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25 Fun 18th Birthday Party Ideas for the Big Day
Turning 18 is a major milestone, a noteworthy birthday that every teenager looks forward to. Eighteen is the official beginning of adulthood and this significant transition deserves a one-of-a-kind celebration.
Whether you’re looking for ideas of what to do on your 18th birthday or are in charge of planning the perfect bash for a friend or family member, you’ve come to the right place. We know how to celebrate your transition into full-time adulting!
The following list of 18th birthday ideas covers all kinds of celebrations. You’ll find suggestions for low-key intimate gatherings, once-in-a-lifetime adventures, fine dining options, and activities that will be fun for everyone in your party group. You’ll even find some unique and surprising ideas — hot air ballooning, anyone? — to make the day extra special.
Whether the birthday guest of honor is a foodie, a travel enthusiast, a competitive athlete, or just perpetually young at heart, you’re sure to find the perfect way to celebrate among this carefully cultivated list of things to do for your 18th birthday.
How to Plan the Perfect 18th Birthday Party
Before you get started with your 18th birthday party planning, however, you will want to make sure that you’ve done your homework. You’re going to want to have the answers to the following questions:
- • What type of activities does the birthday celebrant enjoy? Are they the type of person who likes to test their athletic prowess? Are they competitive by nature? Or are they more likely to want to be pampered in a relaxing setting?
- • How many people will be invited to share in the celebration? Options for a four-person intimate gathering will differ from ones that have to accommodate dozens of guests.
- • Are the guests all local or will some be traveling for the occasion? The answer to this question will help determine the day, time, and place for the event you are planning.
- What are the ages of the guests? Obviously, some venues and activities will be inappropriate for younger children, while older adults (are grandma and grandpa invited?) might have physical limitations or other issues to take into account.
- • What time of year will the 18th birthday party be held? Weather, especially if you are considering throwing an outdoor party, will be a big factor in choosing the right party venue and theme. Even the fact that it gets dark earlier during part of the year could be a factor.
- • Will anyone attending have particular dietary restrictions? Before you order expensive catering or make reservations at a restaurant, you’ll want to make sure that everyone attending will be able to eat what you’re serving.
- • Will anyone have mobility issues or require special accommodations? You’ll want to make sure that every one of your guests feels equally welcomed, and that means ensuring access for all.
- • What is the budget for the event? Understanding your budget will help keep you from wasting time investigating options that aren’t viable or from missing out on exciting opportunities in your price range.
- • Do you prefer to host a daytime or a nighttime party? Knowing the time of day will help inform what type of activity or get-together you can plan.
Having answers to all these questions before you begin the process of narrowing down memorable 18th birthday ideas will go a long way to ensuring that you plan the best celebration possible. Once you’ve pinned down all the details regarding who will be attending, what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, then get ready to party!
25 Awesome 18th Birthday Party Ideas
- Have an Axe-Throwing Party
Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like throwing sharp objects at targets. And if the guest of honor can get that nervous energy out in the company of close friends and family, even better! The axe-throwing craze has hit the country by storm, which makes creating a gathering around axe-throwing the first choice of many party planners.
This fun way to celebrate that special someone’s important day checks off every item on your party-planning list. Just take a look at what axe throwing has to offer:
- • Fun for everyone at any age? Check!
- • An activity you can enjoy indoors regardless of weather? Check!
- • Able to accomodate parties of all sizes? Check!
- • Special event planning staff to help you make this an 18th birthday party to remember? Check!
- • Affordable with up-front fixed fee packages? Check!
If you want to make sure every guest has a great time — and who doesn’t relish the opportunity to channel their inner lumberjack or woodsy Nordsman? — then consider hosting an axe-throwing 18th birthday party.
- Throw a Retro Music-Themed House PartyDoes the birthday kid love groovin’ to the psychedelic sounds of the ‘60s? Or do they have Saturday Night Fever dreams of doing the hustle as a ‘70s-era disco ball lights up the dance floor? Or maybe they are up for channeling their inner rocker with a head-banging hair band bash? Planning a birthday party around a music era theme is always a great idea when planning birthdays for 18-year-olds.
Make sure to line up the playlist well in advance and encourage everyone to dress up in the fashion of the times. Give out party favors to the guests with the most authentic get-ups, the most authentic outfit, and the best dance moves of the night.
- Throw a Slumber Party
You might think an 18-year old birthday slumber party is a silly notion — they’re too old for that now, right? But nothing could be further from the truth! Commemorate all the sleepovers they’ve had in their life, saying goodbye to childhood and hello to adulthood. Slumber parties are a great way to create a birthday they’ll remember fondly. Want some ideas for activities? Check out these fun ideas!
- • Giving each other mini-makeowners, complete with facial masks, mani-pedis, and makeup
- • Turn it into an all night movie marathon
- • Hosting a video game tournament
- • Having a clothing swap
- • Setting up a photo shoot (pro-tip: hire a professional photographer to make the shoot one to remember)
- • Weather permitting, set up tents in the backyard and make it a camp out
- • Or, set up tents in the living room and make it a camp in
- • Make sure everyone dresses in pajamas or their favorite adult onesie
- Spend the Day at an Amusement or Theme Park
Thrill ride fans and anyone who enjoys funnel cake and all varieties of fried food on a stick will love the idea of spending their 18th birthday with friends at an amusement park or county fair. Whether it’s riding the scariest roller coaster or vying for bragging rights — and giant stuffed animals — at the arcade, amusement parks remind us that there’s an ever-present child in everyone.
If you want to give your guest of honor a thrill, an amusement park is a great way to get their endorphins pumping! All of the parks offer special packages for groups and birthday celebrations. Before you go, think about having everyone dress in custom T-shirts commemorating the occasion with a special 18th birthday message to the guest of honor.
Are they not fans of roller coasters and big crowds? Other options include going to a nearby zoo or finding local state fair.
- Have a Casino Night Party
If you’re celebrating the 18th birthday of a (would-be) high roller, you might want to plan a casino night party. To add an air of authenticity, you can find companies and caterers that will produce the whole affair – furnishing blackjack, roulette, and other gambling tables complete with cards, dice, dealers, and funny money to gamble with.
Make it interesting and stake everyone a certain amount and then award prizes to the top gamblers in your midst. You can even order a custom birthday cake in the shape of dice or a deck of cards.
- Dine Out At a Stylish Restaurant
If a more intimate night with close family and friends is more like what you have in mind, take this opportunity to tantalize your guest of honor’s taste buds and plan a fine dining experience. Choose a place where the ambience is elegant and the food is fabulous and make sure the invitations specify that all are to dress to impress! Depending on the size of your party, you might want to try to reserve a private room.
Start the experience off right by ordering a round of mock cocktails and appealing appetizers. After dinner, don’t forget to order a fancy dessert — or present the birthday guest with a fancy specialty cake — served with alcohol-free champagne to top off the evening in style.
- Go Cruising
Nothing says party like planning a cruise for your crew. These ocean-bound vacations are one long part-tay! Stuff yourselves at the all-day buffet, dress in your best for the Captain’s dinner, and lounge by the pool or soak in the hottub. Cruising offers an all-inclusive vacation perfectly suited to celebrating an 18th birthday.
For an added charge, you can plan to go on an exciting shore excursion. Many cruises offer hiking and other kinds of sightseeing adventures, water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing, and the opportunity to enjoy a day on a private beach.
Let the cruise line know in advance that you’re planning a birthday group gathering. Often, they’ll offer something extra — like a complimentary birthday cake or a tour of the bridge — that the entire party can enjoy.
If a days-long cruise isn’t an option, think about chartering a party boat for a private onboard party. You can even turn your private boat excursion into a dance party!
- Have a Private Karaoke Party
If belting out tunes — whether off-key or on — is their idea of fun, consider planning an 18th birthday karaoke party. Many karaoke bars and clubs offer private Karaoke party rooms you can reserve for special occasions. You can order in food and beverages while taking turns performing to your favorite tunes or everyone can get into the act with singalongs.
Some party planners choose a theme for the night and decorate the room, even going so far as to select the music to match. Others keep it open so guests can show off their talents as they perform to their favorites.
Prefer to set up your karaoke party at home? It’s easy! Simply get yourself a karaoke microphone and cue up your favorite streaming service’s karaoke videos and it’s showtime!
- Put Together a Party at the Roller Rink
When choosing 18th birthday ideas, what to do depends on who is going to be in attendance. People of all ages enjoy roller skating. Why not appeal to your guest of honor’s inner roller-child by planning a roller skating birthday party just for them? Contact your local skating rink to see if you can reserve the entire space for a party or carve out a section to hold your gathering.
Consider making it a retro roller skating party that includes the involvement of a revolving disco ball and flashing neon lights. Be sure to ask the DJ to rev up the disco tunes so your guests can flip the roller rink lights fantastic. And don’t forget the pizza and birthday cake. You could even offer fuzzy skate pom poms as party favors for all the guests.
- Organize a Scavenger Hunt
This is one of those group activities that you can go all out with or make short and sweet. Of course, the all-out option lets you stretch your creative muscles figuring out just the right clues and venues to keep all the guests guessing, at least for a while.
There are lots of places online to find and print scavenger hunt ideas and clues. You can even create a private social media page for participants to post their selfies as they travel their scavenger hunting journey. Make sure you include plenty of prizes and that you select a fun rendezvous point at the end of the hunt for everyone to enjoy birthday cake as they celebrate the 18th birthday milestone with the guest of honor.
- Enjoy a Spa Day
A day at the spa is one of the most popular ideas for 18th birthday celebrations. If you want to do it in style, search around town for day spa birthday packages. Often these will include two or three services — choices usually include manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, and makeup sessions — plus lounging in a steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi. Set up a white napkin lunch or arrange for afternoon tea to top off the day.
- Attend an Outdoor Music Festival
Grab the birthday guest of honor, a few good friends, and your camping gear and head to the multi-day music fest of the guest of honor’s choice. Whether their taste runs to jam bands, country rock, or EDM, as long as the gang’s together to celebrate, a good time is sure to be had by all.
Don’t forget the glow sticks and birthday party snacks — like birthday cupcakes or S’Mores fixings — to keep everyone’s energy up and keep the party bumpin’!
- Spend the Day at a Water Park
Nothing spells fun like plunging down a jumbo slide and then landing in a giant pool with an enormous splash. If you agree, then planning an 18th birthday celebration around a day at a water park is just the ticket!
If you’re in a southern climate or the guest of honor is lucky enough to have a summer birthday, you and your guests can plan a day of splashes and sunshine. But don’t worry if it’s cold outside — you can still splash the day away! In the winter months, you can plan your party for an indoor park. Either way, it promises to be a fun-filled day.
- Plan a Day to Shop Til You Drop
Grab the gang and head out to the stores for an all-day shopping spree. Start off the day with an elegant brunch, complete with mock mimosas (sparking water and orange juice) or virgin bloody marys.
After everyone has the sustenance to get them through the day, you and the gange can make a day of it visiting all of the guest of honor’s favorite boutiques and shopping haunts. Want to make the day extra great for the birthday guest of honor? Decide in advance that you’re all going to chip in to buy that article of clothing or that one over-the-top accessory that they simply can’t live without! Then round out the day with dinner at a charming al fresco cafe’.
- Attend a Sporting Event
Whether your honored birthday guest is a football, baseball, soccer, or basketball fan, an exciting way to help them celebrate turning 18 is cheering on their favorite team at a live sporting event. Enhance the excitement — and the celebration — by making sure everyone is decked out in the favored team gear like jerseys or hats.Think about planning a tailgate party before the game or renting a box at the stadium. Bring plenty of snacks, soft drinks, and a team-inspired birthday cake.Birthday fall on a date out-of-season? Not a problem! Plan a team-themed party and present them with tickets to their favorite sporting event when the season starts up again.
- Have a Bowling Party
Bowling is one of those timeless activities that people of all ages enjoy. All you need to do to get the party started is reserve several lanes in advance for your big day, order the pizza and bowling alley snacks for your guests, and bring the birthday cake.
Of course, you can always take the bowling fun to the next level by providing a special birthday-themed bowling shirt for the guest of honor and providing prizes and party favors for strikes, spares, highest score, and even a consolation prize for the lowest bowling score. There are no losers here!
- Go on a Group Staycation
If you’re itching to get away to celebrate but don’t have the time or the funds to travel to a faraway destination, the next best thing is embarking on a staycation at a venue close to home. Look for a local hotel or resort to accommodate your group that provides fun amenities like a swimming pool, a hot tub, and a day spa.
If your staycation venue is near a beach or in the mountains, so much the better for planning some outdoor fun! Fill up your schedule with hiking, kayaking and whatever else your outdoorsy heart desires. If you’re staycationing in the city, look for a place that is close to the city’s bustling nightlife offerings. Whether it’s a fancy dinner at a new restaurant or bougie drinks in a VIP lounge, you can find anything in the city. Regardless of where you choose to gather with friends and family, a staycation is a great getaway without having to go too far.
- Go Skydiving
If thrill seeking is the birthday celebrant’s middle name and they live for an adrenaline rush, try skydiving as a way to celebrate the quantum leap into adulthood that comes with turning 18.
If you’re new to jumping out of airplanes — remember there will be nothing between you and the ground but a parachute — you’ll want to go for a tandem jump where you’re tethered to an instructor/guide. More experienced skydivers may want to do a solo jump. Either way, you and any friends who dare to join you will create memories that will last a lifetime.
- Plan a Backyard Pool Party
Break out the floaties and inflatable swans! There’s nothing like a pool party to celebrate a birthday on a warm summer day. You can encourage group play by setting up a water volleyball net or floating basketball hoops. Be sure to also provide plenty of lounge chairs for guests who prefer to relax poolside and big umbrellas to protect from the sun.
All that splashing around is sure to make for some hungry partygoers, so consider combining your pool party with a backyard cookout. Traditional grilling fare like hamburgers and hotdogs is always a hit, or you could try something different like grilled pizza or shishkabobs. Just don’t forget the sides, cold drinks and, of course, the birthday cake.
- Gather for Game Night
Everyone loves a good game night. So why not design an 18th birthday party idea around a night playing the birthday celebrant’s favorite party games?
If you’re planning on an indoor game night, pull out the classic board games like Risk, Battleship, Scrabble, or Checkers. Don’t have any board games handy? Break up into teams for charades or Pictionary. If you’re opting for outdoors, set up cornhole, horseshoes, or giant Jenga. However you choose to play, keep the party rolling with great music, plenty of food, and hot and cold drinks.
- Have a Fancy Potluck Party
If you’ve got a bunch of cooks and foodies in your crowd, spice up the traditional potluck by hosting a fancy potluck party. Invite your guests to show off their culinary prowess by providing a delicious dish of their choice for all to enjoy, all while dressed in their finest attire! Be sure to cultivate the menu in advance so you have every course covered from appetizers to soup and salad to entrees. And be sure that you ask the bakers among your group to include an assortment of desserts, including a birthday cake to celebrate the guest of honor.
Pull out your finest china and crystal, add beautiful flowers and elegant candles, and dress up in your most elegant outfits to make the dining experience truly fine.
- Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
If flying in a basket through the clouds in slow motion sounds like fun, you might want to book a hot air balloon excursion for your party peeps. Many places have hot air balloon rides that can accommodate up to 20 people at a time. Some even offer customized hot air balloon banners and special made-to-order cakes.
Since an 18th birthday is a milestone, you’ll probably want to spring for a professionally-shot video of the experience, something the guest of honor will treasure for a lifetime.
- Go On a Whitewater Rafting Adventure (and Picnic)
If the 18th birthday celebrant is an adventurer, you can plan a whitewater rafting excursion. The daredevils among your crew can go the white-knuckle course, while the less adventurous souls can opt for a kinder, gentler rafting experience.
Whatever type of rafting adventure your guests decide to take, it’s a sure bet that a beautiful day on a river, followed by a picnic birthday themed lunch will be a treat for all. This is a special memory they’ll never forget!
- Gather Around a Backyard Bonfire
Sometimes the best times are the simplest. That’s why a good old fashioned bonfire is one of our favorite 18th birthday ideas. Invite friends and family over for a backyard bonfire, an especially rewarding way to spend an evening when the weather starts to turn chilly (perfect for those autumn birthdays!). Serve steaming cups of hot chocolate and don’t forget the marshmallows!
If there are any musicians in your group, invite them to perform or lead a singalong. Otherwise, make a playlist with the guest of honor’s favorite music. Invite each guest to tell a story about how much the newly-minted 18-year-old means to them, how they met, or their proudest moments.
- Fight It Out On The Paintball Field
Like a little birthday competition? If so, paintball just might fill the 18th birthday party bill. Have your guests divide up into two teams and choose names that go along with the 18th birthday theme. Then go for it! Who needs birthday balloons and confetti? Get your fix by shooting each other up with colorful balls of paint instead!
You’ll want to choose a paintball field that has a place to set up and decorate for an after-battle party. Bring plenty of snacks, water and soft drinks and sweet treats to celebrate the winning team.
- Have an Axe-Throwing Party
Host Your 18th Birthday Party at Axe Master
An 18th birthday celebration is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for families and friends to gather together to celebrate a young person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. In other words, it’s a big day! The pressure is on to plan the perfect party, and picking just the right 18th birthday ideas for this important celebration can be daunting.
Axe Master, a premiere axe-throwing venue, is the perfect place for families and friends to gather and celebrate milestones in a safe, affordable, and fun-filled way. We offer axe throwing in Atlanta for the big city wigs, but you can also throw axes in San Antonio. To learn more about how Axe Master can provide the perfect rental space or how we can help you plan your 18th birthday party, contact us today!