Published on June 28, 2018

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Photography by CINDY LOUGHRIDGE 

Throwing a birthday party for a friend is always a good idea. But what type of party to throw her? Make group dinners a thing of the past with these ideas that can be easily personalized to fit any personality in any city. And while a trip around the sun is worth celebrating any time of year, there’s something extra fun about a summer bash. Whether you’re hosting in the backyard or piling into the car for a mini road trip, these 17 ideas take advantage of warm weather and sunny days.

Throw a chic poolside bash

No one knows how to throw an ultra-luxe party quite like The Fashionable Hostess, and we love that she takes full advantage of her glorious outdoor pool area. Add a few festive, trendy floats and a few summer cocktails for the perfect, laid back day among friends—no lifeguard on duty. 

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Photography by Painting with a Twist

Attend a wine and painting class

Invite a few friends to a paint and sip class where you can bond by drinking wine and creating your very own masterpieces to remember the day by. 

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Philly, you’re glowing✨

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Attend a group fitness class

If getting in a good sweat sounds better than sipping your favorite cocktail, this option is definitely for you. Participate in SoulCycle’s “birthday ride” phenomena with a group of friends or simply head to the nearest fitness class that interests you. 

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I'd never get sick of you

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Go on a cruise

Whether it’s a lake or the ocean, being on a boat is never not fun. Plus, you have tons of choices. You can opt for a booze cruise, a classy dinner, or simply a nice ride—in almost every major city. And with views like you see here, it will be worth the price.

Catch a sporting event

Get a big group together to attend an afternoon (or night!) baseball game. With plenty of sunshine—and beer—good times are guaranteed to be had.

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Photography by Ocean House

Take a weekend trip

Maybe you have some vacation days to blow or you’re simply in the mood for a weekend trip. Meet friends in a new city for the weekend. You’ll have time to relax and—and also have a blast exploring an unfamiliar city. Plus, there are several destinations, like Ocean House Rhode Island that might just be a train ride away.

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Photography by JEFF MINDELL FOR STUDIO DIY

Throw an emoji themed party

Not only are they cute, but you’re sure to know your BFF’s favorites. (Smiley face with the heart eyes, anyone?) Learn how to make these balloons on Studio DIY! and of course, Let’s Get Decorative has the cutest emoji props ever

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Photography by ERIN KUNKEL FOR LEITESCULINARIA.COM

Host a clambake

If you and your friends are seafood lovers, this will be right up your alley. Clambakes and lobster boils are the perfect way to get everyone together in an outdoor setting.

Take a day trip

Road trips are fun, but you don’t always have the time to take a long, extended vacation. Get a few friends together and take a day trip to a nearby destination you’ve been meaning to visit!

Visit a winery

We can’t imagine a more relaxing way to spend a birthday than sipping wine with family and friends. If there are no wineries in your area, book a wine tasting at your local bar. And if all else fails, having a wine night in with friends is never a bad option. 

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My Precious.

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Rent out your favorite restaurant

Renting out a room at your favorite restaurant or bar is guaranteed to be a fun time. People can filter through, nobody is on cleanup duty, and you get to hang out (and eat) with the birthday girl at one of her favorite places. (It doesn’t have to be a fancy locale—a Domino staffer once attended a birthday bash at a Chipotle.)

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Photography by KCB PHOTOGRAPHY FOR 100 LAYER CAKE

Pineapple party

Pineapples continue to trend, and for good reason. Not only are they tasty, but they’re also fun to decorate with—especially in the summer months. Check out this pineapple-themed birthday party on 100 Layer Cake for more ideas. 

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Photography by @LEJARDIN_LA

Rooftop drinks

There’s no denying drinking on a patio or rooftop is more fun than partying indoors—especially when it’s warm out. Plan an event (or small brunch or dinner) at your favorite restaurant or bar for a casual, relaxed vibes and good times with friends.

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Photography by URBANOUTFITTERS.COM

Big balloons

No party is complete without gigantic lettered balloons. Pick some up at your local party supply store or order this kit from Urban Outfitters for an instant photobooth backdrop or entryway decoration.

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Photography by ETSY.COM

Yard game olympics

Backyard parties are always a blast in the summertime. Assemble a variety of games—like corn hole, ladder ball, horseshoes, washers, and kan jam—for for a nice daytime bash.

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Photography by @THATCHEESEPLATE

Fancy dinner

We all dress up for various locations, but when do we ever get fancy just for fun? We’re talking Oscars-level dressed up with an impressive cheese plate. If your guest list is too big for a reservation, you want to cut costs, or simply make your own menu and create your own environment, host at home.

This story was originally published May 9, 2016. It has been updated with new information.

More summer party ideas ahead:


Easy Summer Appetizers Fit for a Crowd
Everything You Need to Throw a Chic Summer Soirée
The 3 Keys to an Epic Dinner Party