Skip Nav
Food Video
Meet the Doughnut Milk Luge, the Best Way to Wake Up
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow's Carbonara Will Become Your Favorite Weeknight Meal
Fast and Easy
This Avocado Dressing Transforms Humdrum Salad Greens Into Something Spectacular

Ways to Celebrate Your 21st Birthday

Let's Dish: How Did You Celebrate Your 21st Birthday?

One of our lovely interns, Victoria, is back in the office for the Summer, and we recently found out this weekend she will be celebrating her 21st birthday. "You didn't tell us this weekend is your 21st birthday!" PartySugar interjected excitedly. "What are you doing? Do you know where you are going?"

As we oohed and ahhed over her plans (she is hitting up one of my favorite pasta spots, Farina), we also reminisced about our own rites of passage. For the big two-one, PartySugar threw a cocktail party at her grandfather's house, complete with a purple carpet for guests.

As for me, my parents took me to Spec's Liquor Warehouse to buy an assorted case of wines, which went alongside a spectacular dinner with friends. (Perhaps the following birthday, which was spent dancing atop Austin, TX, bars, would've made for a more traditional celebration.) How did you spend (or do you plan to spend, for you young-ins) your 21st birthday?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Rancher'sGirl Rancher'sGirl 7 years
My dad took me out to dinner at a fantastic steakhouse (my mom died when I was 12, so it was just him and me), I had a glass of very nice wine and then when we arrived home, my very dear best friend had arranged a surprise party for me! She had called my dad several weeks beforehand and asked if she could plan the party as her gift to me. It was a terrific party! :)
InternSugar4 InternSugar4 7 years
For my 21st birthday, my best friend from college flew in from New York to visit me in SF. For lunch, we met up with a few friends at Tacolicious on Chestnut St., where we ordered a huge platter of tacos and a few pitchers of a tequila/hibiscus concoction. Proceeded home to take a much needed nap. Woke up and headed to Farina and met up with friends and family for dinner and an old fashioned red-velvet birthday cake. Went home at a decent hour, and crashed early. All in all, a great and relaxed birthday!
redchick152 redchick152 7 years
i went out at the stroke of midnight. needless to say, i was too hungover the next day to do my 21 shots. or eat. haha!
loriborealis loriborealis 7 years
My 21st was on a Friday. Went with my best friend, boyfriend and our friends out to bar hop in Houston (Westheimer & Richmond, natch). Stopped mostly by the bars that gave free birthday drinks (huge "Sharkbite" at Yucatan Liquor Stand - w00t!). So, bar hop Friday, then Saturday went to the Budweiser Brewery, and later that weekend a bbq at a friends, and I think something else. It was 18 years ago, though, so hard to remember it all!
roseate roseate 7 years
My 21st birthday fell in the middle of the week, so on the actual day I had 21 "shots" of juice with three friends. It sounds lame, but it was actually a nice bonding time. Before each shot, we named things we wanted to do or accomplish in our lives. That weekend I went out to dinner and with a friend who had also just turned 21. We each ordered a drink, but we didn't get carded, so there was no celebratory/triumphant moment.
archerkate archerkate 7 years
*any alcohol.
archerkate archerkate 7 years
My 21st was spent at my boyfriend's father's house, feeding pieces of a huge tree through a wood chipper. I helped cut down the tree the day before. Later that evening, his dad acknowledged that it was my birthday and took us to dinner at a BYO Mexican restaurant. Perhaps obviously at this point, he did not even thing to bring anything alcohol.
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
Mine was really low-key, it was a Tuesday and everyone had class the next day, so we just went out for our traditional birthday dinner at Bertucci's. :P I ordered my first (legal!) drink: a cosmo! :P
Spectra Spectra 7 years
My parents and my sister and a few of my friends and family all went out to dinner. I had a really good microbrew and a Bailey's and Coffee. Nothing too extreme, but it was fun and low-key.
kea718 kea718 7 years
My parents treated me and 3 of my friends to dinner at a restaurant/club and after dinner they got us a bottle and table and left. After the bottle was killed we bar/club hopped around South Beach.... I think there was even a karaoke bar there somewhere... It was pretty damn awesome!
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
Mine was very lame! All I wanted was to be treated to some Cheesecake Factory and catch a movie with my dad and sister, and that wasn't lame in itself (after all it's what I wanted) but it turned out the Jonas Brothers were doing a mini-concert at the Grove. No one could get ANYWHERE. We were like "screw it" and stayed anyway but it was actually kind of fun. :P
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 7 years
Haha, I actually did do the Austin thing for my birthday! Well, it was kind of a road trip around Texas with my two closest friends. We called it my "21st Birthday Extravaganza." My Bday's in July so all of my friends growing up were on vacations and what-not and I never really had parties, so I had a blow out when the opportunity presented itself.
gingirl gingirl 7 years
Ugh, mine was on a Monday. So I ended up going out to watch Monday Nigh Football with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. So it was very low key and chill. But nothing special. But if I recall, one of my best friends (at the time) turned 21 a year after me, and she threw a party at a club on the Lower East Side. So we kind of treated that as my 21st birthday do over! It was a lot of fun, and I definitely drank way too much.
doogirl doogirl 7 years
I just ended up going out to dinner with my parents, sister, fiancee, and twin brother. It was low key and fun, I was getting married in two months so I didn't want to do anything huge. My twin brother is gay, and when our waiter looked at our ID's, he barely glanced at mine and was totally hitting on my brother. They ended up dating for quite a while, but my feelings were hurt because the super cute waiter didn't ask me what color my eyes were like he did my brother! LOL! It was great!
Zulkey Zulkey 7 years
I was studying abroad in Florence. If I recall the tradition was to try and pound 21 drinks before the day was up (real nice) and since we were served wine with lunch it wasn't too hard since I could get an early start. We went out to dinner after class and then to a bar where I ran into some friends from high school back home. I thankfully did not get sick but I did drunk dial a guy I knew who didn't come out with us and demanded that he wish me a happy birthday.
juicebox07 juicebox07 7 years
I went to MVA to renew my drivers license, and I watched a movie with my boyfriend. Yep, that's it. I rarely drink. I got it out of my system when I was 17/18.
partysugar partysugar 7 years
My really good friend filmed my 21st birthday. He edited it right afterwards and made a video. No was has seen it and we plan on showing it at my 31st birthday. Isn't that so fun?!
skigurl skigurl 7 years
Alcohol is an acquired taste! It needs to be tried again and again and again!
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 7 years
I turn 21 next year and my best friend and I are probably going to take a trip somewhere. Most people I know go to Vegas since its only a 4 hour drive but I won't be doing that. I don't drink and I go to Vegas once a year anyway.
le-romantique le-romantique 7 years
Had a candlelight dinner at a nice restaurant in my city (Saint Petersburg, Fl), with an ex bf... had one sip of alcohol, hated it, and never drank again.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
Spent the weekend in San Diego at my favorite hotel with my bf. Sadly, my birthday dinner absolutely sucked because there was a game going on at Petco park. We had reservations for my favorite restaurant downtown and after 2 hours of driving around, we couldn't find any parking and left. We did go the next day for lunch though. I wanted to go to Vegas, but my birthday was Memorial Day weekend and it would have been crazy.
ambie_white ambie_white 7 years
I went to go see Dreamgirls on Broadway on the exact same day of my bday. So it was perfect & glamorous
mlle-nessa mlle-nessa 7 years
My birthday fell on spring midterms week :( So when the weekend finally rolled around, my boyfriend treated me to amazing wood fired pizza and local brews :) Later I had the bar night with my friends, but it was comfortable and low key.
mallorycurtis mallorycurtis 7 years
i was at a wedding with all my best friends. it was so much fun even though it wasn't really your traditional celebration.
America's Most Haunted Houses
Birthday Gifts For Women in Their 20s
Girls' Birthday Cakes
Addams Family Halloween Engagement Party
From Our Partners
Latest Food
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds