“What are you going to do for your birthday?”

That special day rolls around every year, and while excitement is always high, someone unfortunately poses that dreaded question. Sometimes, you just have no clue. Do you want to have a small, intimate gathering? Do you want to rent out a huge space and invite 100s of friends? This birthday guide will help decide for you, and on the plus side, every place selected has great food.

1. The Boozy Brunch

vegetable, chicken, seafood, fish, meat
Kayla Bernstein

Every girl’s favorite meal of the day is brunch, so, that makes it the perfect birthday feast. Philly is known to have some great hole in the wall brunch places, but many of them do not take reservations, which is not optimal for a birthday celebration. However, Jones, located at 700 Chestnut Street, hands down serves the most incredible brunch. With such a wide selection, starting from their sticky, sweet monkey bread, to their decadent chocolate chip waffles, to their fluffy eggs benedict, every person at the party will be satisfied. It also doesn’t hurt that they serve bottomless Bellinis.

2. The Fancy Dinner

beer, tea, coffee
Allison Walter

This might seem like the typical option, but as long as you choose the right restaurant, a nice dinner will do the trick. Ambience, service, and of course, good food are the three key factors to look at before choosing the fancy dinner location. Double Knot, in Midtown Village, which just opened last year, hits all those factors out of the park. The restaurant is a dungeon-esque, Japanese-inspired wonderland. The menu is absolutely perfect, serving edamame dumplings, crispy rice, beef tataki, a variety of sushi, and a whole list of robatayaki. No one will be leaving on an empty stomach.

3. The BYO

kettle, beer, espresso, tea, coffee
Allison Walter

You can’t have a list of things to do for your birthday in Philly without having BYO as an option. Before I got to Philly, I had never even heard of the concept, but I am grateful I do now. I’m not talking about the nice restaurants that don’t have liquor licenses; I’m talking about the pretty ratchet spots that let you rent out the whole floor and serve egg rolls and noodles, which are shockingly fantastic. Square on Square, located at 1905 Chestnut, is the ultimate BYO. It can fit over 100 people, and as long as you have a good playlist and a lot of alcohol, everyone will be thanking you for this birthday idea.

4. The Fun Bar

coffee, beer, wine
Kayla Bernstein

Turning 21? No better way to celebrate than at a bar. But a classic, Philly bar just won’t do the trick. I’m talking about an authentic German Biergarten located on the 51st floor with some of the best views of Center City, offering sensational food. Skygarten is just that place. It opened its doors last June and offers private happy hours for special events. Aside from the vast selection of beers, the menu includes pretzel sticks, potato pancakes, fried cheese curds and more. This is the perfect, fun birthday gathering.

5. The Sporty Spot

beer, pizza, tea, coffee
Allison Walter

Sometimes restaurants and bars just won’t cut it, which is why for the fifth and final birthday option, I’ve included Lucky Strike, Philadelphia’s prime bowling spot. Located at 1336 Chestnut Street, Lucky Strike offers multiple lanes, a huge lounge, and regular DJs. It’s perfect for all types of guest. Those that aim to bowl a 300 can shoot spares and strikes all night, while those who want to dance and mingle can stay in the lounge area. And A2K provides Lucky Strike with a gastropub dining experience. The menu is full of rich comfort food, such as wings and flatbreads. 

So, what will it be? Mimosas with the girls? Sushi and Sake? Dancing all night long? Pretzels and brews? Or bowling that perfect score? Whatever the choice, Philly has it all!