4 grown ups gathered around a birthday cake celebrating

19 Brilliant Grown-Up Birthday Plans That Rival Kid Parties

Being an adult doesn’t mean ignoring your birthday. Here, some great ways to celebrate!


By Leah Maxwell

Just because you think you’re too old for a piñata doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate your birthday with all the energy and enthusiasm you had as a kid. I mean, let’s face it: You’re getting older whether you acknowledge the day or not, so why not take the opportunity to do something special just for you? We asked women to share the details of their favorite grown-up birthday celebrations -- their own and others’ -- and these ideas are just the inspiration you need to party it up in a memorable way. And consider this: Is anyone ever really too old for a piñata? I say no.

1. “For my 30th, I had just gotten back in shape after my first baby, so I did a 5K mud run followed by a big fat breakfast burrito. And the weekend of my 28th, I did a birthday weekend burrito extravaganza. Breakfast, lunches, and dinners at all my favorite Mexican restaurants. It was phenomenal. Apparently, I like to celebrate with burritos.” -- Audrey S., Colorado Springs, Colorado

2. “Last year was one of my faves. We went out paddle boarding. It was fun, and something I was a little nervous about doing, which made it an awesome birthday thing, because I felt AMAZING when I got it, and I had a blast.” -- Ginger W., San Diego, California

3. “My husband planned a family road trip to Portland for my 40th. I’m usually the trip planner, so it was special that he did all the work. But before we left I took myself to a spa all by myself. Most excellent.” -- Angela C., Seattle, Washington

4. “My girlfriends threw me a slumber party for my 35th. We had my fave movies playing in the background. So much fun!” – Suz R., Jersey City, New Jersey

5. “Last year, my husband and I went to Boston (and took our cat!). We stayed in a boutique hotel, played tourist, saw the Sox, and then ordered delivery on my birthday. I had gelato and cheesecake in the sheets! I LOVED it. It was just so fun.” -- Sarah A., New York City

6. “We’ve done treasure hunts for our parents when they turn 60, all over the city. They love it! There are new friends/family members at each stop [and at the end there’s] a party. It’s a big adventure!” -- Emily K., Calgary, Alberta

7. “We rented a karaoke machine and had a karaoke party at my house for my 30-somethingth.” -- Tamara B., Los Angeles, California

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8. “My husband took me on a surprise trip for my 30th birthday. I knew we were going somewhere, but the destination was secret. He made all the arrangements, including child care. All I had to do was pack! (We went to New York City!)” -- Krista R., San Francisco, California

9. “We hired a private chef, and he and my husband worked together to make dinner for a group of six (two other couples and us). The chef served and cleaned up. It was less expensive than I thought. Fun night for everyone.” -- Eleanor S., Detroit, Michigan

10. “My husband and I had a cereal party. We bought seven or eight boxes. I ate it out of mugs for endurance and variety. I am an adult, and I do what I want.” -- Jen G., San Mateo, California

11. “I was thrown an amazing garden party for my 30th, which was just bliss. THEN, that evening, my husband was taking me out for dinner, and we stopped at a friend’s house on our way to the restaurant, and in their backyard were ALL of my best friends for a surprise party. So yeah, two parties in one day: one a surprise, the other perfection with my closest girlfriends. Best ever!” -- Amada B., Summerland, British Columbia

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12. “I went to the Dominican Republic for a week when I turned 30 with my two best friends. One had a 14-month-old ... and that amount of uninterrupted-by-kids time was invaluable.” -- Lexa L., Washington, D.C.

13. “I put my foot down, said I hadn’t had a classic party since I was 16, and that I wanted cake and people singing to me. It was very non-elaborate, but we had cake, food, balloons, and drinks. And I got sung to.” -- Stephanie M., Yorba Linda, California

14. “My girlfriends took me to an ’80s video dance party on my 40th. They even brought me neon mesh fingerless gloves.” -- Blythe B., Portland, Oregon

15. “I don’t get to see my parents and siblings as often as I like, so the year I got to have birthday dinner with just them was one I’ll never forget. When we get together it’s usually in a huge group with everyone’s spouses and kids, so having time for just the five of us was really special.” -- Jamie S., Salt Lake City, Utah

16. “For my 30th, my husband rented us a cabin at the beach for the weekend. Just the two of us, and it was really nice.” -- Kacey T., Newport, Oregon

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17. “Junk food party. Everyone brought their fave indulgences, and we pigged out. Everyone also brought their kids, so the kids ran wild, hyped up on sugar, and the adults hung out and caught up. And the calories totally didn’t count.” -- Liv H., Santa Clara, California

18. “I went with my husband on his work trip to San Diego. We stopped by a house at Ocean Beach, walked in, and all of my close friends and in-laws were there for the weekend from the SF Bay Area, L.A., and Vegas to celebrate my 30th. Dumbfounded. Surprise, indeed! My husband had planned the whole thing under my unemployed nose.” -- Elisabeth L., Sacramento, California

19. “After too many years of having just so-so birthdays, I decided I was happier planning my own day, so that’s what I do now. One of my favorite years was when I bought stupidly expensive concert tickets because my favorite band was playing at my favorite venue. So worth it.” -- Jessica O., Oakland, California

What was your best grown-up birthday celebration?


Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/Neustockimages


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If I can have the peach face love birds I've been wanting this year it will be a perfect birthday for me. That and spending time with my kids.

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