Hobbies of the World

The most popular hobbies around the world and in the US

Most of us have our favorite hobbies, be it anything from active ones such as sports and athletics, creative ones like writing and crafting, or just relaxing ones, like binge-watching our favorite streaming site.

For those of us interested in finding new and exciting hobbies, this study identifies the biggest and most popular hobbies across the globe and in the USA.

We all know that some hobbies can be expensive, while others can be very expensive, so always make full use of hobby discount counts when you run into them.

No matter what hobby you’re into, costs can rack up here and there and often where you wouldn’t expect. Coupon codes are your friends in this world of expensive leisure, so be sure to search them out if you can. 

Using Google search data, this report reveals the world’s favorite and hottest hobbies alongside a closer look at the USA’s favorite and hottest hobbies, to see which hobbies are most likely to be favored around the world. 

The World’s Favorite Hobbies

A list of the world's favorite hobbies

1. Drawing – 61.12 million annual searches

Drawing is very much a creative hobby and is definitely a form of art. Usually, it involves a pen or pencil and paper, but in our modern world, you can draw digitally, with a stylus and a tablet.

Drawing offers a creative outlet where people can come up with new ideas, reimagine animals or buildings, or draw their favorite characters from the movies. 

2. Chess – 49.25 million annual searches

Chess is a board game that is over 1,500 years old. The fact that it is still played today, and is the second most popular hobby on our list, is quite a statement.

Played with two players, chess is a strategy game that involves a 64 square grid with 32 pieces, with each player controlling 16 pieces.

The aim of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s King, and there are a seemingly endless number of ways to achieve this. 

3. Mahjong – 37.76 million annual searches

In third place in another board game.

Mahjong is a game played with 3 to 4 players and involves 144 tiles, with each player starting with 13 tiles. Players take turns discarding their tiles and the aim of this game is to form four melds (or sets) and a pair (eye).

It is generally accepted that Mahjong was created some 200 years ago near Shanghai.

America’s Favorite Hobbies

A list of America’s favorite hobbies

1. Bowling – 11.02 million annual searches

Bowling appears to be America’s favorite pastime, with over 11 million searches for bowling in the last month in the US. It involves players rolling a ball toward pins with the aim of knocking more down than their opponents. 

2. Drawing – 10.94 million annual searches

The most popular hobby in the world is America’s second favorite. Drawing saw just shy of 11 million searches over the last month in the US.

Drawing with pen and paper is one of the cheapest hobbies around and offers timeless enjoyment – the limit is your imagination. 

3. Chess – 9.03 million annual searches

Chess is also super popular in America, seeing over 9 million searches in the last month. It seems that chess became significantly more popular during the height of the pandemic.

The platform chess.com saw growth from just under 30 million members to 57 million within the span of a single year from 2020 to 2021. 

The Global Hobbies Gaining Popularity

A list of global hobbies that are gaining popularity

1. Laser Tag – 112.2% increase

Laser tag is a recreational shooting sport where players use infrared-emitting light guns (or laser guns) to tag targets and opponents. It’s popular with a wide range of ages and has seen a 112% increase in popularity over the last year. 

2. Mini Golf – 107.2% increase

Mini golf, as it sounds, involves knocking a golf ball around a significantly smaller course. Players usually only use putters, and the courses often involve fun and creative holes, with bends and obstacles.

Mini golf saw a 107% increase in searches over the last year. 

3. Tennis – 82% increase

Tennis saw an 82% increase in popularity over the last year. A racket sport, tennis can be played between two players or between two teams of two players. Each player uses a racket to hit a tennis ball over a net and into the opponent’s court. 

America’s Hobbies Gaining Popularity

A list of America's hobbies that are gaining popularity

1. Bus Spotting – 152.2% increase

Interestingly, America’s hottest hobby right now is bus spotting, which saw a massive 152% increase in searches over the last year. Bus spotting is where people watch, photograph, and track buses throughout their working service.

2. Mini Golf – 111.1% increase

Similar to the rest of the world, America is getting hooked on mini-golf, with a 111% increase in searches for this hobby year on year. Mini gold can be played with friends and family and is also a popular date idea. 

3. Figure Skating – 104.2% increase

Figure skating involves individuals, pairs, or groups, performing figure skates on ice. Figure skates include a number of fascinating challenges, including spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, and even something known as a death spiral. 

The World’s Favorite Hobby in Each Category

The world's favorite hobby in each category

America’s Favorite Hobby in Each Category

America's favorite hobby in each category

The Most Popular Hobby in Every US State

The following details are the most searched for hobbies in each US state. The most common hobby on this chart is drawing, the most popular hobby in 22 states. Drawing is followed by bowling which is the most popular in 17 US states.

List of most popular hobbies per US state


We took an extensive list of hobbies from a Wikipedia article, removing those which are more closely related to jobs or have alternative meanings.

For example, cricket was removed due to the fact that it is also a brand name and could lead to skewed results.

With this list, we then used Google keyword planner to discover the number of searches made globally and within the United States.

We also compared searches made in the last 12-month period to the previous 12-month period in order to compare year-on-year increases or decreases.

Leave a Comment