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50 Creative 20th Birthday Party Ideas: For Any Season

Create memorable times with 50 enjoyable 20th birthday party ideas for any kind of celebration.

Everyone tends to focus on their 21st birthday, even though turning 20 is a big milestone in life. Celebrating with unique 20th birthday party ideas isn’t always as easy as it sounds. How do you plan an unforgettable day or evening for yourself or someone you care about?

You’ve got plenty to get inspired by with our ample guide to 50 entertaining 20th-birthday ideas. They cover parties for guys and ladies, plus the best way to celebrate with friends. If planning a birthday bash in the summertime or craving a dress-up theme, we’ve got you covered there too.

50 Customized 20th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Join the guys for an afternoon of indoor ax throwing they won’t forget.
  • Throw a roaring 20s-themed party that’s super elegant yet raucous.
  • Bookish Birthday.
  • Backyard Barbecue.
  • Murder Mystery Dinner.
  • Woodland Wonderland.
  • Outdoor Concert.

20th Birthday Ideas With Friends

Find easy 20th birthday party ideas that help friends say Happy Birthday together.

1. Laser Tag

Get ready to burn some calories playing laser tag for a friend’s 20th birthday. There’s no shortage of places to go to get your laser tag on, including some that feature glow-in-the-dark games.

2. Mocktail Party

Since you’re not officially 21 yet, find 20th-birthday party ideas that focus on flavor. A mocktail party can be just as cool as the cocktail alternative. Friends can have a ball choosing an array of recipes, mixers, garnishes, and fancy glasses to use.

3. Cooking Class

A cooking class is one of the most fun things to do for a 20th birthday. Decide on what the birthday guy or girl loves most, from pasta or pizza making to a baking class. Get together as a group and come away with the ability to feed yourselves early on in adult life.

4. Hiking

Turning 20 in the summer is the perfect excuse to go hiking with friends in the great outdoors. Plan a bonfire or campout, or just go for a moderate hike and finish with a much-deserved birthday dinner.

5. Museum Trip

Not all 20th birthday celebration ideas have to be action-packed. If planning for a girlfriend or boyfriend, try taking a museum trip to their favorite place. It may mean the hall of medieval armor, fine art, or an exhibition of dinosaurs.

6. Escape Room

One of the newest ways to impress someone turning 20 is to visit an escape room. You’ll find them everywhere since they’ve become a favorite for a boyfriend or pal. Escape rooms are designed to challenge participants with clues to help them find their way out.

7. Pajama Party

Why spend time dressing up for a 20th birthday party when you can spend it in your pajamas? A pajama party theme is one of the best for girls since they can spend it however they like. Make it a spa party, provide an array of foods, or an epic breakfast they won’t forget.

8. Shopping Spree

This one’s for the ladies since they appreciate a mall shopping spree most of all. Girlfriends can get together in a nearby shopping center (or go for a day trip to the big city). Combine the shopping with stops at fun places, like local restaurants or a spa.

9. Photoshoot

When you’re friends with someone turning 20, it’s the best time to organize a photoshoot. It can be part of a larger birthday celebration or a gathering solely in the name of selfies. Don’t forget to bring plenty of glamorous outfits, bold accessories, and fun props for the shoot.

10. Volunteer

Not all 20th-birthday ideas have to involve wild parties. Taking the day to volunteer for a worthy cause with friends can be just as gratifying. Wherever you decide to lend a hand, it’ll make for one of the most meaningful birthdays ever.

Things to Do for Your 20th Birthday In Summer

When the sun’s shining, find awesome 20th birthday ideas made for summertime.

11. Beach Day

Those born in summer have the advantage of going to the beach for their 20th birthday party. Spend the day surfing or swimming in the waves with those closest to you. A sunset beach picnic is another option when you want to keep the celebration intimate.

12. Fireworks

There is no bolder way to say “Happy 20th Birthday” than beneath a massive fireworks display. Whether at a park, the beach, or in the city, the brilliant colors exploding above your head feel terrific.

13. Outdoor Concert

One of the most memorable things to do for a 20th birthday has to be attending an outdoor concert. It may be part of a multi-day music festival or a one-off show they won’t forget. It takes a lot of organization and planning to pull this birthday gathering together, but it is totally worth it.

14. Bonfire

When heading to a 20th birthday bonfire, you’re about to honor the milestone of adulthood. A bonfire is a great opportunity for guests to tell stories, play music, and enjoy traditions like s’mores. You could even surprise the guest of honor with a s’mores birthday cake.

15. Party Boat

When the weather’s nice, take the party on the high seas with a party boat experience. With plenty of options, locales, and themes, figuring out what to do on the boat won’t be hard. Mention details about the party boat in the invitations so guests know what to expect.

16. Backyard Barbecue

There is no shame in celebrating a 20th birthday party at home with loved ones. A backyard barbecue offers simplicity but doesn’t skimp on good food and a party atmosphere. You can even make the BBQ a potluck, so friends will bring their best dishes to the event.

17. Outdoor Movie Party

Why host a movie night birthday indoors when you can watch your favorite flicks under the stars? Set up a movie screen and provide tons of concession stand-inspired snacks, from popcorn to candy. Of course, it’s a good idea to let the birthday guy or gal pick the film.

18. Paintball

Get together in the name of a loved one’s birthday by shooting paintballs at each other. Strap on your gear, grab your gun, and have the most colorful birthday bash yet. A paintball-inspired birthday cake is a fun-filled way to end the day.

19. Hawaiian Luau

When you can’t spend a 20th birthday in Hawaii, bring Hawaii to your backyard. All it takes to host the coolest Hawaiian luau is planning the most colorful decorations. A few tiki torches, some tropical-themed accessories, and a few grass skirts, and you’re nearly there.

20. Tourist For a Day

If time is on your side, take someone turning 20 to a tourist destination for a day. This may mean visiting the nearest city or a local attraction you’ve never thought to visit. They’ll have a great time and feel as if they’ve traveled far for a wonderful birthday treat.

20th Birthday Dress-Up Themes

Turning 20 is ideal for dressing up with amazing 20th birthday celebration ideas.

21. 2000s Party

Turning the big 2-0 means you can officially celebrate with a 2000s-themed dress-up party. Take inspiration from the TV show Survivor, the rise of hip-hop, and graffiti art. Include a photobooth or take plenty of photos to remember when you went back in time.

22. Murder Mystery Dinner

There’s no time like a 20th birthday party to arrange a murder mystery for guests. Pair the crime to be solved with fancy costumes, an elegant dinner, and lots of clues. Whoever solves the crime should get a special something to take home with their party favors.

23. Neon Party

One of the latest popular 20th birthday party ideas is a neon party, aka glow-in-the-dark. This party should include accessories for dress-up themes, like glow sticks and neon accessories. Once everyone is glowing as bright as the guest of honor, there’s no telling where this party goes.

24. Fashion Show

Most dress-up themes can’t hold a candle to throwing a 20th-birthday fashion show. Set up the party space like a fashion event, complete with runway, music, and lots of cool outfits. Take it a step further by including a theme for the night, like “Spring Collection” or “20 Years of Glamor.”

25. TV Shows

Need to impress someone you love who’s turning 20? Easy — throw a birthday party inspired by their favorite TV show. Everyone will love dressing up like their favorite character and hanging out in TV land for a night.

26. Red Carpet Birthday

One way to make a birthday guy or gal feel important is by turning their party into an awards show. Set up the red carpet and be ready for tons of photos when the guests show up. Give the Lifetime Achievement Award for Best 20-year-old to the person turning 20.

27. Cowboy Party

When your favorite cowboy is celebrating his 20th birthday, give him a party John Wayne would love. An outdoor cowboy party is one of the best 20th birthday celebration ideas for him. Those in attendance can don their cowboy hats and boots to say Happy Birthday, Old West-style.

28. Bookish Birthday

For the bookworm in your life, throw them a book-themed birthday party they’ll appreciate. You can use vintage book pages as decorations and get everyone to dress as their favorite literary character. This birthday should include a few readings and a cake inspired by a classic novel.

29. Hippie Party

When the year 2000 isn’t far back enough, spend a 20th birthday bash in the late 1960s. A boho hippie fest won’t break the bank when it comes to dressing up or decorating. Include a ’60s rock playlist and award the best costume celebrating peace and love.

30. Black and White Party

Get sophisticated for the 20th birthday guy or girl with a bold black-and-white party. Get guests to come dressed for the theme and include black and white in every aspect of the celebration. This includes decorations, table settings, and the birthday cake.

20th Birthday Party Ideas for Her

These inventive 20th-birthday ideas are made for the ladies.

31. Spa Party

When planning 20th birthday ideas for her, you might head to a hotel spa or day spa with the gals. You can also consider a DIY spa party at home for a small group. Pick up some personalized robes and set up stations for manicure/pedicure, facials, and makeup.

32. Roaring 20s

Turn a friend’s arrival to her 20s into the roaring 20s with this elegant dress-up affair. Flapper accessories and Art Deco decorations are not hard to come by, depending on the party itself. Decide what to do, from a dinner or cocktail party to a dance party.

33. Afternoon Tea

If you decide on 20th birthday party ideas for your daughter, a tea party will impress. This is especially true for those with a birthday occurring in the winter. Arrange tea cakes and finger sandwiches on a tiered stand and decorate using vintage teapots, if possible.

34. Charcuterie Party

Wine tastings might not be feasible for those under 21. A compromise for adults turning 20 is a charcuterie party. They fall under a recent trend to build bigger and bigger charcuterie boards, from traditional to sweet.

35. Silver Theme

Sometimes, a decorative theme is all you need for last-minute 20th birthday party ideas. Fill the space with silver balloons, garlands, and place settings. You could ask guests to wear silver and plan on giving the birthday guy or girl a silver-themed birthday card.

36. Hotel Party

For a unique destination birthday, take the guest of honor and her pals to a hotel for the party. Partying in a hotel space makes you feel like you’re miles away from home, even if you’re across town. Bring decorations, snacks, and the birthday cake for the ultimate female slumber party.

37. Woodland Wonderland

When you announce a friend’s woodland wonderland birthday party in the invitation, guests will show up. It may mean a backyard garden party complete with enchanted forest decor or a trip to the woods.

38. Arts and Crafts

For those who like their 20th birthday celebration ideas constructive, arrange an arts and crafts gathering. Decide on a focus, from painting and ceramics to jewelry making, and plan accordingly. Guests will love being able to take home their own handmade party favors.

39. Potluck Picnic

When you’re celebrating a 20th birthday on a budget, go for a potluck picnic with the gals. It saves on decorating and party space rentals, along with an extensive menu. Friends can bring their favorite dishes to a low-key picnic, which may include bread, meats, and cheeses.

40. Girl’s Quiz Night

Game nights aren’t just for guys — you’ll find this out when you experience a girl’s quiz night birthday. Have fun with trivia, charades, and other unique games the ladies can play. It’s almost like a slumber party without the sleepover part.

20th Birthday Party Ideas for Him

Guys in their prime will flock to these 20th-birthday ideas for a momentous day of fun.

41. Bucket List

Turning 20 is never too early to start a bucket list. Capitalize on this idea for a buddy’s 20th birthday to inspire him. Personalize with blank bucket list cards that include ideas from skydiving to seeing Paris. There are also pre-filled bucket list posters the birthday guy can scratch off to find adventure.

42. Level 20 Unlocked

Guys turning 20 still tend to be big fans of gaming, so take advantage of their birthday celebration. Throw a “Level 20 Unlocked” party, where friends can compete in their favorite games together. Better yet, rent a gaming party truck for an unforgettable gamer birthday bash.

43. Road Trip

One of the most memorable 20th birthday ideas for guys is a road trip to somewhere special. Have a few people organize the trip and make sure those taking part have free schedules. Decide on the points of interest you want to visit to spend a few days on a wondrous journey.

44. Food Truck Crawl

Since a brewery might not admit those under 21, go for a food truck crawl instead. Hit up your favorite spots and sample their best offerings one by one. The birthday boy will have a full stomach and a day of fun with his best guy friends.

45. Music Jam Session

When heading to a music festival or outdoor concert proves too complicated, take the birthday celebrant to a jam session. They’re a smaller, more informal version of a concert and delightfully off-the-cuff. Who knows — maybe all of you will end up playing with the band by the end of the night.

46. Comedy Club

Most comedy clubs allow 20-year-olds to enjoy jokes with the rest of the crowd. Go to your favorite venue for an open mic night, a variety show, or an hour with your favorite comedian. After a night of laughter, turning 21 in a year’s time may not seem so daunting.

47. Ax Throwing

Few things to do for a 20th birthday are as awesome as a day of ax throwing. Many places host parties and offer a bevy of delicious food and drink to go with your ax party. See who can hit the target for the perfect birthday photo opportunity.

48. Casino Party

Host an exciting casino party at home when you can’t go to Vegas for the weekend. This may mean setting up a poker game or going all out with a roulette wheel. Include some fun casino decorations and a casino-themed birthday cake after the big game.

49. Scuba Diving

If you’re lucky enough to live in a location with ocean access, take the birthday boy scuba diving. It may pair up with a friend’s trip to someplace tropical or just mean a short drive. Scuba diving provides a thoughtful adventure for someone turning 20.

50. Retro Bowling

With neon, glow-in-the-dark, and full-service restaurants, a bowling birthday party is entertaining. If you decide on a retro bowling adventure, it’s time to dress up like it’s the 1950s. Bowl a strike while listening to vintage hits by Elvis Presley and chowing down on hamburgers.

What Does a 20th Birthday Symbolize?

Turning 20 years old means that you have graduated from your teenage years. Even though you’re technically an adult at 18, 20 truly signifies the end of that awkward and somewhat challenging time. You’re officially in your twenties and should be congratulated for entering the first actual decade of adulthood.

How Can I Make My 20th Birthday Special?

You’ve got loads of cool choices as to how best to celebrate your 20th birthday. If choosing a traditional party, there are dress-up themes, from favorite decade to a masquerade ball. A concert or sports event can replace parties, like a fancy dinner or an escape room. A low-key beach day with friends or a hike in nature represents other ways to mark this special day.

20th Birthday Party Ideas FAQs

Why is 20 a Big Birthday?

Turning 20 years old is when being a teenager comes to an end. 20-year-olds are soon to contend with the real world, from work and living on their own to relationships. Whatever their path in life, those turning 20 are ready, willing, and able to live largely.

What are the Perks of Turning 20?

A 20-year-old is usually free of most restraints in life. They’re not tied down to a career or serious job yet and can seek out what they want. They’ve got the freedom to move around, travel, and decide what kind of life they want to live.

What Should I Do for My 20th Birthday With No Friends?

A 20th birthday is an ideal time to do something different with friends. If you mostly go out to eat or drink, take a boat ride instead. If you’re always out and about, spend the day at home watching movies. When you want to learn something new, use a 20th birthday to take a cooking or dance class together.

How Do Introverts Throw Birthday Parties?

It is sometimes difficult for introverts to throw big birthday bashes. They tend to be shy and feel drained after hours of social engagement with larger groups. Luckily, there is no rule that you have to throw a massive party for your birthday.

If smaller is better, keep the gathering intimate and centered around an event instead of partying. You can also celebrate with just one or two good friends and your family.

What Should I Gift Myself on My 20th Birthday?

When turning 20, get yourself something that provides satisfaction and tranquility. A special item you’ve been wanting is a good start, as is a meal on your own, a class, or a day off. No matter which you choose, it’s important to take care of yourself when officially becoming an adult.

What is a Good 20th Birthday Caption?

Many good quotes exist to say “Happy 20th Birthday” and entertain the special guy or girl. Something as simple as “Celebrating 20 years of awesomeness” gets the jobs done. Other choices include “Cheers to 20,” “20th birthday vibes only,” and “20, fabulous, and ready for anything!”

Headshot of Maryana Vestic

About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.