150 Inspiring Descriptive Essay Topics
Easy as they are, descriptive essays pose creative challenges that have students scratch their heads in confusion. Describe an object in an academic essay? Seems very unreasonable, yet this assignment is a fantastic and meditative exercise in writing while paying close attention to detail. Given the nature of this kind of assignment, descriptive essay topics can be found anywhere if you just pay attention to your surroundings or dig into your memories.
There are limitless possibilities of what descriptive essay topics could be about. Starting from the objects in your room to a classroom that you visually remember from high school. Your professor can still be harsh on requirements and your writing skill; however with this cohesive list of descriptive essay topics at your hand, you won't ever have trouble finding what to write about.
How to Choose a Descriptive Essay Topic
Prior to selecting from a pool of topics for descriptive essay, go ahead and ask yourself: what is something I can show instead of telling? Descriptive writing must evoke visual characteristics while appealing to the emotions of the reader. Certain objects can be easy to describe in mere words but difficult to illustrate and animate with descriptive language.
The phrase "show don't tell" is precisely what descriptive writing teaches you to do. So when thinking about how to choose a topic for descriptive essay, focus on the topic ideas that you feel you could bring to life by appealing to the reader's emotions.
Here's an example, "The cat was angry and antisocial." versus "The cat hissed and scratched at anyone trying to pet it."
The first example tells that the cat is angry yet does a terrible job of appealing to the reader's emotions. Meanwhile, the second sentence uses the verbs "hissed" and "growled," appealing to the senses of sight and hearing. For more successful immersion of your reader into the setting, appeal to the five senses:
- What can the reader see?
- What can they hear?
- What can they touch?
- What can they smell?
- What can they taste?
Keep in mind that you don't have to appeal to all five at once: in the previous sentence, merely the first two were enough to describe the antisocial cat. Whichever topic you choose from a pool of topics from descriptive essay, always follow the "show, don't tell" formula, and use a lot of verbs.
75 Fresh Descriptive Essay Ideas
The descriptive essay topics we have here cover a wide plethora of ideas and concepts. Given that you could craft such an essay on practically anything, we strived to be imaginative with our ideas. Starting off from general good descriptive essay topics, we later take a look at more focused lists: including topics on an object, a person, an experience, and more.
Feel free to borrow any of our ideas and develop your essay around it:
- A film that inspired you
- A fascinating character from a film
- Describe your encounter with an animal
- Describe a character from literature
- The house you'd dream of living in
- A close friend or acquaintance
- The first time you left your country or city
- The first thing you ever remember
- Your first crush
- A concert or event that fascinated you
- An artist or piece of music
- Describe the process of flying in a plane
- A moment which made you cry with happiness
- Your first time on an airplane
- The longest trip you've ever had
- The career that you dream of pursuing
- An amazing place you've been to or want to go
- A planet you've invented
- An important historical figure like Marcus Aurelius
- An event which changed the course of history
- Something you saw at a museum
- Describe a dream you've had
- A story from your summer vacation
- A childhood toy
- A teacher who had an impact on you
- Your childhood pet
- A magical place you want to revisit
- A fishing experience with your parents
- A hiking experience
- A festival you went to
- The best day of your life
- The worst day of your life
- A piece of fascinating technology
- An encounter with a superstar or celebrity
- A day of your favorite class in school
- A musical instrument
- A street that's important to you
- An important person-- like the president of the USA
- Some party that you've been to
- A piece of clothing that you're proud of owning
- Something that you're proud of creating
- A meal that blew your mind
- The time you thought you met God
- The time you got lost at a supermarket
- The roman empire
- The time you got caught stealing something, how you felt
- The time you danced with somebody
- When you sneaked out of your parents' house at night
- The first ever time that you got drunk
- Your group of friends
- A children's movie that you still watch
- An invention that changed the course of humanity
- A recurring story or dream in your head
- The object of a dream: like a nymph or a demon
- The scariest moment of your life
- Your time at an amusement park with friends
- An imaginative journey through space
- A musical album which you love listening to
- A scene from a movie which stuck with you
- Any given object in your house
- An object on the street that bears significance
- A magical or attractive person that you've met once
- A clever advertisement
- A sleepover at school
- The feeling when you first arrived to college
- Your college dorm
- The way a funny person tells a joke
- Describe the view from your window
- Describe a car that you'd love to own
- Describe your favorite pair of jeans
- Describe a period, like the 16th century
- Your day at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry
- Describe the character you'd be in Star Wars
- Describe a painting
- Describe a member of your family
With such a concise list of topics to write a descriptive essay on, you shouldn't have a problem starting off. Pick one and brainstorm, or continue reading for some more focused picks.
Descriptive Essay Topics about a Person
When writing about a person, most people pick a family member or a meaningful person from their own life. If that's the path you choose, then give yourself some questions to answer about the given person.
- What are their most standout characteristics?
- What is unique about this person?
- What personal reason prompted you to write about them? Are they inspiring? Are they wise? Do they have a great fashion sense? Etc..
But if you want to take it to the next level and write about somebody famous, we've produced a descriptive essay topics list that covers impressive people throughout history and popular culture. Take a peek:
- Emperor Augustus - the greatest emperor of the Roman Empire
- Socrates - one of the founders of Western philosophy
- Alexander the Great - the greatest leader who ever existed
- Barack Obama - the first black president
- John Lennon - the troubled genius of the Beatles
- Edgar Allen Poe - the father of gothic literature
- Vivienne Westwood - groundbreaking fashion designer
- Richard Branson - genius business magnate
- Anthony Fantano - the internet's busiest music nerd
- Logan Paul - YouTube entertainer
- Stanley Kubrick - genius filmmaker
- Adam Driver - an incredibly versatile actor
- Captain Jack Sparrow - legendary pirate
Descriptive Essay Topics about a Place
Writing about people doesn't strike you fancy? It's okay-- there are plenty of fascinating places in this world you could write about. Most often, professors see descriptive essay topics such as the place that spooked me when I was a child of the house I grew up in. These descriptive essay topics are the most common because they're easy to describe, as the writer has emotional connection to the given place. Here are the questions to ask yourself when writing about that childhood haunted house:
- What did the place look like? What made it so scary, or memorable, or curious looking?
- Why were you drawn to this place? What kind of aura did it have? Was it magical?
- Upon exploration of this place, what did you discover? Has your perception of it changed?
Haunted houses are fine, but there are plenty of other places in the world you could talk about. Choose anything from our place-oriented descriptive essay topics list:
- An ancient city, temple, or forum
- A magical place from fantasy or science fiction
- A place from a specific time period: the battlegrounds of Troy or the searing mount Vesuvius upon eruption
- 'The Spot" where you'd often go with friends
- A place of history that your hometown is proud of
- A place in a video game, movie, or piece of literature
- A place in nature: a mountain or a lake
- Your dream house, with all of its perks
- The greatest sandcastle you've ever built
- A treehouse that you loved spending time in
- Your rich friend's house or apartment
- A place that you'd often visit in your dreams
- Describe the lair of a dragon
- Describe the underworld
Descriptive Essay Topics about an Object
Objects, stuff that you can pick up, or give sentimental value, often appear in students' work as they can be great descriptive writing ideas. They're enticing because of their simplicity, yet depth: like a single red rose in a small vase standing passionately in the middle of the room.
Here's what to think about when describing an object:
- What are its most striking characteristics?
- Is this object for use or adoration?
- Does it look, smell, feel a certain way?
- What is so significant about this object?
- Whether or not this object has power' or any other kind of value
With that in mind, here's a list of topics you can steal from us:
- An object with mystical value
- An object that never leaves your bag
- Just pick something up and describe it
- An object of historical significance
- An object of sentimental value that you'll never throw away
- An object that you've created by yourself
- A significant object from a movie: like a wand from Harry Potter
- Something that you wanted to buy at first sight
- Describe a weapon like a sword
- Describe an object with a complex mechanism
- Describe a beautiful object and why it's so striking to you
- An object that makes you feel magical or historical energy
- Describe an object of traditional or religious fascination
Descriptive Essay Topics about Experience
Ah, personal life experiences. Takes you right back, doesn't it? There are many examples of descriptive essay topics about the experience, and the best ones are focused on your own personal stories, ups and downs laughs, and frowns:
- Your first experience with falling in love
- The experience that made you who you are today
- The time you endured the cold winds of winter
- A quintessential summer experience from your life
- The first time you made your own decision that had an impact on your life
- An experience with loyalty and friendship
- An experience of betrayal
- An adventure that you've had that you want to share
- The experience you've had during a scary movie
- An amusement park ride that you won't forget
- Describe an extraterrestrial experience or encounter
- Describe a magical experience or encounter
Essential Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students
College is a fascinating time of your life, and living it starts in high school. Applying for college can be intriguing and nerve-wracking at the same time. Descriptive essay topics for college often focus on these experiences. As it's a time of change and growth in your life, college life can propose many topics for a descriptive essay:
- The process of applying to college
- The feeling when you've first arrived to your college
- The first experience you've had with your roommates
- A night at the library
- The best party in college
- Describe the room that you live in
- Describe the essentials of college life from your perspective
- A professor that you've admired
- A valuable lesson that you've learned in college
- Describe the experience you initially expected from college
- Describe what your college looks like
- Describe your roommate
Best Descriptive Essay Topics for High School Students
Don't expect your teacher to go hard on you when you're picking descriptive essay topics for grade 7. Shooting back to the high school years can create a pool of fun and nostalgic topics. Here are some descriptive essay examples for high school:
- Entering high school: describe your freshman year
- Talk about an extracurricular activity that you enjoyed doing
- We all daydream: what did you daydream about?
- Describe the time you've skipped a class or a day at school
- Describe the most glorious, or happiest moment at school
- Describe the most embarrassing moment you've had at school
- We all did drama class: what was your memorable experience from it?
- The time you got caught doing something naughty
- Describe what your favorite book was you read in high school
- Describe a good or a bad teacher that you've had in high school
- Describe the best thing about high school