It isn’t a proper summer in the city until you attend a rooftop party. But what happens when you’re actually ready to throw your own? We’ve got you covered on the seven simple steps to throw the best rooftop party your friends will ever experience!

1.     Find the Great Venue (for Cheap)

Start with your closest friends who live in larger buildings. Typically, newer buildings will have rooftops that allow guests to accompany tenants as long as the tenant is present at the time. If you’re blessed and highly favored, your own building may have a rooftop suitable for your shindig. If this is the case, check with your landlord to see if the rooftop is safe and ask permission to use it for your party. If you don’t have an appropriate rooftop at your spot, you can look at venues to rent. A simple Google search can help you find the perfect location.

2.     Spread the Word About the Party

The second-most important step is getting the word out. Make people excited about the upcoming event. The more creative and D.I.Y. this step is, the better. You want your invite to stand out among all the other party invites your guests will receive this summer, especially since we usually send them via email. If you are in a time crunch, you can head over to and look at their invitations that feature a cool cityscape or even create your own template. Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage.

3.     Find the Best DJ or Create a Good Music Playlist

If you have the coin, you can hire a proper DJ. It would take away some of the stress that already comes along with hosting a party. But if you want to ball on a budget, you can still have your guests jammin’ with a pseudo DJ setup. Place your laptop and speakers on a table (somewhere hidden, preferably) and click on your premade playlist. I’d say prep a list with at least 100 songs. Take a look at these rooftop playlists if you don’t have time to personally create the perfect mix. There’s a little something on there for everybody.

4.     Find the Signature Drank

No rooftop party is complete without a signature cocktail. Since it’s summertime, you probably want to go with something fresh and fruity. I’m in love with the Indian Summer Cup. For a nonalcoholic option, surprise your guests with this sweet Summer Berry Fizz drink.

For more summer cocktails, click here.

5.    Figure out the Food

Summer usually equals barbecue. You can use your rooftop bash as an opportunity to break out your grill. We only get about three to four months of the year to eat as many hot dogs and hamburgers as our stomachs can handle, so you should make it count! If you want to avoid the hassle of cooking and possibly running out of food, you can order food or hire a caterer for a night of delicious cuisine your guests won’t forget. Make sure you have both nonvegetarian and vegetarian options and there is adequate variety. Long story short: Never run out of food.

6.     Get Fancy with Decor

You want to keep the rooftop well lit and give a lively feel. The cityscape beautifies the atmosphere, but it can still get pretty dark come nighttime. To prevent any accidents, there are many simple lighting solutions you can execute. Christmas lights and tiki torches are perfect and can be used over and over again. If you’re throwing a daytime rooftop party, you can enhance the view around with flowers and plants. Also, remember to have proper seating for your guests. Ikea has various options for as low as $16.99.

7.    Give them a “Wow” Factor

To set your bash above all of the other rooftop parties going on this summer, you’re going to need a shtick. That is a must. A party theme can drive the decor, ambience and attire. Here are a couple of fun suggestions:

’90s-Themed Party: Party like it’s 1995 (even if you were only 6 years old). You can never go wrong with nostalgia. You can greet your guest with Ring Pops and Slap bracelets. The possibilities are endless for this theme!

TV-Themed Party: People love to share their pop culture obsessions with one another. Gather your friends who share the same love for a particular TV show, and go crazy. For example, you can throw an Orange Is the New Black-themed bash and start every song with the DJ screaming Konvict Musik in typical Akon fashion.

We hope you get the chance to throw one of the best parties this summer!

—Vanessa Wells