in L.A. fit the bill.)

05 of 17

Go on a Vineyard Getaway


 © Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images

What better way to celebrate that things get better with age than by sipping some vino? Spoil yourself rotten with wine and all the cheese plates. Many wineries also offer subscriptions to their products, so you'll always have the perfect wine on hand.

06 of 17

Plan a Trip to See a Friend

friends talking

 Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Sometimes your closest friends don't live nearby, but they're the ones you want to celebrate with most. Go ahead and celebrate in their hometown instead of yours for a nice change of scenery.

07 of 17

Escape to the Beach

beach vacation

Photo by Bridget Shevlin on Unsplash

Is there anything more calming than sand between your toes? Enjoy some serious fun in the sun and get away from the business of life for a bit. Lounging by the beach is the perfect thing to do on your birthday.

08 of 17

Rent a Food Truck

food truck

 Maskot/Getty Images

Instead of going out to dinner, have a food truck pull up to the park or outside your place to serve guests. It's so much cooler than regular catering.

09 of 17

Host a Private Movie Screening

movie night

 Gpointstudio/Getty Images

Whether you rent out your own theater at the cineplex or camp out inside someone's at-home movie room, one thing is for sure: You get to pick the flick. Make sure you have some movie theater quality snacks on hand to complete the evening.

10 of 17

Get a Room at a Karaoke Bar


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This way you can sing/scream to your heart's content, without having to embarrass yourself too much. We suggest picking one that serves bubbly for an unforgettable celebration.

11 of 17

Throw a Pool Party

pool party

Darling Down South

If you're lucky enough to be a summer baby or live somewhere that's warm year-round, give a pool party a go. Jump on the pool float trend for maximum coolness.

12 of 17

Hire a Private Chef


College Housewife

Want a fine dining–style meal without having to leave your home? A private chef will cook your favorite dish (for one, two, or even 10).

13 of 17

Have Your Own TV Marathon

binge watch tv

Sugar & Cloth


It's all about what you want to watch, completely guilt-free. To make it extra special, have popcorn, candy, and ice cream on hand.

14 of 17

Whip Yourself up a Cocktail


 Marianna Massey/Getty Images

Not the best bartender? Request a delivery from Cocktail Courier so all of the ingredients for your favorite beverage are already measured for you.

15 of 17

Indulge in a Slice of Cake

birthday cake

 JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Whether you pick it up from your favorite bakery or decide to make your own, this is a must on your special day. Oh, and don't forget to make a wish.

16 of 17

Have a Pajama Party

pajama party

 SolStock/Getty Images

Whether you're with friends, your partner, or even with your kids, there's something about chilling out in your coziest pj's that always makes you feel good. Binge-watching your favorite shows is a must.

17 of 17

Go to a Show


bernardbodo/Getty Images

Splurge on tickets to a magic show, play, or concert (your pick) that you've been dying to see. If time permits, treat yourself to dinner before or after.

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