The Best HTML and CSS Menu Examples for Designers

Revamp your website navigation with these CSS menu examples. Explore creative ways to design menus that enhance user experience.

Imagine landing on a webpage and instantly sensing where you need to go. That’s the magic a sleek CSS menu can cast. Picture menus that unfold like elegant origami, guiding each visitor through a digital landscape with grace.

Menus are more than mere lists. They shape first impressions, channel curiosity, and are the pillars of user-friendly navigation. Diving into the realm of CSS menu examples, we’re about to unwrap the secrets of responsive designs that dazzle on both desktop and mobile.

Prepare to be the architect of interactive menus, mastering the blend between aesthetics and functionality. By article’s end, you’ll be fluent in crafting dropdownsvertical menus, and hamburger icons that respond to every click, touch, and scroll.

We’re not stopping at just looking pretty; we’re making these menus work for everyone, touching on web accessibility, so each visitor’s journey is a breeze. Ready to turn your site into the digital destination everyone navigates with ease? Let’s start weaving that web.

Menu from Smart Living One-Pager Template

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Menu from Minimal Portfolio Website Template

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One Page Navigation CSS Menu

The first CSS menu on the list is by Alberto Hartzet. It is for one-page navigation and it is useful for linking to different sections. The whole design, including transitions, is based on CSS.

Pure CSS CPC full page nav

Coded by Alex Hart, this pure CSS menu has a simple look. It makes use of the hover effect, which allows the user to see additional information. Moving the mouse over one of the two cities in the menu, for example, reveals the phone numbers of the different branches.

Overlay Css menu

Made by Thibault D, this features an overlay menu with CSS animations.

Text fill on hover #1

By moving the mouse over one of the menu links, the text changes color in a nice CSS animation. It was created by G Rohit.

Lavalamp CSS Menu

A colored box moves when one of the links is highlighted.  It was made by Patak.

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menu with awesome hover

This unique design by Swarup Kumar Kuila has different menu options that are patterned into joined hexagons. Bright-colored animations grab the attention and indicate the selection.

Fun Hover Navigation

Scott Kennedy is the designer and coder behind this navigation menu. It is fun because it has an old-school look. CSS keyframes make the effect very pleasing.

Pure CSS Menu Transition

This is a pure hamburger menu, coded by Nathan Schmidt. The transition animations are based on CSS.

Simple, CSS only, responsive menu

This is a fully responsive simple horizontal menu, coded by John Urbank. By hovering over one of the options, a dropdown menu appears, giving more choices. It is an ideal choice for websites with few choices that can be shown as block elements.

Barra de navegación con css – Menú bar

This is  a CSS menu by David.

#CodepenChallenge Full Page Nav

Created by Takane Ichinose, this full-page navigation menu, makes use of the page’s typography and icons as large images.

Pure CSS One page vertical navigation

The menu of this classic one-page layout by Alberto Hartzet is navigable with the keyboard.

Vertical Dark Menu with CSS

Alberto Leon created this vertical CSS menu with a dark theme. .

Randomly generated CSS blobby nav

Jhey has created a full-page CSS-animated menu. By clicking the hamburger icon in the top left, a selection of purple bubbles appears with the options. The bubble design is ideal for a cleaning website.

CSS Swinging Panel Menu

Seth Abbott made this pure CSS menu with a simple design. The swinging panels come down to reveal additional categories.

Pure CSS Magic Line Navbar

This is a clean CSS menu by Rock Starwind. The user can adjust the number of links at the top horizontal menu. The animated highlight must be set to match the selection to work properly.

Responsive Dropdown Menu

The navigation is based on a horizontal bar with dropdown menus. The options in the dropdown menus are in a block format. The code by Boyd Massie is in pure CSS.

CSS only fold out mobile menu

This fold-out menu, coded in CSS by Cyd Stumpel is especially suited for mobile devices.

The more menu

Clicking the three horizontal dots at the top unfolds the animated menu by Mikael Ainalem.

The Menu

The inspiration behind this menu is a table of contents. It is coded by ycw.

Menu 1

This hamburger menu by Virgil Pana folds over a background website to give a clearer idea of what it looks like in real life. The designer added some JS code to make the animations even smoother.

Inspiration for reponsive navigation

Designed by Antoine Vinial, the expandable horizontal bar has a unique design featuring a green tab. The tab expands when it is clicked to reveal the horizontal menu. The width of each option adapts to the size of the screen.

Circle Menu

This is a pure CSS menu, coded in CSS by Erin McKinney.

Menu Hover Fill Text

Designed and coded by alphardex, the text of the menu items fills in blue when hovering over them with the mouse pointer.

CSS – Folding Menu

This is an aesthetically pleasing, yet simple example of a pure CSS menu created by Animated Creativity.

Off-Canvas menu on Pure CSS

The coder of this pure CSS menu, Andrej Sharapov, used a vertical foldout navigation bar.

Colourful Flower Popup Menu

Jasper LaChance made a menu that radiates out upon clicking the hamburger icon. The differently colored bubbles that appear, contain an icon to direct the user to the place. The bubbles come to life because of the CSS shadow effects that were used.

CSS only drop down menu

This is a dropdown menu that was coded in CSS by steven.

Basic Responsive Menu

 The focus of this super basic horizontal bar menu is on usability. It was created by Ash Neilson.

Drop Down Menu

This is a horizontal menu with dropdown possibilities, made by Mark.

Menu cpc-menus #CodePenChallenge

The coding is entirely in HTML and CSS, which makes the effect extra smooth. Vincent Durand made the code in such a way that the menu performs well on any screen.

Challenges: CSS Strange Nav

This  different design by Deren is also in pure CSS.

Futuristic 3D Hover Effect

The visitor is invited to hover over a blue box. Doing so unfolds the icon-based menu. The CSS effect results in a futuristic 3D effect. It is made by Jouan Marcel.

CodePen Challenge: Menu

This seemingly simple navigation bar is full of nice CSS effects. It has beautiful color changes and animated dropdown menus. Adam Kuhn created a mega menu here, with many addable options, such as including images.

Hamburger icon with Morphing Menu

This template was created and coded by Sergio Andrade and offers a surprising hamburger menu with cool morphing effects. 

Fork This Nav

Ryan Mulligan made this navigation menu. It opens by clicking a toggle icon and the menu that appears relies entirely on CSS for style, animation, and positioning.

Sticky Navigation Menu With Smooth Scrolling

This  option, coded by Praveen Bisht, is good for landing pages and one-page sites. The menu expands when scrolling down the page.

3D Navbar

This is a 3-dimensional navigation menu, coded in CSS and HTML by Chenius.

Responsive navigation multilevel

Stéphanie Walter created this responsive horizontal menu bar with sublevels using CSS.

The circular menu

This is a circular hamburger menu made by Mikael Ainalem. Upon clicking the horizontal three bar icon, a small menu fans out. The different options are indicated with icons.

Pull Menu – Menu Interaction Concept

The  pull-down menu created by Fabrizio Bianchi is particularly suited for handheld devices. This interesting design is put at the top of the page, which is a smart trick to prevent people from opening the menu by mistake.

Off Canvas Menu (CSS)

This one by Amli is an off-canvas menu that was made with pure CSS.

FAQs about CSS menus

How do I create a responsive CSS menu?

Creating a responsive menu involves using media queries to adapt the layout to different screen sizes. Utilize flexbox or CSS grid for fluid navigation structures. Remember, a hamburger menu icon is a go-to for mobile views. It’s crucial for a good user experience that your menu shifts seamlessly across devices.

Can CSS alone make a dropdown menu?

Absolutely. With the :hover pseudo-class, you can reveal a submenu on mouse-over. Structure your HTML with nested lists, and let the CSS handle visibility changes. However, mix in some JavaScript if you’re after something with a bit more interaction, like click-to-open behavior.

What are the best practices for accessibility in CSS menus?

First things first, ensure keyboard navigability with tabindex and proper focus states. ARIA roles and attributes are your friends to define navigation landmarks. Use clear text labels, and don’t forget contrast ratios for text and backgrounds. It’s about inclusive design, so everyone can dine at your digital table.

How can I style my CSS menu without resorting to JavaScript?

It’s all about those CSS3 transitions and pseudo-elements. You can create hover effects and animate menu items. Use CSS animations for that extra flair when a user interacts with your menu. From changing colors to underlining or even fun CSS menu animations, you can make menus pop.

What are the differences between a navbar and a sidebar menu in CSS?

A navbar runs horizontally, usually at the top. Great for primary navigation. A sidebar menu? Vertical, often on the left. It’s prime real estate for secondary navigation or where space is at a premium. Think of it as the difference between a highway and a cozy alleyway.

Are there any frameworks that provide ready-made CSS menu examples?

Sure, frameworks like Bootstrap come packed with pre-designed menus, from navigation bars to vertical sidebars. They’re lifesavers when you need a quick, reliable, and responsive design. Plus, they’ve got great accessibility features right out of the box. Tailwind CSS is another option for utility-first enthusiasts.

Is it possible to create a full-screen overlay navigation menu using only CSS?

Indeed it is. With a combo of :checked or :target pseudo-classes, you can craft those overlay menus that take over the screen. They’re attention-grabbers that say, ‘Hey, look, here’s everything you can explore.’ Mobile-friendly menus often take this route for that all-in-one-place feel.

How do I ensure my CSS menu works correctly in all browsers?

Cross-browser testing—can’t skip it. Use vendor prefixes for those still-setting-in-browser features. Stick to well-supported CSS properties. Sometimes you’ll need fallbacks for older browsers. And keep an eye on sites like Can I Use for real-time compatibility checks.

What is a mega menu, and how can I implement it with CSS?

A mega menu is like opening a treasure chest of options, all neatly categorized. It’s perfect for sites with a bounty of links. Use grid layouts to organize the bounty into columns. CSS alone can style it, but for interactions, a sprinkle of JavaScript might be warranted.

How can I make my CSS menu animations smoother?

For buttery smooth animations, use CSS transitions with caution. Opt for properties that don’t trigger repaints, like opacity and transform. They’re less taxing on the browser. And hey, don’t overdo it. Sometimes a simple fade or slide is all you need to create a delightful navigation journey.


Wrapping up this digital feast of CSS menu examples, we’ve sliced through the code jungle and plated up some seriously nifty navigation delights. By mixing and matching the ingredients we’ve chatted about, from sticky menus that hang tight to accordion menus that play a tune as you click, your site’s gonna have a vibe that’s as welcoming as your favorite coffee shop.

  • HTML and CSS: Buddies that have your back, no matter the menu style you’re crafting.
  • Media queries: Like a good DJ, adapting the beats – or menus, in our case – to any screen size.
  • Accessibility: Because it’s cool to care that everyone gets a seat at the table.

You’re all set to serve web experiences that make visitors stick around for dessert. Just like a chef tweaks recipes, don’t be afraid to spice up these examples with your own unique flavor. Keep it fun. Keep it functional. And always, keep it fresh.

If you liked this article about CSS menus, you should check out this article about CSS text animation.

There are also similar articles discussing CSS tablesCSS hover effectsCSS checkboxes, and CSS forms.

And let’s not forget about articles on CSS tabsCSS search boxCSS button hover effects, and CSS slideshow.

The Best HTML and CSS Menu Examples for Designers

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The Author

Dirk Gavor

Slider Revolution high priest on the mission to find the line between not enough coffee and just a little too much coffee. Same with beer.

For any inquiries or additional resources related to this blog post or else, please don't hesitate to comment below or email me at [email protected].

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