21st birthdays—a moment in a young adult’s life where every aspect of the world finally rests in their hands. You feel on top of the world—unconquerable and ready to face your future head-on. However, the pandemic made the celebratory routine of a 21st birthday vastly different for not just UCLA students, but everyone! With the outside world on hold momentarily, activities to commemorate another year around the sun can be hard to find.
Check out 10 spots near UCLA to celebrate your 21st birthday!
1. Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge
Only twenty-five minutes from campus, Pharoah Karaoke Lounge serves as a 21+ venue to get even the wallflowers of the party belching out a tune or two. With neon strobe lights highlighting its interior and over 400 songs to choose from, the Pharoah Karaoke Lounge’s club atmosphere earns a five-star rating.
Not a fan of performing in front of large crowds? Pharaoh Karaoke Lounge has thirty-four private rooms available for an intimate karaoke experience and includes booze in your package deal to give you some liquid courage. A win-win in the world of karaoke!
If you indulge in the universe of gaming, keep EightyTwo as an honorary mention for a 21st birthday venue. Inside the establishment contains every gamer’s dream, from streaming hubs, a retro gaming area and a full bar. You cannot deny the endless amounts of fun awaiting you—and maybe a few networking opportunities for gamers too.
Although EightyTwo has a location in Los Angeles, their Houston location also serves up the fun for Texas residents. With the beautiful indoor tree-lined patio paired with the joint’s nightly DJs, this 21st gamer bar illuminates the atmosphere making your 21st a birthday to remember.
3. Los Angeles Penthouses
Wanting to make your 21st birthday exclusive often comes into play when figuring out exactly how you want to celebrate it. Thankfully, Los Angeles houses some of the most beautiful penthouses in existence to help individuals achieve just that.
“I rented a penthouse in Downtown LA with a really nice view and invited some friends over to commemorate my 21stthe right way. Good music, food and some 21st festivities were all we needed to make the night memorable,” UCLA junior Niabi Campbell said.
Whether plans fall through for a night on the town or you want a more intimate party environment, private locations could be the way to go. You can never go wrong with a penthouse party.
Perch LA identifies as a relaxing dining experience specifically made for the 21+ community to enjoy. Specializing in French small plates and handcrafted cocktails, this venue rates a 10 out of 10 for an elegant and peaceful 21stbirthday experience. Not only does this rooftop experience offer 15th-floor outdoor dining, but it also highlights a fantastic view of LA’s skyline.
Having a significant other requires alone time in a secluded and special place to celebrate each other’s milestones through your twenty-one rotations around the sun. Thankfully, Los Angeles features some of the most romantic locations to celebrate special occasions like these.
Firefly attests to being the most romantic restaurant in Los Angeles with overall location vibes to confirm this. Solidified with a full bar, outdoor patio dining and an indoor library lounge for those focused on the fine cocktails and appetizers, this location reigns perfect for an intimate dinner with the one you love most.
Located in Century City, six minutes from UCLA’s campus, Javier’s excels in authentic Mexican food and its captivating scenery.
“The set-up of the restaurant was unique; they also specialize in margaritas, so I spent that night trying drinks with my friends. With a main dining room, al fresco patios, intimate private dining room and bar to fit their customers’ ideal dining experience, Javier’s exquisite customer service, dishes and beverages make it hard to overlook them as a possible destination for a 21st birthday dinner,” UCLA senior Zayala Fitzgerald said.
Their hand-shaken margaritas, rare tequilas, craft cocktails and a vast selection of beer and fine wines serve as a go-to spot for newcome twenty-one-year-olds to test their taste buds for hopeful new favorite alcohol beverages.
7. Nightingale Plaza
Nightingale Plaza highlights four central environments for your experience: A High Energy Main Room, two interior lounges, full bars and a garden oasis. With these four environments, this night club combines dining, mixology and entertainment.
“I didn’t want to go to a club but ended up at one anyway and had a great time. My best friend and I met up with my other friends and had some drinks and danced until our feet hurt,” Texas A&M University-Commerce junior Raven Johnson said.
With a menu curated by an executive chef, two selected lounges with vintage leather and velvet furniture and LED lights illuminating the dance floor, Nightingale Plaza distributes an introduction to nightlife in Los Angeles.
8. Iceland Ice Skating Rink
Iceland Ice Skating Rink in Van Nuys, California presents itself as a place of fun for people of all ages. Serving as a location that brings the passion for all sports on-ice activities out of all their customers, this venue allows for public and private party options to cater to all audiences.
“I’m from Chicago and I missed going to the roller rink and the cold atmosphere in general, so I combined the two in the form of ice skating,” UCLA senior Juno Suzuki said.
Offering fun activities like bumper cars on ice, broomball and hockey, the Iceland Skating Rink brings back childhood-like memories to reminisce about for years to come.
9. Janss Steps (Kuruvunga Steps)
Looking to celebrate your 21st on a budget? Stay on campus and have a picnic with your friends on UCLA’s Janss Steps (looking to be renamed to the Kuruvunga Steps).
“Because of COVID-19, my absolute forever love for picnics and the gorgeous weather, I knew immediately that I wanted to have a cute picnic for my 21st! My roommates and I went to Janss Steps (the Kuruvunga Steps), laughed, ate homemade fresh snacks and drank mimosas; it was very nice because we were originally going to go to a different park further away, but the nostalgia, convenience and proximity of UCLA’s campus was too good not to go for,” UCLA junior Micah Mekbib said.
Known for its beautiful view of the hills (specifically our famous Hill that occupies student housing), what better way to bring in your official stamp of adulthood than to tightrope, watch the sunset or throw frisbees to a pup or two.
10. UCLA University Apartments
A college student’s first move to celebrate another year of living permits balling on a budget. What better way to do that than to decorate the interior of your or a friend’s university apartment, grab drinks, games, food and friends and party until the sun comes up?
“I stayed in my Westwood apartment and ordered BJ’s with a friend. I was also lucky enough to have another friend who organized a birthday celebration for me afar. My friend Miranda set up a new email address for me and reached out to my friends and asked them to send e-cards and online gift cards to that email address. It was a really creative and thoughtful way for her to plan a safe virtual event,” UCLA junior Celina Lee said.
Positioned near restaurants and fun spots like Downtown Santa Monica, the university apartments allow for flexibility and creativity to influence the outcome of one’s 21st milestone.