40 Unique 40th Birthday Ideas For a Celebration They'll Never Forget (2024)

40 Unique 40th Birthday Ideas For a Celebration They'll Never Forget (1)

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Turning 40 is cause for celebration! It's the start of a new decade in your life. If you're looking for a fun way to start your fourth decade, good news: We've got plenty of 40th birthday ideas to help you celebrate. Whether you want to go on that once-in-a-lifetime trip with your girl friends or spend the day driving around town collecting your birthday freebies, there's no wrong way to celebrate.

If you're not sure how you want to celebrate your 40th birthday, start by thinking about the activities and people that make you happy. Do you love being in nature with your family? Consider a camping trip or a day hike. Do you love drinking and dancing with a big group of friends? Have them over (or rent a bar space) for a blowout party with a great playlist that will get everyone moving. Want to enjoy some quiet time to yourself? Book yourself an appointment at the nearest spa or grab a hotel room for the night. The main priority is doing what you enjoy, and not feeling as though you "should" be doing something different.

If you need to drop any hints about your 40th birthday gift, don't be afraid to send your loved ones our roundup of the best 40th birthday gifts. We've also got some ideas on the best birthday cake alternatives, the best birthday Instagram captions, and the best gifts for a wife, in case you need to drop a few more hints.

1

Have a Spa Day

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Start your 40s on a relaxed note with an indulgent spa day. Enjoy skincare treatments, saunas, steam rooms, mani-pedis and more. You can grab the whole crew to come with you or go solo. If there aren't any good spas near you, you can also create a DIY spa at home with some luxurious bath products, a face mask, and of course, the spa robe and matching headband.

2

Go Camping

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If you've always felt at home in the great outdoors, why not celebrate your 40th birthday with a camping trip? Wake up and enjoy your cup of coffee while taking a walk through the forest, then spend the rest of the day hiking, swimming, or lounging around the campsite. If you don't have camping gear already, you can borrow things from a friend or grab essentials like a tent and air mattress or sleeping pad from Amazon.

3

Throw an Ice Cream Party

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Remember how exciting ice cream parties were when you were a kid? Well, there's no rule saying you can't have an ice cream party for your 40th! We think these fun treats should definitely be on the menu.

Get the full Rainbow Waffle-wiches recipe

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4

Head to a Brewery

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Gather your nearest and dearest and head to the local brewery for a fun and low-key 40th birthday celebration. Many breweries are kid-friendly, so this is a great option if you or your friends don't want to find a babysitter for the evening. Some places are even dog-friendly so Fido can get in on the fun.

5

Host a Charcuterie Party

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Who doesn't love a dinner of cheese, fruit, and cured meats paired with a glass of vino? In honor of your 40th, invite people to come to your house with their favorite charcuterie board staples. Everyone can build their own board (we've got step-by-step instructions and inspiration right here!) or you can create one massive spread. If you're not so into the DIY element, grab a few platters from Boarderie, which ships ready-to-eat charcuterie platters right to your door.

RELATED: How to Throw the Perfect Garden Party

6

Take a Weekend Trip

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Get your friends together for a weekend trip somewhere within easy driving distance of your home. Maybe there's a state park you've always wanted to explore, a fun ski resort, a collection of unique wineries, or a major city with tons of live music you want to listen to. Pick a destination and then find an Airbnb that can fit your whole group.

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7

Take Your Bucket-List Trip

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Why limit yourself to a weekend trip? Maybe it's time to take that trip you've been dreaming about for decades. This admittedly might take a lot of planning, but can't you just imagine yourself starting the next decade of your life in Italy? Or Mexico? Or Thailand? You get the idea.

RELATED: Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks for Your Next Trip

8

Volunteer for a Cause You Care About

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A meaningful way to celebrate your 40th birthday would be to volunteer for a cause that's close to your heart. Being part of a community and giving back is a joyful way to spend any day, and it'll help you start your 40s with gratitude.

RELATED: 28 Bible Verses About Thankfulness and Gratitude

9

Head to the Roller Rink

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If you were queen of the roller rink back in the day, we can't think of a better way to celebrate 40. Lace-up those skates and start grooving your way around the rink. Some rinks can even be rented out for private events if you're looking to go all-out for this year's party.

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10

Have a DIY Pottery Night

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Get creative with an at-home pottery night. This kit comes with everything you need, including air-dry clay, pottery tools, paint, and a starter guide. Bonus: You'll always have a special keepsake to remember your 40th birthday.

Having your tarot cards read can be a very meaningful and fun experience, especially on your birthday. If there are no tarot card readers offering appointments in your area, you can book this virtual Birthday Tarot Card Reading Class with tarot mentor Holly Buczek who will guide you through a customized reading for your birthday.

12

Throw a BIG Party

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If your idea of happiness is music, dancing, and drinks with a ton of people, we think your 40th birthday is a great opportunity to make it happen! Amazon has plenty of 40th birthday decorations to transform your backyard or local bar into party central, plus invitations, party favors, and everything else you'll need.

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13

Treat Yourself to Something Nice

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You're always working hard to make things special for your friends and family, but we say it's time to treat yourself! For your 40th birthday, you should finally buy that thing you've been coveting, like that statement-making handbag, a pair of fabulous heels, a new workout set, or the perfume you sampled a long time ago that you haven't been able to forget about.

14

Book a Sunset Cruise

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If you live near a body of water, see if there are any companies that offer sunset cruises. Some businesses may even allow you to charter a smaller boat just for you and your friends. How fun is that?

15

Spend Some Time Journaling

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Birthdays offer a unique opportunity to reflect on the past year and think about your dreams and goals. Spend a few minutes on your 40th birthday writing about the joys and challenges of the past year, and what you're manifesting for the upcoming one. Another option is to write a letter to your future self, and open it on your next birthday!

RELATED: Here's Exactly What You Need to Start Bible Journaling

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16

Get a Workout In

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A birthday workout is a great way to appreciate all that your body does and will continue to do for you. You can do a simple yoga routine, go for a run, head to a high-energy workout class, or find another way to move your body that feels good.

17

Have a Picnic in the Park

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If the weather is nice, gather your nearest and dearest and head to your local park for a picnic celebration. We've got tons of picnic food ideas to inspire you. Don't forget to bring the utensils!

18

Have a Theme Party

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Your 40th birthday is a great opportunity to have some fun with a themed party. For instance, you could have a Bridgerton-inspired tea party complete with finger sandwiches and Regency-era costumes like this one.

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19

Have an Intimate Dinner Party

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If you'd rather keep things low-key for your 40th birthday, just invite a few friends over for dinner and drinks. We've got plenty of ideas for crowd-pleasing chicken recipes, grilling favorites, and more. But if you aren't up to cooking for a group, make it a potluck or order takeout for a relaxing birthday celebration.

20

Go Wine Tasting

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Whether you're a total wine pro or you usually just buy whichever bottle is cheapest, you'll have fun at a wine tasting. Head to a winery near you to take in the scenery, or do some Googling to find a virtual wine tasting that appeals to you. Either way, you'll get some expert insights on wine that are sure to impress the next time you host a dinner party.

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Jamie Ballard

Contributing Writer

Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance. She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Follow her on Twitter.

40 Unique 40th Birthday Ideas For a Celebration They'll Never Forget (2024)

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