Oscar Wilde once said, “Only boring people are ever bored.” As with so much of his work, this statement cuts right to heart of a dilemma many modern men face — what to do with their time when funds are limited.
If you only think inside the box of life experience you’ve already gained, you may be at something of a loss as to how best to answer this question.
However, when you view life as a constantly evolving exploration of the world, it opens up seemingly endless possibilities.
One thing to keep in mind, Gentlemen, is that no experience is wasted or wrong. What you must do is constantly challenge yourself to learn new things, improve existing skills, and, above all, engage as fully as possible with your world. When you take this approach, there will never be another boring moment.
As well, it’s part of the process that makes you a fascinating human being, a truly manly and complex individual that everyone will want to get to know.
Check out this ultimate list of hobby ideas for men looking to make the best use of their free time.
Best Hobbies For Men
1. Cooking and Grilling
Being able to feed yourself well is a basic part of self-sufficiency, guys. Moreover, when you learn how things go together, and how to create a perfect meal from scratch, you make yourself an asset in any hungry situation.
2. Homebrewing Beer
This is an adventure in chemistry and physics that will teach you how to craft a product you want through empirical experimentation — trial and error — and help you to explore new and creative techniques.
It requires relatively few pieces of equipment (try a starter kit like this one from Craft a Brew), and the startup knowledge can be found for free. All you really need is time and some enthusiastic friends to play guinea pigs during the process of technique refinement.
3. Skiing and Snowboarding
If you want a way to become physically fit and improve your spatial reasoning skills, this is a great hobby. All it requires is snow, a little capital, and perseverance — the gear can be rented by the day.
These winter sports will teach you how to judge distance accurately, understand the way your body moves through space, and how to make correct decisions on the fly.
This is a craft skill that will never go out of style. It teaches patience, and the direct relationship between cause and effect. Learning to work leather requires that you invest a little money and time, but beyond that the tools you need are inside your skull and at the ends of both your arms.
It’s the original board game. Mastering the techniques of a champion may take you the rest of your life, but learning the basics of strategy — observation, planning, judging the quality of an opponent’s skill — can be picked up relatively swiftly.
Moreover, these are skills that you can apply to every life situation, and which will stand you in good stead in the realm of interpersonal interaction. Chess sets can be procured for relatively small sums (we like this handcrafted wooden set from Wegiel). Technique guides are available in both print and online for free.
Similar to model construction, but with definitely real applications of physics and chemistry, this is the perfect hobby for honing your critical thinking and problem solving skills to a killing point. What you learn through experimentation and research of fuel systems will stand you in good stead when solving problems in completely unrelated areas. Plus, nothing is more gratifying than creating something that works.
This is a hobby much like chess, in that it requires you to gain skill in planning, prediction, and observation of how human desires motivate human actions. You need not actively invest capital at first; simply watch the stock ticker, read the reports, and immerse yourself in the business of business.
You don’t have to be up to no good to acquire this skill. The tools are simple, but buying a practice lock from the hardware store is advised, since picking damages the tumbler mechanism of a lock.
Being able to pick a lock works better than a coat hanger or credit card if you or another has accidentally locked themselves out of their car or home. It sharpens your fine motor skills and teaches you how to manipulate a complex mechanism you can’t directly study.
Believe it or not, this sort of hobby actually enhances your cognitive abilities in other areas, such as abstract problem solving.
This is no sissy hobby, guys. With access to a range where you can rent gear and practice, this is a relatively inexpensive hobby. Buying your own armguard, bow and arrows works as well, and can be done relatively inexpensively for beginners.
Archery teaches you focus and precision, all of which will stand you in good stead in a variety of pursuits.
Like American Pickers, you can spend a free hour or two every week browsing the flea markets and antique shops. With a bit of study about maker’s marks and unique features of the Real McCoy, you’ll learn to identify authentic antiques and treasures from cheap junk.
You’ll also expand your knowledge of contextual history, which is never a bad thing and makes for great conversation.
Dive in and ink up, Gentlemen. See the best tattoo ideas here for some inspiration.
As well as getting inked yourself, study the artistry behind the art. Learning the technique can even go as far as apprenticing yourself to an artist, should you find that you have a passion for creation of this sort. It will also enhance your eye for form, color, and imagery.
This is the art of the self. As well as enhancing your physical health and appearance, you’ll give an enormous boost to your self-esteem, because bodybuilding goes beyond lifting weights. It incorporates nutrition, concepts of balance and proportion, planning and pacing yourself, and goal setting.
Whether you go for the buff look or not, this is one of the best hobbies for men, because you’ll stand straighter and go after what you really want in life with greater efficacy.
13. Rock Sports
If you want the ultimate challenge of the Self, take up rock climbing, repelling, and other similar sports. While this hobby will require some investment of capital, because you must ensure your safety with proper gear and training, rock climbing teach you to actively evaluate your immediate environment, focus on details, and plan your moments.
It’s always a rush to feel you’ve succeeded and to know every inch of the rock face you just climbed with every sense you possess.
14. Classic Car Restoration
A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Restoring a classic piece of fine machinery is a labor of love, sweat, and research. You’ll learn how to source quality parts for your baby, and how to install them — from the body to the minutest internal components.
It will require patience and a bit of money if you want to do it yourself, but another great, and often free way to experience this hobby is to work with someone who already does it.
15. Traditional Sports
Think you’re too old to engage in team sports? Think again. Whether your pleasure is rugby, soccer, baseball, basketball, American football or another team sport, adult recreational leagues exist in most places for most of these sports.
Pick one and rediscover the value of teamwork and planning. As well, it’s a great way to be both social and physical once you’ve left college and are a part of the adult working world.
This is the art of human nature, of misdirection coupled with delight. Magic is a wonderful hobby that makes for great icebreaking tactics in new social situations, and also teaches you to see what others might miss or hope that you will miss.
This is a great hobby to take up, men. While it will cost a little bit of cash to gear up, and also if you wish to reserve a game space, it enriches your life immeasurably and provides valuable physical activity.
Especially when you play with a team, you learn cooperative planning and implementation skills that will work for you in every group endeavor. As well, you’ll become adept and assessing your environment, and picking up on small details. If you don’t you’ll soon be tagged with some bright reminders to work on your game skills.
18. Electronic Models
Building robots or other multi-component responsive devices will teach you about the human brain, and how it functions to send signals that beget action. Both computers and more simplistic mechanisms are based on our own organic processing units.
Plus, it’s a lot of fun to pit your latest invention against those of your friends in a Battle Royale. Trial and error will teach you how to perfect your creations for their intended uses, and engage you on a number of critical levels.
There’s nothing more stimulating or masculine than pitting your wits against adversity, especially in the absence of modern conveniences. Learning survival skills will enable you to assess problems in every aspect of modern life and plot workable solutions.
As well, with survival training, there is no buck-passing. You are ultimately responsible for your actions and their consequences, even if they are spurred by uncontrollable circumstances. That makes it a truly manly hobby. Skill level: Marcus Aurelius.
20. Cycling and Mountain Biking
Whether it’s on the trail or in the bike lane, cycling is a fantastic way to see the world through which you move in clearer detail than driving affords. As well, you’ll improve your health and your ability to assess upcoming obstacles. Go ahead and invest in a good cycle like the Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mountain Bike and some quality safety gear. You won’t regret the purchase.
Few hobbies will acquaint you with beauty more thoroughly than this one, both that which is apparent and that which hides beneath the surface of the banal or the ugly.
By learning this skill, you’ll hone your eye for composition of elements, and notice the surprising, the striking, and the exquisite faces of the world wherever you go.
I cannot stress enough how vital it is to your manhood to be well-read. Push beyond magazine articles and blog posts, rediscovering the novel and the serious non-fiction literature.
If you think reading isn’t for you, it’s probably because no one ever exposed you to the worlds that await you between the covers of a book. See this list of the best 150 books for men to find out what you’re missing.
This is a hobby that requires nothing but time. Libraries still exist and will let you borrow books for free, so get there and get on it. It will make you more knowledgeable, more compassionate, more refined, and more awesome on every level.
23. Martial Arts
All disciplines represent the of focus and control of applied force. Martial arts also train you to understand how bodies move through space, how to understand your opponents, and how to respect both yourself and others. Engaging in any of the many offered disciplines will improve you both as a man and as a part of the human community.
24. Skateboarding and BMX
These are both thrilling hobbies; though they require a great deal of practice to attain excellence, they offer substantial physical gratification. What these sports offer is an improved ability to accept the possibility of pain in the pursuit of that skill, and to face it without fear. Hesitation is often what leads to serious injury — going all out will save you in the end.
This is a good hobby for groups. You’ve got to work together to meet the deadline of this modern spin on “X Marks the Spot”. Geocaching will enable you to read a GPS and enhance your map reading skills in relation to the physical environment. This works your brain and your body at the same time, thus improving the functionality of both.
26. Knife Making
Possessing skill in making weaponry enhances your understanding of its weaknesses and how to repair damage, when possible. While this skill will give you a healthy respect for the damage such weapons can do, you will also know that if you are ever stranded, you can create the means of your survival through tool making.
If this interests you, also investigate flint knapping which is the way all stone tools and weapons are made. It’s one of the oldest technological skills possessed by our species.
Once you’ve mastered knife making, you might be interested in learning the art of knife throwing.
This element of outdoor design will sharpen your planning skills and your understanding of nested interrelated systems. Not only do shapes work together, but also water and earth features, species of plants, and symbiotic animal species working within the microenvironment that you’re landscaping.
28. Sculpting Stone
Michelangelo said that when he began with a solid block of stone, he could sense the sculpture within, asking him to reveal it. This was likely a result of his early years of working in a marble quarry, where he was taught to read the lines of stress and potential fracture within the stone itself.
This hobby is an ancient one that many men have elevated to an art form over time. The art of being a mason has even been entangled with mysticism — those amazing individuals who created stone lace and structures weighing millions of tons that seemed made of light — in the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe.
This skill requires that you hone planning and understand the application of force and directionality. What could be more awesome?
29. Wet Shaving
Believe it or not, this is one of the aspects of the Barbering art, and it requires great skill. Unlike our modern ritual of slathering on chemical foam and dragging a disposable razor sloppily over our face, this involves fine razors, soap, shaving bowls and brushes, and the application of steam to soften the skin and hair. It has all the formality of the ancient Japanese Tea Ceremony, and is a major component of Suavity.
30. Electronic Music Producing
Whether you consider yourself musical or not, you should know that all of us are. In fact, the neural pathways in the brain that language uses are first laid down by rhythm and musicality. There are a number of programs that will allow you to produce your own electronic music and even release it directly onto the web. William Congreve said, “Music has charms to sooth the savage breast.” That can be translated as an understanding of the soothing and elevating powers of music, both producing and appreciating it.
This is one of the most humbling activities you can undertake, and also one of the most worthwhile. It will teach you how to communicate, how to craft a narrative effectively, and also how to be interesting. The best thing about writing is that everyone can do it, whether they think they can or not. All it takes is time and lots of practices.
Beyond the Friday night at the bar with the guys, learning how to play darts is a great hobby. That’s because it teaches you to hit a target for which you aim. It also drives home that precision trumps force nine times out of ten; a lesson that many guys could stand to learn if they haven’t already.
33. Sailing and Canoeing
This is yet another fantastic way to change how you view the world. Both sailing and canoeing teach you to interpret movement in a novel environment — on the water — and react with precision and assertiveness in the case of an emergency.
That’s because, when you’re in any watercraft, you are dealing with novel physics, and understanding them intimately is crucial in order to prevent minor accidents from becoming serious.
Speaking of novel physics, did you know air is considered a fluid? It reacts very much in the way a body of water does. Learning to fly, even small craft, will enhance your ability to interpret and react correctly in response to circumstances. This is a fabulous skill to cultivate, even if you have a “drinking problem” and your name is “Striker”.
35. Rock and Mineral Collecting
The earth yields many fascinating treasures, and you can easily cultivate this hobby. It will enrich your understanding of geophysical processes, and make you really interesting to take on a hike.
36. Drawing and Painting
Much like any art form, anyone can cultivate this skill set. What it requires is practice and letting go of fear, you can’t care what others think. You must learn to trust your judgment; once you’ve acquired the skills and know all the rules — break them with impunity. This is a skill that will enhance your ability to discern patterns, both visual and behavioral, and is well worth cultivating.
37. Digital Design and Coding
Even if you only dabble your toes in the sea of code, it forms a huge part of a foundational understanding of how much of our world works. Should you apply yourself to learning it in depth, you render yourself free from dependence upon the knowledge and skill of others, which means they can’t lie to you or otherwise abuse that authority.
Carl Sagan. Do I need to say more? Be amazed. Be constantly aware of all the wonder there is, just beyond this pale blue dot of our planet. It will enhance your compassion for your fellow humans and make you a better person, too. I promise. Invest in a telescope like this affordable model from Gskyer and start getting to know the universe.
39. Scotch Tasting
Technically both Scotch and Bourbon are also Whiskey, so cultivate a palate to discern the fine distinctions in flavor and subtle notes that dictate where your liquor has been. This is an interesting field not unlike wine tasting, but it definitely has a more traditionally masculine appeal.
This is a game not unlike chess, but involving the application of physics: Force, spin, inertia, interference. If you cultivate this hobby, you’ll be a veritable Einstein of the tables. It won’t stay confined to the fuzzy green surface of that table either. You’ll begin to see the same forces at work everywhere in your world.
41. Fantasy Sports
This pastime uses applications of combinatorics and statistics, even if you never knew those were relevant to picking your draft. Learn how to work the system by educating yourself in how these maths can work for you.
42. Rebuilding Motorcycles
Much like restoring classic cars, this hobby requires patience, sweat, skill, and research. But a beautifully restored classic bike is heartswelling to behold, especially when you know you rebuilt it.
43. Gold Panning
This is a fun hobby that can actually pay off, if you’re diligent and develop an eye for that telltale gleam. Plus, you’ll find all sorts of interesting stones, and spend time outdoors in fresh air and sunlight.
This is not for fancyboys. This hobby will teach you the dynamics of both offence and defense, as well as train your physical coordination, and ability to determine the next move of your opponent. It has real life applications and can often come in handy with self defense.
Studies have shown that doing things for others releases feel-good endorphins into our bloodstream. Improve your community; lend someone a helping hand; change the world one moment and one action at a time. You just might become addicted to doing good.
46. Poker and Cards
This and other card games are a great way to be social and also enhance your risk-benefit assessment skills, and learn to read other human’s non-verbal communications. So get the guys together for an old-fashioned poker night once a week. If you gain proficiency, you might try making a bit of cash at sanctioned gambling venues.
We’ve covered how we’re all musical creatures, so why not try your hand at learning a musical instrument ? The guitar is an excellent one with which to begin, because you can buy one cheaply (check out the highly rated Fender FA-115), largely teach yourself the basics, and it can go anywhere you do.
While many may scorn golf as a sport, imagine trying to put a pea through the mouth of a soda can at 100 paces. Get the point? Golf is a fantastic way to get a lot of fresh air and exercise. However, to gain skill at this sport, you need to work on developing your spatial reasoning skills, as well as understanding how things like wind impact the trajectory of your ball.
In the process, you’ll learn the proper posture and form of a great swing — which is part of conditioning your body to act with precision and power on demand.
49. Coaching and Mentoring
Much like volunteering, becoming a youth league coach or giving time to a mentoring program impacts your community. You are providing a young person with emotional support and guidance that they may otherwise lack, which could possibly change the entire course of their life. That should feel pretty good, Men.
50. Meditation and Yoga
Taking up this practice will enhance your experience of everything. Both disciplines rely on centering your Self. Yoga teaches you how your muscles are interconnected and how your body works, and can be a part of a great new direction in physical fitness for you.
This is both a sport and a great way to be out of doors. Fishing involves an understanding of your intended prey, and how to lure and draw them in. This incorporates concepts of ecology, physics, and animal psychology. More than that, it gives you time to simply be still, which is a skill that many Westerners have all but lost.
The Dalai Lama says that you should travel somewhere you have never been each year. Stepping outside your comfortable groove of place and behavior, of your home culture itself, enhances your understanding of human behavior while also increasing your ability to empathize with individuals who are different from yourself.
That understanding and ability lead to a more peaceful outlook, a greater level of self respect, and deeper compassion for others in difficult situations.
53. Auto Racing
While you may never go in for taking rounds in a Formula One event, auto racing is an exciting hobby that can help you to gage cause and effect in very real terms. There are many tracks that offer novelty lessons and instruction in the basics of this great hobby.
Keeping an aquarium could be a wonderful new hobby. Fish are less needy than cats or dogs, which can be ideal if you don’t get to spend a lot of time at home. As well, you are given carte blanche when it comes to designing the environment of your aquarium — within the needs of the fish you wish to keep, of course. It would never do to introduce an aggressive species into an otherwise docile environment or put salt water species into freshwater.
Much like rock climbing, this sport encourages you to develop a proficiency in assessing your immediate environment and the changing circumstances moment to moment. It’s just you and the wave. This can often lead to a very centered and relaxed view of the world, which is not a bad thing by any stretch.
Bowling is actually a lot of fun, if you play with some great team mates, whether informally or in a league. Once you relax and stop wondering where your shoes have been, you’ll realize that it is a consummate game of skill that has much in common with darts and archery. The application of precise force and the ability to gage the path of your ball determine how successful you are.
57. Interior design
Don’t knock it, boys. Frank Lloyd Wright is famous for some of his iconic interior designs, such as wall-mounted globe lamps. It requires a deep understanding of how design elements function, both independently and together. But, like everything else on this list, it is an understanding that is teachable.
58. Currency Collecting
Much like collecting interesting foreign stamps, collecting foreign or antique currency is an established enthusiasm. When you consider the amazing artwork that goes onto some of the bills in foreign countries, you may find yourself drawn in and passionately seeking a 1967 Quetzal note from Guatemala.
59. Foreign Languages
America is one of the least proficient countries in polyglot fluency. Learn a new language, especially one spoken in your community, and remove the veil of ignorance that hangs between you and what those people in the grocery store were saying.
Minor woodworking can be an incredibly satisfying pastime, and also lead you to creating some beautiful art. Closely related to stone sculpture, wood is a softer and more forgiving medium and responds better to pressure, so you may find this preferable to masonry.
A Hopi woman once told me that White People were simply “sad” because they had no story. They did not know where they really came from. For many of individuals, history is a distant story, one that doesn’t involve us. Discover your roots, and you just might be surprised.
62. Cigar Enthusiast
This can be a wonderful way to socialize. Much like wine and whisky tasting, it involves becoming sensitive to the differences in tobacco curing process, and even the wrapping materials.
63. Wine Tasting
All food takes much of its character from the soil, the air, and the water with which it is grown. Wine is no different. Grapes from one region will produce a wine with decidedly different characteristics than identical grapes grown in another region. Learn about how wine is grown, made, aged, and paired with foods. It will broaden your understanding of how we experience our world through our senses even while it broadens your palate.
64. Movie Watching
This is a hobby version of the professional movie critic. It also pushes you to explore genres and titles you would never otherwise have chosen. Watch to learn, about places, people, dramatic effects, and storytelling. Watch for pleasure and understanding.
Marcel Proust said once, “Let us be grateful for the people who make us happy, for they are the charming gardeners of our soul.” Gardening actually improves your mental and physical health — beneficial bacteria in the soil are inhaled that actually boost your mood! As well, when you garden, you are nurturing a living thing, watching it grow and become. It is one of the most satisfying and simple hobbies on this entire list.
66. Fashion Design
When you understand how elements of style function together to create the latest trend, you can watch it trickle down from the runway to the thrift store. A deeper understanding of fashion will also allow you to dress yourself better and for less. Plus you’ll become a regular Tom Ford when it comes down to knowing everything and anything about suits and style. Just do it, Men.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. You can kit yourself out for about $10, and then head for the nearest warm and sandy spot — preferably in clear waters like the Gulf of Mexico. This is part of experiencing the world directly. Even though we’ve seen plenty of crystal clear water in the movies and on television, actually swimming next to a sea turtle is a life-changing experience. There is so much to be seen that cannot be truly understood until it is experienced. Snorkeling and scuba diving allow you to get close to nature. So get out there and start experiencing.
It’s not the facility of movement that women often gage to determine if you’re worth taking home. Rather, it’s about confidence to get out on the dance floor and move with her. If you lack confidence in your ability, sign up for some dance lessons. It won’t kill you, and you’ll probably have a lot of fun.
Here’s one for manly men. This martial art teaches you how your body can move through space, as well as how to gage the transference of energy via momentum. It’s one of the most intense yet rewarding hobbies for men. You’ll take a beating from your coaches, but you’ll be grinning when you’re through.
This is a skill that focuses ultimately upon precision and interrelatedness of complex systems in motion. Taking up this hobby will change the way you assess the world, but it will also broaden your understanding of the way that world works.
Much like masonry, woodworking relies on a developed skill for seeing underlying patterns of stress or growth within the medium. Because wood has greater plasticity and is more easily procured than blocks of stone, you might enjoy this particular hobby more, while still gaining the valuable skill of seeing deeply into the nature of things.
72. Internet Marketing
Much like buying and selling in the real world, internet marketing involves a deep understanding of the desires that drive purchasing decisions. Taking up this hobby could help you to hone your abilities in your main career, and even lead to a serious side career.
This may be one of the most interesting applications of a blowtorch I’ve ever seen. Metalworking can be an interesting and artistic skill to acquire. Plus, if you become adept and understanding the mechanics and physical forces that govern your medium, you can use your skills to complete work on automobiles and other metal projects.
It’s said that one week in the wilderness will help you to completely reset your circadian rhythms. Getting out into the great outdoors has also been shown to help clinical depression, simply by walking through a pine forest. Camping gives you healthy exercise, a chance to disconnect from the world of instant access via the phone and the computer, and lets you focus on more important things, like your state of mind or the nature of true happiness.
75. Model Crafting
This is a really fun hobby that can help you with focus issues, and attention to details. When you build a model, such as race cars or airplanes, not only do you have to put the parts together in the right way, but you must pay close attention to aspects of coloration and historical accuracy. It’s definitely something worth investigating.