While you may not be able to drink, an 18th birthday is a milestone event worth celebrating. Turning 18 is a rite of passage into adulthood, and you’ll want to celebrate by visiting new places, doing fun things, and having unique experiences.
Some girls will want to throw a big birthday party, enjoy a spa day, or go on a camping trip, while others may prefer to stay at home with their best friends and have a movie marathon or sleepover. With so many cool places to go and fun things to do, it can be a challenge choosing your favorite 18th birthday ideas for your special day.
To inspire you with fun activities, themes and decorations, here is a complete list of the best 18th birthday party ideas that will enhance your celebration. From cute and meaningful to creative and special, these amazing things to do on your birthday will make your event unforgettable!
- 1 Cool 18th Birthday Party Ideas
- 1.1 Mocktail Party
- 1.2 Go To The Club
- 1.3 Simple Birthday Party At Home
- 1.4 Camping Trip
- 1.5 Spa Day
- 1.6 Beach or Lake Party
- 1.7 Have A Fancy Dinner
- 1.8 Surprise Birthday Party
- 1.9 Get A Tattoo
- 1.10 Game Night
- 1.11 ‘90s Throwback Party
- 1.12 Take A Road Trip
- 1.13 Escape Room
- 1.14 Throw A Costume Party
- 1.15 Go To A Concert
- 1.16 Cool House Party
- 1.17 Watch An Outdoor Movie
- 1.18 Go Sightseeing
- 1.19 Take A Cooking Class
- 1.20 Swimming Party
- 1.21 Volunteer
- 1.22 ‘80s Throwback Party
- 1.23 Go On A Scavenger Hunt
- 1.24 ‘60s Throwback Party
- 1.25 Get Glamorous
- 1.26 Shopping Spree
- 1.27 Go To An Arcade
- 1.28 Plan A Ski Trip
- 1.29 Get Freebies
- 1.30 Potluck Dinner
- 1.31 Go To An Amusement Park
- 1.32 Paintball Party
- 1.33 Have A Photoshoot
- 1.34 Set Off Fireworks
- 1.35 Sports Party
- 1.36 Self-Care Day
Cool 18th Birthday Party Ideas
Host a mocktail party and learn how to make non-alcoholic drinks for your birthday. Just because you can’t drink alcohol for another three years doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Create popular classics like a Shirley Temple or Arnold Palmer, or design your own concoction using a mix of sodas and juices.
Go To The Club
Now that you’re 18, you can hit the club! While you have to stay away from the bar until you turn 21, celebrate being legal by hitting the floor with your friends and dancing the night away to your favorite music. If you’re searching for something more on the risque side, hit up a strip club and get a lap dance.
Simple Birthday Party At Home
For girls who want to chill with friends and family, you can plan a fun and simple birthday party at home. Whether you celebrate with an upscale dinner or invite friends over for a slumber party, your 18th birthday should be all about the things you love doing. Invite a small group and make it special with those closest to you or throw an outdoor party in your backyard with a mix of guys and girls. While there are a range of unique ideas and themes to consider, just make sure your day is filled with great memories, activities, and entertainment.
For the times you just want to get away, take your celebration outdoors and experience nature by going on a camping trip. It’s a cheap and different way to spend your special day. Pitch a tent, light a fire, sip on hot cocoa, roast marshmallows, and enjoy your birthday.
Officially being an adult can be stressful, so soothe away your cares with a day at the spa. Treat yourself with a hot stone massage, a hydrating cucumber facial, and a mani-pedi. For something more wallet-friendly, host a spa party at your home and do mud masks and your nails while watching your favorite movies with friends.
Beach or Lake Party
If your birthday is in the warmer months, consider a lake or beach party. Rent a boat for the day and hit the water. If you like fishing and eating seafood, cook up a fresh catch for your celebratory dinner. At night, light a bonfire and play music while you dance under the stars.
Have A Fancy Dinner
Nothing says “adult” like a fancy dinner, so hit up a nice restaurant where you can experience fine dining like a pro. For something more intimate, channel your inner Julia Child and create an elegant multi-course meal at home for you and your loved ones.
Surprise Birthday Party
Maybe you like surprises, and want your friends to come up with something unique. If you choose to hand the reins over to someone else, make sure they know your likes and dislikes. For example, a great surprise birthday gift might be tickets to a concert when your favorite artist is in town.
Get A Tattoo
When you turn 18, you can get your first tattoo! Pick a small and cute matching design for you and your best friend to commemorate the day. For something more intricate, contact an artist ahead of time and discuss design ideas to get cute ink. No matter what, make sure you choose something special and meaningful!
Have a fun house party by hosting a game night. Play classics like Truth or Dare, Spin the Bottle, Beer Pong, and Never Have I Ever with cans of soda. Bring out the board games for some childlike shenanigans. For food, try making your own from scratch instead of ordering pizza.
‘90s Throwback Party
You may not have been born in the ‘90s, but you can sure celebrate it with a ‘90s throwback party. Choose between a bubblegum pop or an underground grunge theme and decorate accordingly. Make sure you have a great playlist of top hits ranging from Britney Spears to Nirvana, and you’re all set.
Take A Road Trip
Hit the road and explore someplace new. Use a map to create a souvenir in the process and feel free to be adventurous. Buy and send postcards to your loved ones as you make stops. Be a tourist and hit all the popular destinations, but don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. For meals, get recommendations from the locals and stop by the best-kept secrets you can find.
Race against the clock as you unlock clues and solve puzzles in an escape room. If your town doesn’t have a professional escape room, you can create a party room at home. Come up with a unique story, intricate puzzles, and fun props for an unforgettable experience.
Throw A Costume Party
A costume party is perfect for girls who love to dress up! Come up with a theme or have everyone come as his/her favorite character regardless of the genre. For something formal and mysterious, have a masquerade party with everyone dressed in tuxedos and gowns.
Go To A Concert
Feel the music by going to see one of your favorite musicians. Scout tickets well ahead of time to make sure you get good seats. Take a road trip on the way to the concert’s location, and book a hotel room or Airbnb for a few days. Don’t forget to save some extra cash for souvenirs and merchandise.
Cool House Party
If you don’t want to go out or find clubs too crowded, have a house party at home. Get creative and show off your fun side with a costume party. For entertainment, have a movie marathon and play games. Once it’s dark, build a fire in your backyard, have a night swim, or enjoy a sleepover with your nearest and dearest friends.
Watch An Outdoor Movie
If you have a large backyard or know someone who does, have an outdoor movie marathon with your best friends. Set up a projector screen (or a tight sheet), get pizza and snacks, make popcorn, and play your favorite movies. Don’t forget to consider the weather. In the summer, watch a movie while lounging by the pool. If you have a fall or winter birthday, bundle up with blankets and sit next to a small fire to keep warm.
If you’ve never had the chance to explore your hometown, now is the chance to sight see. Research famous landmarks and map out your route, or just wing it! Choose a DIY tour on foot or hop on a tour bus for something more authentic. Once you’ve worn yourself out by seeing all you can see, make dinner reservations at a famous downtown hotspot and watch the sunset over the city.
Take A Cooking Class
If you love to cook (or don’t know how), take a cooking class for your birthday. Whether you enroll in a professional class or watch a YouTube tutorial at home, you and your friends will have fun eating your treats. For something truly unique, make your own birthday cake worthy of being featured on the Food Network.
A great way to beat the heat is to have a swimming party. Go to a local pool or get away with a beach or lakeside vacation. Make your day even more special by having a Luau-themed party with fruity mocktails. For the day’s meals, fire up the grill for hot dogs, hamburgers, and barbecue. You really can’t go wrong with a pool party for your birthday!
Get the most out of your birthday by giving back. Have a few friends tag along for an opportunity to spread the love. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter serving soup or delivering meals. Being an animal lover, volunteer at your local shelter. Try Habitat For Humanity to work with your hands and impact your community. For more ideas, visit VolunteerMatch.org to search by city, cause, or skill.
‘80s Throwback Party
If you want to go further back in time, set your sights on a ‘80s throwback party. Raid your parents’ closets for neon tops, acid wash jeans, leg warmers, and chunky jewelry. Spray your hair proud and high for the ultimate ‘80s look. To fit the upbeat them, decorate your place in bright colors and host a lighthearted aerobics class for you and your guests.
Go On A Scavenger Hunt
Another way to explore your town is to have a scavenger hunt. Create your own or have a friend do it for you, especially if you want your birthday party to be a surprise. Pack water and snacks for your journey and end the day at the club or a concert.
‘60s Throwback Party
Get into the groove by hosting a 60’s throwback party. For this celebration idea, you’ll want bright and boho costumes and decor. Put on a psychedelic outfit with bold colors for extra flair. When creating a playlist, you’ll want to blast timeless music from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. To preserve this moment in time, take pictures with a Polaroid and develop the film yourself.
The day is all about you, so you’ll want to look your best. Go to the salon to get your hair trimmed and styled. Check out the beauty counter at the mall to get your makeup done for free. Finally, polish your look off by getting your nails done. Your nail design should be sparkly and chic.
Celebrate your birthday with a shopping spree. Your 18th birthday is a chance to go all out, so visit your favorite stores and pick out stylish outfits to wear to dinner that night. For fashion-conscious teens on a budget, hit an outlet mall for some serious discounts. Buy a fresh outfit or two for the evening’s festivities, and make sure you have the shoes, purse, and jewelry to match.
Go To An Arcade
Entertain your inner child by having an arcade party. Find an arcade that caters to adults or has “adult-only” nights. Play some pinball, compete at air hockey, race against your friends, shoot hoops, and throw skee-balls. When you’re done, count up all your tickets and leave with a fun prize or two.
Plan A Ski Trip
Hit the slopes this year with a ski trip. If you’ve soaked up enough of the sun, bask in the glow of a winter wonderland. For skiing and snowboarding beginners, treat yourself to lessons. In the evening, cozy up in a cabin with a fire and hot apple cider.
Many stores and restaurants offer freebies for birthdays. To ensure you get the best bang for your buck, research destinations ahead of time and sign up for mailing lists or memberships the week before. Most restaurants offer a free drink, appetizer, or dessert, so hop around town until your stomach is full. A lot of clothing stores also offer coupons, so you may want to plan a shopping trip.
For a variety of foods, have your guests make homemade eats and treats for the ultimate potluck. For those with a sweet tooth, create a cake competition and see whose dessert creation comes out on top.
Go To An Amusement Park
Experience chills and thrills by going to an amusement park. Ride roller coasters to your heart’s content and pig out on fried foods and sweet treats. Make sure to take some fun snaps along the way!
If you’re into competition and love a challenge, there is nothing more perfect than a paintball party. It’s every person for themselves as you chase your friends and hit your targets. Your adrenaline will be pumping, so chill out with some pizza and refreshing drinks.
Have A Photoshoot
You’ll want to capture every second of your birthday for sure, but go the extra mile by having a professional photo shoot. Dress your best, get your hair done, and have props (like balloons) handy. When you’re done, you’ll have an album of Instagram-worthy shots ready to go. Don’t forget to smile!
Set Off Fireworks
Aside from going to the club, being 18 means you can buy fireworks. Head to a stand and stock up on sparklers, Roman candles, and bottle rockets. When you’re done, head out to the country for somewhere spacious and safe. Now would be the perfect opportunity to rent a cute, picturesque farmhouse for your celebration.
If you’re more of a team player, have a sports party. Whether you want to play soccer, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, or volleyball, you’ll be sure to have a great time with your friends. Go to the park or a local field to play your games. Follow up with stadium fares like nachos and hot dogs.
No matter what you do for your birthday, make sure it’s all about you. Do whatever it is that you love, and, if feeling up for company, invite a few friends to tag along. But you don’t have to indulge at a spa or go shopping to get the most out of your day. Try some guided meditation, journaling your thoughts, and cooking yourself a nice meal. Sit back, relax, and unwind so you’ll have plenty of time to prep your mind and body for the night ahead.