21st Birthday Ideas That Will Create An Unforgettable Day

The Ultimate Guide to 21st Birthday Ideas That Will Create An Unforgettable Day

When Amanda Foster turned 21, she was hoping that her friends and family would throw her a huge bash that would ring in (real) adulthood with a bang. By the end of the night, she was quietly sipping a cocktail with one of her closest friends at a neighborhood bar, wishing she could go back in time and simply plan her own party. This one was a total bust.

“It was extremely lame,” Foster said of the gathering. “I remember parties I had at the roller rink as a kid that were more memorable and exciting. It was pretty silly, I guess, but I spent most of the next day just sorta pouting in my room.”

Foster probably isn’t the first or the last person to put so much emphasis on her 21st birthday that she wound up disappointed with the actual night. While we could all use a lesson about keeping our expectations reasonable, this cautionary tale is also a warning to anyone who has a friend or loved who is about to cross this birthday milestone: Don’t let them down!

To help make sure that your friend doesn’t wind up feeling a mixture of regret and sadness on his or her birthday, we’ve complied some of the best birthday ideas we could gather from friends, experts, and the sweet collection of personalized gifts we have on hand. If you want to give your friend (or child) the best 21st birthday they could possibly ask for, read on for our finest suggestions.

Finally 21 Shot Glass

Let’s face it – for most people, the day they turn 21 is special for one big reason above all others: It’s the day they are finally allowed to buy booze! Why shy away from this obvious truth? Lean into it with these Finally 21 Shot Glasses. These 3 ¾” glasses are made with durable, high-quality glass and they are completely customizable with the birthday boy’s (or girl’s) name and the date. These glasses don’t just make for great gifts, they are also perfect for the party itself. Throw a bunch of these into your virtual cart, and you’ll be well on your way to a terrific and memorable celebration.

Celebration Idea: Road Trip

Say, who ever said that a great 21st birthday party has to take place around the corner? If you want to put the party equivalent of nitrous into your plans, why not get packed and head out on the open road. Destinations? Why not hit up the Las Vegas strip? Did anyone ever have a bad time in Vegas?? Wait, don’t answer that. In any case, whether you strike it rich at the casinos or go bust on the first night, it’s sure to be a trip to remember. Well, unless you’re those guys from “The Hangover.”

Colorful Birthday Party Invitations

Throwing a great 21st birthday party doesn’t begin with decorating the event hall – it begins with inviting your friends and family to the big bash. And since you’ll never get a chance to redo this special birthday, you should make sure that every part of your party is in place, set, and done in the best way possible. That starts with the invitations themselves, and you’ll have a hard time finding better ones than these. Grab a bunch of these Colorful Birthday Party Invitations, and you’ll set the tone for a celebration that will be every bit as memorable as you are.

Celebration Idea: 21st Birthday Brunch

You know what’s better than breakfast and lunch? Combining the two into one wonderful meal! What better time to gather your favorite people for a brunch than on this special once-in-a-lifetime birthday? No one wants to wait until the evening to finally celebrate the big day, so why not get things started early with a delicious meal at one of your favorite restaurants? This is also a great way to get in touch with anyone who won’t be able to make it to the main nighttime event.

Welcome to the Birthday Party Sign – Clear Acrylic

A great party depends on one thing above all other: Theming. You want your guests to know, from the moment they walk in the door (or into the backyard) that they are here for a very special reason. You can accomplish that feat in style with this Welcome to the Birthday Party Sign. Designed out of clear acrylic, this customizable sign is available in (wait for it…) 21 stunning color options to ensure that it fits with any theme you’re going for. An absolutely beautiful party introduction and one of the best 21st birthday ideas you can imagine to make your event a success.

Celebration Idea: Birthday Cruise

Granted, if you’re celebrating your 21st birthday in the difficult year of 2020, you may find it impossible (or, at the very least, unwise) to go on a cruise to celebrate. But eventually things are going to get back to normal and we’ll actually be able to be AROUND each other again without worrying about taking home something a lot less pleasant than birthday presents. When that day comes, a birthday cruise is a great way to celebrate your 21st. Certainly, if you’re determined to do some drinking, a cruise will have all the party juice you need.

Honk! Birthday Banner

Speaking of the pandemic (and yeah, we know, you’ve heard more than enough about it for the last eight months), what is to become of your big birthday celebration if you don’t feel comfortable inviting a bunch of people to your party? Whether you’re at home in quarantine or simply don’t love the idea of a huge party with everyone you know, you can always get creative. With that in mind, let’s look at this Honk! Birthday Banner. Put this out front, and everyone who passes your house will be able to share their birthday greetings with you from the comfort and safety of their own car. It may not be the ideal way to celebrate your 21st birthday…but then again, if you’re ambivalent about big parties, maybe it is!

Celebration Idea: A Hotel Stay

Even if you’re not up for traveling on your 21st birthday, you can bring the fun of vacation home to your local area by renting a hotel room with a few of your closest friends. There’s something fun about getting out of the house, handing the chores over to the maid staff, and putting yourself in an all-new environment…even if you don’t leave town once!

Happy Birthday Lighter

Seeing as how your 21st birthday acts as a kind of demarcation line between childhood and the wide, liberating world of adulthood, the gifts we like best tend to circle around this truth. While alcohol-themed gifts are expected (and terrific), you can also come at it from a slightly different angle. That’s the idea behind this personalized Happy Birthday Lighter – a Zippo-style flip lighter that will have your birthday boy smoking in style. These lighters are affordable and high-quality enough that they also work well as party favors for your guests!

Celebration Idea: A Lovely Birthday Dinner

Order in! Go out on the town! Or get in the kitchen and whip up a fantastic meal for your friends and family. If you’re not in the mood to go out and get plastered on your 21st birthday, a nice birthday dinner could be the best alternative. The great thing about a dinner is that it brings the temperature down to a low simmer (as opposed to the nuke-level hotness generated by clubbing). If you’re the type of person who prefers a low-key affair to a drunken-jungle approach to gatherings, a birthday dinner may be just the ticket.

Let’s Talk About Drinkware!

Simple Monogrammed Beer Mug

Legal to drink means you’re legal to drink…with class. 21-year-olds are just starting out in life, and only a few of the luckiest ones will have their own home to outfit as they like. That said, living in modest accommodations is no excuse for drinking beer out of a Solo cup! That may fly at a party, but a beer connoisseur needs a high-quality glass. That’s why we’re recommending this Simple Monogrammed Beer Mug. If this is the only piece of alcohol-appropriate drinkware in your kitchen, you’re already ahead of the game. If you’re looking for the perfect present for the beer-loving 21-year-old in your life, this is a birthday idea we can’t endorse strongly enough.

Monogrammed in Shield Beer Glass

The stein mentioned above is hard to beat, but we might have just the gift to give it some competition: This Monogrammed in Shield Beer Glass is classy, elegant, and perfect for a rich, golden pilsner. Fully customizable, this curvy glass ensures that you get the most out of any pour. The “shield/monogram” design is the height of sophistication, and you can bet that the 21-year-old in your life will find a premium space for this beauty in his or her kitchen cabinet. Pair it with the mug for a dual gift that exceeds even the highest expectations!

Simple Custom Text Pint Glass

Okay, one more great beer glass and we’ll move on. It’s just that 21-year-olds are known for their affinity for the golden nectar, and it hurts our hearts to think of them reduced to drinking great craft beer from a plastic cup that smells like the dishwasher. Instead of leaving your birthday boy/girl to this lamentable fate, pick up this Simple Custom Text Pint Glass and deliver them from sad drinking habits. You can make the white etching on the front of the glass say anything you want, so make sure it’s a message they’ll enjoy reading every time they pour a pint of the good stuff.

Monogrammed Whiskey Glass Script Font

If the soon-to-be-21-year-old in your life is more interested in drinking something a little harder than beer, they will surely appreciate this Monogrammed Whiskey Glass in Script Font. As a matter of fact, this glass is so classy and cool that you could fill it to the brim with cherry Kool-Aid and it would still bring an air of refinement to the occasion. Just look at that monogrammed font and tell us that you wouldn’t like to have something like that in your home bar collection. You can’t. You can’t say it because it would be a lie.

Custom Name Wine Glass

Ben Franklin once said, “Wine makes daily life easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions, and more tolerance.” Who could disagree? The gift of wine is a great 21st birthday idea, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to pair a nice bottle with this Custom Name Wine Glass. We’re wrapping up our drinkware section with this high-quality glass because it’s such a wonderful present for the wine-loving girl or guy on your shopping list. Long-lasting, beautiful, and personalizable, this is the kind of gift they’ll remember – and use – for years.

Celebration Idea: A Concert

What could be better than celebrating your 21st birthday with your favorite band/artist? Your birthday might not entitle you to backstage passes, but it certainly gives you the right to have a smashing time. Drinks at concerts are usually priced just north of “ridiculous,” but if you can’t splurge on your birthday, when can you? Besides, if you bring along enough of your friends, there’s no reason why you should have to pay for a single drop.

Baby Photo on Wood

Okay. Bear with us for a moment, please. We know, we know, this is an unusual gift for a 21-year-old. But if you’re a parent struggling with the right present for your emerging adult, think about this sweet reminder of their more innocent years with a baby photo on wood. This is an adorable decoration for any home or apartment, and maybe the sight of it will keep your 21-year-old from going completely off the rails during his/her prime drinking years. Plus, it might put a little jolt of momentary fear into the heart of any dates they bring over, so that’s always fun!

Celebration Idea: Drinking Games

You’re legal now, so why not add a little extra fun to your newfound freedom by enjoying some drinking games with your friends on your 21st birthday? A list of fun drinking games would require a whole ‘nother article, but some of the fun ones include scavenger hunts and beer pong. If you’re just playing with a friend or two, you can turn on a TV show and make a drinking game out of that using your own custom rules. Or hey, if you’re willing to have a wild and daring night, strip poker is always a perennial favorite!

Happy Birthday Cake Topper w/ Custom Name

No birthday – 21st or otherwise – is truly complete until you have the perfect cake. And with this Happy Birthday Cake Topper, any cake can fit the bill. Whether you stick this bad boy into a Carvel ice cream cake or the fanciest cake you can find in the most exclusive gourmet deli in town, the custom name feature means you’ll have a birthday dessert to wow even the most cynical party attendee. Available in 11 great colors, 8 possible widths, and an unlimited choice of custom names!

Celebration Idea: A Designated Driver

With today’s variety of Ubers, Lyfts, and other commuting options, there’s simply no excuse for getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. And if you can’t afford a ride from one of these transportation apps, make sure that someone in your party is the designated driver. Your 21st birthday should be everything you can handle and more, but putting yourself and others in danger is a terrible idea no matter what the calendar might happen to say. Besides, parties are much more fun when you don’t have to worry about how you’re getting home.

Twenty Fun Birthday Shot Glass

We started this list off with a shot glass, so we thought it was only fitting that we end it the same way. Whether you are a fan of lemon drops, Jager bombs, kamikazes, or melon balls, they’ll be more fun to drink if you’re using this Twenty Fun Birthday Shot Glass. Customizable with both name and date, these are a terrific gift for both the birthday boy/girl and all of the party attendees. Get a whole slew of them, pass them out, and make sure no one can forget the night you finally turned 21!