34 Best Resident Event Ideas for Apartment Communities
Resident events ideas are more than a fun way to get residents out of their homes. They promote the feeling of community that gets residents laughing and working together. Plus, we think communities who play together, stay together (think increased resident retention). Higher resident engagement for events leads to greater resident satisfaction that can benefit your renewal rate. All of the planning that goes into a resident appreciation event is worth its weight in gold when your residents come together and realize how much your management team truly cares.
Resident event ideas should encourage those living in your community to come out of their shells. Ultimately, this creates a buzz of excitement and increases engagement. When a site team invests time and energy in an event, it shows their residents that they're invested in improving the quality of life in the community.
To help properties get the maximum value from their events, Updater and SatisFacts hosted a 30-minute webinar to discuss the three elements of resident renewal and how they support retention. Learn how you can leverage data and host resident events that boost retention.
Resident appreciation ideas, such as the classic pool party will always have their place, but there’s room for some creativity. We’ve decided to help sort the studs from the duds by putting together a list of 34 resident event ideas that your community will talk about for years to come!
1. Food truck extravaganza
Food trucks are an awesome way for an apartment community to throw a party without stressing about catering. It’s also a great way to introduce new residents to the culture, sights, sounds, and tastes of their new home. Invite the best local food trucks to park in your community. Play some music and create a voucher so residents get a sampling from all of the trucks. You can even create a simple scorecard so residents can vote on their favorites. Make an award and crown a food truck champion. Just make sure that you work out parking ahead of time. You don’t want your residents upset that your visitor parking lot is inaccessible.
2. Design your own potluck cookbook
This is an awesome twist on a classic resident event. Have residents submit recipes for a community potluck dinner. Then, compile the recipes into a community cookbook and give them away during the potluck. In addition to a lovely dinner, your residents will also receive great recipes and get to know their neighbors a little better. You can even release your cookbook online and publish it on your website!
3. Car wash for residents by site team
Get your team into the action by hosting a resident carwash run by your site team. Show your residents you value them by getting a little dirty while making some cars clean. Hand out snacks and beverages and encourage all of your staff to get involved. Who doesn’t want to see their property manager wash a few cars?
4. Authentic BBQ smoker
Rent a backyard smoker and host an authentic BBQ cookout. A big upgrade on the ordinary poolside cookout, this resident event will get people out from the smell alone. While the food smokes slow and low, organize some lawn games and let residents relax around the tantalizing aromas. Have some residents who don’t eat meat? Veggies and meatless burgers and hot dogs can all have a home on your smoker.
5. The ultimate community tag sale
With only a few tables and some spring cleaning, you’ve got yourself the ultimate tag sale and the ultimate resident event idea. Residents can socialize with their neighbors while selling the things they no longer need. At the end of the day, donate any remaining items to a local charity. This is a fun way to host a feel-good resident event.
6. Bonfire s'mores under the stars
A perfect resident event that’s fun for kids and parents alike. A bonfire with all of the s’more ingredients provided is a sure memory maker. Get the kids engaged and their parents will join the party.
7. Health-promoting fitness classes
After you host a food-centered event, give your residents a fun and healthy activity. Hold an instructional yoga, Zumba — or any form of exercise — class. If you see great engagement, encourage the creation of a resident-led, weekly group.
8. Get creative with group painting classes
Hire a local artist to host an instructional painting night. Provide canvases, paint supplies, and wine for the 21+ crowd. The leader takes the residents, step-by-step, through the process of creating an amazing work of art.
9. Now you’re cooking, with classes
Have a group of aspiring chefs? Bring a professional chef to your community to teach a cooking skills class. One great recipe, some kitchen basics, and a hungry crowd and you’ve got a recipe for resident event success!
10. Get your families dancing
Get the whole family together for a community dance night. An event designed for the whole family is a dream for parents and fun for the kids. A great soundtrack and someone to lead the crowd and you have a hit event on your hands. Think barn dancing, line dancing, or electric slide. Just don’t forget the refreshments!
11. Kids pool party with characters
If your community has a pool for residents, kick your pool party up a notch by inviting popular characters for the kids. Talk to parents about the characters their children are most excited to see or go for the classics. This is an awesome idea for using the amenities your community already provides in a new and exciting way. Plus, it’s an amazing photo opportunity for social media.
12. The cook-off challenge
A cook-off is fun for both the cooks and the taste testers. Hold a cook-off and invite the community to judge it. Need a few food options? Try mac and cheese, chicken wings, apple pie, or the classic chili. The winner can receive a grand prize and you can even publish the winning recipe on social media. That is, if it’s not a secret!
13. Unleash your karaoke stars
Nothing brings people together quite like a karaoke night. Get a microphone and let them loose. Your residents will feel like rock stars.
14. Movie screenings on the lawn
Pop some popcorn and spread out the blankets, this is a resident event your community will remember. Hang a sheet or rent a screen and play a classic film. Everyone will have a great time watching a movie on the lawn under the stars. Just make sure that your film of choice is family-friendly.
15. Puppy play date and adoption
Coordinate with a local shelter to hold a puppy play date and adoption event. Residents can spend a day petting and playing with dogs and cats and even adopt a new companion — that is, if your property allows pets. Encourage residents to bring their own dogs and unite your pet community.
16. Create a community garden oasis
A community garden takes a little planning, but will serve your community for years to come. Designate an area for a garden and ask for a resident or staff member to take the lead. Rewarding for kids and adults, your community can even use the veggies for their next potluck. Season after season your residents will reap the fruits of their labor.
17. One book club to rule them all
Often, what starts with an apartment-wide event can become a community fixture. Let residents vote on a book to read and bring them together once a month to discuss. You can host separate clubs for different age groups or book choices. Let’s be honest, when it comes to literature, the sky’s the limit!
18. Fun run, literally
Start a group for both amateur and serious runners. A running club helps bring the athletic community of your property together. Make t-shirts and pick a property-based team name and you’re set. Want to take your club even further? Pick a charitable cause and host a 5K to support it. It’s a great way to show the personal investment you have in your community.
19. Trivial dispute
Put out a call for trivia teams and lure residents in with great prizes. Set up team tables with snacks and drinks, then pick your topics. Movies, sports, entertainment, and history are great places to start. Choose a dynamic host, designate a DJ, and see who’s got the chops to win. When it comes to resident event ideas, it’s a fan favorite and also one of the easiest to pull off.
20. Spread the love on Valentine's Day
Valentine’s day is not only reserved for date night. Give your residents the gift of giving by organizing charitable events for your community. But don’t forget your resident community! Here are some ideas for giving back to your residents. Candy and speed-dating anyone?
21. Spooky costume dinner and competition
A perfect Halloween event, hold a spooky dinner with a costume contest as the finale. Offer lots of candy and prizes to winners across multiple categories — best kid’s costume, scariest, most creative, to name just a few. It’s the perfect way to kick off (or end) a night of trick-or-treating.
22. Fireworks show to remember
Fireworks are the perfect end to any outdoor event or Fourth of July celebration. You can even invite the local community to come over and enjoy the show. Consider it a great event for attracting new residents!
23. An exclusive professional networking event
A networking event is a perfect way to connect all of the brilliant professional minds we know live in your community. It’s also an excellent way to get different generations talking. Want to take it a step further? Bring in a career specialist for residents in search of career advice.
24. Bounce house and inflatables day
Order a fleet of inflatable rides to your property and host a field day for kids. A cotton candy machine, ice cream, and tug-of-war are all welcome additions. While the kids are occupied, offer beverages and food for their parents while they socialize.
25. Rock your community’s own talent show
Anywhere you can assemble an audience is primed for a talent show. Skip the giant stage and make it a do-it-yourself style event. You’ll be amazed at the talents your residents have, so let them shine. Offer awards and don’t forget the video camera!
26. Dominate with a resident softball league
Let the games begin! Join your community’s local softball league or start your own. Organize matching jerseys and play amongst your residents or challenge rival properties to a game. Did someone say giant trophy?
27. Turn up the jams on DJ night
If you build it, the kids will come. Rent big speakers, hire a local DJ, and throw the dance party of the year. From a conga line to breakdancing, let your residents lead the way.
28. Bring out the gamers with a video game tournament
We suggest family-friendly racing or sports games, to begin with. You can host a game night for the teens, afterward. Make a bracket, put it up on the big screen, and have a site team member narrate the action.
29. Poolside casino night
This is another great resident event for the competitive bunch. Hire a professional dealer and turn the night into a Las Vegas-themed party. Think Elvis, cocktails, and blackjack. Instead of playing for money, you can offer amazing prizes for all ages. Feeling charitable? Proceeds can also go to a charity of your choice. Ante in!
30. Maximize your impact with a community outreach group
There are so many great charitable causes for your community to get involved with. To maximize your community's outreach, help your residents form their own community outreach group. From organizing a can drive to volunteering at a soup kitchen, there’s no limit to the good work you can accomplish when you work together. It’s the feel-good, do-good resident event idea every community should encourage.
31. Rotating supper club
A rotating supper club is another awesome idea for bringing your community together with food. Every month, pick three hosts who will offer three amazing meals. Start with appetizers in one apartment, the main course in next, and dessert in the last. Publish a calendar with sign-ups so there’s no waste. Space will obviously be limited, so make sure a few different rotations are going at once.
32. Gameday tailgate and grilling
Football season, baseball season, any season is good for tailgating. Rent a screen and projector and display the sporting event of your choice. Designate a closed lot, provide the snacks, and let your residents enjoy the camaraderie.
33. X marks the scavenger hunt
Divide your residents into teams and give them a list of clues or riddles to solve. Lead residents across your community and get everyone involved in solving the clues. Make a map, mark an X, even bury some treasure. Here’s a guide to get your planning started.
34. A silent but awesome auction
A favorite event for seniors, an auction can be held on a rotating schedule to attract everyone in your community. From art, antiques, and cars, to travel vacations, cruises, and sports tickets, there’s something for everyone.
A little inspiration goes a long way
Whether you have a site team full of event pros or you’re hosting your community’s first event, these ideas are guaranteed to get your residents excited. Start filling your events calendar with ideas for every season and age group. Also, start an event log and track your resident engagement. This will help you decide which events were a hit and which will require more planning for next year. Either way, keeping your residents excited about your next event will breathe life into your community.
Have something to add to our list of resident event ideas? Leave it in the comments below!
Ben is the former Content Intern for Updater’s Marketing team. The only thing he finds more exciting than discovering a new trend for content is starting his own.