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24 Ideas for Entertaining at Home

We've rounded up some of our best ideas for entertaining at home that will help you create new memories without ever leaving the house.
24 Ideas For Entertaining at Home
We've been told that you're not "really" hanging out with friends unless you go out for special activity together, whether it's eating at a fancy restaurant or going to a movie at the theater. However, this is far from the case, and there are literally dozens of ways to entertain at home and satisfy every budget and interest.

Our Top Entertaining at Home Ideas

  1. Cook dinner together.
    Top View Cooking with a Gas Stove Top Graphic
    Going out to eat is the classic hangout idea, but the dollars can quickly add up. Keep an eye on your budget and put that gas stovetop to use by choosing a unique new recipe and cooking it together. If you and your friend are more competitive, you can host a cook-off where you try to outdo one another.
  2. Have a backyard (or indoor) picnic. - Make a meal at home extra special by hosting a picnic for two. If the weather is nice, grab a blanket and go outside to the backyard. If it's too cold or rainy, have an indoor picnic on the living room floor instead. For extra ambiance, turn down the lights and light some candles. Just be sure to put them somewhere safe so you don't accidentally knock them over.
  3. Stargaze outside on a clear night. - If you live further out from civilization, pick a clear night without cloud cover to go lie out and stargaze. If you're not sure how to stargaze, puts out a calendar as well as monthly updates on what and when to look for in the night sky, and there are plenty of smartphone apps that will guide you through interactive stargazing sessions as well.
  4. Create an at-home spa. - Spas are incredibly relaxing, but getting there and back can be a hassle—not to mention they're expensive. Invite some girlfriends over for a spa night at home, then put on some relaxing music, dim the lights and bring out your best self-care products. Give each other a massage or mani-pedis, or try some face masks together.
  5. Play a board or card game. - You don't have to go out to your favorite bar to have the best game night of your life. Get some of your favorite drinks and pull out your best games. If you can't decide on just one game to play, take turns picking ones. Keep track over time if you're competitive or just play for the fun of it if you'd prefer to keep things low key.
    Couple Playing Chess at Home
  6. Have a video game marathon. - If you prefer games of the more virtual variety, having a video game marathon is the perfect alternative to a traditional game night. Turn on your entertainment system and choose your favorite two-player game. You can work together or compete against each other. If you don't own a console, there are plenty of video games that can be played online on a computer instead.
  7. Host your own BYOB painting night.
    BYOB Painting Night Graphic
    Drinking-and-painting classes are all the rage right now, but you don't need to book a class to recreate the experience at home. Grab your favorite wine from your wine cooler and pick up some canvases and paints at the craft store. Make sure to put down tarps, newspapers or some other barrier so you don't get paint on the floor or furniture. Extra points if you put on an old Bob Ross re-run in the background.
  8. Get your crafting on. - If painting isn't your thing, there are plenty of other craft ideas you can do together: woodworking, sewing, candle-making and more. If you need help generating ideas, think about some decor you'd like to put around the house or handmade gifts you might like to give each other. Check around the house for some materials that you can repurpose for your crafting project.
  9. Go to the movies (at home).
    Angled View of Flatscreen TV for Movies at Home Graphic
    Why go to the movies when you have a fancy OLED TV at home? Pop some popcorn, pour some soda and turn on your soundbar for the ultimate home theater feel. Choose a new release that you've been dying to see, or cue up the addicting TV show you've been binge-watching together. And the best part is that you won't even have to sit through the previews like you would at the real theater.
  10. Do a puzzle. - Puzzles come in many different shapes and sizes. Go the traditional route with a picture puzzle or take a more creative approach with a Sudoku or crossword puzzle. Take turns placing pieces or figuring out the answer to questions. If you like to do mentally challenging activities together but don't like how competitive games are, doing a puzzle together is a good alternative.
  11. Read out loud to each other. - Put your best radio voice on and read an absorbing story out loud to your friend. If you want to make this a recurring event, you can choose a book (or an ebook on a tablet) to read over multiple nights or keep it contained to one evening with a short story or article. If you prefer to read silently, you can host a book club by reading the story separately beforehand and then coming together to discuss it.
    Group of Friends Reading Together
  12. Stoke a fire and roast some s'mores. - If you have a functional fireplace or fire pit, take advantage of it by stoking a fire and toasting some marshmallows over it. (This is also a great complement to the at-home picnic idea.) If you don't have a real fireplace, cue up a video of one on your TV, make hot chocolate and curl up under a blanket in front of your fake fireplace.
  13. Have a tasting session. - Wine tasting, whiskey tasting, beer tasting, chocolate tasting, cheese tasting—sampling multiple types of one food or beverage is another at-home date idea. Put together your own tasting flight by selecting numerous flavors of the same item to sample at home. Rambler Lowballs are a great way to keep your drinks at the perfect temperature as you savor the tastes of one selection after the next. Try to pick new drinks and foods that you've never tried before. You probably won't like everything, but you might discover your favorite new drink or snack.
  14. Listen to some vinyl.
    Vinyl Listening Guide Graphic
    Once thought to have gone the way of the dodo, vinyl music is now making a comeback. Vinyl is on track to outsell CDs in 2019. If you have a turntable, put on one of your favorite albums and listen to it all the way through (dancing is encouraged but not required). If you don't have vinyl, many songs are available to stream through services such as Spotify. Select a live version to mimic the feeling of being at a real-life concert.
  15. Create a karaoke party. - If you love to sing out loud, but get self-conscious about doing it in public, an at-home karaoke party is a perfect solution. Load up a playlist of sing-along song versions on YouTube and grab yourself a fake microphone—even the proverbial hairbrush will do. Make sure to cheer enthusiastically after each person's turn, no matter how good or bad they did.
  16. Answer icebreaker questions. - When's the last time you learned something new about your friend? If you can't remember, this is a great idea for entertaining at home (and it can be used in addition to many of the other ideas on this list). Find a series of icebreaker questions online and take turns answering them—the more unusual, the better. You'll learn all sorts of fun things, such as their childhood celebrity crush and the worst haircut they've ever had.
  17. Write each other thank you letters. - When's the last time you complimented your friends or told them what you appreciate about them? If the answer is "never," it's time to change that by writing each other thank you letters. Get some nice stationery for the occasion and document what you love and appreciate about each other. Like the icebreaker questions, this is also a great add-on to another at-home entertainment idea.
  18. Recreate your favorite activity at home. - Most friends have a favorite memory (or maybe even several), whether that's the day they met or a big trip they took together. Get as creative as you can and remake the day or night at home. If you went to a restaurant, cook the meals you ordered; if you went to the movies, rent the film you saw; if you went to a concert, listen to the band's setlist.
  19. Learn to dance.
    People Dancing
    Much like karaoke, dancing is an activity best practiced at home if you're easily embarrassed. Learning the basic steps at home can give you the confidence you need to go dancing at a local bar or dance floor. Popular dance styles include swing dancing, waltzing and salsa dancing. There are plenty of video tutorials available online to teach you and your partner(s) the basics.
  20. Build a fort. - You're never too old to build a fort, no matter what anyone says. Grab some pillows, blankets and cushions and make yourself the most epic fort ever. Throw up some string lights for extra atmosphere, add some blankets to the floor, then crawl inside. If you're snowed in, building a fort is an excellent way to pass the time and stay warm together.
  21. Visit a museum virtually. - Tour the best museums of the world without ever leaving your home. Many of the nation's and world's major museums offer immersive virtual tours you can experience on your laptop, including NASA's Glenn Research Center and the Louvre in Paris. This is also a great pre-trip activity if you'll be visiting in person and need to maximize your time on the ground.
  22. Look back at old photos. - Sometimes the best way to make new memories is to remember the old ones. If you have a lot of photos from the course of your friendship, look over them together and reminisce about your best memories. If you've been meaning to get some of your digital photos printed out, this is also a good opportunity to flag your favorites.
    Man Looking at a Photo Album at Home with his Grandfather
  23. Create bucket lists together. - It can be hard to think of activities, at-home or otherwise, in the moment. Take an evening and list out all the things you'd like to do together as friends, from visiting a local farmers market to taking a big international trip. Then, whenever you're trying to decide what to do next, you'll already have a handy list to pull from.
    Entertaining at home can be less expensive, more relaxing and more fun if you put a little bit of thought or planning into it. Instead of going out to eat at yet another restaurant, try one of these fun and memorable at-home ideas the next time you want to do something special with your friends.

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