It’s what you do in your free time that will set you free—or enslave you.”
If you’re like most guys, your free time is limited.
…And after a long work week, it’s tough to use that free time for anything other than lying on the couch. I get it.
But think about your free time like this:
When you’re sitting in your rocking chair at 80 years old, what would you rather remember doing:
1. Coming home after work, and then using your free time to sit around playing video games and watching TV
2. Using free time to learn new skills, have new experiences, and intentionally make yourself a better man?
You’d rather remember #2, right?
Then check this out:
One of the best ways to become man #2 is to pursue manly hobbies… you’ll definitely learn those new skills/have new experiences… and I strongly believe that classic, masculine hobbies (like woodworking, martial arts, or playing music) can help you become a better, more intelligent, more well-rounded man.
To help you find hobbies that will make you feel like that powerfully better man, I’ve found the best, most interesting, manliest hobbies you can try.
The 50 Best, Most Interesting, Most Incredibly Fun Hobbies for Men to Try
For each hobby listed, I describe why it’s one of the best hobbies for men…
Whittling is an ancient form of wood carving (and it’s been around since men have had knives, wood, and free time).
Whittling is a pretty easy hobby to start… you just need a block of wood (basswood, balsa, and pine are good for beginners) and a knife designed for whittling…
…but it’s a hobby that can be very difficult to master. Making a beautifully whittled sculpture takes a lot of practice, and even more patience.
Whittling is undeniably challenging… yet it’s also a rewarding hobby for creative men.
There are three steps to distillation:
- A liquid (usually beer or wine) is heated until the alcohol in it becomes a gas, and rises
- The gas that rose in step one is then cooled, condensing it back into liquid form
- This condensed liquid is collected, giving you a distilled version of the liquid in step one
In other words, distilling an alcoholic beverage, like beer, turns it into a liquor (by taking the alcohol percentage from around 5% to 40%).
Pool is one of the best hobbies for men because it’s so simple… if you can hold a pool stick and walk around a table, you can play pool.
When I say it’s simple, I don’t mean easy… it can take years to become powerfully skilled at the game.
No matter what your current skill level, pool is a fun, highly social hobby that any man can enjoy.
Spear fishing is much more like hunting game than traditional fishing with a line.
When you spear fish, you actually become an underwater hunter… using a spear gun, you hunt fish as large as 20 pounds.
Of course, to a lot of guys, the best part of this hobby is eating the hobby’s end result (and knowing that the more you practice, the better you hunt… and the more delicious fish dinners you eat).
But remember this:
Spear fishing is still fishing, so you’ll need a fishing license before you start.
Martial arts (judo, jujutsu, taekwondo, krav maga, etc.) are ancient forms of fighting/self defense, and usually originate from Asian countries.
Not only are most martial arts an incredible full-body workout (which is why so many gyms have classes based on them)… but they provide other benefits, too:
- A highly practical skill. Of course, as a general rule, you should avoid a fight… but if you can’t, martial arts training will give you the ability to defend yourself.
- Mental stimulation. Most martial arts styles require high levels of strategy to beat your opponent. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has even been called “human chess” (indicating the incredible amount of mental concentration it takes).
- Tight-knit social communities. When you train with the same men every day, literally putting your blood and sweat into it, you develop a sort of brotherhood. I personally haven’t found any other activity that can create the bonds that martial arts can.
There are many forms of martial arts… and if you’re not sure what martial art style you should practice, check out our post on the 7 Most Effective Martial Arts for Self Defense.
Here’s something we can both agree on:
There aren’t many hobbies that are manlier than shaping wood into something useful with your hands. Here’s why:
Real, classic men throughout history have been able to provide for loved ones with nothing but their hands. They could build cabins, furniture, wagons, etc. out of simply trees. What’s classically manlier than that?
And there’s another benefit to woodworking:
It can easily turn into a side business, or even a career like cabinetry or interior finishing… earning money, in the manliest way.
A bow and arrows are very primal weapons. Archery fed families for centuries before we were able to walk into a store and buy food, or even use guns to hunt.
You probably won’t ever need archery skills to find food (though if you ever do, you’ll be very grateful for learning), but hunting isn’t the reason you should pick up archery:
Do it because it’s fun.
Are you looking for a hobby that’s highly useful (and honestly, highly impressive), yet incredibly simple?
Infusing alcohol (making flavorless alcohol have any flavor characteristic) could be the perfect hobby.
It’s incredibly easy:
Just combine a flavorful ingredient in a non-flavored alcohol, seal it in a bottle, and wait a few days. That’s it. You can make really delicious combinations:
Bacon bourbon. Apple cinnamon whiskey. Chili pepper tequila.
Here’s the takeaway:
Think about infusing as cooking for people who enjoy great tasting liquors… except that your creative infusions are incredibly easy to make.
Blacksmithing is the ancient art of forging metal into a usable form. During the medieval period, the blacksmith was the heart of a village… making swords, armor, and farm tools for the people.
Modern-day blacksmiths still command a lot of respect, but mostly through producing custom metal pieces and fine art.
The fact that blacksmithing is somewhat of a lost art makes it an even better hobby… because I can guarantee that very few men you know can create beautiful things out of metal with their bare hands.
Hobbies don’t always have to be skills that you learn…
…they can simply be something you do that makes you happy.
Hiking doesn’t require you to learn a new skill, but it’s one of the best ways to exercise and experience nature’s beauty… in fact, many mountain tops or lakes deep in a forest, are only accessible if you hike, mountain bike or horseback ride to them.
Here’s the bottom line:
Hiking is an incredibly simple hobby that any man can do. It gives you great exercise, lets you experience new places, and can even be a highly social hobby (or great date idea!).
Golf is a great hobby for men because it’s a simple concept to grasp (like pool), and doesn’t require as much energy as running/biking.
If you’ve never golfed before, I highly recommend taking a few lessons… because while the game is simple, almost no one is a good golfer at first. You need training.
After you’re a good golfer, you can have a social hobby that you can continue for most of your life.
According to Merriam-Webster, a connoisseur is a person who “enjoys with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties”… so an alcohol connoisseur has a deeper appreciation and understanding of alcohol’s subtle flavors.
You can become a connoisseur of anything, but whiskey, wine, gin, and craft beer are the manliest alcohols to deeply appreciate and understand.
A whiskey connoisseur might sip a fine whiskey and differentiate earthy tones, a hint of cinnamon or maybe a floral note. A beer connoisseur might be able to tell the difference between an amber, lager, porter, or blonde ale by the smell alone. Pretty cool, right?
I highly doubt you’ll find memory improvement on any other list of hobbies… so why did I include it?
I publish these techniques often because I believe that better memory contributes to having a higher intellect… which is a hugely important way to become a better man.
By improving your memory, you improve the rate at which you’re able to learn/retain information. The strength of your memory is the foundation of your intellect and your intelligence. source
You can improve your memory by reading up on our other memory posts, or by playing memory games online (sites like Lumosity claim to boost memory rate and retention).
Skiing and snowboarding are winter’s most popular sports… mostly because they’re incredibly fun, a good workout, and can be a challenge for anyone (even men who’ve done it for years).
The main downside to these winter sports as a hobby is that they can get expensive…
…but if you have a few dollars to spare, these can be a hobby/adventure that you can improve on for years.
Mountain biking is one of the more extreme sports on our list of hobbies (and one of the more extreme workouts).
Riding up rough mountain terrain is much more difficult than riding up a nicely paved street…
…and riding down the mountain, you gain speed quickly, and face uneven terrain and blind corners. Pretty extreme, right?
But here’s the thing:
If you’re not looking for an extreme sport, you can enjoy milder mountain biking for the fun, social exercise, and beautiful views.
Ceramics is a truly hands-on art form, where you can create something three-dimensional (that can be both beautiful and useful).
There are many forms of ceramics, but the most popular is probably wheel throwing… shaping clay with your hands, on a spinning wheel. You can make objects like bowls, candlesticks, or decorative items.
Here’s a tip for men who want to try ceramics:
Kilns (the furnaces used use to dry and harden ceramic art) can be overly expensive to buy, so look for a local hobby center or ceramic/pottery studio. Many will let you dry you projects in their kiln for a fee, plus you’ll meet other artists in a social setting.
Offroading is exactly what is sounds like: navigating rough, rocky, uneven, muddy terrain off the paved roads.
It’s one of the most fun hobbies for men, since it combines so many things we love:
Cars, outdoors, challenges, and even a little danger.
It’s easy to start offroading, but not easy to master it… you can start right now if you have a truck, jeep or SUV (with all-terrain tires), but there’s a high likelihood of rolling, flipping, or even breaking your vehicle (though for most guys, that’s the fun part).
Be sure to research the location you plan to navigate, to ensure your vehicle can handle it, and always go with multiple vehicles to get you out of a tight spot (literally).
Cooking is fun, simple to learn and instantly rewarding (cooking means you get to eat, right?)
Cooking is also an incredibly important hobby for men because it makes us self-sustaining. A true man doesn’t need a restaurant, or significant other, to feed himself. He only needs fresh ingredients, heat and utensils.
When you’re first getting started, cook from recipes (instead of making it up). Recipes teach you how to make a dish, and also basic cooking skills and how flavors work together.
For a lot of great recipes, check out this site.
Restoring broken, rusty, old cars to beautiful, purring machines is a powerfully manly hobby.
It takes a lot of time, but is one of the most rewarding and fun hobbies on our list. If you fully restore a car, you’ll have:
- New skills that can be used to fix even more machines
- A new car to brag about
- Possibly even a huge chunk of money (if you sell your restoration)
Restoring a car takes a ton of knowledge and mechanical skill. It’s not the hobby for every man. But if you’re passionate about classic cars, it’s not impossible to learn… and like I mentioned, it’s highly rewarding.
River rafting is a hobby that can be a way to relax and enjoy nature…
…or a way to give yourself an insane adrenaline boost.
Either way, successful rafting requires timing, endurance and good communication with your fellow raft members.
Until you really know what you’re doing, don’t raft/kayak with alone. Rivers are unpredictable/dangerous, and should be approached with extreme caution.
Fencing is an ancient form of sword fighting… but instead of thick, iron broadswords, fencers use thin stainless steel swords (called foils).
Fencing is a highly competitive and strategic sport that’s also an incredible work out.
There are two main types of fencing:
- Classical fencing, designed to look like an actual sword fight
- Sport (Olympic Style) fencing, which is a competitive sport
Both styles combine strategy, athleticism and technique… making it a great hobby for men to try.
Reading is a vastly underappreciated hobby for men. It allows your body to relax, but it exercises your mind.
Here’s a list of reading’s incredibly positive mental benefits:
- It expands your knowledge
- It can help alleviate stress source
- It rovides mental stimulation
- It teaches a wider vocabulary than direct teaching source
- It improves your memory
Best of all… reading is a completely free hobby that any man can pursue.
Rock climbing is an incredibly fun, challenging sport that requires a lot of physical strength (making it one of the most badass hobbies on our list).
Even though rock climbers are usually anchored to the rock with ropes (though sometimes you free climb), you still rely heavily on the strength of your arms and chest to power you up the rock.
If you want to pick up rock climbing, I highly recommend you start at an indoor gym. You’ll be able to rent climbing equipment, and climb with the support of an experienced climber.
…And when you’re 25+ feet up in the air, a little support is a nice thing to have.
If you ask ten people what superpower they’d want, most of them are almost guaranteed to say “flying”.
Makes sense, right? Flying gets you places faster, gives you power over gravity, and lets you feel a powerful rush of adrenaline.
Now… here’s the best part about flying as a hobby (besides feeling like you have a superpower):
Becoming a pilot is relatively easy. You only need to log a number of hours at a flight school, then to pass a written test and flying test.
If you’re interested in flying, check out the FAA’s website for more information on getting your pilot’s license.
Tapping a maple tree to gather syrup is an awesome hobby for classic men (men who want to build a log cabin, hunt game, and provide for their families the way men did for decades in this country).
Plus, if you have access to the right type of trees (sugar maples), it’s an incredibly easy hobby to start… and has a delicious payoff (maple syrup).
And really… who doesn’t like maple syrup?
Smoking is a unique way to grill food. You can actually smoke a lot of foods (cheese, bacon, even fruit), but meat is the most common.
Smoking a meat means barbecuing it for 3+ hours over indirect heat, in an enclosed grill. You allow a hard wood (like hickory or apple) to slowly smolder and produce a lot of smoke in the enclosed space.
The smoke adds a deep, complex flavor to whatever meat you choose.
As a hobby, smoking meat is a relaxing and fun way to be creative and get outside. And of course, the best part is getting a delicious dish out of it!
Bouldering is a more extreme form of rock climbing… you scale smaller rocks (under 15ft.) with no ropes attached. It can feel like a much more natural way to climb… and it’s a fun, extreme hobby for adventurous men.
Just like rock climbing, you can boulder indoors, in a climbing gym, or outdoors on an actual boulder.
If you’re bouldering outdoors (unsupervised), always climb with friends and crash pads.
Beekeeping is a rarely-practiced hobby… but it’s incredibly fun and can actually be pretty lucrative.
The initial investment in beekeeping gear can be high, but there are a few ways you can make money with beehives:
- Sell your honey in local markets
- Sell beeswax (a key ingredient in lip balm)
- Offer pollination services (here’s an example of what this looks like)
Since bees can and will sting you, I highly recommend you research beekeeping thoroughly, rather than take the “learn by doing” approach… but like most popular hobbies, there are a ton of instructional YouTube videos that will teach you the ins and outs of beekeeping.
Darts, like pool, is a great social game to play (usually at a local bar).
There are countless games you can play on a dart board.
The rules for each game vary, but all darts games are social, challenging, and competitive.
Grilling and smoking are by far the manliest ways to cook. Think about it: you’re outside, using open flames to cook raw meat into delicious meals. What’s manlier than that?
Grilling is also an incredibly healthy way to cook. When you grill, the excess fat runs off of the meat, down through the grate and burns away, leaving you with a leaner (yet still delicious) piece of meat.
If you’ve never grilled, you should definitely consider it as your next manly hobby.
Want a hobby that’s both relaxing and stimulating?
Sailing combines the best parts of relaxation (sunshine, ocean noises and breezes, and slowing down to take in the moment) with mental and physical stimulation (you have to know how to catch wind, be able to hoist the sails, and know what to do if you capsize). It can even be a highly enjoyable group activity.
Sailing can be challenging, so take advantage of having an instructor/knowledgeable sailor with you the first several times.
A list of men’s hobbies would be sadly incomplete without fishing.
Fishing is relaxing, while at the same time challenging for some men… it requires planning and a lot of patience.
There are many different types of fishing:
- Pole fishing (traditional cast and wait fishing)
- Spear fishing
- Hand fishing (or noodling)
- Ice fishing
- Fly fishing
…And because there are so many different types of fishing, almost anywhere you live in the world, you’ll be able to try it.
Don’t think gardening should be on a list of hobbies for men? I disagree.
Think about it like this:
Being smart/capable enough to grow food for your loved ones, with your own hands is one of the manliest hobbies I can think of.
…And besides growing your own food sources, gardening has a few other huge benefits:
- In a long term study of over 3,000 adults, daily gardening reduced the risk of dementia by 36%
- In horticultural therapy, gardening is also used to combat depression and mental illness.
When you backpack, you carry everything you need to survive in the wilderness on your back. It’s a hobby that combines minimal living with outdoor adventure.
Backpacking can last a few days (backpack camping) or up to a few months (backpack travelling).
No matter how short/long you live with just the supplies you can carry, you’ll definitely be experiencing something new.
Motorcycling is an incredibly manly hobby: it’s fun, challenging, freeing, and a little dangerous.
And it gets better:
You can buy a decent motorcycle for around $1000, and it doesn’t take much practice to ride well.
Plus, there’s a lot of practical value to owning a motorcycle. They’re one of the most gas efficient ways to get around, parking is incredibly easy, and you can make riding a social activity.
Scuba diving is one of the best ways to fully experience the strange, beautiful ocean, and can be done by almost all age groups.
It’s an experience that’s both very peaceful, and very humbling… the water makes it almost completely silent, and you’re surrounded by beautiful schools of fish…
…but at the same time, it’s humbling to see the vast size of the ocean and realize how tiny one man is.
Scuba diving, like many of the fun hobbies on this list, needs to be done with a guide at first. There’s a lot to learn before you can dive safely, and a guide/a team can help you learn.
The game of chess is a powerful mental battle between two men. It’s one of the hobbies most likely to increase your intelligence… and wouldn’t you rather do that in your spare time, rather than watch TV?
…And just like playing music, playing chess has a long list of mental benefits, like:
- Improving your memory
- Increasing problem solving skills (by adapting to your opponent’s moves)
- Helping prevent Alzheimer’s source
Here’s the bottom line:
Chess players must constantly be thinking. While you may have a strategy in mind, your opponent’s moves force you to almost constantly adapt it. Strategics like that can dramatically improve your intelligence and problem solving.
Shooting is undeniably one of the most fun, manly hobbies on our list. There’s just something powerfully manly about shooting a moving target with a gun, right?
There are a wide range of shooting types:
- Skeet shooting (shooting clay targets, to simulate shooting birds)
- Long range target shooting (shooting targets over 1500 yards away with a rifle)
- Hunting (shooting game for meat)
- Trap shooting (a game similar to skeet shooting, but with a greater focus on distance)
And here’s the best part:
Shooting is easy to start (almost anyone can practice at a shooting range) and with practice, anyone can become a decent marksman.
Horseback riding allows you to truly get in touch with nature… not only by being outside, but by depending on a (formerly) wild animal to get you around.
Owning a horse is pretty expensive, so it’s a good idea to practice with a horse at a stable near you. There you’ll be able to ride with an experienced rider, and see if it’s something you really enjoy.
Learning a new language in your spare time requires a lot of effort and time, but the potential rewards are huge source:
- It can improve your memory
- It can improve your ability to multi-task
- It reduces the risk of dementia
- It’s extremely helpful in business (a lot of companies have offices all over the world, and knowing another language can help you connect)
- You can have a better travelling experience (knowing a native language gives a deeper understanding of the culture… plus makes it easier to get around)
If you’re interested in learning a language, you can buy a teaching program like Rosetta Stone, or you can download an app like Mind Snacks.
Imagine sitting down at an Italian restaurant with a beautiful woman, and fluently ordering in Italian. You’d definitely impress her.
There are very few hobbies that can teach you more than travelling.
Think about it:
You learn new cultures. New languages. New foods. You see new, incredible places and learn new skills there. You can change your perspective of the world.
The main reason men don’t travel is that it can get expensive. So if you want to travel but don’t have a lot of money, plan a small trip… even just to another state. Travelling/experiencing new places doesn’t have to mean overseas… you can learn more about the world by experiencing any new place.
Road biking is a great way to explore your local terrain… it’s more freeing than being trapped in a car, and it’s faster than running.
And exploring isn’t the only benefit:
In fact, biking provides many of the benefits you get from running, while causing much less strain on your legs, feet and ankles.
It’s also one of the best hobbies for men over 50 (being much easier on your joints than other exercise).
Women want a man who can dance with them… making ballroom dancing one the most attractive hobbies to women who dance.
Besides that, it’s an insanely fun hobby, that’s active and social.
There are quite a few ballroom dances:
Each is completely unique style… no two dances are the same.
If you’re interested in ballroom dancing, but aren’t sure which dance to start with, watch YouTube videos of the different dances and see which one are the most appealing to you.
Astronomy is the study of objects like stars, planets, asteroids and galaxies.
You might start studying astronomy just because the night sky is undeniably beautiful… but when you have a deep understanding of what it is you’re looking at, it can make the night sky much more incredible.
Did you know that the closest star (other than the sun) is 4.24 light years away? That means that if you travelled at the speed of light, it would take you 4.24 years to reach it. Amazing, right?
If you’re interested in learning astronomy, I highly recommend you start with the show Cosmos on Fox. The host explains astrological physics so simply that anyone can understand it… and it contains plenty of mind-blowing CGI renditions.
Running is one of the easiest hobbies to start… all you need is a pair of running shoes.
But check this out:
Running is also one of the healthiest hobbies, both your physically and mentally. Physically, it can:
- Build stronger muscles source
- Help you lose weight via burning calories source
- Lower your risk of developing blood clots source
- Boost your immune system (you’ll get sick less often) source
Mentally, it can:
- Significantly reduce stress source
- Reduce risk of depression through the secretion of hormones source
Not bad for one hobby, right?
Music has been part of life since the beginning of mankind… archeologists have even found flutes carved out of mammoth bone, estimated to be over 40,000 years old. source
While instruments have gotten a little more sophisticated than bone carvings, the benefits of music have remained the same: it reduces symptoms of depression source, relieves stress source, and can elevate your mood (don’t you feel good listening to your favorite music?)
…And all those benefits come from just listening to music. Creating music boosts creativity, and sense of accomplishment (the same as creating anything).
Now… remember this:
Mastering an instrument can take years, but learning one is a simple hobby to start.
Bodybuilding is a hugely popular hobby for men. It’s a powerful, manly way to get into shape/stay healthy.
But before you jump into bodybuilding:
I highly recommend you learn proper weight lifting technique. You can do a lot of long term damage to your body through lifting improperly (think torn ligaments, broken ribs, or even torn muscles).source
A personal trainer can teach you safe lifting techniques, and give you a gym routine you can follow.
There are few things as primal as hatchet (tomahawk) throwing…
…and that’s beacause tomahawks are one of the oldest weapons men have ever used (and in my opinion, that makes tomahawk throwing even more manly).
Now check this out:
You can throw a standard camping axe or hatchet… but you should consider getting one that’s designed for throwing (it will be weighted, to give you a smoother/easier throw).
You can find beginner throwing tomahawks like that on Amazon for around $35 (like this one).
Home brewing is exactly what it sounds like: the process of making your own beer at home.
Pretty aweome, right?
Here’s a few reasons why brewing your own craft beer at home is such a great hobby for men:
- It’s relatively easy to get started
- You can creatively combine ingredients to make unique brews, specific to your tastes
- The end product is delicious, refreshing beer
When you start home brewing, I recommend buying a pre-made starter kit like this one. These kits are pretty inexpensive, and come with the equipment, ingredients and instructions you need for your first brew.
The best part of home brewing?
Unlike distilling your own spirits, it’s completely legal.
Fly fishing is an incredibly beautiful, unique, and active form of traditional cast and wait fishing.
Here’s how it works:
Fly fishers use a special rod and unique technique to cast their lure… they repeatedly flick the line across the surface of a moving river, making the lure hop, and making fish think the lure is actually a fly landing on the water.
Pretty cool, right?
Like all forms of fishing, fly fishing requires patience, but yields delicious reward when you hook a fish.
Fly fishing requires a lot of practice, and nearly constant motion, which together make for a great, active hobby for men.
Most men just turn on the TV for entertainment during their free time…
…but you don’t have to be that man. Try one of these hobbies for men when you’re looking for something fun to do.