Looking for a new hobby? Or trying to decide which one will be the best use of your limited free time? We’ve got you covered.
To make this massive list a little less daunting, we’ve subdivided it into a few categories (though of course, there’s sometimes overlap). Whether you crave adventure or like to hunker down with a good book and a cup of tea, you’ll find plenty of hobby inspiration below.
- The great outdoors
- Collecting things
- Food- and beverage-related hobbies
- Arts, crafts, and other skills
- Building things
- Fun and games
- Reading, writing, and learning
- Even more hobbies!
The great outdoors
1. Hiking: One of the best possible activities, hiking combines cardio fitness with beautiful views and quiet time to yourself. You can find a good place to hike almost anywhere, and it’s the perfect way to get away from all the stress of your daily life.
2. Backpacking: It’s like hiking but better! You can stay out in the field for a single night, or for a whole month or more. Backpacking is truly the ideal way to escape from everything. It doesn’t even have to be difficult, start simple and work up from there. If there’s a better way to find peace, I haven’t found it yet.
3. Camping: If you want to be outside, but for whatever reason long distance treks aren’t quite your thing, try some simple camping. From your backyard to the campground in your local state park, there’s always a good place to camp.
4. Hunting: If you enjoy the serenity of nature, but also want an additional challenge, or simply would like a way to source good-quality meat that isn’t harmful to the environment, try hunting. If you hate blood, don’t worry, so do I, but the satisfaction of knowing where your food comes from is worth it in my opinion. As one of the oldest human activities, hunting is a fine way to tune your senses in an activity that often goes past being a hobby and becomes a way of life.
5. Fishing: Whether your idea of fishing is wading through a river in search of trout or kicking back lakeside, you’ll find that this hobby can be as exciting or as laidback as you make it. And like hunting, it results in a delicious dinner. Just make sure to fish responsibly and get a permit!
6. Archery: Maybe one of the most peaceful experiences you will find, archery is truly a form of meditation. It’s rare to find an activity that combines physical and mental prowess so well. Even better, a beginner’s bow isn’t too expensive, and unlike firearms, bows won’t make your ears ring.
7. Canoeing: The water is a yet another perfect place to find peace. There is no feeling that can quite replicate the feeling of crashing over waves in a storm or fighting the wind with every stroke. You can canoe on rivers, lakes, ponds; anywhere there’s water, you can canoe.
8. Kayaking: Similar to canoeing, yet different in style. Kayaks are great for more punishing water conditions, especially open salt water. Kayaking is a great way to see the world from a new angle, and the unmatched maneuverability and handling of a good kayak will put a smile on your face.
9. Running: Most people associate running with pain. I was one of those, but I was wrong. Start small, and for the love of everything good don’t run only on a track. Find somewhere beautiful; I regularly trail run in the woods. Take it easy as you get in shape, stretch to avoid shin splints, and run at a pace that lets you enjoy it.
10. Geocaching: A worldwide scavenger hunt, geocaching gives you the ideal excuse to see the world around you and then some. One of the big perks is that it lets you travel with a specific purpose instead of simply roaming.
11. Growing Vegetables: If you enjoy gardening but want to take it to a more practical level, try growing your own vegetables. Make sure the specific ones you pick are suitable for your given climate, but once you figure that out, you can grow vegetables for a fraction of market price, and you get to control every step of production, ensuring food safety the whole time.
12. Growing Flowers: A wonderful way to improve the look of your garden or home, flower growing is one of the best aesthetic choices you can make. Almost any arrangement is possible, within environmental limits. A plain grass yard is not the prettiest thing, but some flower beds really improve the look. Or try growing plants indoors or on balconies for interior decoration.
13. Composting: Not only a hobby, but a way of life, composting helps you and your local environment. By composting, you get to reuse what would otherwise simply be wasted. Furthermore, you reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfills. Compost also enriches soil for your plants, but just make sure what you compost is suitable for decomposing.
14. Metal Detecting: For those who take a keen interest in history, metal detecting is a great way to get hands on experience with an area. If you want to be able to hold and own real pieces of history, metal detecting is a solid way to do this. There are ways to make money doing this, but most people simply enjoy the experience of searching for real historical artifacts.
15. Bird Watching: As some of the most colorful and striking animals, birds are wonderful to watch. There are so many different kinds, each one with its own unique ways and habits. This peaceful hobby will get you outside, give you some exercise, and allow you to experience the natural world around you.
16. Beekeeping: Bees are some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth. They are smart, industrious, and productive. Beekeeping can not only provide you with free, local honey, but it will give you experience with your local ecosystem. This is because bees depend on local plant life for their own sustenance, so a good apiarist gets to know the world around them.
17. LARPing: Live Action Role Playing, or LARPing, is fantastic for a wide range of people who want to improve their historical knowledge, get to know new people, or just have fun. LARPing ranges from Dungeons & Dragons to medieval reenacting and Cowboy Action Shooting. This huge variety means that whatever your passion, you can find a way to make it happen.
18. Parkour: If you’re already active but want a further challenge, try parkour. It takes a bit of trial and error, but once proficient, you’ll be able to impress your friends. Climbing the unclimbable is sure to keep you fit and fun.
19. Astronomy: Every child looks up at the stars one day and wonders about them. As an adult, you can take this further. By learning the constellations, the motions of the stars, and other aspects of the night sky, you can bring that kid in you back to life. Or try a personal favorite, get a view of the Aurora Borealis!
20. Meteorology: Weather is as fascinating as it is unpredictable. So learn some of the patterns and impress your family by telling them what will happen next in the sky. This is both useful and fun, so give it a shot.
21. Kite Flying: Kites are ancient and capture imagination like little else does. Kites are a wonderful art form, and you can both learn to fly and build them. With a little practice, the flying itself is a thing of beauty.
22. Sand Castle Making: If you love the beach, you’ve certainly made sand castles at some point. I’m all grown up, but I guarantee that if you put me on sand and walk away, there will be a castle there when you come back! Make them massive, or elaborate, or both!
23. Hobby Horsing: Like horses but can’t afford one? You can always buy a fake horse and get some solid cardio by riding it around a faux dressage course. This may sound ludicrous (honestly, it does look pretty funny), but it’s very difficult and it’s good for your cardio exercise. So give it a shot!
24. Antiquing: Antiquing is the perfect hobby for history lovers. Find something that captures your passion! It can be furniture, cars, weapons, art, jewelry, the options are endless. Whatever you choose to collect, learn your topic to the last little detail and get the finest pieces you can find.
25. Coin Collecting: If you like being meticulous and detailed, coin collecting is a solid way to focus yourself. If you are a completionist in video games, you’re going to like coin collecting. Trying to get every last one will keep you busy for years.
26. Stamp Collecting: Also for anyone who likes history, stamps often tell the stories of the nations they came from. Maybe you like Victoria Regina stamps, which tell the tale of Britain in the late 1800s, or maybe you fancy 1960s Soviet stamps instead. Find a period or place you love and collect the stamps to get a flavor of the people who made them.
27. Vintage Clothing Collecting: Another great way to get to know an era or place, clothes collecting will teach you about their fabrics, stitching, and ways of life. Knowing how people dressed tells you a ton about them, so try it out and see what you can learn.
28. Antique Car Collecting: Cars are awesome. Antique cars are more awesome. Try collecting them to learn a bit about their periods, about the people who made and drove them. Cars are a tangible symbol of their society, as they show a people’s style.
29. Antique Book and Manuscript Collecting: Books open doors into other worlds. Old books give you an even better sense of the author’s original intent. Even better, learn a language and read texts as they were originally written. Every level of translation loses some meaning, so buy original books or manuscripts and read them yourself.
30. Art Collecting: Art is a symbol of people’s beliefs, hopes, and dreams. Artists express all of that in their work, and by collecting art you get to learn first-hand about what motivated and drove people. Learn about their history, what they loved and lived for. Art and art history allow you to learn all of this and more.
31. Shell and Sea Glass Collecting: The beauty of the ocean, all in one piece. A shell or piece of sea glass is a wonderful memento of your time at the sea and will serve as a reminder forever of watching the sun rise or set over the water. The waves coming and going, and the sense of wonder that looking out to sea always brings. Shells take you back there, so collect a few to take the ocean with you everywhere.
32. Leaf Collecting and Pressing: Leaves are intricate, each one different from the next, so collect and press a few of the best ones as a form of art. No matter where you are, these leaves will always remind you of trees. Keeping a piece of the outdoors with you is a wonderful way of staying grounded.
33. Record Collecting: Nothing sounds quite like vinyl. So collect your favorite albums. Get all the best ones – Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, The Beatles – and listen to them in their best format.
34. Postcard Collecting: Postcards are wonderful reminders of places you and other people have been So keep some of the best ones to never forget where you have gone, and where you will go in the future.
35. Shoe Collecting: A lot of people may get rid of shoes every year, but you can collect them, learn different styles and uses. This is far beyond simple utilitarianism; shoes are works of art, and each one can tell the story of its maker and owner.
36. Toy Collecting: If you like Toy Story as much as I do, you appreciate the wonder of toys. So find a type you enjoy and collect them. They are great decorations and of course, you can always play with them.
37. Memorabilia Collecting (e.g. Star Wars products): If you have a passion for a certain movie or game or book, collect some of its memorabilia. Not only does it often appreciate in value, it’s a great way to keep the story you love close to your heart.
38. Sports Memorabilia Collecting: Have a favorite team? Collect all of their memorabilia to cherish your favorite moments spent with friends or family at games. It goes beyond the simple sport, it’s about the times that sport brings you to be around those you love.
39. Rock Tumbling: Enjoy the natural beauty of rocks as both collectibles and decorations. You can tumble them yourself or simply keep them natural. Rocks are truly wonderful, and keeping your vases filled with them will add life to your house.
Food- and beverage-related hobbies
40. Cooking: Like food? Cook it! There is so much more to food than a microwave. Cooking isn’t hard at all; start simple and work from there. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be cooking for friends and family, and they’ll love it too.
41. Baking: Try your hand at baking if you like bread or cakes. Baked goods are wonderful party or guest foods as nearly everyone likes them. Baking can be tough, but with some practice you’ll be baking apple pies to perfection.
42. Gingerbread House Making: Edible art. That sounds pretty good. Gingerbread houses can be large or small, but they are always tasty. Make one with your kids to teach them design and style: you may just learn a bit about that yourself.
43. Home brewing: If you enjoy beer but want a personal challenge or want to make beer or cider that’s better than what you can buy at the store, look into brewing your own. Check state and federal laws before starting, but once you get your recipe down, you can make your very own beer, perfect for social occasions.
44. Wine Making: If you’re not a beer person, try making your own wine. While it’s not the easiest thing to make, there is no better way to feel classy than by serving your very own wine at a party. Try experimenting with red and whites until you find exactly what you can make best. If you really want a challenge for the ages, brew some amontillado!
45. Mixology: If you’re tired of beer (like I am), try mixing drinks. A Moscow Mule or French 75 is the perfect conclusion to a hot day. You can take your party game through the roof by learning to make solid mixed drinks, and maybe even make some money on the side too.
46. Bread Making: A great way to customize your bread to your tastes! Try baking your own bread and experiment with different styles and methods. Before long, you won’t just be baking loaves, you’ll be moving on to greater challenges like soufflés. Baking your own bread allows you to control what types of wheat you eat and can even save quite a bit of money if done right. Bread is often a staple product in a modern diet, so baking it yourself can give you the flexibility and freedom to dictate how you like it, without being beholden to the grocery store.
47. Cheese Making: Though not quite as simple as many other hobbies, cheese making gives you an in depth understanding of the food process. Not only that, but you end up with cheese that costs a whole lot less than it would if bought from a store.
Arts, crafts, and other skills
48. Painting: One of our most versatile art forms. You can paint in oils, acrylics, or water colors. The differing styles of painting give you near limitless options for how you choose to portray the world around you. Like writing, painting gives you the opportunity to express yourself in near infinite ways.
49. Drawing: Fairly similar to painting, just in a different medium. Drawing is an economical and simple way to get into the visual arts. You can draw any type of subject, from portraits to landscapes. A real perk is that, unlike painting, drawing takes very little money to get started, so try it out!
50. Origami: An ancient form of art, origami takes a bit of skill and practice, but with time you’ll soon be making wonderful pieces. Decorate with them! Give them as gifts! Paper never looked better than when folded into art.
51. Photography: Capture the living world around you with images. Photos are wonderful expressions of art. You don’t even need an expensive camera; your phone will do fine to begin with. Learn about angles and lighting to make your images pop!
52. Scrapbooking: Scrapbooking preserves your history. It’s like a diary but a bit more personal, with a bit more art and design. A scrapbook allows to you collect mementos, photos, drawings, writing, and more, all while letting your imagination run wild and come up with a creative design.
53. Calligraphy: This form of art will have you feeling like a scribe of the ancient world. Calligraphy brings out the beauty of letterforms in the best possible way. Design your letters and words to write personalized cards or craft unique decorations. You’ll gain new appreciation for the wonders of written language.
54. Quilting: A practical form of art, quilting keeps you warm at night with a custom piece of gear. A quilt is a manifestation of you. Make quilts for yourself or give them as gifts. A good quilt will last nearly forever and is a great personal statement.
55. Crocheting: Make wonderful cloth designs by crocheting! An invaluable skill for passing time, it lets you build dexterity in your hands and you can make truly beautiful items as well.
56. Knitting: Similar to crocheting and extremely practical, knitting lets you pass time while making sweaters, scarves, socks, and more. Heavy-duty wool is both strong and fashionable, not to mention warm. So give knitting a chance!
57. Embroidery and Needlepoint: Make your own designs by embroidering them! This great art form lets you get creative with cloth, which you can then use to decorate or give as a gift. Every room in your home could be improved with a framed cross-stitch or two.
58. Carpet and Tapestry Weaving: A tapestry is always a solid personal statement, and it’s better if you make it yourself. So learn that skill and decorate your house in all your favorite designs. Once used to block drafts in old castles, tapestries are now works of art!
59. Designing and Making Clothes: If you have a love of fashion, why not make your own clothes? Design them to your specifications and then stitch them together piece by piece. Whether your personal style is edgy or elegant, it’s a great skill to have and others will be jealous of your one-of-a-kind pieces.
60. Jewelry Making: If you enjoy adorning yourself with jewelry, try making your own and bring your own distinctive creative vision to life. Use either expensive or economical materials; what really matters is the skill of the craftsmanship involved.
61. Pottery: Ancient, practical, and beautiful, pottery is an ideal way to spend time making something you can use and admire. Store everything from flowers to olive oil in your handiwork—whatever the contents, a handmade pot or vase will always be stunning.
62. Metal Working: One of the more intensive yet possibly rewarding hobbies, metal working allows you to build or repair at will. You can make simple lawn art, or you can do more intricate repairs on things like vehicles. If you want a really neat hobby which may just land you a job down the road, metal working is a solid pick.
63. Wood Carving: One of our species’ oldest activities, wood carving is a relaxing way of making anything from works of art to practical items. You can make statues, spoons, even a totem pole if you really have a lot of time on your hands. All you need is a block of solid wood and a small knife to get started here, so try it out, and always cut away from yourself!
64. Welding: One of the more practical hobbies, welding is perfect for people who like to work with their hands. I would definitely recommend taking a formal class for this one because, well, hot things are dangerous. You can do anything from repair equipment to make lawn art and more if you can weld.
65. Leather Tooling: Too many people see leather tooling as a dying skill. In reality, it is an incredible and unique art form that can improve nearly anything made of leather. If you like art and designs, try this one, you can spice up belts, wallets, or even holsters or sheaths.
66. Cobbling: Also wrongly considered by many to be a dying art, cobbling, or shoe making, is an invaluable skill or hobby for almost anyone. First off, you can make shoes to your exact preference. No more having to pick from someone else’s ideas or fits. Also, and maybe more important, you can repair old or damaged footwear, thus saving tons of money over the long run and keeping shoes or boots serviceable over the long run.
67. Model Railroads: If you love mechanics and designing things, model trains are a perfect outlet for your passion. And they’re almost totally customizable: you can make entire cities on a table. I’ve seen train rooms modelled on 19th century America, or 1960s Germany, or modern Japan. Incorporate a love of history for maximum fun.
68. Furniture Building: A hobby that can lead into a real job, furniture building gives you the talent to build things that everyone needs. Whether you just want to put together the perfect chair, or if you want to market a whole lot of your perfect chairs to everyone else, furniture making is a fine way to hone your attention to detail and your building skills.
69. Home Improvement: You can always pay someone to improve your house, but with a little practice, you can do it yourself. Build cabinets, fix plumbing, demolish walls! Make sure to do your reading first, but once you’ve done a few home improvement projects, you’ll have gained some incredibly useful skills.
70. Model Building: Another form of art, model building offers a miniature way into design. Learn how to build, tinker around with your models, and construct elaborate cities for them too!
71. LEGO: The ultimate building set, LEGOs let you construct anything and everything: the Millennium Falcon, Hogwarts Castle, a life-size dragon. Build whole worlds, all in your home. Make stories to go with them, invent characters, and bring the place to life.
Fun and games
72. Trivia: Do you like Jeopardy? Try playing trivia. The unspoken bonus? It typically takes place at a bar! You get to spend time with friends and unwind for an evening.
73. Video Games: A good video game is like a good movie. It goes beyond simple action or horror to deliver a real emotional experience. So find some good games, like The Last of Us or Horizon Zero Dawn. Get drawn into a fantastic interactive story!
74. Board Games: Sharpen your competitive skills with others around you. Learn new board games and have fun with people you’re close to. It’s a great way to bond and get good at critical thinking at the same time.
75. Card Games: More of a gambler? Pick up some card games, though you never have to bet real money if you don’t want to. Get good at numbers and patterns; once you figure that out, it will be about more than simple luck.
76. Chess: The true intellectual’s game the world over, chess is a great way to learn the skill of thinking ahead and predicting the actions of others. Whether with friends or in competition, chess makes you a sharper thinker!
77. Puzzles (jigsaw, crosswords, Sudoku, etc.): Another solid way to get good at seeing patterns, various puzzles can be real brain teasers. If you really, really want to show off, you can even do The New York Times crossword in pen…
78. Juggling: Want to improve your coordination and impress your friends? Juggling really does help balance and hand-eye coordination. Learn to track multiple objects as they move and keep your mind sharp with this hobby.
79. Table Tennis: One of the more underestimated sports, Ping-Pong, or Table Tennis, is an unmatched way to improve coordination and speed, all while providing a workout. This is a wonderful talent to master.
80. Billiards: Also known as pool, this game teaches you the skill of coordinating multiple moving objects all at once. Truly skilled players can predict every last motion on the table, and use that to score big. I’ve even seen games where the losing player didn’t hit the cue ball once.
Reading, writing, and learning
81. Genealogy: Want to know more about the history of your family? Get into genealogy and figure out who your ancestors were. It’s more than just boring research; you can breathe some life back into your ancestors by recreating their life stories!
82. Language Learning: One of the best brain teasers of all time, learning a new language can also help you learn about the world and its people. Pick a language from somewhere you want to go, master it, and enjoy speaking with locals in their own tongue. Or go old-school and learn to read Latin or Egyptian hieroglyphs!
83. Journaling: Keep a record of your life as a way of recalling what you have experienced and learned through the years. Journaling allows you to take time to reflect and improve from each day, so make sure to do it in formative or stressful times too!
84. Creative Writing: A personal favorite, creative writing lets you invent worlds and characters. Build a story arc from start to finish and give life to those in the universe you made! Try publishing and share your tale with others!
85. Book Club: Indulge your love of reading with others! Books are outlets to new worlds, but reading is even better when you meet with others to discuss the books later. You’ll learn so much and open up a brand new aspect of literature.
86. Home Science Experiments: Stay safe, but if you do it right, you can explore science in your own home. Learn some basic chemistry with materials already in your kitchen, such as vinegar and baking powder. As long as you don’t become like Walter White in Breaking Bad, you’ll learn a ton about the physical worlds around you.
87. Wikipedia Editing: If you want to contribute to society’s knowledge, become a Wikipedia editor in a topic you know about. Learn to details, and then give other people the power to learn them too!
88. Volunteering for a Historical Society: Love history and want to get some hands on experience with it? Find your local historical society and see what you can do for them! You’ll learn, but you can also help others get interested in history too!
Even more hobbies
89. Playing an Instrument: Is this the best way to spend free time indoors? Yeah, probably. My personal pick is my left-handed Taylor guitar, but any instrument is a cool way to make music, learn rhythm, and get into one of the oldest forms of art we have.
90. Podcast Hosting: If you have a topic you love, host a podcast and get to talk with others who love it too! You’ll be amazed who has an interest in your hobby too. Get guest speakers on as well! Podcasts are a great way to gain mastery of a topic.
91. Amateur Radio: Radio is great for music and talk, so try it out on your own or with a smaller radio station. There are more of those than you would think, so look them up and see if you can’t get your voice on the air!
92. Thrifting: Like saving money? I thought so. So go to thrift shops, pawn shops, lawn and estate sales to find the best deals on things you want. There’s no need to buy new, so learn how to spot hidden treasure and go on an adventure seeking out whatever you want.
93. Makeup: Basically art for your face. You can go subtle to enhance your natural looks, or follow a YouTube tutorial to transform yourself entirely! Makeup is great for daily use, theater, or even for entertainment.
94. Dancing: Both art and exercise, dancing teaches you coordination and even some social skills. Whether you choose bachata, waltz, or kizomba, learning a style of dance will show you how to move in new ways, so give it a shot!
95. Hula Hooping: Another combination of exercise and art, hula hooping will help your core and cardio fitness, but can also be made an art by learning to dance with the hoop.
96. Aquarium Keeping: “Fish are friends not food!” Or at least the sharks in Finding Nemo think so. In reality, fish are beautiful and make a wonderful addition to any room. Do your research and set up a watery kingdom for your fish to enjoy.
97. Computer Programming: Learning to program computers opens a whole new world to you. Figure out these complex machines and learn to bend them to do what you want. Though it’s tough, it’s rewarding, so try it out and become a master coder!
98. Working on Cars: A great way to learn mechanic! Cars combine function and aesthetics very well, and most of us have a lot to learn about how they work! Get to know old and new engines, internal combustion, and diesel. It’s an endless opportunity to figure out new and mystifying machines.
99. Travel: The best way to see the world is in person. So hop on a plane or a ship and go somewhere! Get your passport and go on an adventure. It’s never too late and if you plan carefully, you can cut down on costs considerably.
100. Cosplaying: If you really like certain characters from a book or show or movie, you can dress and role play as them, especially at conventions. You can meet tons of new people, all of whom share your passions for your favorite genre. Cosplaying is a true fan’s way of showing their love of a genre.
101. Survivalist Prepping: A bit of a preface for this one: you don’t need to go all out here. Live in an earthquake or hurricane prone area? Might be smart to have some basic supplies put away just in case. Having a few weeks of food in a closet will not hurt you. Of course, if you want to prepare for Russian strategic rocket forces coming down on you, that works too. My only warning, don’t give up your normal life for this: it’s possible to do both at once.