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11 Things to Do on Your 21st Birthday (That Aren’t Just Going to a Bar)


So you’re turning 21 soon, huh? Everyone’s probably asking you if you have any huge plans for the big day, but you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing yet. Unlike most of your other birthdays you’ve celebrated in the past, your 21st is pretty much a rite of passage into the adult world. This might put some added pressure on planning your big day, but have no fear! We compiled a list of fun things for you to do for your 21st (that aren’t just going to a bar or a club) that are guaranteed to make this your most memorable birthday yet.

For girls who drink

1. Go to a boozy brunch

Bottomless plates and mimosas? Yes, please! Brunch is one of the few times where drinking before noon isn’t frowned upon, so what better way could there be to kick off your birthday? Getting your buzz on in the a.m. while eating delicious breakfast food is how every birthday girl should start her day.

2. Paint wine glasses

Now that you’re 21 and can legally drink all the wine you want, you’re probably going to want some cute wine glasses. The easiest way to get the glasses to come out just like you’re picturing them in your head is to draw or print out the image you want to paint on your glass, stick the paper on the inside of the glass and trace it. Here’s a super easy DIY tutorial to follow if you want to paint your glasses, and a DIY tutorial to follow if you want to glitterize your glasses. They’re both easy peasy and can even be done by those of us who don’t have a crafty bone in our bodies.

3. Drink your way around the world (Disney World, that is)

When you went to Disney World as a kid, you probably had no idea it was a drinking hot spot, but it’s actually a great place to celebrate your 21st! In Epcot, you can get margaritas in Mexico, beer in Germany and sake in Japan, just to name a few. Drinks are also available in Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and almost all the hotels on site. Check out this full list of suggestions and prices. We suggest printing out a map of the park as well and planning your day ahead of time instead of just wandering around the park looking for bars and restaurants.

4. Host a wine and cheese tasting

When most people think of wine and cheese tastings, they picture a candlelit setup in a nice restaurant or a dinner party and lots of expensive wines and cheeses. Your 21st birthday wine and cheese night doesn’t have to be this formal! Grab some Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s, some cheese and crackers from the grocery store and a chick flick to pop in during the party for the best low-budget wine-and-cheese night.

5.  Take the classy route

If you and your friends are feeling all grown up and want to celebrate your 21st with class, go to a nice dinner at a local restaurant. Order fancy drinks, eat artistically presented small plates and enjoy the finer things in life like adults in the movies do. Don’t forget to order a nice bottle of champagne to share with the table and order something fancy for dessert, like crème brûlée. You and your friends will feel like you’re living in the lap of luxury.

6. Have a booze-infused potluck

Like most other 21-year-olds, you probably don’t have stacks of cash lying around your apartment. If that’s the case for you, too, have a potluck-style party to celebrate your 21st. Instead of your guests each bringing a huge dish, see if they would be willing to bring a slightly smaller dish along with some alcohol. The alcohol doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, and the food doesn’t have to be anything super intricate. As long as there ends up being enough for everyone, you’re all set.

For girls who don’t drink

7. Do a 21 selfies challenge

Before you go out for the night, have your friends write down 21 funny selfie ideas that you have to complete before the night is over. You could try anything: a selfie while a stranger is giving you a piggyback ride, a selfie wearing a random person’s shirt or a selfie of you dancing on top of a table.

8. Do 21 dares

Have your friends each contribute a few things to a list of dares that all include the number 21 for you to complete on your 21st birthday. Things like getting 21 phone numbers from strangers, leaving a $21 tip at a restaurant and going to 21 different locations in one night are all great possible dares for your list. If you need help thinking of ideas, take a look at some classic dares to put the 21 twist on.

9. Go on a road trip

Many car rental companies like Avis, Enterprise and Hertz have changed their minimum age requirement for renting from 25 to 21. This means that you can finally rent a car under your own name and go wherever your heart desires. Go 10 miles, go 100 miles, go wherever you and your friends want! Pack some yummy snacks, make a killer playlist and hit the road to explore your nearby towns.

10. Have a mocktail hour

If you and your friends aren’t into the whole drinking scene, having a mocktail hour is a fun way to stay in the spirit of celebrating. Look up somerecipes for mocktails, and don’t forget about the food! Pigs in a blanket, spinach puffs, cheese and crackers and quiche are some cocktail-hour classics that you can easily buy at the local supermarket.

11. Donate to charity

Instead of your friends taking you out for drinks or dinner, ask them to donate the money they would have spent that night to a charity of your choice. Donating money to charity a great alternative way to honor your 21st if you don’t plan on going out and spending a lot. Asking your friends to donate $21 is a fun way to tie in your birthday with the cause. If not money, you can ask your friends to get you a small gift from a company that gives back to charity with each purchase.

When planning your 21st birthday celebration, the number of options out there might seem a bit overwhelming, but these are a great start! No matter what you do on your big day, just remember to be smart and drink responsibly.

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