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Time Traveler’s Guide: 19 Essential Things To Do in the Iconic 1970s

The 1970s was when groovy tunes, funky fashion, and a sense of adventure reigned supreme. You might not have a time machine to transport you back to this iconic era, but that doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself in all the incredible experiences it had to offer.

As you dive deep into the world of disco fever, rock concerts, and roller skating parties, you’ll discover a whole new side of your adventurous spirit just waiting to be unleashed.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the most memorable activities of the 1970s – from exploring vintage video games and DIY home decor to watch protests for social change.

Along the way, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture and context that shaped this transformative decade.

Embrace the Disco Fever

The 1970s were all about freedom and expression, so don’t hesitate to dive into disco fashion trends by sporting bell-bottom pants or glittery outfits that sparkle under the flashing lights.

As you dance the night away, you might find yourself reminiscing about legendary Studio 54 stories – from celebrities like Bianca Jagger riding in on a white horse to Andy Warhol mingling with other iconic figures of the era.

Immersing yourself in this nostalgic scene allows you to relive those liberating moments when people from different walks of life came together on the dance floor – united by their love for music and desire for self-expression.

As you spin, twirl, and shake your groove thing under a gleaming mirror ball, let yourself be swept up in the uninhibited spirit of an unforgettable decade that still resonates with today’s quest for freedom and individuality.

Attend a Rock Concert

Don’t miss out on attending an electrifying rock concert, where you’ll witness legendary bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones redefine music history!

The 1970s are a time of musical innovation and revolution, with these iconic bands pushing the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll. As you immerse yourself in the raw energy and powerful soundscapes created by these trailblazers, you’ll understand why their music has left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness.

Not to mention, the thrilling backstage experiences that await you – rubbing shoulders with your favorite musicians, discovering untold band stories, and witnessing firsthand the creative process behind these unforgettable tunes.

As you find yourself swaying to the infectious melodies at one of these concerts, take a moment to appreciate the cultural context that gave rise to this incredible era in music. Amidst political turmoil and social unrest, people craved an outlet for self-expression and sought solace in the rebellious spirit of rock.

These concerts became more than just entertainment; they were symbols of freedom – a chance for fans to unite under a common love for music and defy societal norms together.

Educate Yourself About the Vietnam War

Educating yourself about the Vietnam War, an integral part of 1970s history, involves understanding its geopolitical backdrop, key players, and its impact on society.

President Richard Nixon’s controversial Vietnamization policy aimed to gradually transfer combat responsibilities to South Vietnam, significantly impacting the war dynamics. Delving deeper, consider examining Jimmy Carter’s era, the post-war years when America grappled with the war’s aftermath. Carter’s amnesty program for draft evaders highlights the domestic tension during the conflict and the steps taken toward national healing.

You can also gain insight by discussing the war with your parents if they are old enough to remember the period. Personal narratives can sometimes capture nuances missed by historical documents. The 1970s wasn’t just about the Vietnam War; it was a transformative period marked by remarkable strides in various sectors, including music, cinema, and civil rights movements. Discovering the vibrant culture of the 70s could enrich your understanding of how society adapted amidst the turbulence of war.

To honor those involved in the Vietnam War, consider visiting war memorials and museums or reading veterans’ memoirs. 

Participating in memorial services or volunteering at veterans’ support groups are impactful ways to show respect. Remember, understanding the Vietnam War means recognizing its human cost, and through education and remembrance, we strive to acknowledge and learn from our past.

Watch a Protest or Rally

Joining a protest or rally in the 1970s wasn’t just about making a statement; it was about standing up for your beliefs and being part of a powerful wave of change. 

As you immerse yourself in this era, you’ll find that civil rights activism and environmental movements are at the forefront, with passionate individuals coming together to fight for their causes and challenge societal norms.

To fully embrace the experience, consider these three elements:

  1. Choose your cause: Whether it’s advocating for equal rights for marginalized groups or pushing for stronger environmental protections, align yourself with a movement that resonates with your values.
  2. Dress the part: Embody the spirit of the ’70s counterculture by dressing in clothing that reflects your beliefs – tie-dye shirts, peace signs, or even handmade protest signs.
  3. Connect with others: Forge friendships with like-minded individuals who share your passion and commitment to creating lasting change.

Join a Roller Skating Party

Experience the exhilarating thrill of a roller skating party in the 1970s, where you’ll glide across the rink to the beat of disco music and embrace a unique blend of socializing and physical activity.

Roller rink memories from this era are filled with brightly colored lights reflecting off mirrored disco balls, sending shimmering patterns across the polished wooden floors.

As you navigate your way through groups of friends laughing and dancing on their skates, you’ll notice that each person is donning their own distinctive style – from bell-bottom pants to tube socks pulled up high – all embodying a sense of freedom that defined this unforgettable decade.

Skating fashion trends in the ’70s were as diverse as those who took part in these lively gatherings.

The attire often consisted of tight-fitting shorts or skirts paired with vibrant knee-high socks, making for an eye-catching display as skaters weaved in and out amongst one another.

Others would sport wide-legged jeans or jumpsuits adorned with bold patterns that seemed to flow effortlessly along with their graceful movements.

Regardless of what they wore, everyone at these roller skating parties exuded an air of confidence and joy while expressing themselves without any inhibitions – a true testament to the liberating spirit that prevailed during this time period.

Explore the World of Vintage Video Games

Venture into the realm of vintage video games, where you’ll uncover a nostalgic treasure trove of pixelated adventures and retro classics that captivated the hearts and minds of generations past.

Embrace your subconscious desire for freedom by embarking on a journey through time with vintage arcade hunting. Explore dimly lit arcades filled with the echoes of laughter and clattering coins, or pursue retro console collecting to curate your own personal gaming museum.

As you delve into this magical world, you’ll be transported back to an era when 8-bit graphics were cutting-edge technology and when simple yet immersive storylines captured our imaginations. Immerse yourself in cultural context as you rediscover beloved classics like Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Asteroids – games that not only defined the 1970s but also laid the foundation for today’s gaming industry.

Alongside these legendary titles, unearth lesser-known gems that may have slipped through the cracks over time.

The meticulous research involved in uncovering these hidden treasures will deepen your appreciation for both their historical significance and their enduring charm.

With each new discovery on your quest for vintage video game nirvana, you’ll find yourself increasingly connected to a simpler time – one that stands in stark contrast to today’s fast-paced digital world – while simultaneously reigniting your passion for adventure and exploration in ways both old-school and undeniably thrilling.

Dress Up in Iconic ’70s Fashion

Slip into your grooviest bell bottoms and don a vibrant tie-dye shirt as you embrace the iconic ’70s fashion, feeling every bit part of a free-spirited era rich in counterculture and self-expression.

The decade’s fashion was all about breaking conventions and pushing boundaries, allowing you to express yourself through bright colors, bold patterns, and daring silhouettes.

To complete your look, immerse yourself in ’70s makeup trends like electric blue eyeshadow and glossy lips while experimenting with iconic hairstyles such as feathered layers or voluminous afros.

To inspire your retro wardrobe transformation, here’s a glimpse at some key elements of 1970s fashion:

Fashion ElementDescription
Bell-Bottom PantsThese flared pants were popular among both men and women, often worn with platform shoes for added height.
Tie-Dye ShirtsA symbol of the hippie movement, these colorful shirts were made by twisting fabric before dyeing it various shades.
Maxi DressesFloor-length dresses in bold prints or romantic florals embodied the bohemian vibe of the decade.
Leisure SuitsMen sported these matching polyester jacket-and-pants sets for casual outings – think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

With each piece you incorporate into your wardrobe from this eclectic era, feel the spirit of freedom that defined the 1970s come alive within you.

Host a Retro Movie Night

After you’ve sorted out your groovy ’70s wardrobe, it’s time to gather your friends and take a trip down memory lane with a retro movie night.

The 1970s were a golden era for groundbreaking cinema, offering an array of iconic films that capture the decade’s spirit.

To make your retro movie night truly authentic, serve up some delightful throwback snacks popular during this fabulous decade.

Think fondue pots filled with gooey cheese or chocolate for dipping bread and fruits into while discussing classic movie trivia between films. Pop some Jiffy Pop popcorn on the stove like they did before microwaves took over, or munch on Bugles as you debate who was cooler: Al Pacino in ‘The Godfather’ or Robert De Niro in ‘Taxi Driver.’

No matter which snacks you choose, immerse yourself in the nostalgia and embrace the freedom-loving spirit of the ’70s as you celebrate a decade full of unforgettable entertainment.

Have a Star Wars Day

In the spirit of reliving the 1970s Star Wars culture, why not organize a retro-themed costume party this Star Wars Day? Embrace your inner Jedi or Sith, dress up in vintage 1970s Star Wars costumes, and share your love for the franchise.

Before the party, you could even hold a friendly competition on who can recreate the best Star Wars character look, complete with a grand prize for the winner. Don’t forget to end the day with a marathon viewing of the original trilogy, truly taking a step back to the heart of the Star Wars mania.

In the 1970s, Star Wars was more than a film; it was a cultural revolution that permeated the day-to-day life of teenagers and adults alike. It wasn’t uncommon for high schools to screen the now-iconic space opera in their auditoriums, inspiring a new generation of sci-fi enthusiasts.

Teenagers, in particular, were immersed in the lore of the Star Wars universe. Without the ubiquity of social media, as we know it today, fans would have to share their experiences, theories, and discussions face-to-face, often during lunch breaks or after school.

This real-life interaction created a sense of community that amplified the shared experience. On a personal level, Star Wars-themed birthday parties were all the rage.

Party stores would stock their shelves with Star Wars paraphernalia, from Darth Vader masks to miniature Millennium Falcons.

Teenagers would clamor for these items, often trying to outdo each other with the most authentic Star Wars decorations. I

n many ways, the 1970s Star Wars experience was a testament to the power of shared enthusiasm, creating a world where high school cafeterias became cantinas and every birthday party could be a trip to a galaxy far, far away.

Take a Trip To Disney World

In the 1970s, a notable highlight was the opening of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This expansive amusement park complex officially opened its doors in 1971 and quickly became a major attraction, drawing in countless visitors from around the globe. At Walt Disney World, guests could immerse themselves in a magical world inspired by Disney’s most beloved characters and stories.

Disney World’s appeal was universal, providing various experiences for all ages, from the enchanting Fantasyland for younger guests to the thrilling Space Mountain for those seeking adventure.

Visiting Walt Disney World in the 1970s was a magical journey, combining Disney’s signature charm with the technological and creative advancements of the era. It encapsulates the decade’s sense of boundless optimism and wonder, making it an unforgettable part of 1970s pop culture. 

Even today, Walt Disney World remains a cherished destination, capturing the hearts of new generations with its timeless magic.

Create a Chocolate Party

In the 1970s, teenagers in the United States were experiencing a unique cultural milieu. As a coming coming-of-age of age ritual, a high school birthday party was often marked by a viewing of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” This beloved 1971 film turned into a cultural phenomenon amongst 70s kids, its fantastical plotline and vibrant character, Willy Wonka, becoming the talk of the town.

Though the decade lacked today’s omnipresence of social media, word of mouth was a powerful social tool. Teenagers strongly connected with the film’s quirkiness and youthful adventure, often imitating Wonka’s eccentric fashion and whimsical catchphrases at parties.

A popular party activity was reenacting scenes from the film, an innocent indulgence that gave birth to countless inside jokes and communal laughter.

Today, to celebrate this nostalgia, one can throw a 70s-themed Willy Wonka birthday party, complete with retro decorations, costumes, and an abundance of chocolates.

Visit a 1970s Themed Bar or Club.

You can’t truly relive the ’70s without hitting up a themed bar or club, where the music’s groovy and the vibe’s far out. Dive into the era of disco, bell bottoms, and funky hairstyles as you explore venues that pay homage to this iconic decade. Immerse yourself in 70s cocktails exploration while you dance to vinyl records spun by talented DJs. These clubs are perfect for those looking to experience the spirit of freedom that defined this period.

As you plan your visit to a 1970s-themed establishment, consider some popular drinks from that era and seek them out on the menu for a true taste of nostalgia. Look out for classic cocktails such as Tequila Sunrise, Grasshopper, or Piña Colada. The vinyl record collecting also gained popularity during this time; keep an eye out for original albums or singles on display as conversation starters with fellow patrons.

Iconic 1970s CocktailsPopular Songs Played on Vinyl
Tequila Sunrise“Stayin’ Alive”
Grasshopper“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
Piña Colada“Superstition”
Harvey Wallbanger“Dancing Queen”
Brandy Alexander“Boogie Wonderland”

Take advantage of these experiences to learn more about the culture of this fascinating decade. Engage with other visitors who share your passion for retro movies, music, and fashion – you might even meet someone who lived through these times!

Don’t hesitate to ask bartenders about their favorite cocktail recipes from the day or quiz DJs about their most cherished vinyl finds. In doing so, you’ll be transported back in time while creating new memories inspired by past decades.

Take a Dance Lesson in Hustle or Funk

Dancing through the ’70s is a must, so why not take a dance lesson in Hustle or Funk to fully immerse yourself in this groovy decade?

The 1970s were marked by the explosion of disco music and culture, with dance styles like Hustle and Funk taking center stage.

Delving into their histories is essential to truly appreciate these dances and their cultural significance.

  1. Hustle history: Originating from New York City in the early 1970s, the Hustle became synonymous with disco music and was popularized by films such as ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ This partner-based dance evolved from Latin dances like mambo and salsa but quickly took on its unique style characterized by intricate footwork, spins, turns, and flashy arm movements.
  2. Funk origins: Unlike the partner-oriented Hustle, Funk dancing was more about showcasing individual moves inspired by African-American street dancers’ fluidity and rhythm. With roots going back to James Brown’s performances in the 1960s, funk dancing exploded during the ’70s as artists like Parliament-Funkadelic embraced syncopated rhythms that encouraged dancers to get down with their distinctive groove.
  3. Cultural context: The growth of both Hustle and Funk dancing can be tied directly to social changes happening during this period. As people sought ways to express themselves freely outside traditional norms or societal expectations – especially within marginalized communities – these energetic dance styles provided an outlet for self-expression while fostering cultural pride.

By immersing yourself in a dance lesson focused on Hustle or Funk styles from the 1970s, you’re connecting with your inner sense of freedom and honoring a rich history that was integral to shaping an unforgettable decade.

Attend a 1970s Themed Festival.

There’s no better way to fully immerse yourself in the ’70s vibe than attending a 1970s-themed festival!

These events are all about celebrating the best aspects of that decade – from groovy music and iconic fashion to 70s festival food and unforgettable moments.

As you stroll through the event, you’ll be transported back to see people dressed up in bell-bottom jeans, platform shoes, and colorful headbands.

You might even catch a whiff of patchouli oil or incense lingering in the air, adding an extra layer of authenticity to your experience.

Ensure you come hungry because 1970s festival food is another highlight not to be missed.

You can indulge in tasty treats like fondue, deviled eggs, and shrimp cocktails while sipping classic cocktails like Harvey Wallbangers or Tequila Sunrises.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for iconic festival moments; maybe you’ll witness an impromptu dance-off or join a group singing along to hits from Abba or Fleetwood Mac.

Experience a Drive-in Theater

Step back in time and relive the magic of cinema under a starry sky at a drive-in theater, where silver screens flicker with vibrant colors amidst the whispers of car engines humming. Experience this unique Americana that defined the 1970s as you cozy up with friends or family in your vintage automobile, surrounded by the nostalgic atmosphere of simpler times.

There’s no better way to indulge your subconscious desire for freedom than by participating in this cultural gem that combines entertainment and social bonding.

While there, don’t forget to savor some classic drive-in snacks that will transport you back to those carefree days. The irresistible aroma of buttery popcorn and mouthwatering hot dogs wafts through the air as you enjoy:

  • Crunchy nachos loaded with gooey cheese
  • Soft pretzels dipped in warm mustard
  • Refreshing ice-cold sodas
  • Decadent chocolate-covered raisins

On special occasions, join fellow enthusiasts for vintage car nights. In this event, wafts history buffs gather to showcase their meticulously restored vehicles from yesteryear while enjoying a film on the big screen.

With careful research and attention to detail, these events provide a marvelous opportunity to explore the automotive history and understand its impact on American culture during the 1970s.

Create Your Own DIY ’70s Home Decor.

Embrace your inner ’70s spirit and get groovy by creating DIY home decor inspired by this iconic decade! One of the best ways to capture the essence of the ’70s in your home is through macrame artistry.

Macrame, a form of textile art that involves knotting cords or ropes into intricate patterns, was wildly popular during this time. You can create wall hangings, plant holders, or even room dividers with this versatile craft. Look up vintage macrame patterns online or in old magazines for inspiration and use various materials such as jute, cotton rope, and yarn to give your creations an authentic feel.

Another must-have element for the ultimate ’70s vibe is shag carpeting. This plush and luxurious flooring option was all the rage back then and can be easily recreated at home using faux fur fabric or a thick-pile rug. To make it DIY, consider sewing together smaller pieces of fabric to create a patchwork shag rug that reflects your unique style.

Don’t forget to include other quintessential ’70s design elements like bold geometric prints on pillows or curtains, lava lamps for ambient lighting, and plenty of houseplants (preferably hanging from your macrame creations) to complete the look.

Learn About the Art and Culture of the Era

To truly appreciate the ’70s, diving into the art and culture that defined the era is crucial. As they say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so exploring this time’s music, fashion, and visual arts will give you a deeper understanding of its unique spirit and inspiration for your DIY projects.

Pop art exploration was at an all-time high during this decade, with artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein pushing boundaries to create visually stunning works that captured popular culture in bold new ways.

Psychedelic design trends also significantly shaped the visual landscape of the 1970s; swirling colors, trippy patterns, and otherworldly imagery became synonymous with counter-culture movements and mainstream fashion.

Dive headfirst into learning about iconic musicians who shaped their sound and style during this transformative period – think David Bowie’s ever-evolving personas or Led Zeppelin’s larger-than-life stage presence. You’ll find that these artists were deeply connected to the liberating ethos of their time – challenging norms and embracing experimentation in pursuit of creative freedom.

Beyond music, immerse yourself in films encapsulating ’70s culture – from gritty classics like “Taxi Driver” to campy cult favorites like “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Fashion-wise, don’t forget about bell-bottom jeans or maxi dresses adorned with bold prints – these styles are making a comeback today!

Delve into 1970s Literature and Poetry

As you continue your exploration of the vibrant art and culture scene of the 1970s, don’t miss out on diving into the world of literature and poetry that defined this era.

The decade was marked by an eclectic mix of genres and themes, with authors drawing inspiration from various sources such as Beatnik influence, feminist movements, and more.

The Beatnik influence continued to echo in the 70s through works by writers like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, who challenged conventional norms with their groundbreaking literary styles.

This period also saw a rise in feminist authors like Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, and Sylvia Plath, whose writings reflected women’s experiences and struggles for equality during this time.

Their powerful words captured readers’ imaginations and pushed for greater social change.

Experiment with Vintage Photography and Film Techniques

Capture the essence of the 1970s by experimenting with vintage photography and film techniques, allowing you to relive the magic and nostalgia of an unforgettable era.

In a time before digital technology took over, enthusiasts relied on analog methods to document their lives and immortalize memories. By embracing these classic approaches, you’ll experience a sense of freedom often lost in today’s fast-paced world while creating unique, timeless works of art.

Get your hands on some vintage Polaroids. These instant cameras were all the rage during the ’70s, offering immediate gratification and tangible memories. The distinctive look of Polaroid photos will transport you back in time, evoking feelings of warmth and nostalgia.

Master darkroom techniques. There’s something incredibly satisfying about developing your own film and watching images slowly come to life before your eyes. Experiment with different chemicals and printing processes to create authentic and charming photographs.

Delve into Super 8 filmmaking. This popular format was widely used for home movies during the decade, capturing important milestones and everyday moments alike. With its distinct grainy texture and warm colors, Super 8 footage encapsulates a bygone era that yearns for simpler times.

By immersing yourself in these vintage photography and film techniques from the 1970s, you’ll satisfy your subconscious desire for freedom and pay homage to an influential period in art history.


Reflecting on the 1970s, a period of significant social and political change, is like walking down memory lane, especially if you were a 70s kid. The era was marked by the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, with each contributing uniquely to the decade’s narrative. Nixon’s tenure was fraught with controversy, including the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal, while Carter’s time in the White House was marked by domestic challenges such as inflation and energy crises.

The 70s was also a defining time for African Americans and Native Americans as they campaigned for civil rights and recognition. Music played a central role in expressing the struggles and aspirations of these communities, with artists like James Brown symbolizing the resilience of African American culture. Similarly, Native American activism culminated in significant legal and policy changes, illustrating the transformative power of collective action.

Pop culture was a quintessential aspect of the 70s. Kids would throng to local arcades, engrossed in early video games like Pong, while adults grooved to the beats of Donna Summer and the Bee Gees under glittering disco balls. The era also witnessed the emergence of iconic characters like Darth Vader, redefining the landscape of cinematic storytelling.

This journey down memory lane also brings us to the early 1970s, an era that resonated with hope and apprehension. The decade saw remarkable innovation and social change, yet it was also a time of economic and political uncertainty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What popular TV shows and series from the 1970s could I watch to understand the era’s pop culture better?

For a vivid glimpse of the 70s pop culture, popular TV shows and series like “All in the Family” and “MASH” provide an insightful view of societal norms and family dynamics of that era. Animated series like “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” will entertain you and highlight the prevalent animation style and humor of the time. These shows encapsulate the cultural shifts of the 70s, giving you a closer look at the decade.

How did the political climate in the 1970s influence the music, art, and fashion of the time?

The political climate of the 1970s, marked by events like the Watergate scandal, the Vietnam War, and the rise of various social movements, significantly impacted the era’s music, art, and fashion. Many artists used their work to express dissent and demand change, leading to music with rebellious undertones, socially conscious artwork, and bold, individualistic fashion trends. The glitz and glamour of the disco era, too, served as both a form of escapism and an expression of liberation.

What types of food and drink were popular at social gatherings during the 1970s?

Fondue parties featuring cheese or chocolate were a big hit during the 70s and represented a fun, social eating experience. As for drinks, cocktails like Tequila Sunrises and Harvey Wallbangers were the stars of the disco scene, adding a splash of color and whimsy to social gatherings.

Were any significant environmental or technological advancements in the 1970s that shaped the decade’s lifestyle and culture?

The 1970s was a time of notable environmental and technological advancements. This decade saw a surge in solar energy usage spurred by the energy crisis and a growing environmental movement. These developments marked a shift towards more sustainable living and significantly impacted the era’s lifestyle and culture.

How did the 1970s differ from the previous decade (1960s) regarding? Social norms, values, and attitudes?

The 1970s differed from the 1960s regarding social norms, values, and attitudes. While the 60s were characterized by youth rebellion and countercultural movements, the 70s saw a broader societal shift towards individualism and environmental awareness. This decade also marked the continuation of the civil rights movement, the rise of second-wave feminism, and the beginnings of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, reflecting evolving societal attitudes.