Every guy needs at least one hobby, and the best hobbies for men can help you become a more well-rounded and happier person overall. Like a lot of guys, the SPY team has been exploring new hobbies during the stay-at-home era.
The benefits of a great after-work or weekend activity are numerous and well documented. Finding an outlet to unwind isn’t just about escaping your job, it will actually improve your work performance. Leisure activities are something to look forward to at the end of the day and something to fend off bad habits like scrolling Instagram or binging too much TV. With the right hobby, you’ll notice less stress, more creativity and even more social connections with hobby-related communities.
These benefits are nothing new. The tricky part is finding a new hobby that you really enjoy. Below are some of the best hobbies for men (and the right gear to get started), ranging from mixology to record collecting to boxing.
1. Beer brewing
Making your own refreshing beer is easier than you might think. With a simple beer brewing kit, such as the set below, you can get started brewing your own craft beer from home.
Fishing has been a staple of men’s’ pastimes for ages, and it’s hard to think of a more stereotypical hobby for guys. Relaxing on a beach, pier or boat with friends (and maybe a beer) is sure to relax any stressed-out dude — even if you don’t catch anything.
Realistically speaking, you probably already play a ton, but if you haven’t touched a game controller in the past 10 years, maybe it’s time to pick one back up again. There are a plethora of new and improved consoles out there in 2020 featuring both exciting brand new games and newer takes on classic favorites. Right now, we’re having too much reminiscing our Mortal Kombat days with their newest edition to the mix than any other game, but the gaming possibilities are genuinely endless on this thing.
For guys that are into fashion, we suggest screwing around and seeing what you can do in the realm of sewing. A dope way to get started is by heading to your local thrift store, picking out some patterns you like via old tees, sheets, dresses or anything else you might find on your trip, and attaching various patterns to a pair of old jeans or adding pockets to a solid button-down you haven’t worn in a few years. Once you get more comfortable, use these thrifted patterns to create full-on shirts, bucket hats, ties and pants. You’ll be dripping in style.
Archery has a long and storied history, and modern compound bows pack incredible power (this is not a sport to take up lightly!). Archery is a beautiful intersection of focus, technology and exercise (it’s a serious back workout, too), and very addicting once you get the hang of it. Remember: while archery is one of the best hobbies for men and women, you can hurt yourself or others if you don’t practice this sport responsibly.
6. Film Photography
Still snapping every single possible photo on that iPhone? How boring. Spice it up by shooting 35mm film the way they did in the good ‘ole days. The process helps you slow down when shooting because there are only so many photos per roll of film. You can’t see the photos after until they’re developed, either, so it’ll really test your patience. Whether it’s been a couple of decades since you’ve last put your hands on a film camera or the medium is new to you entirely, it’s an excellent way to create art and test your patience in 2020.
Unlike most forms of gambling, poker involves quite a bit of skill. If you want to (respectfully) take your friends’ money, win online or just have more fun with the game, poker can be a great full-time hobby. There are countless poker books you can read to better understand the mathematics and strategy behind this game, or you can simply host a low-key poker night with your friends.
Chess isn’t just a board game. It’s a serious endeavor that you can practice over a lifetime. The best way to play is in person with a friend or family member, but of course, there are plenty of online chess sites and apps for solo play.
During the stay-at-home era, many people have upgraded their home bar, so why not turn your love of fine drinks into a legitimate hobby? Even after your favorite bars re-open, mixology will still be one of the best hobbies for men and women alike.
Craft cocktails have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade or so, but the best way to enjoy them might not be at a trendy cocktail bar. Mixing your own concoctions can be more fun than watching a bartender, and it’s far less expensive as well. So grab your favorite whiskey and tequila, a cocktail kit, and start inventing new recipes.
10. Computer Programming
Programming might be the most useful hobby to pick up in the 21st century. It’s cutting-edge, lucrative (if you get good) and simply fun. Learn how to create new spaces and tools for our shared digital world. For more resources on learning to code, check out our favorite computer programming apps and books.
Gone are the days of men being too afraid to try their hand in the kitchen. Dudes are realizing that cooking is one of the most fun, rewarding and (obviously) delicious hobbies for to pick up.
12. Vinyl Record Collecting
Vinyl sounds better than digital music, and there are tons of great Bluetooth record players on the market today. Vinyl is definitely having a moment right now. Sure, it takes some work to flip through dusty old albums at a record store or hunt down the best vinyl online, carefully stashing your burgeoning collection and playing the records on a turntable. But, wait — doesn’t that sound awesome?
13. Book collecting
Getting into book collecting doesn’t just mean buying books. Whether you want to read the best books for men, build up a collection of classic science-fiction books, or find investment-worthy first editions or books with iconic dust jackets, the real fun is in the search. Of course, having an impressive library to peruse is also very rewarding.
Psychologists agree: making art is a great de-stressor, no matter your skill level. Paint the sunrise before work, let out emotions after dinner or relax with some landscape painting on the weekends.
Most people pick up running to lose weight but quickly realize that it’s much more than a waist-slimmer. The sport is pure freedom, easy to start and makes a great excuse to explore nature, cities or neighborhoods.
Gardening will turn your home into a better space, but it has other benefits such as calorie burning, stress reduction and a healthier diet with fresh fruits and veggies. And you don’t need a serious yard to get started; a windowsill planter will do just fine.
Most dudes enjoy barbecuing burgers or steaks from time to time, but it can also be a rewarding hobby. The result? You’ll have the best parties on the block.
Martial arts of all kinds have become more mainstream, catering to people who want a fun workout as well as people trying to get tough. Boxing is one of the best martial arts for guys, providing a cathartic outlet for anger, stress and anything else we might pick up throughout daily life.
Knitting is for everyone, including manly dudes like Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe (really). The simple art form can be accomplished at any time, anywhere. Work on a hat while zoom calling, a sweater while watching TV or a scarf while listening to music.
Meditation is an art form that you can spend your whole life mastering. Of course, you can also pick it up as a potentially life-changing hobby for de-stressing, boosting health and calming anxieties.
Want to make beautiful sculptures without a mess? Try origami. The Japanese art form is easy to pick up (you just need paper and directions) and produces some mantle-worthy results.
[Editor’s note: I picked up this hobby while New York City was on lock-down, and it’s proven incredibly rewarding. I’ve progressed from swans to 3D foxes in two months!]
While this might not be every man’s cup of tea, drag is an impressive art form traditionally performed by gay men done to transform into fearless, feminine alter-egos. Now, drag around the world can be represented by any kind of person, from gay men to straight men to trans men and non-binary folk. It’s a fun way to let loose, but it takes a lot of patience and effort to do it right and perfect your look. We suggest starting off with this makeup set to help you get going, but, if you’re going to get really into the art of drag, you’re going to need much more than this.
Instead of snacking while watching TV or sitting in online meetings, try whittling. That’s right, whittling. With a simple set of tools and a bit of determination, you can turn any piece of scrap wood into usable art.
24. Rock climbing
Rock climbing has recently become much more popular thanks to the rise of climbing gyms in many metro areas. The sport is an incredible workout and requires serious focus, even if you never try to scale an actual rock wall out in the wild. This sport does require some dedication, but few things are more rewarding than completing a tricky climb, whether out in nature or at your local climbing gym. For the sports-inclined, this is one of the best hobbies for men who aren’t afraid of hard work (or heights).
25. Sneaker collecting
Sneakers are no longer just beater sports shoes. An entire sneakerhead culture has developed around sneaker drops, collecting, reselling and even making money. Of course, you can also start a small collection to upgrade your wardrobe.
Action sports are one of the best outlets for clearing your head while getting some exercise, but skating is probably the easiest hobby for young men to start. All you need is a board and a flat concrete surface — ramps, pools, rails and stairs are all optional, but greatly appreciated.
27. Wine tasting
Most dudes regularly enjoy a glass of wine with dinner but don’t know what they’re drinking. Getting serious about wine will make shopping for vino and drinking that evening glass (or two) much more interesting.
Most hobbies offer an outlet or a distraction for the woes and joys of life. Writing is different. Once you get in the swing of it, writing (whether fiction, non-fiction or journaling) can become extremely therapeutic and might even result in some publication-worthy material.
Another great artistic hobby is pottery. It’s fairly simple but very fun and involves more hands-on activity than say, painting. Plus, like many of the best hobbies, pottery produces giftable items such as vases, bowls, mugs and so on.
While we’re not 100% if this is technically considered a hobby, it’s a hell of a great way to kill some time. As temps begin to drop and we likely head into a second quarantine wave, TikTok is a stellar way to waste your day in bed. There are loads of hilarious, helpful and even scary short clips to watch, depending on your preference. Maybe even get in on the fun and create some videos yourself. Who knows what’ll happen.