When I turned 21, I didn’t have a “typical” 21st birthday but I had a ton of fun. I spent it with my family on the beach and didn’t drink any alcohol—not because I was against it, but because I wasn’t really concerned about it being the center of my birthday memory. Even though I do enjoy going wild with my friends from time to time, I was perfectly happy to have an alcohol free birthday. If you’re unfazed by the idea of turning the legal drinking age or you don’t want to drink at all, here are some suggestions for a 21st birthday party.
1. Las Vegas is a popular destination for 21st birthdays, and there’s no reason you can’t follow the trend too if you want to. Bring Las Vegas to your dorm and host a Casino Night party – no ID or alcohol required. Set up some tables for blackjack or a poker tournament. You can even mix it up by playing card games like Uno or Cards Against Humanity.
2. Swap the beer for root beer. Who says you can’t enjoy the fun of beer pong with root beer instead of beer? If that’s not your thing, make root beer floats with your friends instead. The fact that root beer and vanilla ice cream is cheaper than alcohol is definitely a plus.
3. Go ice skating. Spend an afternoon at the ice rink. Pro tip: Go to the UMass arena for the Five College student discount. If you have your own ice skates admission is free!
4. Recreate your favorite birthday party from when you were a kid. Play games like “pin the tail on the donkey” or musical chairs. Pinatas can also be a lot of fun, especially for a bunch of hardworking college students. You can even make your own!
5. Host a murder mystery dinner. Get creative and make your birthday experience a fun night of intrigue and excitement. If you want to go all out, have your murder mystery dinner at one of the cultural houses for a more authentic atmosphere.
6. Head to an amusement park and see if you can hit 21 rides before the day is through. How often do you get to go to an amusement park? Your 21st birthday is definitely worth a day of riding roller coasters, and 21 roller coasters is definitely safer than 21 shots. Six Flags New England is only 40 minutes from campus!
7. Treat yourself like royalty, and get a mani/pedi or other spa treatment. After all, it’s your birthday and you deserve the special treatment. If you’re the kind of person that would rather celebrate by themselves or with only a couple friends, this is a great option besides simply going out to dinner.
8. Have a potluck or fondue party. My friend Sam recently turned 21 and she had fondue for her party, which I thought was a cool, unique idea. Centering your birthday around people and food is always a great way to celebrate. When you center your special day around your favorite people and a fun experience rather than only alcohol, it will be a more memorable experience. You don’t necessarily need alcohol to have fun, but even if you do want to drink, make sure to be responsible and safe!
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