Grew Up In The 70s? 21 Things That You Either Remember With A Smile or A Wince

Growing up in the ’70s was a unique experience, filled with memories that range from the incredibly fond to the downright cringe-worthy. Whether it was the groovy fashion, iconic TV shows, or those unforgettable toys and gadgets, the ’70s left a mark on anyone who lived through it. Let’s take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and revisit 21 everyday things that defined the decade, for better or worse, and see how many of these you remember with a smile—or a wince.

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Eight-Track Tapes

The display case at the 8 Track Museum
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Eight-track tapes were all the rage before cassettes and CDs took over. These chunky cartridges were your ticket to portable music, even if they were a bit cumbersome. Popping one into the player and hearing that ka-chunk as it switched tracks was part of the experience, even if the quality left a bit to be desired.

Platform Shoes

Woman in platform shoes in studio
Image Credit: Anastasia Kolchina /

If you grew up in the ’70s, you probably rocked a pair of platform shoes. The higher, the better! These shoes were the epitome of disco fashion, making you feel like you were strutting down a runway every time you walked. They might not have been the most practical, but they sure made a statement.

Pet Rocks

Pet Rock
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Pet rocks were one of the strangest yet most popular fads of the ’70s. For a few bucks, you could own a rock, complete with a little box and breathing holes. It was the perfect pet—no feeding, no mess, just a rock to call your own. Looking back, it’s hard to believe how big this trend was!

Bell-Bottom Pants

A Woman in Colorful Long Sleeves and Bell-Bottoms
Image Credit: Stephen C /

Bell-bottom pants were the height of fashion. Those wide-legged trousers flared out dramatically, and everyone wore them. They were perfect for dancing at the disco, and paired with platform shoes, you were ready to boogie all night long.

Mood Rings

Mood Stone Ring
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Mood rings were the ultimate accessory. These rings supposedly changed color based on your mood, although they were really just reacting to your body temperature. Still, it was fun to see them shift colors and try to decode what your “mood” was at any given moment.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Watching TV
Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto /

Saturday mornings were sacred because they meant one thing: cartoons! Shows like “Scooby-Doo,” “The Flintstones,” and “Super Friends” filled the airwaves. It was a weekly ritual to grab a bowl of cereal and camp out in front of the TV for hours of animated adventures.

Lava Lamps

Melted Wax in a Lava Lamp
Image Credit: Em Hopper /

Lava lamps were the ultimate ’70s decor. Their hypnotic blobs of colored wax floating and shifting inside a glass cylinder provided endless entertainment. They were a staple in bedrooms and living rooms, adding a touch of psychedelic flair to any space.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Waterbeds were the epitome of bedroom luxury in the ’70s. The idea of sleeping on a mattress filled with water sounded incredibly cool, but in reality, they were often more of a hassle than a comfort. Leaks, waves, and the sheer weight of these beds made them a bit impractical, but they were undeniably a status symbol.

Roller Disco

A Retro Vintage Quad Roller Skate At A Roller Disco
Image Credit: mrdoomits /

Roller discos combined two of the ’70s biggest trends: roller skating and disco music. These venues were packed with people gliding around the rink to the beats of Donna Summer and the Bee Gees. It was a social hotspot where you could show off your best moves under the shimmering lights of the disco ball.

Polaroid Cameras

Polaroid Camera
Image Credit: Athena /

Polaroid cameras were pure magic. You could take a photo and hold a printed picture in your hand within minutes. Waiting for the image to develop, shaking it, and watching it gradually appear was a thrill. Polaroids captured countless memories and became a beloved part of ’70s life.


Winneconne, WI - 5 February 2015: Container of Tang Orange drink mix. Tang is owned by Kraft.
Image Credit: homank76 /

Tang was the drink of astronauts—or so the commercials claimed. This orange-flavored drink mix became a household staple, especially for kids who loved the idea of drinking the same thing that went to space. It wasn’t the healthiest option, but it was undeniably a part of many childhoods.

The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

“The Brady Bunch” was more than just a TV show; it was a cultural phenomenon. The misadventures of the blended Brady family were a must-watch, and everyone had their favorite sibling. It painted an idealized version of family life that, despite its cheesiness, has endured in pop culture.

Pay Phones

Traditional red telephone box, K2 model in London, England, UK. Phone booth.
Image Credit: dutourdumonde /

Before cell phones, pay phones were a lifeline. You’d find these booths everywhere, and having a stash of quarters was essential. Making a call meant stepping into the booth, dropping in your coins, and hoping you didn’t run out of time before your conversation was over.


Charming young woman in green sweater laughing with closed eyes and keeping hand on face while standing on pink background
Image Credit: kegfire /

Streaking was one of the strangest trends of the ’70s. The idea of running naked through public places, often during major events, became a bizarre form of protest or simply a way to grab attention. It was shocking, hilarious, and completely unforgettable.

TV Antennas

A Tv Antenna on the Roof
Image Credit: Eva Bronzini /

Getting a clear picture on your TV often involved some serious maneuvering with those rabbit ear antennas. Adjusting them just right, sometimes wrapping them in foil, and finding the perfect angle was almost an art form. When everything finally came into focus, it felt like a small victory.


Beautiful young woman with creative red makeup and afro hair
Image Credit: AllaSerebrina /

Afros were a powerful symbol of pride and identity. The bigger and bolder, the better. This hairstyle was more than just a trend; it was a statement of cultural pride and individuality. Maintaining an afro was a labor of love, but the results were undeniably stunning.

Disco Balls

Silver Disco Ball
Image Credit: NEOSiAM 2024+ /

No ’70s party was complete without a disco ball. These sparkling spheres transformed any room into a dance floor, reflecting light in a mesmerizing display. They were the ultimate symbol of the disco era, making every gathering feel like Studio 54.

Bean Bag Chairs

A Man in Black Long Sleeve Shirt Sitting on Yellow Bean Bag Chair
Image Credit: zaid mohammed /

Bean bag chairs were the perfect addition to any ’70s hangout spot. They were funky, fun, and incredibly comfortable. Whether you were lounging with friends, reading a book, or just chilling, a bean bag chair was the place to be.

Type Writers

Black Typewriter
Image Credit: Dominika Roseclay /

Before computers became commonplace, typewriters were the go-to tool for writing letters, school papers, and even novels. The clacking of keys and the ding of the carriage return were familiar sounds in many homes and offices. While typing on a typewriter required precision and patience—there was no backspace key, after all—it also had a certain charm and tactile satisfaction that many people remember fondly.

Smiley Face Stickers

Woman with multicolored smiley stickers on tongue
Image Credit: lil artsy /

Smiley face stickers were everywhere, spreading cheer with their bright yellow faces and “Have a Nice Day” slogan. They were stuck on everything from school binders to car bumpers, adding a touch of positivity to everyday life. It was a simple yet iconic emblem of ’70s optimism.

Disclaimer – This list is solely the author’s opinion based on research and publicly available information.

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