Ideas for hosting a 50th birthday party
Whether someone is turning the big five-oh, celebrating a half-century, or feeling 50 and fabulous, they deserve a big birthday bash. No matter how you say it, 50 is a big deal. In fact, we can only think of one milestone birthday that’s bigger — and you’ll have to wait another half-century to get there!
Over the years, the birthday boy or girl has probably had a lot of unique experiences, which can make it hard to plan a birthday celebration that doesn’t make them roll their eyes and go, “Been there, done that.” But with these 50th birthday party ideas, you’ll find one-of-a-kind suggestions that your guest of honor will love — even if that’s you!
50th Birthday Party Ideas Your Guests Will Never Forget
We’ve rounded up 25 of the best 50th birthday party ideas to inspire your celebration. Pick a party idea your guest of honor will love, and start your party planning with our complete guide. If you’re planning a 50th birthday bash in the time of COVID, check out our guide to social distancing events to keep your guests safe.
1. Host a Tasting
For a foodie’s 50th, throw a tasting party. Lots of foods and drinks — wine, chocolate, whiskey, honey, cheese, olive oil — have widely different tastes depending on the varietal, region, and flavor profile. Choose your guest of honor’s favorite foods, write the menu on an adorable chalkboard, and get ready to sip and savor.
2. Hire a Celebrity Speaker
From athletes to scientists to favorite bands, a guest speaker or entertainer that the birthday boy or girl admires will be something they’ll always remember. Choose a favorite celeb from the guest of honor’s childhood to find someone who is more likely to be available (and affordable).
3. Rent Out the Aquarium
If your loved one loves the ocean, rent the local aquarium for the evening. The aquarium all lit up will be so beautiful you won’t need any other party decorations.
4. Throw a Theme Party
A birthday party theme can make it easy to plan a cohesive event. Just think of something your guest of honor loves — sports, movies, grape soda, anything can be a theme — then everything from your 50th birthday party decorations to your party games to your cupcake toppers will fall into place.
5. Visit a Brewery
For the birthday boy or girl who loves a good brew, plan to visit a local brewery or go brewery hopping if there are a few in your area. You may even be able to get a tour and see how the beer is made. This brew bash invite is perfect for this idea.
6. Host a Red Carpet Event
There’s no better time to go big than a 50th birthday. Plan a red carpet event that makes your guest of honor feel like a celebrity. Then, make their entrance extra special with a confetti drop when they walk through the door.
7. Go on a Camping Trip
For a more casual birthday celebration, commune with nature on a camping trip. Gather your friends and family members, sit around a fire, roast s’mores, and tell scary stories.
8. Tour Wine Country
Wineries make a great weekend getaway for a big birthday, and there may be a wine region closer than you think. California, Washington, and Oregon all have impressive wine producers, but there are also beautiful wineries in New York, Virginia, Texas, and beyond.
9. Tee Off on an Exclusive Golf Course
If your birthday boy or girl is a golf aficionado, make a reservation at a beautifully manicured golf course. Play the best course in your town, or use this as an excuse to play a bucket-list round of golf at Augusta or Pinehurst. Bonus: Golf goes great with all those over-the-hill jokes you’re dying to make.
10. Have a Low-Country Boil
For a seafood lover, a low-country boil will provide the perfect 50th birthday party food. And it’s deceptively easy to throw together — just throw all your seafood and potatoes into one pot, add some Old Bay, and boil. But first, don’t forget to send out a stylish seafood boil invitation.
11. Relax at a Yoga Retreat
If your guest of honor would like to start their next half-century with a bit of zen, plan this weekend birthday escape. The birthday girl or boy and their closest friends will spend the weekend doing yoga, meditating, eating fresh food, and enjoying nature.
12. Visit a Michelin-Starred Restaurant
For foodies looking to check something off their bucket list, eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant will provide the unforgettable dining experience they’re craving. If there isn’t a Michelin-starred restaurant in your area, look for a place that offers a tasting menu and wine pairings.
13. Throw a Fundraising Gala
This 50th birthday party idea is a great way to give back. Celebrate with friends, family, and coworkers in an elegant setting, and tell anyone looking for a gift idea to donate to the guest of honor’s favorite charity.
14. Make It a Surprise Party
It’s fun to surprise a birthday girl or boy with all their loved ones and all their favorite things. But for a 50th, they might see it coming. To avoid being found out, throw your surprise party a week or two before the actual birthday.
15. Get Schooled in Craft Cocktails
Your guest of honor may think they have the know-how to make the perfect cocktail, but a craft cocktail class will show them all the skills they need to go from amateur bartender to pro mixologist. This idea keeps the conversation (and the booze!) flowing for a fun 50th birthday party.
16. Throw a Dinner Party
Dust off your wine glasses and open your home to friends and family with an intimate dinner party. If you’re not much of a cook, have the evening catered by your guest of honor’s favorite restaurant.
17. Make It a Black-Tie Affair
Ask guests to dress up in their most elegant duds for a black-tie affair. This event allows you to go all out with a beautiful venue, elegant table decorations, and elaborate centerpieces. Have dinner and dancing, and ask a close friend or family member to make a toast.
16. Have a Retro Bash
Going retro is a perfect 50th birthday theme. Celebrate the birthday boy’s or girl’s 50s like it’s the 1950s, with party-goers wearing poodle skirts or leather jackets and white T-shirts. Or throw it back to the guest of honor’s favorite decade with an ‘80s or ‘90s theme party.
17. Zen Out With a Spa Day
Take your guest of honor and their best pals to the spa for massages, facials, and a steam. Split the cost of the birthday boy’s or girl’s treatments as a beautiful 50th birthday gift. To get your guests excited before the main event, send a lovely spa-inspired invite and include all the details.
18. Swim With Dolphins
Here’s one for the bucket list: Take your whole crew on an ocean adventure to swim with dolphins or sharks. Or, choose a freshwater friend, and swim with manatees. Either way, this 50th birthday party idea is sure to go swimmingly.
19. Cruise on a Catamaran
Speaking of the ocean, a catamaran cruise is an all-inclusive day trip — meaning no one has to spend their time buying birthday party supplies or DIY-ing decorations. Guests just show up, and all your food, drinks, and fun are provided for you.
20. Enjoy an Evening of Jazz
If the birthday girl’s or boy’s favorite playlist includes Miles Davis and Chet Baker, spend their birthday party at a jazz club or hire jazz musicians to play at your event.
21. Rent an Antique Train Car
For history buffs, antique trains will take them back to a more romantic time (even if these trains don’t actually go anywhere). Rent out an old dining car, serve prohibition-era cocktails, and ask guests to dress in their finest flapper attire.
22. Get Front-Row Tickets to a Sporting Event
Hey there, sports fans! Take your birthday boy or girl to see their favorite team. You can look for a section that still has room to seat all your friends and family, or you can bring everyone up to a luxury box for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Either option will make for one happy birthday!
23. Have a Trek In, Trek Out Party
For all the adventurers out there, choose a remote locale, and have guests fill their backpacks with all the party food and birthday party supplies you need to make the day great. Hike to a secluded spot, and set up your birthday party in a far-off cabin, a clearing in the woods, or a plateau overlooking a scenic landscape. Bonus points if you can get the birthday cake in without messing up any of the frosting.
24. Go to a Fashion Show
You don’t have to live in Paris or Milan to go to a fashion show. National department stores and small local boutiques often host fashion shows. So, send out a chic invitation, gather your friends and show everyone just how fabulous 50 can be.
25. Host a Roast
If your guest of honor has a great sense of humor, host a comedy roast. You can hire a comedian or ask friends and family to write hilarious speeches to poke some fun at the honoree. But if you dish it out, make sure you can take it — it’s traditional for the guest of honor to get the last word at a roast with a speech that makes fun of everyone who roasted them.
Time to Make Those Milestone Memories
The best 50th birthday party ideas are a reflection of the birthday boy or girl you’re celebrating. If you’re still not sure what to plan for your guest of honor, make a list of the things they love. For foodies, host a tasting. For adventurers, trek to a remote party locale. And for glamazons, go to a fashion show.
At the end of the day, as long as you invite the guest of honor’s favorite people, you’ll have a milestone birthday they’ll remember. Get everyone to the party by sending online invitations directly to guests’ inboxes. It makes the planning easier, letting you focus on all your big 50th birthday party ideas.