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51 Genius 21st Birthday Ideas That Will Make Your Day Unforgettable

Since it can be difficult to think of new ways to celebrate a birthday, we made a list of genius 21st birthday ideas that will make your birthday unforgettable.



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Your 21st birthday is one that you look forward to for years. Once the day starts approaching, it is time to plan. You will want to start brainstorming 21st birthday ideas that will make your day stand out. 

However, it can be difficult to think of new and unique ways for your birthday to be one to remember, which is why we have created this list of best 21st birthday ideas that will make your birthday unforgettable.

Table of Contents:

Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday


1. Create a 21st Birthday Must-Do List

There will be so many activities you are going to want to do for and on this special birthday. So why not write them down?

Make a list of the top ten or so ideas you have and activities you want to complete and give copies to everyone.

This way, everyone knows what you want to do and can work to complete them. They can be simple activities or really complicated ones. Who cares what they are?

It’s your birthday! You can even make it that your birthday is not over until every item on the list is completed.

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2. Have a Treat-Yourself Self-Care Day

This 21st birthday idea is all about you. Your birthday should focus on you, and what better way to do that than to have a self-care day? Do whatever you want to do.

Go get your hair and nails done, or do a little bit of shopping, maybe for some birthday presents for yourself. Just take some time for yourself and what you want to do.

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3. Send out Fun Invites or Announcements

This is your day and if you want to create some fun invitations or announcements to send out, go for it. Create a photo collage, a fun design, a mix of the two, or any other idea you would like.

Put all the information your guests will need to know about your birthday, or announce the fact that you are turning 21. Make it fun, and make people aware of your special day!

Do it yourself:

Self-Care Planner

4. Pass out Disposable Cameras

Throw it back to the pre-smartphone era with disposable film cameras. Have them available for guests to use throughout the night.

Give them no direction, and have them take photos of whatever they want.

You can develop the film after your birthday and go through the photos to see what your guests have captured. You will have tons of photos capturing candid moments of your special day.

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5. Set Up an Alcohol Tasting

This 21st birthday idea can be done in a couple of different ways. You can set up a wine tasting, or to go to a brewery to try different beers. You can also have people bring different alcohols for you to try.

Have everyone bring their favorite, weird, least favorite, or any other type of alcohol and line them up for you to try. You can describe it, rate it and rank all of them. Bring the tasting to you.

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6. Play Drinking Card games

Nowadays, there are many different card games for any scenario. Find a game that you think the group will enjoy and if it does not have a drinking element, add one to it.

This is a great 21st birthday idea for people who love a good game night.

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7. Set Up a Mimosa Bar

Mimosas are a staple of brunch. So, why not start off your birthday celebrations with a brunch table, complete with a mimosa bar? Set up different juices, champagne, fruits, and more.

Sip on your mimosas, have some delicious breakfast and enjoy your day.

8. Have an Amazing Playlist

A party is not complete without a playlist, and your 21st birthday will need a perfect playlist. It can have whatever songs or tracks you think would make the party even better.

It can be your favorite songs right now, favorites from over the years, songs from when you were growing up, or just fun party songs in general. Whatever it is, a good playlist is what will complete your 21st birthday celebration.

9. Recreate Your favorite Childhood Drinks with Alcohol

We all have our favorite drinks from our childhood. It may be a juice, pop, or a mocktail our parents would order for us at a restaurant.

Whatever it might be, now it is time to change up those drinks. Find the best way to enjoy your favorite childhood drinks with some sort of alcohol. You can be a child and an adult at the same time.

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10. Jell-O Injection Syringes

This 21st birthday idea is a fun take on the Jell-O injection.

Take some empty syringes that you would use for medicine and fill them with Jell-O, and have them on display for your guests. It will be the perfect fun treat for everyone to enjoy.

Do it yourself:

RELATED: 60 Incredible 22nd Birthday Ideas for the Most Special Day Ever 

11. Have At Least One Birthday Cake-Themed Drink

This one should be a no-brainer. A birthday party would not be complete without cake, and since you are having an alcohol cake, this drink can take the place of an actual cake.

It could be a birthday cake drink, a martini or any other concoction. Whatever it is, make sure to complete it with sprinkles on the rim.

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12. Spend the Weekend With Quarantine Buddies

Why not go away for the weekend? Leave town with a few of your closest friends with whom you have been quarantining and relax for the weekend.

It does not have to be anything too extravagant, but take some time for yourselves. Just stay somewhere new and enjoy turning 21.

13. Have a Scavenger Hunt

This 21st birthday idea can go one of two ways: you can either have someone plan a scavenger hunt for you, or you can plan the scavenger hunt.

It can be themed however you want it to be. It can be inside or outside, easy or hard. You can even include some prizes for whoever wins.

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14. Have a Nice Dinner Out with Friends

You can keep it simple with this 21st birthday idea. Instead of having a big party at your house or some other place, you can just have a nice dinner out.

Reserve a table at a nice restaurant for you and your closest friends and family for dinner. Just enjoy being around the closest people in your life and eat some good food. Order yourself a few drinks, and enjoy the night.

15. Have Personalized Drinks

It is your day, so why not have your own drink? Have a drink that everyone who is celebrating your 21st birthday with you can try.

It can be some sort of cocktail concoction, you thought up or just a certain bottle of wine or brand of beer. Whatever it is, give it a fun name and put it on display.

Also, capture the moment when your whole crew is trying it. It will make for a great picture to post on social media or to hang up in memory of the day.

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16. Have 21 different foods

Change up the typical options of chips & dip and the veggie fry for this unique idea. Why not have 21 different foods as the buffet?

It can be your favorite foods right now or your favorite foods from over the years. 

Maybe you can have a food that was popular each year since you were born, or foods that fit in with the party’s theme. You can even put a fun label in front of each food item.

17. Have a Karaoke Machine

Who doesn’t love a bit of karaoke? This is a great activity idea for everyone at your 21st to do together and laugh.

You can sing your favorite songs together, or take turns singing solo or in groups and vote on the best. A classic and simple activity, karaoke is sure to create lots of memories.

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18. Have an Alcohol Cake 

After 20 years of having a normal cake for your birthday, it can get boring, so why not have an alcohol cake instead?

You can build it yourself, or have your guests bring some form of alcohol to contribute to the cake. You can provide the base, but then the rest can come from your guests.

Everyone gets a piece of the cake after singing happy birthday. But you get first dibs of course.

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Birthday Party Themes


19. Have a Paint and Sip party

These kinds of parties have been on the rise over the past few years and can be a great idea for your 21st birthday. This party idea has you and some friends get together, drink wine and paint together. 

You could follow some sort of tutorial, or you could just paint what you want. So if you are an artsy, creative kind of person, this may be the perfect, chill way to celebrate your birthday. You can post on social media in memory of the day. 

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20. Make it a Themed Party

You never go wrong with a theme. It can be simple or extravagant; it can be a play on words or may be based on your favorite TV show or movie.

You can have everyone dress according to the theme, have drinks and decorations based on the theme, and maybe even come up with games around the theme. Whatever it is, it should be something that represents you, because it is your day.

Do it yourself:

RELATED: 50 Wonderful 18th Birthday Ideas For The Most Special Day Ever

21. Keep it Relaxed and Have a Pajama Party

Getting all dressed up and having a fancy party is fun, but it is nice to keep it chill once in a while. So why not have your 21st birthday be just that, and make it a pajama party? Have everyone show up in their pajamas and just chill out.

Drink a bit and watch some movies, play some games, sing some karaoke; you can even make a blanket fort. Ring in 21 the right way, in some comfy pajamas.

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22. Birthday Bonfire

If you have a summer birthday or live somewhere where the weather is always nice, then this is a great theme idea for your birthday. You can even turn it into an overall camp feel.

Everyone comes in clothes they would wear when camping and brings campfire foods.

You can roast marshmallows and make smores. End the night with having some drinks around the fire and maybe sing a few campfire songs. 

Do it yourself:

Nostalgia Indoor Electric Stainless Steel S'mores Maker

Who doesn’t love a good s’more? What if you could easily make them in your house? With this indoor s’mores maker she can. It has an electric flameless heater and compartments for all of your ingredients and roasting sticks.

The teenage girl in your life will love this gift. She can have her friends over to make some s’mores and bring the campfire inside.


23. Trip around the world

I absolutely love traveling and want to do more traveling, so this would be a theme I would absolutely do. You can have the top drinks and foods from the different countries.

You could even have every guest represent a different country and be responsible for bringing that drink and food.

You could even have passports they can have stamped when they have the drink from each country. Make it a fun experience of traveling the world in one night. 

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24. Year/decade of your birth

Who does not love a good throwback theme? Make everything themed around either the year or decade you were born. Dress like how people dressed then, play the music that was popular, eat foods that were popular etc.

Have fun with it. You were too young to fully experience that time, so why not do so now?

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25. 21 of Your Favorite Things

This theme can be interpreted in many different ways.

You could have everyone bring one of your favorite things, you could have everyone come dressed as one of your favorite things, you could even incorporate 21 of your favorite things throughout the party. It is open-ended and the possibilities are endless. 

26. Black Tie/Formal Party

Why not use your birthday as the time to force all your friends and family to dress in their fanciest attire?

You can wear your nicest outfits, all your friends and family wear formal dresses and suits and ties. You can even drink out of nice glasses and eat a nice dinner.

This can be at a hall or restaurant or you can have it at your house. Whatever you want, just use it as an excuse to dress up all nice and enjoy your birthday. 

27. 1920’s Gatsby Themed Party 

Throwback to the 1920’s 1920s with this 21st birthday theme. For this one, you will need some flapper dresses, old school suits, feather headbands, some jazz music, etc.

Make the 2020’s, the 1920’s for your birthday. You could even make people talk like they would in the 1920’s 1920s. If you are a fan of the Great Gatsby, then this is perfect for you. 

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28. Disney Theme

If you are like me and love Disney, then this is perfect for you.

You can pick a specific Disney movie and theme everything around that or you could have everyone represent a different movie, or just have elements of different Disney movies throughout the party.

You can dress as your favorite Disney character, have drinks inspired by the character, food, music, etc. Just have Disney everywhere. 

Do it yourself:

21st Birthday Party Accessories


29. Photo Props

There is no doubt that you’re going to take many photos during your birthday. Of course, you are going to have the normal selfies and group photos, but why not change up some of the photos with some fun props?

Include some fun signs, mustaches, glasses, funny slogans, and anything else you can think of! These fun props are the perfect way to change up your photos to remember your special day.

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30. Back in 2000 Sign

Who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia? This sign is the perfect decoration and conversation piece for your party. It includes different categories and what was going in those categories in the year 2000. 

For example, it lists what styles were popular, what movies were in theaters, what TV shows were on and what the popular slang words were. 

This sign provides a little taste of what life was like in the year you were born.

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31. Large Wine Bottle for People to Sign

This is a birthday you are going to want to remember. So why not have something that all your guests can sign to commemorate the day?

A giant wine bottle or some other alcohol bottle is a perfect 21st birthday idea, both in terms of theme, and for people to sign and write messages for you.

This can then become a decoration for your house or apartment, and you can read the messages whenever you want to revisit your special day.

32. Born in 2000 Vintage 21st Birthday Shirt

Having a fun outfit to wear for your birthday is a must. This shirt is just what you need to complete your 21st birthday ensemble.

With “21 Years”, “Vintage, Made in 2000, A star was born” and “Limited Edition” on the front, this is a nice comfy shirt that you can rock the entire night.

Do it yourself:

Vintage 21st Birthday 2000 Limited Edition Born In 2000 Men T-Shirt

Having a fun outfit to wear for your birthday is a must. This shirt is just what you need to complete your 21st birthday ensemble.

With “21 Years”, “Vintage, Made in 2000, A star was born” and “Limited Edition” on the front, this is a nice comfy shirt that you can rock the entire night.


33. 21st Birthday Coozies

No one wants their drink to get warm because they are holding it, and no one wants their hand to get cold when they are holding a cold drink.

Having coozies available for your guest is the perfect solution to both problems. They can be bought for cans, bottles, or both, and can make a nice souvenir for guests or something you keep for yourself.

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34. Have a Giant Sign

Make it known that it is your birthday. Giant yard signs have become a must-have idea for birthdays, and yours should be no different.

Get a 21st birthday sign and place it in your yard so everyone who drives by knows it is your birthday. Maybe you will get some honks or some cheers. It is cheesy, but a great 21st birthday idea!

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34. Have Your Own Unique Cup

This is a must for any 21st birthday. You need to have a special cup that is just yours for the entirety of your birthday.

It can just have the number 21 on it, a comedic quote about being 21, maybe it is just a fun color or pattern. It just needs to be different from everyone else’s because it is your day.

35. Photo Backdrop

Once again, photos are going to be a must at your 21st birthday, so a fun background will be critical. Change up the plain white wall background with some banners, balloons, and signs, or even a full-blown banner if you want to go all out.

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36. “21” shaped confetti

When the clock strikes midnight on your birthday, you have to celebrate. So why not have some confetti in the shape of 21 to toss in the air at midnight? Kick off your birthday with a celebration right away.

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38. Get Yourself a Crown and Sash

You need to stand out on your 21st birthday, and a crown and sash is the perfect way to do so.

Wear the crown and sash proudly, and rock it from the time the clock strikes midnight on your birthday until the clock strikes midnight on the next day.

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39. Create Glitter Alcohol Bottles for Decoration

This fun decoration is a perfect idea for your 21st birthday. Take any alcohol bottles and cover them in glitter. Place them around the party area to add some glitter to the environment. Then keep them after the party to remember the fun night.

40. Birthday Tattoos

Who does not love a temporary tattoo? These are the perfect addition to your 21st birthday outfit. Add a few gold tattoos to make yourself stand out and you can even have some for people to put on as they get to the party.

They can say fun things like “birthday squad” on them, so everyone knows they are part of your party. 

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RELATED: 40 Amazing 20th Birthday Ideas For The Most Special Day Ever

21st Birthday Gift Ideas

41. Recovery Kit Baskets

Turning 21 means you can now legally drink! This means you and your guests will most likely be drinking for your birthday. However, the next day will definitely include headaches for you all, which is never fun.

So get ahead of the game and provide everyone with a kit full of post-celebration necessities. Include some pain meds, a toothbrush, mouthwash, some snacks, and anything else they might need. They will appreciate it.

42. Custom wine and/or drink labels

Change up the bottles of all the alcohol you will be consuming on your birthday with this fun 21st birthday idea. You can create your own customized labels that you can put on all the alcohol bottles at your birthday party.

It can be your face, a collage of pictures, a phrase, or whatever else you want. Why have boring labels, when you can create your own? The labels and bottles also make great favors for your guests.

43.  Legal Drinking Glass

This is probably one of the best gifts I received when I turned 21.  It was the first glass I used to drink an “alcoholic” drink. I still have it with me and keep it as a souvenir. It brings back awesome memories. Your friends will absolutely LOVE it. 

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44. Drinking Card Games

This is a great 21st birthday gift idea for people who love a good game night. There are so many good drinking games out there, but I personally recommend “do or drink.” It is HILARIOUS.  

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45. Electric Wine Opener Set

This gift is great for the friend who loves wine, especially if they struggle opening wine bottles. This has everything they need. It has a corkscrew opener, foil cutter, wine pourer and vacuum stopper.

Everything needed to enjoy a glass of wine and keep it fresh. You do not want to start 21 with letting your wine go bad, that is for sure.

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46. Custom Canvas of you and your best friend 

I think this idea is just so cute and would absolutely love one of these of me and my best friend. It is a canvas painting of you and your best friend holding glasses of wine with a fun phrase along the top.

You can get a phrase that represents your friendship. This is a great gift that is different from other typical 21st birthday gifts and it is heartfelt and personal. Making it a perfect gift.

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47. When life gets complicated I Wine Coloring Book

This 21st birthday gift idea is perfect for your friend who just needs to relax sometimes. They can relax after a stressful day with a glass of wine and coloring in the coloring book of wine.

They can relax and maybe whine a bit while they drink wine and color away all the stress of the day.

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48. Birthday Gift set

This gift idea is similar to the hangover kits, except this one can be used when they are hungover or if they just want to relax. It has a bath fizzler, lotion, hairbrush, manicure set, cosmetic bag, candle and lip balm. 

Everything they will need to unwind. This is perfect for recovering from a birthday hangover or just a stressful week.

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49. Vintage Candy 21st Birthday Box

A birthday is always a good time to have some nostalgic moments. This is why this 21st birthday box of vintage candy is the perfect gift for someone who wants to get a bit nostalgic as they turn 21.

They can relive some childhood memories while they enjoy their drinks as they enter a new phase of life. Plus they have snacks for when they get hungry later. 

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50. Might be Water, Might be Vodka Tumbler 

This clever tumbler is perfect for anyone turning 21. They can use it for alcohol or whatever they want to drink out of the tumbler.

However, whenever they use it, people may question what is actually in it, but that adds to the fun of the gift. Another simple and fun gift for someone turning 21. 

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RELATED: 10 Fun Ideas for Dating in College

51. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

When you turn 21, you need to learn how to make all your new favorite drinks. This book has many cocktail recipes paired with some literary classics.

So you can find a drink based on your favorite book, or just some fun new cocktails to try. Either way, you have a book full of new drink recipes. 

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Final Thoughts on 21st Birthday Ideas

These are just a few ideas and ways to make your 21st birthday special and unforgettable. Whatever you choose to do for your birthday should be what makes sense for you.

That may be having a huge party, or that may be having a chill dinner or night in. It is your day, and you should do whatever you want.

Hopefully, this list of 21st birthday ideas helps lead you in the right direction. It is your birthday, and you deserve to have it be unforgettable.




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