Turning a year older can be a little scary to some people (I hear you!), but birthdays are actually a reason to celebrate being a year wiser—and a reason to do just about anything we want for a whole 24-hours! So, instead of sulking under the covers at home for the entire day, get up and get out there to check something cool off your birthday bucket list.
Don’t know what to do? From brunch to bar hopping to bowling, there are plenty of cool places to go and fun things to do on your special day, even if you are planning it last minute!
Whether you are alone at home or with friends, here is my list of the best birthday activities to ensure you have the time of your life.
Birthday Bucket List: Best Places to Go & Fun Things to Do on Your Birthday
1. Attempt an Escape Room
If you want to test your one-year-older brain and how effectively you can work together with friends when met with an obstacle, go to an escape room. The idea is to solve puzzles and riddles in order to find your way out of a locked room in a limited amount of time. It may sound easy, but trust me it’s not! I’ve done a few and have yet to escape.
2. Bar Hop Until Morning
Visiting bars is a pretty typical birthday activity, but bar hopping until the wee hours of the morning adds a fun twist and allows you to enjoy every last second of your birthday.
You could mark out all the bars you want to visit on a map and then cross them off after you’ve visited, or you could take a photograph in each bar and then organize them chronologically into an album.
3. Become a Plant Parent
As your birthday marks a new chapter in your life, becoming a plant parent is the perfect way to commemorate this. You can purchase a plant in bud on your birthday and then watch it grow.
You will find yourself blooming with it as you grow as a person, and your new-found green thumb will encourage you to add to your plant collection throughout the year.
If you are like me and don’t have a green thumb, then check out the 25 easiest indoor plants that are almost impossible to kill. Not on the list, but I just got a peperomia that I haven’t killed yet!
4. Binge Watch Your Favorite Show/Movie Marathon
How about getting together with some friends or spending a night at home alone binge watching a fun TV series? Get some yummy snacks, comfortable jammies and spend time chilling on the couch. Just put on Netflix or Amazon Prime and stream one of your favorites or may try out a new one.
Schitt’s Creek, Friends and Upload are some of my favorite series, but if you are struggling to find a show, then the 33 of the best TV shows to binge-watch list will help you out.
5. Book a Luxurious Stay at a Boutique Hotel
You could make your birthday a multiple-day occasion by booking a luxurious stay at a boutique hotel. Boutique hotels are small hotels, so you won’t have to spend your birthday surrounded by crowds of people. Instead, they offer you an indulgent, but affordable, retreat from your everyday life.
If you’re up for have a travel adventure to a boutique hotel then definitely see the 18 best ones in the world list before making your decision!
6. Brunch (& Day Drinking) with Friends
I am typically not a breakfast gal, but I’ll make an exception for brunch. Nowadays going to brunch is very fashionable. And the truth is that there are a lot of very beautiful places where you can enjoy the food, the ambiance and maybe even bottomless mimosas!
7. Buy Yourself a Special Gift
You know yourself better than anyone, so a gift you give yourself will be bought with extra special thought behind it. Your birthday also gives you the excuse to buy something more extravagant that you’ve had your eye on.
8. Climb a Mountain
If you like a physical and mental challenge to prove you’re still as young as you were yesterday, then consider climbing to the top of a mountain. You can do climbs that last a few hours, or ones that are multi-day excursions.
9. Create a Masterpiece at a Sip & Paint
Wine (or cocktails) + painting a masterpiece = F U N! This Birthday Bucket List idea will have you heading to a local cafe, bar or winery to be treated to adult beverages along with a hands-on painting class where you will walk away with your piece of art. My husband and I still have our paintings!
10. Do a Birthday Photoshoot
If you want memories that will last forever in a physical form, then organizing a birthday photoshoot is a great idea. You can hire a professional photographer and have the pictures done alone or with friends. Birthday photographs typically include balloons and cake, but you can plan the shoot however you like.
11. Donate to a Charity or Volunteer
Like the old adage says, it’s better to give than to receive. Walking dogs at the shelter, reading to children at the library or spending an afternoon feeding families at the soup kitchen? Determine what’s close to your heart and then make a decision to make a difference today.
12. Eat Breakfast in Bed
Wake up before bright and early to organize your favorite breakfast! You can delegate someone to make you crunchy toast cut into heart shapes, buy fresh pastries, and brew coffee just the way you like it.
You can also ask for a glass with freshly squeezed juice (maybe with a side of champagne?) and have it all placed on a tray. Don’t forget to tell them to decorate the tray with pretty flowers!
13. Enjoy a Staycation
You’ve probably heard the vacation buzz word “staycation”, and while it might sound boring, it can be more fun than you think. Even if you have lived in your hometown since childhood, chances are there are areas you have haven’t yet explored.
Contact the local or state tourist board and get their latest brochures. Find a park, museum, historical site or other new thing to do that you’ve never been to (perhaps make a staycation bucket list?) .
14. Escape to the Beach
There’s something therapeutic about watching the waves roll up onto the sand as the water touches your feet. Don’t you agree? You can organize a little getaway for the day or a weekend to the nearest beachfront property.
Obviously, this is something you can do with friends, but I think it is just as rewarding to do it alone.
15. Gamble at a Casino
Gambling requires you to be willing to spend money, so your birthday is an ideal day to come out of your shell and do something daring. You can spend all night at a casino as long as you gamble safely and responsibly.
Perhaps your birthday will be your lucky day and you’ll win back more money than you spend. If not, at least you had some memorable entertainment!
16. Get a Piercing
If you’ve been considering getting a piercing for a while then your birthday is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to one! Most places won’t require you to have an appointment booked in advance, so it’s really easy to head down to your nearest piercer and get a piercing. The best part is that you will have a physical reminder of your birthday that year.
Looking for piercing ideas? Check out Glamour’s coolest ear piercings and Byrdie’s cool-girl ear piercings. If you want to venture beyond an ear piercing then see this list of types of body piercings for other creative ideas.
17. Get a Psychic Reading
If you are anything like me, the idea of seeing a psychic or getting tarot cards read for you has tempted you at one point of life. If you’ve found yourself nervous or skeptical of such a unique activity, perhaps going with your best friends could make it more enjoyable?
FYI: You could even learn to do your own tarot card reading at home with the Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook.
18. Get a Strike at the Bowling Alley
Let’s face it, bowling is a fun thing to do at almost every age, even when you only get gutter balls. But, it’s an especially fun thing to do on a your birthday—you could even get a little competitive by splitting up into teams and having a full blown tournament. Though, at the very least make sure to bowl yourself a STRIKE!
19. Get a Tattoo
You’ll likely have to book an appointment in advance if you’re planning on getting a tattoo to commemorate your special day, although some tattoo parlors will allow walk-ins. It is best to know beforehand what permanent ink you would like so that you’re 100% sure of the design and tattooist that you trust.
For some birthdate tattoo ideas see the boy girl tattoos website. I like #12.
20. Go Bungee Jumping
If you’re typically a daredevil, or simply looking to do something out of your comfort zone, then going bungee jumping is a fantastic (and adventurous) birthday experience. You’ll most likely have to book in advance to ensure you have a spot, but then you can arrange it then so you can go with friends who can give you moral support.
21. Go Camping (or Glamping)
As far as things to do on your birthday go, a camping trip is something truly rejuvenating. Spending some time in nature away from technology and stress of daily life, roasting hot dogs and eating s’mores, and maybe finding a lake to chill by, is some of the best time you’ll spend.
Because camping requires a little more preparation than many other birthday ideas on this list, you might opt to go glamping instead where everything will be set up when you arrive.
It’d be a bonus if there was a National Park nearby and you can make a checkmark off the US National Parks Bucket List: 61 Beauties to Visit in America.
22. Go Horseback Riding
Whether it be on a forested trail or along the beach, horseback riding is another amazing way to enjoy time outdoors and in nature. You can even take it a gallop further spending some time at a dude ranch (I went to a great one in Colorado called Drowsy Water!), where you’ll be immersed in ranch life while learning valuable riding techniques.
23. Go Ice Skating
Whether it’s winter time and you find the perfect iced over lake or any other time of year at an indoor rink, ice skating can be a fun activity to try on your birthday. Don’t forget to warm up with some hot chocolate afterwards!
24. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Jumping into a hot air balloon will take you on an exhilarating ride in the skies. Even better if you can find one that offers some gorgeous and dramatic backdrops!
25. Go on a Shopping Spree
This is perfect for a last minute celebration and can be done alone or with friends and family. Perhaps you’ve had your eye on something for a while and haven’t got around to buying it yet, or maybe you’re looking for something new to wear to a birthday party later on.
Bonus points if your shopping spree makes a checkmark on our Fashion Bucket List: 36 Must-Do Goals for Every Lover of Style.
26. Go on the Perfect Picnic
A super chill and delicious activity to do on your birthday is to go on a picnic, in a park, by the rocks or on the beach—or wherever else your imagination takes you! Remember to bring along your favorite snacks and some simple games. And don’t forget to include a music playlist for the day, which you can play from your phone.
You can even pack a traditional wicker basket with your favorite picnic foods and enjoy the feast. Real Simple magazine can help you out with their Picnic Packing Checklist. If you want to set up an Instagrammable picnic, here’s a cute red checkered picnic basket.
27. Go Wine Tasting
If you enjoy tasting good wine, this is another highly recommended gift for anyone. You can look for a winery that includes a tour of the winery itself or, If there isn’t a winery nearby, then just go to a wine bar and get a wine flight to share. I’m a sucker for a good glass of wine any day of the year!
This birthday activity might be the perfect time to start a tasting notebook filled with all records of all your favorites— buying a wine tasting journal will help you along the way!
28. Go Skydiving
Like bungee jumping, skydiving is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you won’t forget in a hurry. You can start your birthday 10,000 feet up in the air and take in some spectacular views as you complete the dive. It may be wise to start with a tandem dive, where you’re attached to a professional, but if you want more of an adventure go solo!
If skydiving scares the daylights out of you, then opt for the much less intimidating indoor skydiving.
29. Go To a Concert
If you are passionate about a band and they happen to be in town for a gig, snagging tickets may turn out to be the perfect birthday gift to yourself. Or you might also go big and attend a music festival with several bands to jam to.
30. Go to a Karaoke Bar
When it comes to karaoke it doesn’t matter how good your voice is, it is all about having fun! So muster up the courage to take the stage and belt out a song. There’s plenty of great songs to choose from, but for some help see these epic 31 karaoke songs.
31. Go To the Drive-In Theatre
If you are looking for a unique and cheap birthday night out, how about going to a drive-in movie? They may be more difficult to find these days, but they are a whole lot of fun when you do. Look at the Drive-In Movie Website to locate the nearest one.
If you’re on a budget this birthday, then this bucket list is for you: 60 Simple Bucket List Ideas that are Cheap (or Completely Free!)
32. Go on a White Water Rafting Adventure
Considered an extreme sport, rafting is yet another great way to spend some time in nature while getting physical. It is a social activity, although until you’re the master of rafting it’s recommended not to go on a rafting trip without a professional in tow.
33. Have a Board Game Night
Some people may think board games are boring (I’m not one of them!), but they can actually be a lot of fun especially if you have the perfect game and people to play with. Board games have definitely evolved over the years, but there are both classics and modern games that would make for a fantastic game night with families and friends.
Not sure which games to play? Check out this list: Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play
34. Have A Bonfire
Though it may be called a birth-day, that doesn’t mean you should limit your celebrations to the daylight hours. Instead, why not make the most of your evening by having a bonfire? You can invite friends to help you set it up in your garden and then sit around it all night telling stories, having delicious drinks and yummy food to mark the occasion.
35. Have a Pajama Party
It’s a luxury to be able to spend all day in your PJs and you’ve already got plenty of great ideas listed here to make your pajama day complete! Put on your most comfy pair and opt to have a home spa night, watch movies, play games or just eat lots of yummy food.
36. Have a Progressive Dinner at all Your Favorite Restaurants
Much like bar hopping, having a progressive dinner at all your favorite restaurants gives you the opportunity to celebrate your birthday all over the city and experience a variety of different options for every course.
You could choose restaurants that all specialize in different types of food to have the most diverse dinner possible and perhaps try a different wine in each as well.
37. Hike a New Trail
If you are interested in the outdoors, being active, or exploring something new, or the combination of all three, perhaps it’s time to take your birthday on a hike? Hiking is not only an excellent way to challenge yourself physically, it’s beneficial even mentally.
From hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to trekking Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the world is littered with bucket list worthy routes and trails that’ll take you to some of the most gorgeous spots of nature out there.
To make your day even more epic hike one of the 25 Best Hikes & Backpacking Treks in the World
38. Hire a Private Chef
If you’d rather not spend your birthday out at restaurants then you could consider hiring a private chef to cook for you at home. You’d get to design the menu and not have to worry about cooking—giving you a stress-free birthday meal. Instead, you can spend time decorating your home for the occasion and then enjoy a meal cooked by a professional chef.
39. Indulge in Your Favorite Meal
Whether it’s your local thai restaurant’s Tom Kha Kai paired with a Som Tum salad or grandma’s famous beef stew and apple pie, indulge in your absolute favorite meal.
40. Laugh Until You Cry at a Comedy Show
Whens the last time you laughed so hard you cried? Another cool thing to do on your birthday is going to a comedy show. And, you know, laughter is the best medicine.
41. Partake in a Fancy Tea Party
Try to find a cafe that offers a fancy afternoon tea or if you have a garden you can make your own—don’t forget the tiny little sandwiches! Get inspired dreaming and planning by checking out this gallery.
42. Play Mini Golf
Simply said, “the golf game is complicated”. On the surface it appears to be an easy and relaxing, drawing you in with its spacious clubhouse, green fairways and refreshing beer carts, but you will probably end up frustrated. So INSTEAD try your hand at a fun game of putt-putt golf (aka: mini golf).
From putting balls into clowns mouths to miniature windmills, a round of mini golf is a fun low-stress environment.
43. Redecorate Your Bedroom
Unless you’re putting together large pieces of furniture, redecorating your bedroom can be quite an enjoyable and cathartic experience. You’ll have complete control of how the room looks and you could always ask for decorations as birthday gifts so that everything you use to redecorate your bedroom marks a memory of your birthday.
44. Rent a Limo
Renting a limo is a sure way to celebrate your birthday in style. You could have the driver take you and some friends all around the city, or to a bar or restaurant you’ve been wanting to try out.
This is another activity that you would need to book in advance to secure, but it would be a spectacular change from getting an Uber or taxi. With no worries about needing to drive, you can recline in the back with friends and enjoy some champagne.
45. Reread Your Favorite Book
There is great comfort to be found in books, so if you’re looking for a more low-key celebration then rereading your favorite book at home is a fantastic idea. You’ll get to remind yourself of something you love and get some quiet time to yourself on what will likely be a busy day. You could even make it a tradition to read your favorite book every year on your birthday.
If you love the classics then check of the Classic Books Bucket List: 25 of the Best Must-Read Novels
46. Ride All the Rides (& Play the Games) at an Amusement Park
Of course, riding all the rides at an amusement park is a must, but don’t skip out on playing the games too. And don’t give up until you have won that stuffed teddy bear or blow up giraffe.
47. See Live Theater Show
Live theater is one of the most breath-taking activities you can participate in, so getting tickets to see a show on your birthday will be a night you won’t forget.
You could splurge on tickets to see a West End or Broadway show, depending on where you live and if you’re in the mood for a more expensive treat. You have the option to see something new or to celebrate with one of your favorites.
48. Send Flowers to Yourself
It is hard to find a florist that does not offer special birthday bouquets and there is no rule saying that someone else has to buy them for you! You could order the flowers in advance so that they arrive on your birthday and give you something pretty to decorate your home with. Hint: some celebratory bouquets even come with chocolates!
This is the bouquet I ordered for myself on my last birthday:
49. Splurge on a Nice Bottle of Your Favorite Liquor (or wine)
For the 21+ year olds, liquor and wine is commonly consumed on birthdays, but we often restrict ourselves to the cheaper bottles throughout the year. If you’re in the mood to splurge but you aren’t a fan of shopping or gambling, then spending more money on a nice bottle of your favorite alcohol could be the answer.
Don’t know what kind of liquor to buy? Then check this out: 13 Extravagant Bottles of Liquor for the Connoisseur on Your List.
50. Take a Cooking Class
There’s so many benefits to attending a cooking class. But, with a group of you attempting it all together you’ll get to have a blast laughing as you try – and maybe fail – in creating something delicious; and then you’ll get to eat your successful creations! Just a warning: you might get obsessed with this goal!
51. Take a Cruise
Have you ever been on a cruise before? Now’s the perfect opportunity. Pick a cruise line that offers the best onboard activities and itineraries with pretty ports, then book your ultimate birthday present to yourself. If you’re not convinced that a cruise is for you, then think about all these advantages:
- It’s a cost effective way to see a bunch of destinations in one go.
- You do not have to do as much travel planning. That’s left to someone else.
- No matter how many locations you visit, you get to spend the night in the same bed and room. No packing, unpacking, repacking or lugging suitcases around!
52. Take a Helicopter Ride
It doesn’t get much more bucket list worthy than soaring over the scenic landscapes of a destination in a helicopter! Fly high in the sky getting a birds-eye view of rolling hills, postcard-perfect beaches and/or stunning vineyards.
53. Take a Road Trip
This might take some planning to work out the perfect route, or just pack up your bags, take time off work and hit the road with choosing your destinations on the fly. Either way, road trip will be epic. It doesn’t even have to be a long trip, it could just be for a day or two, but make sure you have plenty of entertainment along the way.
54. Test Drive Your Dream Car
How’d you like to be driving a Porsche, Lamborghini or Maserati? Even if you can’t really afford the car, for one afternoon it’ll be so much fun for you to experience firsthand what it could be like to drive around in one. Some car rental companies or raceways will offer rentals for the day!
55. Tour a Museum
Even if you are art connoisseurs or history buffs, touring a museum can be a lot of fun, especially as a birthday idea for a rainy day. Art and historical museums can be educational and surprisingly interesting, but for something even more fun, try to find the quirkiest museum in your area!
56. Travel to Your Dream Destination
Paris, Tokyo or Rome? Where would your ultimate travel adventure take you? Pick your absolute dream destination and GO!
57. Treat Yourself To a Spa Day
Sometimes life gets stressful and there’s nothing better than taking an entire day to relax. Decide you need some pampering and go book that spa day, either at a local spa or make it an overnight trip over the weekend to a great spa in a different region.
58. Wear a Show-Stopping Outfit
Whether it’s newly bought or something you’ve been wanting to wear out for a while, a show-stopping outfit will have you celebrating your birthday in style. Even if you are planning to spend your birthday at home, getting dressed up will definitely put you in the mood to party and allow you to take some fabulous pictures to remember the day.
59. Write a Letter To Your Future Self
It’s up to you how you’ll write a letter to your future self, but the typical topics contain telling about your current life situation as well as your dreams and hopes for the future. It’ll be so much fun for you to open up the letter in the future, on a date of your choosing, and see how much you’ve changed and which of your dreams you’ve by then achieved.
It may even work as a great reminder to get back to working on those dreams your younger self dared to dream. It would also be a little kick in the butt to make sure that she was heading in that direction and in order to limit life’s biggest regrets.
Make your letter even more special by picking some pretty paper (like this Japanese Stationary) and handwriting it.
60. Get Your Hair & Makeup Professionally Done
Before you head out the door for a special birthday night out, why not make the night extra special and get your hair and makeup professional done in preparation? You can book a slot at a salon or hire someone to come right to your home. Either way, afterwards you’ll be looking (and feeling) pretty dang good.
Hopefully these birthday bucket list suggestions have given you some good ideas for fun things to do on your birthday. Always remember that turning a year older is something to be celebrated because it gives you the chance to commemorate how much you have achieved in the past year and make many more plans for the following year.
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