Descriptive Essay Topic Lists

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay strives to provide a detailed and comprehensive description of something that will trigger the emotional response from the readers. Students can choose whatever subject they want – an object, place, person, event, memory, etc. The key is to create such a vivid description that will appeal to the readers through their senses. There is no need to conduct research or collect material to write this essay. The main purpose of this essay is to evoke certain emotions in their hearts which is impossible to do by simply enumerating dry facts. The greatest way to reach this aim is to use expressive language and provide relevant and vibrant details to visualize the subject as if to create a bright picture or photograph in readers’ imagination.

How to Choose a Descriptive Essay Topic?

In order to deliver a proper descriptive essay, students have to come up with an engaging topic that contains many interesting features to describe. To create a proper essay, students should focus their attention on human senses. This is how they will make the readers imagine their subject. Smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch are typical for all people – all human experiences will always have similarities and students should use this fact in their essays. Appropriate details are crucial to describe the personal experience that will make the readers see, hear, or even feel the subject of the essay. Another useful tip is to pick up a meaningful and significant topic the student will be eager to work on. It’s easier to convey emotions and penetrate into the readers’ imagination if there is an amount of passion towards the subject. Students can choose narrow or more general topics as long as they are described in a creative and appealing way.

A List of Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students

Describing Places

1. Baseball Stadium
2. A place that exists only in your imagination.
3. Descriptive essay: Chelsea Park happiest place on Earth
4. The best place to work
5. Describe some of your favorite places in your hometown.
6. Descriptive beach trip
7. The best restaurant in your town
8. Your favorite place
9. Describe your favorite bookstore
10. Descriptive essay: A day at Memorial Park
11. An amazing view
12. Describing places – Rome
13. Descriptive essay about home
14. Describing places – Sahara Desert
15. Describe an outdoor place that you know well

Describing People

16. Your best friend
17. Your worst enemy
18. Memorable person
19. Describe your favorite teacher
20. Favorite colleague
21. Describe yourself to someone
22. Descriptive essay: Harry Potter
23. Your ideal roommate
24. Descriptive essay: Meeting a famous person
25. The person who has made a difference in my life
26. Favorite baseball player
27. Your hero
28. The ideal parent
29. Describe someone whom you miss
30. Your mentor

Describing Objects

31. Describe your favorite song
32. Your favorite toy as a child
33. Describe the Laptop
34. Describe your favorite book
35. Your first phone
36. Describe your favorite item of clothing
37. Describe the picture
38. A shopping mall
39. An object that is special to you
40. Describe a room
41. Describe an object that has been in your family for a long time
42. Your Favorite flower
43. Describe a new car
44. Your favorite movie
45. Describe an ideal apartment

Describing Events

46. Describe a life-changing event
47. One of your most memorable first days of school
48. Descriptive paper of a rainstorm
49. A night walk
50. Winning an award
51. My first day at a new school
52. A concert
53. Describe living in another country
54. The day when I met my love
55. A train ride
56. Starting a new career
57. The longest trip ever
58. A snowy day
59. Describe your first kiss
60. A major achievement


61. Describe your favorite food
62. My life goals
63. What life will be in 2050
64. A time that you felt scared
65. First driving lesson
66. Describe your hobby
67. An experience that changed my life
68. The first time you met one of your friends
69. Describe your dream
70. Favorite football team
71. Usual working day
72. Describe your impression
73. A bad day
74. The most horrible nightmare
75. Your favorite pet
76. My worst phobia
77. Describe the benefits of mobile technology
78. A picnic
79. Describe your favorite sports game
80. Your best summer vacation
81. Describe dispositional and situational factors in explaining behavior

Descriptive Essay Examples

My dream house
Describing places – Seoul
Describe a library
Describe the types of dementia
My sister’s wedding

List of Descriptive Essay Topics

Of all different types of essays a student may have to write, the descriptive one is by far the easiest. They are often relaying a more personal message and do not require much research, the descriptive essay can be a great way to get your students started in the writing process. When it comes to choosing the right topic as a writing assignment for your students, the sky can be the limit.

When choosing a topic for a descriptive essay, it helps to understand what information the paper should include. Remember that the essay has to describe in detail a certain place or an experience that the writer has had to deal with. The subject of a descriptive essay can be either a person, place, object, memory, event, or an experience. Ultimately if you give your students an option it will be up to them to narrow down the endless array of choices they might have. Ideally, they will want to select a topic that will easily conjure up descriptive terminology in a way that the reader will be able to connect to.

A Person

When describing a person, the writer should not just write about the physical characteristics of the individual but also include personality quirks, sense of style, the way they talk and communicate, and their feelings in different circumstances. Consider writing about some of these people:

  1. Someone who means a lot to you
  2. A person that frightens you
  3. Someone you deeply respect
  4. A family member
  5. A political figure
  6. A favorite actor or musician
  7. An artist
  8. A neighbor
  9. An industry leader
  10. A person you rely upon

A Place

When writing about a place, the writer should include distinguishable features of the area. However, it is not enough to just write about what the place looks like, the writer should endeavor to incorporate the 5 W’s into the paper: who, what , when, where, and why. If all of these are included, the reader will not only understand why the location was chosen but what it means to the writer. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. An important place
  2. A place that inspires you
  3. A historical site
  4. An art exhibit
  5. A prison cell
  6. The Superbowl
  7. The site of a natural disaster
  8. Space
  9. A strange place
  10. A favorite place to eat

An Object

Objects often carry with them sentimental meanings that could make it easy to describe. Again, the writer wants to answer all of the pertinent questions that the reader would have when reading the paper. The writer should endeavor to describe why the item is important to them. Does it have a negative connotation or does it bring back pleasant memories. What is the sentiment connected to it and how important it is to them. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. An object of personal value
  2. A book
  3. A family heirloom
  4. A movie
  5. A meal

A Memory/Dream

Memories also can provide excellent descriptive subjects. Memories come in all types from a real life memory to a very vivid dream. Memories evoke many emotions that could come out in the writing process allowing them to express things they would not normally think about.

  1. A personal memory
  2. Your life in 20 years
  3. A lesson you’ll never forget
  4. What do you daydream about
  5. Learning something for the first time
  6. A recent vacation
  7. The future

An Event/Experience

Events can sometimes overlap with memories and the fundamental descriptive prose is often the same. When you’re dealing with an event from the past, you’re also dealing with a memory. Conversely, when you’re dealing with dreams of the future you’re also dealing with hopes and dreams of today. All of these can make for extremely descriptive prose.

  1. A favorite holiday
  2. A phobia
  3. A life changing event
  4. Your first paycheck
  5. Winning something
  6. A recent vacation
  7. A major accomplishment
  8. A concert

You’ll notice that the topic chosen has to be something that is very personal to the writer. With that personal connection, the ability to write descriptively will be much easier.

As you can see, there is no end to the number of topics you can choose for a descriptive essay. Remember, it is not about facts and figures as is the case with other types of essay topics but is about what sensations the writer experiences when in that particular situation or in the presence of that individual and how he can relay those feelings to the reader.

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