50 Totally Inspired 50th Birthday Party Ideas
Proof that things get better with age: fine wine, cheese, your 401(k) and, of course, you. Now that you’re entering your 50s, you know exactly what you want and how you like it. Except when it comes to how to celebrate the big five-oh, that is. But don’t fret—we have 50 brilliant ideas for a 50th birthday party to commemorate this fabulous milestone. Take a look and get ready for your best year yet.
1. Go Out for Brunch with Your BestiesPick a fun spot to meet with your closest pals and spend the morning celebrating over eggs Benedict and mimosas. Or set up a bagel bar at home—preferably enlisting someone else to do the cooking and the cleaning up.
2. Host a Backyard Barbecue
Gather your nearest and dearest for a fun afternoon of delicious food, great music and socializing. Make it as casual (burgers and franks) or epic (roast a whole pig) as you like. But again, asking friends and family to help out is essential.
3. Go Wine Tasting
Ideally, you would be chauffeured around Napa Valley while sampling the region’s finest offerings, but you can keep it local too. There are plenty of beautiful vineyards around the country, many of which offer other entertainment like food and music. Or contact a local wine bar and ask if they offer private tasting events.
4. Enjoy A Tea Party
Go to the afternoon tea service at your nearest fancy hotel or host your own party. Mini sandwiches, warm scones and pretty pastries can all be prepared (or bought) in advance and assembled just before guests arrive.
5. Try a Tasting Menu at a Fancy Restaurant
If there was ever a time to splurge on a Michelin-starred dinner (or a meal at any chichi locale), it’s on your 50th birthday.
6. Hire a Personal Chef to Cook at Home
Want something a little more low-key (but still totally delicious)? Get a chef to prepare a mouthwatering meal for you at home for an intimate and stress-free soirée.
7. Check out a BreweryChances are good that a local brewery near you gives tours—and offers tasty eats. Call ahead to book your spot and ask about other perks (e.g., many are dog- and child-friendly and some even have live music).
8. THROW A ’50S-THEMED PARTY
Go all in on turning 50 with a decade-inspired bash. Think diner food (like burgers and root beer floats), sock-hop decor and Elvis Presley or doo-wop on the record player. Bring on the poodle skirts and saddle shoes, all you T-Birds and Pink Ladies.
9. Go See a Concert
Seeing your favorite performer live is a guaranteed awesome experience. But even if the Boss isn’t in town, it can be fun to check out the nearest live music venue without worrying about the lineup. You never know, you just might discover a new favorite.
10. Take a Cooking Class
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make sushi? Or marveled at those delightful macarons in the bakery window? Or maybe every time you carve a roast chicken you curse yourself for not knowing the proper method. A quick Google search will reveal classes nearby for you and a group of friends to attend.
11. Plan a Murder Mystery
Why go to a regular old dinner party when you can enjoy an evening of murder and mayhem instead? Whether you host your own (you can get a murder mystery kit here) or book a professional party, this whodunnit evening will be an unforgettable birthday experience.
12. Make It Black Tie
Take things up a notch and celebrate in style by asking guests to don their most sophisticated attire. Whether you hire a private space or turn your living room into a ballroom, formal evening wear is required.
13. Enjoy a Spa DayMake it a social event by gathering a group of friends and going to a Korean day spa (they typically feature multiple levels and rooms for relaxation) or just enjoy the pleasure of your own company at a local salon. Either way, a few hours of pampering is on the menu.
14. Go for a Weekend Away...
Get out of town for a mini-break to check out some new sites, enjoy the local cuisine and feel inspired by being in a new place—physically and figuratively—whether it’s somewhere warm and exotic or a cool city you haven’t been to yet.
15. ...Or Even Longer
That European tour or Caribbean cruise is calling your name. How do you say happy birthday in Italian?
16. Check out a Comedy Show
Grab your friends and laugh your way into a new year. (Pro tip: Just don’t sit in the front row.)
17. Throw a Fondue Party
18. Book a Stay in a Castle
19. Take an Art ClassWhether you’re a budding Picasso or your talents peaked in the third grade, getting in touch with your artistic side is fun and relaxing all at once. We’re especially fans of sip-and-paint events that allow you to sample chardonnay as you color.
20. Have a Game Night
21. Take a Food Tour
Calling all foodies: Check out some of your town’s best eats by going on a food tasting and cultural walking tour. Most big cities offer them, and they’re usually themed by neighborhood or cuisine.
22. Spend a Day at the Races
Mint juleps and outrageous hats required.
23. Go on a Yoga Retreat
Whether you’re a newbie or novice, your body will thank you for stretching your muscles with some yoga in a beautiful destination.
Does your birthday coincide with football season? For mega fans, a tailgate can be a fun way to celebrate—especially with elevated recipes like spinach artichoke squares or spicy glazed popcorn chicken.
25. Run (or Walk) a RaceWe’re not talking about a marathon here (unless you want to, of course). Even a fun run will be, erm, fun. A slice (or two) of cake will definitely be deserved.
26. Learn How to Whip Up Your Favorite Cocktail
Take a mixology class and impress friends and family with your new bartending skills. One Manhattan, coming up.
27. Throw a Casino Party
Bring Vegas to you by hiring a card dealer, dimming the lights and betting for cash (we’re talking pennies or quarters). You can even buy a felt poker table top to add to the ambience. For those who don’t want to learn how to play poker, keep things simple with a game of blackjack.
28. Set Sail
You’ve been busy these past few years—take some time and relax. And what better place to do exactly that than aboard a sailboat surrounded by friends and family? Whether you go for the morning, evening or entire weekend, you’ll be ready to start the year in a tranquil frame of mind.
29. Hit the Town for a Night of Music and Dancing
Because you’ve still got it.
30. Chill Out on the Beach
Spend the day soaking up the sun and then make a fire pit at dusk.
31. Go for a HikeMake a weekend of it and trek to the top of a mountain or just enjoy a leisurely stroll in nature. Either way, you’ll definitely deserve a piece of birthday cake when you’re done.
32. Ride a Hot Air Balloon
A champagne toast at 3,000 feet? Now that’s how you celebrate turning 50.
33. Root for the Home Team at a Sporting Event
We’re not saying your companions have to pay for a special message to appear on the scoreboard, but send them this list and they just might make it happen.
34. Throw a ‘Favorite Things’ Bash
It’s your party and you’ll eat cacio e pepe and watch Golden Girls if you want to. Make a list of your favorite things to eat, see, play or do and put them all together in a fabulous event.
35. Go Glamping
It’s the best way to enjoy Mother Nature. Research glamping sites near you that offer luxurious rooms (toilets and showers are a must) and upscale amenities.
36. Go Gallery Hopping
Discover the local art scene with a group of friends and see if you can find a piece to bring home to commemorate the occasion.
37. Take a Museum TourYou don’t stop learning just because you get older (but you knew that already). Call ahead to see if they offer private tours and grab your friends for an afternoon of learning and culture.
38. Try Your Hand at Glassblowing
Get crafty and learn how to make your own tumblers, trinkets and more with a glassblowing class.
39. Enjoy a Staycation
You don’t need to hop on a plane to go on vacation. Book a five-star hotel nearby, order room service and—ahh—relax.
40. Go See a Show
Whether theater, ballet or opera, a night enjoying the performing arts is sure to be a night to remember.
41. Get a Tattoo
A fun—and perhaps totally unexpected—way to celebrate this milestone. (Just imagine the look on your kids’ faces when you show them.)
42. Purge Your Closet
Organizing is fun. And so is shopping for a new wardrobe. Get inspired to find a new look here.
43. Volunteer for a Good CauseIn lieu of gifts, ask your loved ones to give up their time to a cause that’s dear to your heart instead. It could be volunteering at an animal shelter, tutoring kids or helping build a home. It’s a great bonding experience that you—and others—will be sure to remember. (And you can still go out for brunch after.)
44. Go to the Movies
Rent out the theater to make it a big event…or not. Watching a double bill all by yourself sounds like a great way to spend an evening. Pass the popcorn.
45. Arrange a Fetching Floral Bouquet
Flower design is an art form, but luckily, you can master it with a helping hand. Research classes near you and get ready to transform your home with your beautiful handiwork.
46. Make It a Costume Party
Dressing up isn’t just for Halloween, you know. Pick a theme (your favorite film, a moment in time, whatever) or let your guests dress up however they choose.
47. Throw a Golden Bash
Fifty is known as the golden jubilee year, so go all in on the theme by getting shimmering decorations, serving sparkling wine, donning your finest gold gown and whipping up these champagne doughnuts. (And if someone wants to gift you a gold necklace, well, who are you to stop them?)
48. Go Bowling
This throwback activity just might become a new favorite with friends and family. Up the fun factor by making personalized bowling shirts to celebrate the birthday gal.
49. Host a Cocktail Party
Throwing a dinner for your 20 closest friends is a lot of work. But a sophisticated cocktail soirée, on the other hand, can easily be thrown together with the help of some day-before planning and friends or family members.
50. Check Something Off Your Bucket List
Skydiving? Open mic-night? Watching the sunset in Santa Monica? Whatever’s on your bucket list, just go for it.