5 Ways to Celebrate Your 21st Without Alcohol

So, you're twenty-one! What now? Maybe you're not a huge fan of tequila shots, and you're not too keen on vodka cranberries. That's okay! Because contrary to popular belief, there are great ways to celebrate your twenty-first that don't involve a visit from the “Mother of All Hangovers.”

Sure, far as twenty-first birthdays are concerned, for most college students and young adults in general, the prospect of finally being able to buy your own drinks often takes the cake (no pun intended). So, it's really no surprise that a lot of people tend to assume that alcohol is essential to the big 2-1.

"But Cindy, isn't that what twenty-fun is all about?" Not even close! There are plenty of ways to have fun and be sober on your big day.

1. Go to a casino

That's right! Sure, 21 means it's legal to drink, but it also means you're officially allowed to gamble! Yeah, so it isn't the best hobby, but it's a fun experience, and definitely not one that you would have had before. And on the plus side, you might even get to take home some cash – birthday shopping spree, anyone? Get a group of 21+ friends and head to a casino for a night of fun!

2. Have a mock-tail party

Some people say that they can't taste the alcohol in cocktails. You beg to differ. It doesn't mean that you can't toast to 21 years. Have a girl's night, and make yourself a delicious mock-tail (choose one from this list!). They're fairly reminiscent of their boozy alternatives, minus the bitter vodka aftertaste and hangover.

3. Go on a freebie run

This one is a classic, and one that I take part in regardless of how old I'm turning. There's a million and one places in the area that will give you freebies on your birthday, including, but not limited to Sephora, IHOP and Tropical Smoothie. It might not be the same as a night out on the town, but sometimes, you end up having the most fun doing the simplest things. I don't know about you, but I'm always down for going all over town with my closest friends and snagging some great deals while I'm at it.

4. Go on a road trip

Did you know that you can't rent a hotel room unless you're 21+? I don't know if you've ever tried it, but I sure have, with no avail. Turning 21 gives you the perfect opportunity to schedule a fun road trip with your friends, seeing as you'll finally be able to secure a place to sleep (and trust me, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that you can just sleep in the car, it sucks). Use it as a reason to go somewhere new, maybe even a little further away from home than you've been before.

5. Find fun 21+ events!

Those concerts and parties that your 20-year-old self has always been curious about are now open to you! Going to 21+ events are a great way to experience new things right in your own town. There's always something going on, so it shouldn't be hard to find your cup o' tea.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate your 21st, it's important to remember that it's still your day. Your 21st birthday is just as much your own as the last twenty before it. Alcohol isn't a requirement for twenty-one, just like it isn't an indicator of adulthood or fun in general. Celebrate in a way that makes you comfortable because that matters the most. You've got lots of options! The world is your oyster, after all. And last but not least, happy birthday!