16th Birthday Gift Ideas

16th birthday gift ideas

Illustration: Ashley Nicole Deleon. © The Spruce, 2018.

Someone you know celebrating their sweet 16? Choose from some of these gift ideas, which range from trendy to unique. 

  • 01 of 13

    Mobile Charger

    High Angle View Of Smart Phone With Charger On White Table
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    Teens live for their electronic devices; too bad those batteries don’t have the charge to last for very long. Mobile chargers are a great gift for that person who spends so much time on their phone or tablet, running out of battery long before they make it home to plug back in. Mobile chargers, also known as portable chargers or battery packs, are compact battery devices that can recharge your device on the go. What teen wouldn’t love the gift of extra battery time?

  • 02 of 13

    Car Gifts

    Young people having fun on top of car
    Stanislaw Pytel / Getty Images

    For many teens, the most exciting thing about turning 16 is that it’s the magical age where they get a driver’s license or learner’s permit. Any gift that relates to this life event is likely to be well received. Some ideas include:

    • Gift cards for gas.
    • Seat covers, steering wheel covers or floor mats.
    • A bucket filled with car washing supplies like a sponge, chamois, car brush, and wax.
    • Vanity license plate frames.
    • A car.
  • 03 of 13

    Clothing Gifts

    Clothes and accessories
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    Let’s face the hard truth here: most sixteen-year-olds wouldn’t like you to choose their clothing. There are a few apparel gift ideas, however, that can be considered a safe bet when gifting to teens. These include popular footwear (think Ugg boots and name-brand sneakers), rock band t-shirts, accessories that are currently on trend and, the safest bet of all, clothing store gift cards.

    If you are not close enough to the birthday person to know things like shoe size, which brand of athletic footwear they prefer, or what bands and trends currently appeal to them, a little homework might be in order (ie contacting their parents).

  • 04 of 13

    Fine Dining

    Sliced steak with salad
    Noah Clayton / Getty Images

    Turning 16 marks a shift toward adulthood. With this new-found maturity comes a chance to try new experiences. An evening of gourmet dining at a fancy restaurant may be one of those experiences that a 16-year-old would enjoy as a change from the high school cafeteria fast food and after-school snacks they have come to know as sustenance. Treat them to a night of fine dining as your guest, or give them a gift certificate to a fabulous restaurant so they can get dressed up and dine out with their friends.  

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  • 05 of 13

    New Experiences

    A woman on a zip line tour in Whitefish, Montana.
    Craig Moore / Getty Images

    Speaking of new experiences, perhaps a day out trying a fun activity would make a great gift. Are they adventurous? Buy them snowboarding passes or a day of zip-lining. Into fashion? Give them tickets to a runway show. 

  • 06 of 13

    Wi-Fi Hotspot

    Teenage girl sitting on sofa texting on smartphone
    Tom Odulate / Getty Images

    Like the mobile battery charger, a mobile wi-fi hotspot device is another gift that a 16-year-old would likely appreciate. These devices can connect to wi-fi on the go, and then connect your device to the mobile hotspot they create. Since many tablets and electronics come with a wi-fi-only setting, a mobile wifi device will allow them to connect from anywhere. 

  • 07 of 13

    Selfie Accessories

    Low Angle View Of Mobile Phone On Monopod Against Cloudy Sky
    Bora Tosun Stone / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Think taking all of those selfies is simple? Think again! Thankfully, the market has answered the call for selfie-help products, such as the selfie stick. Any of these products are likely to please as a 16th birthday gift.

    In addition to the selfie stick, consider the suction cup designed just for the cell phone, for hands-free bathroom mirror selfies. Other selfie-help items include a shutter that connects through the iPhone audio jack, a tool that works as a selfie stand and clicker remote and a lighted phone case to provide the perfect lighting for your selfie. Throw in a few ​photo booth props and you've got everything you need for hours of selfie fun!​

  • 08 of 13

    Smartphone Printer

    Close-up of instant photo pictures
    Margot Gabel / EyeEm / Getty Images

    If you’ve got all of those selfie accessories, you might as well have a way to print them on demand. The smartphone printer is a portable printer that you can use to print photos directly from your phone. Like the Polaroid camera for today, teens will love being able to share instant images with their friends. 

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  • 09 of 13

    College Gifts

    UC Davis College of Engineering/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    If the 16th birthday child already has his sights set on a certain college, you may want to give him a gift that gives him a head start on celebrating that school spirit. University apparel is one idea; what teen doesn’t love a hoodie? Items that display the university sports team logo is another.

    If the desired college is out of town, another fun gift would be a trip to tour the campus or spend a night or two visiting the hometown.

  • 10 of 13

    Life Changing Book

    Hispanic boy reading book on sofa
    Blend Images - KidStock / Getty Images

    It’s hard to guess what book would be life-changing to someone else, but most of us have read a novel during our teenage years that has left an impression on our lives. Why not give that same book that influenced you? Include a heartfelt inscription about how it did so and why you’re gifting it to them on this milestone occasion.

  • 11 of 13

    Headphones Upgrade

    Close-Up Of Headphones Over White Background
    Gina Djumlija / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Headphones are just things you sick over your ears for private listening, right? Not anymore. Headphones are a big deal with today’s teens. With features that enhance sound quality, cancel noise and adjust to the exact right “fit” for your needs, headphones have become more than just an accessory. They are as important to the user as the device they are plugging into.

    Add to those features cosmetic elements such as colors and name brands, and headphones become a trendy tool that top many teens must-have gift list. 

  • 12 of 13

    Tribute Video

    Mother and daughter using laptop together at home
    Compassionate Eye Foundation / Getty Images

    One very popular activity for teens is watching, posting and sharing videos online. Gather some of the birthday kid’s friends and make a funny or sentimental video in honor of her. Then post it online to serve as a virtual 16th birthday card. 

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  • 13 of 13

    More 16th Birthday Gift Ideas

    Portrait enthusiastic young couple with summer music festival tickets outside gate
    Hero Images / Getty Images
    • Concert Tickets.
    • Meaningful jewelry (perhaps a family keepsake or something that signifies the milestone).
    • Jewelry box (because many teens get a lot of jewelry for their sweet 16).
    • Video game console, video games or gift cards to play on servers such as Xbox live.
    • Tablet, smartphone or other mobile devices.
    • GoPro camera.
    • Classes to pursue an interest (such as cooking classes, tennis lessons, etc.).
    • Bedroom makeover accessories (paint, new bedding, wall art, etc.).