The 25 Best Hobbies for Men in Their 20s
It’s as true in your 20s as it is in your 80s: everybody needs a hobby. Something that fascinates you, something that gives you joy, something that keeps your body and mind sharp. Sometimes you just need a distraction. And for the record, binge-watching Netflix and staring into the Instagram void are not hobbies.
There is something seemingly old-fashioned about the very idea of a hobby. The word itself rings of something your grandfather might say. But lest you think “taking up a hobby” is an antiquated notion, consider that some of the greatest men in history had pastimes they were passionate about.
Einstein played the violin when he wasn’t busy solving the mysteries of the universe. Hemingway spent much of his free time fishing (and then turning his fishing stories into great literature). Winston Churchill was an avid painter – and a pretty good one!
The point is, we all need something that we do only for ourselves. These are the 25 best hobbies for men in their 20s.
Look, you’re in your twenties. You’re young, and you’re relatively unencumbered. You’re probably not going to have this much freedom again until you retire.
Sorry if that’s a bummer, but my point is: make the most of it while you can. Travel!
Go someplace you’ve never been for no particular reason. Visit another country. Go to the beach. Go to the desert. Talk to strangers. Eat weird food. Drive across the country and stop wherever you feel like stopping.
These are the kinds of experiences you’ll treasure for a lifetime, and if you’re a dude in his twenties, there’s no better time to do it than right now.
2. Get Cooking
Did you spend your quarantine last year subsisting on ramen and takeout? You can do better. Cooking is kind of a basic survival skill when you get down to it. You don’t have to become a chef – though you totally can, and if you want to, that’s awesome – but every man should at least know how to feed themselves.
Plus, being able to cook really impresses people. If you want to score some serious points with your girlfriend or significant other, there are few better ways to do it than by preparing a great meal.
3. Learn an Instrument
A lot of people are intimidated by learning to play an instrument. While it might take time and effort to get really good at it, it’s not as challenging as it might seem if you take it in small steps.
Whether you want to wail on the saxophone or shred on the guitar, there’s a path to get there. It’s a creative outlet, and an opportunity to blow off steam at the end of a hard day. It’ll also help you develop muscle memory and hand-eye coordination, and a lot of people find something meditative about it.
Learning an instrument doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get on stage and play in front of people. Music can be just for you. You might even find yourself wanting to write your own songs – who knows?
You know that guy who can always get a fire going when you go camping? You could be that guy! Bushcraft basically means acquiring the skills and knowledge to survive and thrive in the natural environment. It’s a valuable thing to learn, and if you’re the outdoorsy type, it can be a hell of a lot of fun too.
If you’re thinking about getting into bushcraft, start by reading up on it before you go tramping off into the wilderness. Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury is a great newcomer’s guide to get you started.
5. Engine Repair
Most of us don’t know a thing about engines, and those of us who do seem to instantly reach some higher plateau of manliness. You just can’t help but respect a guy who knows how to take an engine apart and put it back together. And yes, it’s true that today’s cars are controlled by computers as much as engines.
But even so, understanding how an engine works and how to fix one is a great skill to have. There’s something very Zen about it too. Plus, if you know your stuff when it comes to car engines, no conniving mechanic will ever be able to take advantage of you ever again. That’s practically a superpower.
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6. Become a Coffee Connoisseur
Look, coffee has changed. The ways we appreciate coffee have changed. And before you write off coffee appreciation as hipster nonsense, keep in mind that we’re talking about becoming a coffee connoisseur, not a coffee snob. There’s a difference.
We get that coffee snobs can be pretty insufferable. But becoming more invested in your cup of coffee can lead you down all kinds of fascinating avenues, not the least of which is learning how to make a better cup of coffee.
There are a lot of ways to get started – find a great coffee shop, befriend a barista – but it all begins with genuine interest. Coffee is every bit as unique and complex as wine or whiskey.
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em… and so on and so forth. You get the point. If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right. Poker is a complex game, and there are a lot of good reasons to become better at it, not the least of which is that you’ll stop getting fleeced by your friends at poker night.
It also teaches you a lot of valuable lessons about strategy and reading your opponent that can be useful throughout your life, from sports to business. Plus, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s one of the few situations in which smoking cigars is still deemed socially acceptable. Just remember to never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
8. Rock Climbing
If you can have fun and get some exercise at the same time, then you’ve really got it made. Rock climbing is a great way to do that. Rock climbing is fun and exciting. It gets your adrenaline pumping, and it’s an amazing way to build strength, flexibility, and endurance.
It’s a social hobby too, which means it can be a great way to spend time with friends or make new ones. You don’t have to tackle any serious mountains right away, or even go outside if you don’t want to. Rock climbing gyms are popping up in cities all over the place, offering an opportunity to climb in a safe environment.
9. Collect Vinyl Records
Ask a bunch of vinyl aficionados why they collect records, and you’ll get a lot of different answers. The most common is that it just sounds better (or “warmer” as a lot of people like to say).
I happen to agree, but that’s not the only reason to get into records. Putting a vinyl LP on the turntable makes the experience of listening to music more intentional. It changes it from the disposable commodity that it has often become in the 21st century and makes you really listen.
And look, records are just cool. There’s no denying it. There’s something special about feeling the weight of 180 gram vinyl in your hands, about hearing the crackle and hiss when you drop the needle, about rummaging through the bins at your local record store searching for treasure.
Fishing can provide almost any experience you need it to. If you’re the active, competitive type, it can be an endless (and ultimately rewarding) quest to catch more and bigger fish. But it can be relaxing and meditative too if that’s more your speed. In any case, it’s very enjoyable, and it creates a tangible connection between you and the natural world. It’s a hobby you can take with you wherever you go.
Whether you want to get deep into the art of fly fishing, or just head to your local lake with bass tackle on the weekends, fishing will always be there when you need it. It’s also a great social hobby if you like to fish with friends, but if you’re looking for quiet and solitude, it can provide that too.
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11. Lock Picking
Ready to pull a Houdini? Learning to pick locks – some call it locksport – is an engaging hobby that’s been around for centuries. Plus, it’s inexpensive. A set of lock tools to get you started is pretty easy on the wallet.
Granted, you probably won’t find a ton of real-world applications for your newfound skills (and if you do, we don’t want to know about it). But that isn’t really the point, is it? Learning to pick locks is fun. It engages your brain, helps you learn how to focus, and hones your senses. It’s also very satisfying, and will definitely impress your friends.
12. Learn to Dance
Alright guys, we all know that not everyone is born with the gifts of rhythm and coordination. But you know what? Anyone can learn to dance. Even you. Yes, you. There are endless online tutorials and YouTube channels to get you started, but truthfully, the best option is to swallow your pride and take a real in-person dance class for beginners.
Ultimately, you can learn to dance for any reason. You can learn for exercise or your own personal satisfaction. Or, you know, you could learn so you can burn down the dance floor next time you hit the clubs. Your call!
Take it from somebody who didn’t save a dime in his twenties: learning to be good with money is a great skill to have. It can be exhilarating too, especially when those investments start to pay off.
Keep in mind, investing doesn’t have to be a high-stakes game. If you’re worried about your meager savings getting wiped out, rest assured that not all investments are high-risk.
There are a lot of apps and online platforms geared at getting newbies off on the right track. It might also help to do a bit of reading; Broke Millennial Takes on Investing is a great resource.
14. Learn a Language
It’s generally agreed that the older you get, the harder it is to learn new things. When we’re toddlers, learning our first language is easy. But taking on a second one gets harder the longer you wait.
That’s why your twenties are the perfect time to take on this challenge. Think about it. You’re not in school anymore, so it doesn’t matter that you were terrible at French. You’re an adult now. You can learn any language you want!
15. Become a Barber
Old-school barbering has come back in a big way in recent years. Learning to cut hair is a blast, and it’s a skill that anyone can learn. Granted, you have to go to barber school before becoming an actual barber. But there are no requirements when it comes to learning as a hobby.
You just need a few online tutorials and some very trusting friends who will let you practice your skills. Just make sure you really, really know what you’re doing before you attempt a straight razor shave.
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Backpacking. It’s like hiking… but longer. In all seriousness though, sometimes we all need to reconnect with the natural world. Backpacking is an immersive experience that not only helps you disconnect from technology and engage with the world around you, but is also a fantastic exercise.
You don’t have to hike the whole Appalachian Trail right out of the gate. Chances are there’s a state park of forest nearby that has a trail long enough to spend a few days exploring.
As a hobby, woodworking checks a lot of boxes. It’s creative, it’s fun, it keeps your mind sharp and lets you get your hands dirty. It can also result in some beautiful and useful results, and there are a lot of avenues to go down. Are you interested in sculpting? Carving? Furniture making? Maybe you’re thinking of owning a home soon and want to hone your DIY skills.
Woodworking can get expensive, but you don’t have to shell out big bucks to get started. A bit of wood, some basic tools, and a good how-to guide like Vic Tesolin’s The Minimalist Woodworker is all you need to get the ball rolling.
18. Get Into Board Games
For some reason, when you try to explain a board game hobby to someone, they always think it’s weird. But it’s not weird! Seriously guys, it’s not weird. Don’t judge me.
Look, the fact is, that when you get a group of friends together and all get invested in a game, it’s a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of classics like Clue or more immersive games like Catan. Try it out and you’ll see what I mean.
19. Brew Your Own Beer
Anybody can brew their own beer. And if you’ve ever shelled out $25 for a growler full of suds at a craft brewery, chances are you’ve thought to yourself, “why don’t I just make my own?”
Homebrewing, as a movement, has mushroomed in the past 20 years, to the point that all the gear and supplies you need to start making your own ales, stouts, and lagers are readily available. All you need is a taste for beer, a willingness to get creative, and a little patience.
Brewing your own beer can send you down a rabbit hole of exploration and experimentation, but getting started is easy. A simple and affordable DIY brewing kit like the Mr. Beer Complete Starter Kit is a good place to begin.
Photography is an enjoyable and accessible hobby that anyone can get into. It’s a great way to capture images and moments that you can enjoy for a lifetime. Plus, it makes you seem deep and artistic, which can’t be a bad thing.
It’s also a hobby that you can dabble in when you have free time, or get super deep into depending on your level of interest. Whether you’re interested in nature, portraits, or even live music photography, it can open a lot of doors and satisfy your creative itch.
You also don’t need to spend a ton of money on a great camera, at least not right away. Chances are, you have a camera in your pocket right now that’s fully capable of capturing Insta-worthy shots.
You could also go all retro-hipster with Polaroids. Yes, they still make Polaroid cameras!
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21. Go to the Movies
Heck yea, movies are a hobby! If you’re a film buff, chances are going to the movies is much more than just a casual experience. And there’s no reason you can’t lean into it and make it a full-blown obsession. Especially after a year of not being able to go to the movies, the theater experience is particularly compelling right now.
Get your tickets, get your popcorn, and just wait for those coming attractions. As convenient as streaming services might be, there’s really nothing quite like seeing a new movie on a big screen on opening day. And not to get on a soapbox, but local independent movie theaters are struggling these days, and they could use your help!
Riding your bike might be one of the most beneficial hobbies you can take up. It’s fun and exciting, and it keeps you in shape in a way that few hobbies can.
It’s also a great choice for just about anybody. Love nature? Try mountain biking. Feeling competitive? Enter a bike race. Can’t afford a car? Bike to work!
Cycling also offers a unique perspective. Compared to driving, it slows you down and allows you to experience your city or town at a slower, more immersive pace. It can be a great social hobby too if you can find a group of local folks who are as into it as you are.
We’ve all been out at a local watering hole and decided to play a few rounds of pool. For most of us, it’s a learning experience that mostly teaches us how to lose with dignity. But becoming a pool shark is by no means out of reach.
Practice your grip, smooth out your swing, work on your stance, and focus on finding that imaginary aiming line. You’ll get better with practice.
Pool is also a great way to have some friendly competitive fun, and it gives you something to do at the bar other than standing around awkwardly with a beer in your hand. It’s a win-win, even when you lose.
24. Interior Decorating
Have you ever walked into another guy’s apartment and been blown away by how much better it looks than yours? It doesn’t happen by accident. That dude knows what he’s doing.
Your home is your castle, and you should learn how to decorate it. There’s more to it than dragging a couch in and hanging a giant TV on the wall.
A well-decorated apartment will give you more self-confidence, makes your home more appealing to guests and could make your space the go-to hangout spot among your friends. If you need some inspiration, check out these cool bachelor pad decorating ideas.
25. Martial Arts
Few disciplines offer the across-the-board benefits that martial arts do. And few are more enjoyable. It’s a perfect hobby for anyone – men and women, young and old – and a great way to enjoy meeting your fitness goals.
Martial arts provide some pretty amazing mental benefits in addition to physical benefits. It’s not just strength, balance, and coordination. It improves your focus and provides a sense of relaxation that you can access at any time.
And, yes, learning martial arts is also great for self-defense. It’s always comforting to know that you can protect yourself and those around you if the situation calls for it.
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