How Do People Spend Their Free Time? | Most Popular Hobby Categories in the United States 

How do most people spend their free time? What are the most popular leisure, hobbies and recreation activities?

Check out this interesting graph from STATISTA outlining the most popular hobby category activities for people in the United States!

Statista. (November 28, 2022). Most popular hobbies & activities in the U.S. in 2022 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

Cooking & Baking

Cooking and baking is the most popular hobby category in the United States and for good reason! We spend much of our day thinking about, shopping for and preparing food.

Whether you are into baking cookies and scones, trying new recipes, meal prepping or coming up with your own delicious recipes there are hundreds of hobbies that involve food!

Looking for some food hobby ideas? Check out our full article on food hobby ideas and try something new…


Reading is such a popular hobby because it allows people to explore new ideas and worlds, escape from their daily lives, and gain new knowledge and perspectives.

With advancements in technology, it is now easier to access a wide variety of books and reading materials, which has made reading even more popular.

Whether you are reading on a Kindle, listening to an audiobook or enjoying a free book from the library there are more ways now than ever to enjoy your favorite books!

Check out Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime here and get started reading some of the best and most popular books on the market…


Caring for a pet is a great hobby that can give people a sense of purpose and responsibility, which can be among the best ways to spend your free time.

Pets are a great source of entertainment and joy for people, and also provide opportunities for people to bond with others who also have pets.

Recent studies have shown that owning a pet can have many physical and mental health benefits, such as reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the risk of depression.

There are tons of positive hobbies to spend time with your pets including hiking, going to parks, playing catch and exploring the city.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor hobbies will always be popular because they allow people to connect with nature, which can be rejuvenating, relaxing and calming.

Outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing can also be a way to unplug from technology and daily stressors, and can help people to relax and clear their minds.

Additionally, outdoor hobbies often involve physical activity, which can be beneficial for both physical and mental health.

Many outdoor hobbies also offer a chance for adventure, excitement, and challenge as well as the opportunity to work on their physical fitness.

Many outdoor hobbies such as bird watching, photography, and gardening can also be enjoyed alone or with friends and family, making them a great way to socialize and bond with others.

Check out our huge list of outdoor hobbies for more great ideas to get out in nature!

Video Games

Video games are a highly-engaging hobby that allow people to interact with people around the world, improve their hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills.

Advances in technology have broadened the opportunities and playing styles to suite all gamers needs. Whether you play online, desktop computer games, Xbox, Playstation or stream on Twitch there are plenty of gaming styles for everyone!

Check out our video games article to learn more about the benefits, resources and tips for video game beginners.


photo: Ashim D’Silva

Traveling is a popular hobby because it allows people to explore new places, cultures, and ways of life, and can broaden their perspectives and understanding of the world.

Traveling can also be a way to disconnect from the daily routine, and can provide a sense of adventure and excitement.

Additionally, traveling can be a great way to make new memories and create lasting experiences with friends and family. Traveling can also be an opportunity to learn new languages, try new foods and discover new traditions and customs.

Looking to book a vacation and see new places? Check out the Hopper App and find the best deals on flights, hotels and car rentals for your next vacation! Get $25 off your next hotel booking with the Hopper App here…

DIY Arts & Crafts

DIY arts and crafts are a popular pastime, as they afford individuals the opportunity to tap into their creativity, express themselves in unique ways, and create something that is both practical and visually appealing.

These activities also provide an accessible and cost-effective means of learning new skills and techniques, while also offering a sense of accomplishment and pride in one’s creations.

Many DIY crafters get so good at their craft that they create online e-commerce storefronts with Etsy and Shopify to make money from their creations!

Another reason for the popularity of DIY arts and crafts is that they can be enjoyed both individually and in the company of others, making them an excellent way to socialize and bond with loved ones.

Check out our long list of craft hobby ideas to get inspired and start something new!

Gardening & Plants

Gardening is a widely enjoyed hobby due to its ability to connect individuals with nature, provide a sense of accomplishment, and offer physical and mental benefits.

As a form of physical activity and a means of creating something beautiful and productive, gardening can be both relaxing and fulfilling.

It also allows for the growth of one’s own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, making it a cost-effective and healthy way to obtain fresh produce, especially in light of the increasing interest in sustainable living and self-sufficiency.

Furthermore, gardening and taking care of houseplants can be a great hobby to release stress and unwind after a long day.

Check out our full post on gardening and houseplants for tips, resources and best practices to get started!


From hosting parties to trivia nights, socializing is high on the list of the most popular hobby categories for people.

What makes socializing so special?

Socializing is a popular hobby because it allows people to connect with others, share experiences, and form relationships.

Socializing can also be a source of emotional support and can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Additionally, socializing can be a way to learn about new cultures and perspectives, as well as exchange ideas and information.

Many people find socializing to be a fun and enjoyable activity, and it can be a great way to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships.

Furthermore, socializing can be done in many different settings and through various activities, such as parties, group outings, and online interactions.

With the rise of social media and online platforms, it has become easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world, which has made socializing even more popular.

Check out our Hobbies for Extroverts and Hobbies to Meet New People articles for more inspiration and hobby ideas.

Board Games & Card Games

Board games are a popular hobby due to their interactive and social nature, allowing individuals to spend quality time with friends and family while bonding and socializing.

Furthermore, the wide variety of options available, including strategy, trivia and party games, cater to a range of interests and preferences for all gamers!

Board games are not only entertaining, but they also provide an excellent way to exercise the mind and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

There is a lot to learn from playing board games; check out these Best Board Games for Teaching Children about Money & Finances!


Photography is a popular creative hobby that allows people to capture and preserve memories by freezing a moment in time, whether it’s a family vacation, a child’s first steps, or a stunning sunrise.

Photography also allows people to express their creativity by composing shots, playing with light and shadow, and experimenting with different angles and perspectives.

A hobby of photography also gives people the opportunity to explore the world around them and discover new things, whether it’s a new place they’ve never been to before or a different perspective on something they see every day.

Photography is a great hobby that can be easily combined with other outdoor hobbies like hiking, birdwatching and walking.

With the rise of digital cameras, smartphones, and editing software, photography has become more accessible and easier to learn. This means that anyone can take a picture and edit it to their liking, regardless of their skill level or experience.

Check out our full post on photography to for resources, gear recommendations and best practices for beginners.

Tech & Computers

Technology and computers are popular hobbies because they offer a wide range of opportunities for learning, experimentation, and creative expression. Additionally, technology and computers have become an essential part of modern life, and understanding how they work and how to use them effectively can be very useful.

Technology and computers also offer many opportunities for creative expression, whether it’s designing a website, creating a video game, building a robot or flying drones. The possibilities are endless, and the ability to bring ideas to life can be very satisfying.

Technology has given us social media platforms, online forums, and communities, which have made it possible to connect with other people who have similar interests, share knowledge, and learn from one another. This gives hobbyists the sense of belonging and the ability to share their knowledge with the world.

Check out our Huge List of Tech Hobbies for a ton of ideas to start something new.

Sports & Fitness

Sports and fitness are popular hobbies because they offer a wide range of physical and mental benefits, as well as providing opportunities for social interaction and personal accomplishment.

One of the main reasons why sports and fitness are popular hobbies is that they offer a wide range of physical benefits.

Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and endurance, and improve overall fitness.

Additionally, physical activity can also have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress and anxiety and improving mood.

Look into joining an adult sports league or trying a new fitness hobby and keep moving!

Meditation & Wellness

One reason why meditation and wellness are popular hobbies is that they offer a wide range of physical and mental benefits.

Meditation, for example, can reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and increase feelings of calm and well-being.

Additionally, wellness practices such as yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness can improve flexibility and balance, as well as promoting relaxation and self-awareness.

With the rise of the mindfulness movement and the increasing awareness of the benefits of meditation and wellness practices, there are now more resources, classes, and teachers available to help people learn and practice these skills.

Technology has made it easier than ever to access meditation and wellness resources, whether it’s through online classes or meditation apps.

A few meditation apps that we recommend if you are looking to get started include:


Whether you prefer creative writing, journaling, or writing non-fiction, writing can be a great way to express yourself, explore your thoughts and emotions, and learn more about yourself and the world around you.

Creative writing, such as fiction and poetry, allows you to tap into your imagination and create new worlds and characters, while journaling offers a space to reflect on your own thoughts and experiences.

Writing non-fiction, such as articles and essays, can be a great way to explore various subjects and to share your knowledge and perspectives with others.

Writing is a great hobby for self-discovery and helping you to better understand your own thoughts, feelings, and motivations.

Cars & Vehicles

Auto maintenance is a popular hobby for many people because it offers a combination of practical benefits and personal satisfaction.

As a hobby, it allows car owners to take control of their vehicle’s upkeep and performance, which can be a source of pride and satisfaction.

Regularly maintaining a vehicle can prolong its lifespan, save money on repairs, and ensure safety. It also appeals to those who have an interest in mechanics, engineering and problem-solving.

Auto enthusiasts can connect with others who share the same interest through car clubs, forums, and online communities which allows this hobby to continue to grow in popularity!

Making Music

Music is a universal language that can evoke a wide range of emotions and create a sense of connection and community. Playing an instrument allows individuals to create and share music with others and is a great source of personal fulfillment and enjoyment.

Creating music can take many forms including playing instruments, music production, joining a band, making beats, beatboxing, busking etc…

Music production and creation is a cathartic form of personal expression and is tons of fun!

Looking to play a new instrument? Check out these 12 Wonderful & Weird Musical Instruments to start something new…

Exploring hobbies and mindful use of leisure time can be a source of pride and satisfaction, a form of personal expression, a challenging and rewarding experience.

Hobbies can also be a cost-effective way to spend time, while also having the opportunity to connect with others who share the same interest. The possibilities are endless, and the best hobby is the one that brings you joy and fulfillment.

Looking for more great hobbies? Check out our Huge List of Hobby Ideas from A to Z to start something new…