Thirty is a milestone year in every man’s life.
Whether you’re planning your own epic adventure or are thinking about how to show a brother in arms a great time, a destination 30th birthday is a great concept.
In this guide, we’ll provide some party and celebratory locations ideas with simple details to get you started.
Of course, not all men are into the same things, so I’ve done a bit of research to account for taste, budget, and interests.
Of course this is the first entry on a list that explores epic birthday party locations and pastimes. While you can easily spend a weekend gambling, enjoying the food and drink offerings along the Strip, and taking in the many epic shows, there’s more to Las Vegas than just excess.
Step off the Strip if you need a break from the excitement, and explore the history of the town as well as the natural wonders of the region. The Mojave Desert, while relatively unpopulated in many regions, has some of the most breathtaking sights, nature trails, and campsites.
In many ways, it is the reverse reflection of the Strip—clean, dry spaces where the light is natural and the landscape is undisturbed.
If you’re not in the mood to travel, plenty of activities are available in the nearest city. Wherever you are, plan a day full of the things dearest to your friend or, if you’re the birthday boy, dearest to you. Museums, shows and cultural events, sports events, restaurants and pubs, as well as a spot of adult entertainment if the mood takes you, are all a part of any well-developed urban settlement.
Take a bit of time to see what your city has on offer, and put together a day that will serve as a fond memory for years to come.
Can you say, “epic road trip?” It doesn’t matter what time of year a birthday occurs, this National Park has sights to see in every season. While camping and hiking are best done in summer or early autumn, skiing, snowshoe exploration, and plenty of excellent party locations are available in or around the park.
If you and your friends are into climbing, Yosemite offers some of the most amazing opportunities, like Half Dome. The same geologic formation can be hiked along the back way if climbing is not to your taste. The beauty and majesty of this spot are somehow fitting for a birthday as significant as 30.
Drinking, sailing, snorkeling, and relaxation are the name of the game in these isles. The Keys are right along the northern border of some of the richest marine habitat in the Western Hemisphere, and they are easy to get to by car or plane.
Whether the modus operandi is relaxing in palm-dappled shade with a cool drink or playing among the brightly colored underwater coral gardens, the Keys are the place to be.
Now, while you may elect to make this a destination birthday as well, if history is a passion for your friend, consider making a day of it. For example, if Colonial American History is his jam—go to Boston or Philadelphia for a weekend. These cities, among others in the region, are filled with both historic sites and dedicated museums.
Plus, there are many venues to relax and refresh yourselves after a day of time travel. Another concept that centers around the museum is the Night for Grown-Up Stuff idea. Many museums, from national history to hard science and natural science locations offer special evenings of food, drink, play, and occasionally even movies.
Conventions are specific and should be matched to what a person enjoys most, but your buddy’s birthday doesn’t have to coincide for you to present him with his very own pass. While San Diego’s Comicon is nearly impossible to get into, Atlanta’s Dragoncon is comparatively cheap and easy to visit.
Plan the weekend, book the room, and buy the tickets—advance purchase is advised, as well as cheaper in the long run. There are a number of domestic conventions for every interest—from civil war historians and hard science enthusiasts to fantasy/science fiction or comic book enthusiasts.
Pretty much any excuse to visit this city will fly. If you want to spend the day with your friends taking in sights or sporting events, few urban landscapes are more accommodating. The Windy City is a cosmopolitan place, full of different cultural food opportunities, fantastic sporting events, and even places like the Field Museum and the University of Chicago.
You could fill an entire weekend with pursuits and entertainments, and still have more to do on your next visit.
It sounds tame, but these classes are often quite the place to enjoy the company of friends or even make it a date night with significant others. The basic concept is to introduce those attending to a new cuisine, and walk them through preparation. Then, a delicious meal is enjoyed, along with the satisfaction of knowing that you prepared it.
It can be a main event, or simply a prelude to fun on the town with a group of friends. The reason why it’s a great 30th birthday celebration is because, if your friend is interested in cooking for himself, it teaches you a new skill, and allows you to become comfortable in the kitchen when working with exotic materials.
Chances are, we all have something that could pass for dapper by the time we hit 30. However, the art of attire is something we seldom take time for in our lives. We call it a luxury, and are often reticent to spend the time or money on fittings, quality tailoring and materials for our own sake. For your friend’s 30th birthday, take him to get an outfit—from soup to nuts, as it were.
Don’t stop at the suit and shirt, get the shoes, the belt, the tie as well. This is a gift that can be given by a group—and the expense of truly high-quality clothing can be shared out more equitably. Who says shopping is only for women? With men’s clothiers, the fuss and bother are often omitted, and the process is streamlined.
Options are presented in one or two shops, rather than all over the known world, which can reduce the stress of shopping and allow the luxury of it to shine through.
It sounds antiquated, but it can actually be a lot of fun—and you don’t even need to catch anything. Write your own Fish Stories with a group of close friends for this special birthday—plan for a great meal over an open campfire or in a park’s grill, if restrictions are in place. Spend the afternoon and evening bonding with your buddies, exchanging news, fishing, being peaceful in each other’s company.
It means a great deal to have a group of friends you feel you can trust at age 30—no longer a adolescent or a young buck, but a grown man for which priorities may shift. The art of being friends is often underappreciated, but easy to revive with a little food, drink, and time to talk.
If your buddy is a bookworm, plan a weekend vacation centered around their favorite authors. You could visit Hemmingway’s favorite domestic haunts, the homes of D.H. Lawrence or Carl Sandberg, even make time to head to Santa Fe and George R.R. Martin’s retro theater—the Jean Cocteau Cinema.
Believe it or not, it will forever impact the way your friend sees his favorite writers. Occupying space they do or did adds another dimension to our understanding of a writer’s work, even those who dabble in worlds that never were.
We’ve talked about going to see a sporting event, but if your buddy is one who still enjoys participating in local sports, getting involved is a great way to show you truly care. You could organize a pickup game of soccer or baseball with the local men’s league to which your friend belongs.
Alternately, reserving time at the paintball range, playing a game of ultimate Frisbee in the park, or even arranging for practice shooting at a local gun range are great ways to get involved. Afterward, a celebratory dinner at a restaurant he enjoys is essential—even if your team did not carry the day.