A few days before my 30th birthday, I called a close friend who had already passed the milestone and asked her for any advice about the big event. Her words of wisdom made me relax, sit back, and laugh. She said, "There's so much pressure to have it all together by the time you turn 30, and no one tells you that it doesn't really matter. The day looms, and then the day passes."
There was something liberating about my friend's thoughts, something that made it easier to take the day in stride. Because it's true: My birthday came and went, and I'm still figuring out how to be an "official" adult. But whether you're not too big on birthdays or you designate a "birthday month," turning 30 is likely going to be something that you'll remember for years to come. So it's worth celebrating how you see fit.
If this new decade is around the corner and you're trying to figure out how to ring it in, we put together 15 birthday ideas to help you mark the day with a little or a lot of fanfare. These possible parties are broken down into budget-friendly choices, moderately pricey picks, and splurge-worthy affairs so you can decide which option sounds right to you.
Turning 30 may be intimidating, but by making it an occasion—and keeping some perspective—it's bound to be just fine.
Order a round at your favorite dive bar. This option is casual, fun, and destined to bring your closest friends out for a good time.
Rent a karaoke room. Split the cost with your invites and get ready to belt out your favorite tunes.
Throw a house party. Ask your friends to help with a potluck buffet, and then put a playlist together that will have everyone on their feet.
Book an escape room. This is always a fun idea if you have a small group of friends who are willing to work together. Whether you beat the clock or not, head to a bar after to celebrate.
Spend the day outdoors. If you prefer to start a new decade with some fresh air, invite friends on an excursion that culminates in a feast afterward. This can mean finding an easy hiking trail, spotting a place to go mountain biking, or seeing about renting kayaks for pairs.
Grab tickets to a concert. You could either see your favorite headliner as they travel through town or investigate an up-and-coming band that seems promising. Whatever it is, make sure to dress up with friends before you go.
Reserve a private room at a restaurant. Whether you have a favorite spot or you've been meaning to try a popular menu, this option should make eating out feel more special. A birthday cake dessert is a given, too!
Rent an Airbnb for the weekend. Who says you need to go out of town to have a vacation? By booking an overnight stay at a nearby Airbnb—hopefully one that has a pool or hot tub—you can still feel like you're on a getaway with your closest pals.
Road trip to a close destination. Hit the road for a destination that's at most two hours away. Maybe this place has a famous diner or a beautiful museum, or perhaps it's full of beautiful local shops. For instance, if you're in Los Angeles, you can hightail it to Ojai or Santa Barbara, and if you're in New York City, opt for somewhere in the Hudson Valley.
See a sporting event. The perfect moment of your birthday might just happen when your team scores the winning point. And there's nothing wrong with indulging in concession stand eats, either.
Go abroad. Have you always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower on your 30th? Or maybe you've dreamed of celebrating in Bali? Now is the time to go. Invite a close friend or significant other to join you, and make this dream happen.
Fly to another city. At the same time, if you want to get away but it isn't the best time to head overseas, try exploring a different city in America. Book a stay in New Orleans for the party scene, hit up Nashville to go line dancing, or visit Jackson Hole for outdoor adventures.
Spend an entire weekend at a spa. Get a facial, book a massage, show off a manicure, and spend an afternoon going in and out of a steam room. Now that's a relaxing way to celebrate.
Hire a private driver to explore different wineries for the day. It may also be worth it to book a hotel stay nearby, too.
Host a catered party at your home. And make an entrance in that pricey-but-perfect outfit you deserve.
Up next: 17 Fun Things to Do on Your Birthday When You're All Out of Ideas