35 Exciting 21st Birthday Party Ideas and Decorations

Turning 21 is one of the exciting milestones everybody can’t wait to reach. Spend your day with friends and family doing exciting activities and having fun! Here is a list of 21st birthday party ideas to help make your special day a memorable one!

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Themes

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Themes
Source: Unsplash

1. Costume Party

Costume parties are extremely easy. You make it a themed party or you can make it a classic costume party and your guests can get as creative as they want with their costumes. Whether it’s themed or classic, you are bound to have an exciting and memorable party!

2. Masquerade 

Add a little mystery to your 21st birthday by having all your guests wear masquerade masks*. This is an easy theme to get creative with. Have the guests dress formally or even host a murder mystery game. If you want a fun DIY activity for your guests, buy some decoratable* masks your guests can decorate their own masks with sharpies and rhinestones. 

3. The Roaring 20’s 

Go back to the 1920s for your 21st birthday! Throw a huge party incorporated with your favorite Gatsby elements or turn your home into a speakeasy and have your guests come dressed in 1920s party attire*. Now that you can buy alcohol yourself, you can turn your party into one worthy of The Great Gatsby. 

4. Mardi Gras

Take a page from New Orleans’ book and throw a Mardi Gras*-inspired party for your birthday. Serve up some delicious Cajun food and set up a daiquiri or margarita bar. Don’t forget to decorate your party space with a bunch of colorful beads and streamers!

5. Favorite Color

What’s your favorite color? For this party theme, you can base everything on your favorite color. Find some fun DIY or decor activities you and your guests can do that feature the color you chose and choose some party food, drinks, and a cake that match your color theme as well. 

6. Beers, Cheers, and 21 years

Celebrate your 21st birthday with a beer-themed party! Hold it at home with a beer-tasting or head out to a bar to introduce the birthday boy or girl to some new brews. You can even pair the party with a backyard barbeque theme. 

7. Vegas

If you can’t go to Las Vegas, bring Las Vegas to you. Set up a minibar with all your favorite alcoholic drinks, some classic casino games* such as Blackjack and Poker, and a buffet full of casino food. If you want to go all out, you can even roll out a red carpet* and have a friend or family member act as a bouncer.

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Activities for Girls

8. Spa Day

Need a great 21st birthday party idea for girls? Taking a trip to the spa is the perfect way to start your birthday. Lay back and relax with your besties and a drink in your hand. Line up a bunch of your favorite services such as the steam room, facials, or a mud bath. 

9. Go on a Day Cruise

Book a day cruise or a booze cruise and spend your special day on the water, drinking, listening to music, and enjoying the ocean view. If there aren’t any in your area, you can always do your own! Round up your friends and head out to the nearest body of water with a rental boat and a cooler full of drinks!

10. Paint n’ Sip Party

Not a good painter? No worries! All you need to be good at for this activity is drinking wine. The paint-and-sip instructors guide the class through the process of creating the painting while you and your friends can sip your wine and follow along. It’s a great activity to do with your friends, plus you get a keepsake!

11. Hotel Retreat

Want a simple party with your friends but still want to go out? Stay overnight at a hotel with a bunch of your close friends. Watch movies, hit the pool, order room service, the possibilities are endless. You can even go on a shopping spree at the mall if you want to get out for a little while. 

12. Have a Girl’s Night

You’re never too old to hang out with your girlfriends! Plan a girl’s night for you and your besties on your 21st birthday. You can hang out at home or go out on the town. You can even turn your party into a sleepover when the night is over!

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Activities for Guys

13. Roadtrip

Is there a destination that you have always wanted to go to? Make some memories by taking a road trip with your friends for your 21st birthday. You can go anywhere near or far with the ones closest to you. A couple of popular road trip destinations are Vegas, Miami, and Nashville. 

14. Attend a Bartending Class

Now that you’re 21, why not try out a mixology class. Have your friends tag along as well, as long as they’re of legal age. You and your friends are sure to be the hit of any party with your newly acquired knowledge. 

15. Go Camping

If you love being in the great outdoors, this is the activity for you! Grab your friends and spend a night or two out in nature, or if you don’t want to drive, pitch a tent* in your own backyard.

16. Go on a Hike

If you’re adventurous why not take a hike on your favorite hiking trail to begin your birthday! Grab some friends and spend a couple hours getting some fresh air and Vitamin D. 

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Gender Neutral Activities

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Gender Neutral Activities
Source: Unsplash

17. Go Bar or Club Hopping 

This is the classic 21st birthday activity. Check out some of the nightlife in your area to find a bar or club you like. Then grab a bunch of your friends and go out and have some fun. Make sure you pace yourself when drinking though. Have a glass of water for each drink you have and assign someone as a designated driver. 

18. Casino Night

Head out to Vegas or a local casino and play a few rounds of 21 in honor of your 21st birthday! Take it easy if this is your first time gambling, but who knows, by the end of the night, you might be walking away with some serious cash. 

19. Go to the Beach 

Lay in the sun or rent a boat and take to the water, the beach is a fun place to go for your birthday if the weather is right. You can also bring some s’mores supplies and jello shots and have a beach bonfire at night. Good luck keeping sand off all your gifts though!

20. Go to a Concert

Look ahead of time to see if one of your favorite bands will be in town for your birthday. You and your friends can buy tickets and go hang out and listen to your favorite music. You can even hit up a local bar afterward. It is a great way to go out and have some fun with your friends. 

21. Birthday Brunch

Have a nice brunch and a mimosa to start your 21st birthday! Reserve a table at your favorite cafe or restaurant and invite your friends and family to help you celebrate your special day! You can even send out custom cocktail-inspired invitations to spread the word. 

22. Birthday Bonfire

Head out to your backyard with some logs, blankets, and s’mores supplies for a birthday bonfire*. Roast some hot dogs, make some s’mores, and take a walk down memory lane with all your friends while you huddle around the fire. This can be a sober activity but if you want to add the drinking element, grab some beers or your other favorite alcoholic drinks for you and your friends.

23. Have a Birthday Dinner

Invite your friends and family to your favorite restaurant or stay in with your favorite homemade meal for your birthday. If you go out, now you can even say yes to the wine the waiter is likely to offer. Plus, you might get a free birthday dessert. 

 24. Go to an Escape Room

If you love a good mystery, why not try out an escape room? You can find a local escape room in your area or you can even buy an escape room game* and play it with your friends at home!

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Social Distancing

25. Drive-by Birthday Parade

Surprise the birthday boy or girl with a drive-by birthday parade! Decorate your car with birthday banners* and blast happy birthday as you pass by their house. It’ll give your friend or family member a chance to see everybody even if it is from afar. If you have a big yard you can even have the procession park on the side of the road and serve up some cake and open presents

26. Zoom call

If everybody can’t get together for your birthday host a Zoom call! It will give the birthday boy or girl a chance to see and talk with everyone even if it is not in person.

27. Outdoor Movie Night

Grab a blanket or lawn chair and borrow or find a good projector* and play a movie on your garage or the side of your house. You can even set up a couple more lawn chairs 6 feet apart and invite your friends to come join you! 

28. Virtual Game Night

Connect with your friends to play your favorite games online! You can even have a video chat going so you can chat with each other as the game goes on. You can find an app or website for almost any game from Scrabble to Cards Against Humanity. 

29. Dessert Delivery 

Surprise the birthday boy or girl with a cake or another favorite dessert delivered right to their front door! You can bring one yourself or use a delivery service such as DoorDash or GrubHub. 

30. Potluck Drop-off

Give the birthday boy or girl their favorite foods for their birthday! Assign everyone a different item to bring such as sides, appetizers, entrees, wine, cocktails, and a dessert or two. 

31. Visit a Drive-in Theater

If you can’t catch a movie in a theater due to social distancing, try out a drive-in theater in your area! Invite your friends to come along and you can park side by side. 

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Decorations

21st Birthday Party Ideas: Decorations
Source: Pixabay

32. Photo Booth 

Don’t forget to document your birthday with pictures! Set up a photo booth with a backdrop* and some props* so you can take memorable photos with your friends. 

33. Alcohol Cake

Get creative by stacking that alcohol on a 3-tier cake stand* and topping it off with a little birthday cake topper. Use as many different drinks as you can so everyone can get their drink on with one of the choices on the tower.

34. Alcohol Bouquet

This decoration can double as a birthday gift for the newly legal birthday boy or girl. Fill a basket with some mini bottles of their favorite alcoholic drinks and set it out somewhere. 

35. Jello Shot Tower

A jello shot tower is super easy! All you have to do is fill molds of your choice with the jello shot mixture, let them set in the fridge, and put them on the tower when they are done! Jello shots are extremely easy to make and are always a crowd-pleaser!


Whether you are staying in or going out for your birthday, you are sure to have the time of your life with these 21st birthday party ideas! Make memories with your friends and family, and don’t forget to document your special day with pictures! Be sure to check out our budget sheet for adult birthday parties to help you stay on track when planning!

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Written by Kristen Alley; Contributor: Lauren Bolt and Tianna Hall

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