From boy bands to the PlayStation 1, the 1990s had it all. Looking around today, the 90s - with its oversized JNCO jeans, dark brown lipstick, and daisy-printed everything - doesn't feel that far away. Whether you're a millennial woefully realizing that middle age is fast approaching or a mature adult looking back on your heyday, there's no medicine to cheer you up better than a healthy dose of 90s nostalgia. Breathe in the familiar scents of CK One and plastic jelly shoes: we're going back to the 90s.
90s Snacks and Drinks We'd Bring Back in a Heartbeat
Unfortunately, we can't travel back in time through our taste buds with these discontinued 90s foods. But if you could bring back one of the old snacks from the 90s, which one would you pick?
If you were young adult in the 90s, then your first drink was probably a 4Loko or a Zima. This clear alcoholic cooler was ahead of its time, and could definitely hold its own against other clear drinks like White Claws and Trulys today.
As adults, you sympathize with the Trix rabbit in his quest to take a bite out of the cereal that's "for kids." Yet, we'd give up most other breakfast cereals to have a big bowl of the OG Trix, fruit-shaped puffs and all, just one more time.
Once again, the 90s was ahead of its time. Similar to boba tea, Orbitz was a clear drink that had little gellen gum balls floating around inside for a fun effect. Although getting blasted by these tiny pellets with every sip was a strange experience, it's one we'd like to try again.
Hubba Bubba is the pinnacle of the bubble gum world, and their 90s product, Bubble Jug, was ingenious. A little screw cap jug full of powdery gum nuggets you could pour into your mouth and chew until it turned into gum? A great gimmick that we all bought into.
90s Beauty Moments Made for TRL
People remember the 1990s for a lot of things, but the beauty choices we made aren't necessarily one of them. Some 90s-inspired outfits hitting the runways and boardwalks today are delightfully reminiscent of the last decade of the 20th century. But these beauty and fashion choices are ones you probably don't want to bring back anytime soon.
It goes without saying that thin brows are the iconic 90s choice most people remember when they think of beauty from back in the day. However, the unblended, single-shade frosted eyeshadow looks we were serving just don't hold up. If your eyeshadow didn't come in a little egg with a plastic top, were you really putting on makeup in the 90s?
Jelly sandals were the summer shoe of choice for people in their teens to people in their 30s. Realistically, you shouldn't be forced to wear these plastic blister-causing squeaky sandals once you're old enough to walk, and yet, many of us put ourselves through that in the name of fashion.
Blossom-Style Bucket Hats
Although we're all about protecting your face and scalp from the sun, there wasn't anything flattering about the giant decorated flowers and sculptures that sat dead-center on most bucket hats in the 90s. At the very least, these chunky headpieces certainly made a statement.
You can thank boy band pop stars like Justin Timberlake for making bold frosted tips the biggest men's hairstyle of the 1990s. If you couldn't afford to head to a salon to get your tips bleached using a highlighter cap, then you could always spray a ton of Sun-In in your hair.
Kids' Gifts You Might See at a 90s Birthday
When it came to kids' parties in the 1990s, there were strict social limitations about just what places you were willing to take 30 kids to. While teens mostly stuck to hanging out at the mall, going bowling, or having a good old-fashioned sleepover, younger kids relished in giving their parents their first gray hairs at kid-tastic venues like Chuck-E-Cheese. After all, there's nothing like negotiating the prize wall with 30 wild adolescents breathing down your neck at the Chuck-E-Cheese.
Yet, the most important part of birthday parties was figuring out what toys and gadgets to give to the kids in your life or to ask your parents for, and the 1990s had some legendary options. It's pretty likely that 90s babies were gifted at least one of these hot-ticket toys:
If you had to give only one example of a fad or craze from the 90s, chances are Beanie Babies would top the list. They came in every kind of animal imaginable, and their iconic red tags made them an almost instant collectible.
Like practice pagers for kids, Tamagotchis were cute digital animals you could clip onto your bookbag or belt loop. The worst thing you could with your pet was forget to feed them.
American Girl Dolls
Only fancy families usually got to buy American Girl Dolls because of how expensive they were (and still are). These quaint dolls corresponded to various historic characters in small chapter books, and everyone who loved them had their favorite character.
In 1998, Furby was born. This electronic creature took after gremlins with its fuzzy body and big eyes. A prehistoric precursor to AI technology, Furby was as close to having a robot as it got. And, if you ever got a glimpse underneath the hood, then you found out that they shared more with the Terminator than any of us care for.
90s Game Shows We All Wanted to Compete On
Since the 1950s, televised game shows have brought out the competitive nature in all of us. But, some absolute bangers debuted in the 1990s, with huge prize packages and a chance to appear on TV (something we all aspired to in the pre-social media world). Do you remember staying up to watch these primetime game shows?
Supermarket Sweep combined two of the greatest impulses we have: breaking the rules and winning. Grocery shopping in the 90s couldn't be a passive experience anymore; every time you walked the aisles, you tried to remember where everything was and what the most expensive items were, just in case you ever made your small screen debut.
Family Double Dare
Family Double Dare might have premiered in 1988, but if you had siblings, then it was a mandatory weekly event you'd all watch together. Many families spent the episode mapping exactly who would be best at which event, and how they'd tackle the questions to beat out whatever family they'd be pitted against.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Nickelodeon brought their A-game in the 90s with their large roster of game shows. One of the standouts that still holds up 30 years later is Legends of the Hidden Temple. Mixing history and culture questions with physical challenges, this game show gave kids a taste for what they wish school could be like.
Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
With video games and several animated series, we're still curious about where in the world Carmen Sandiego is this time. Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? premiered in 1991 and put three middle schoolers, and everyone watching at home, to a giant geography test. Us gumshoes did our best to polish up on our geography and defeat V.I.L.E. from week to week.
90s Board Games Every Family Had
Long before families had the luxury of handheld video games and streaming services to occupy everyone during "family time," many parents had mandatory family game night. Unfortunately, the ever-present fear that watching TV too close was going to fry your retinas gave every parent the justification to turn off the picture box and return to the tabletops.
Of course, classic board games like Monopoly, Life, and Clue were constantly in rotation, but a new slew of board games dominated 90s tables. From huge game sessions in college dorm rooms to giant family game nights, we loved challenging each other to tabletop competitions. Which of these titles can you still beat anyone at?
Trivial Pursuit was the board game of the 1990s. You could challenge friends and family to see who really had the biggest brain of all. By condensing everyone's favorite beer-and-bar activity into a tiny box you take anywhere, the creator's revolutionized tabletop gaming forever.
Hasbro let you break out your creative side with their 1998 board game, Cranium. You might remember the crazy activities you were forced to complete, from dancing and drawing challenges to putting your brain to the test with trivia.
The Settlers of Catan
Some people stick to easy games when they're playing board games, but others want to sit for hours strategizing the best way to conquer their opponents. For long-form games, it didn't get better than The Settlers of Catan. Complicated and intellectual, this strategy game required the utmost endurance.
If you ever had to describe what anxiety feels like to someone, all you need to do is have them play a round of Perfection. This perfect 90s game put your motor skills to the test by challenging you to put back a jumble of polygon pieces into their specific slots on the board in under 60 seconds. When you lose - because you will lose - those little pieces will come flying out at you.
The Nostalgia of 90s Nostalgia Video Games
Speaking of games... nothing brings back the nostalgia of the 90s quite like remembering video games from that time period. Although Pong's known for being one of the first interactive at-home video games to pull kids away from the arcade, the 1990s really is to blame for birthing the video game generation.
It was like every video game developer spent the entire decade working tirelessly to one-up their competitors, leaving 90s kids with loads of carpal-tunnel-in-the-making fun. From Nintendo 64 to PlayStation 1 to the Game Boy Color, some of the most popular 1990s games included Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, GoldenEye 007, Resident Evil, Super Mario 64, Pokemon Red/Blue, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Gran Turismo, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Some of us can still play them in our sleep.
Getting Jiggy With 90s Music
Is it a 90s phrase or Will Smith's unforgettable song from 1997? No matter what style of music you liked, there were options for everyone. From the best 90s rap songs to Eurodance to the grunge music that helped shape the decade, there was a lot to love about the 90s music scene. In case you forgot (or weren't there) some of the top 90s songs that might make you nostalgic include:
- U Can't Touch This, MC Hammer (1990)
- Losing My Religion, REM (1991)
- Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992)
- What Is Love, Haddaway (1993)
- Waterfalls, TLC (1994)
- Wonderwall, Oasis (1995)
- Macerana, Los Del Rios (1996)
- Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton (1997)
- You're Still the One, Shania Twain (1998)
- Baby One More Time, Britney Spears (1999)
Bring on the 90s Nostalgia of Family Vacation Time
Fanny packs, disposable cameras, and enough cash to buy a small island in the tropics - these are just a few of the things you could find in a suitcase designated for a family vacation in the 1990s. Piling into the family van to see the sights around you - decked out in high socks, sneakers, and ponytails held up with scrunchies - was how most 90s kids dreamed of spending their childhood summer vacations.
But, the real thrill of summer vacations was screaming your lungs out on a roller coaster at a massive theme park. Some of the popular family vacation destinations in the 90s included Six Flags, Disneyworld or Disneyland, Dollywood, Carowinds, Cedar Point, and Adventureland - to name a few.
90s Businesses We Used to Get Lost In
In the 1990s, there were stores that had just the same hypnotic effect on us that Target does today. Even if you had a short list and a mission, you'd end up browsing through these iconic stores for hours.
Blockbuster Brings Back the 90s Movie Nostalgia
Pretty much everyone in the 90s looked forward to heading to Blockbuster and using their worn-down laminated keychain membership card to rent the latest big cinematic hit. There was nothing more fun than running up and down the carpeted aisles, pulling empty VHS cases off the shelves, and skimming the movie's plot just to end up putting it back and renting the same movie that you'd already seen a thousand times before. Before Netflix tried to bring the theater to your door, Blockbuster brought the theater into your home.
If you had the chance to revisit Blockbuster one last time, which of these 90s smash hit movies would you rent first?
- Pulp Fiction
- Romeo + Juliet
- Cruel Intentions
- The Silence of the Lambs
- The Big Lebowski
- My Own Private Idato
- The Matrix
Long before Super Walmarts literally cornered the market of every small town across America and people spent hundreds of dollars at Target, K-Mart was everyone's go-to store. With an assortment of goods and a neon-colored cafe, families could get lost in K-Mart for hours.
Fun Times at Toys-R-Us
During the holidays, there was one place every 90s kid wanted to go to - Toys-R-Us. Before Amazon could ship any toy a kid could dream of straight to their door, we had to navigate aisles of excited children and hunt down employees to grab stuff from their endlessly tall shelves. And we'd like to have an ounce of the joy that getting their Christmas catalog in the mail gave kids back then.
Relive the 90s Like it Wasn't 30 Years Ago
There's no better way to crush a 90s kids' spirit than reminding them that their beloved decade happened 30 years ago. While we can't Marty McFly ourselves back to the last decade of the millennium, we can pop in our NSYNC CDs into our Sony Discmans and just for a second relive those glory days.