I don’t want to jinx it and scare away warm Chicago temps, but summer is almost here. With the cold, snowy days officially behind us, it’s only right that we make the most of the gloriously warm weather while we’ve got it. That means it’s time to dust off those creative skills and try out some new summer hobbies.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about adulthood, it’s that finding a hobby is more difficult than meets the eye. It can take a bit of trial and error to find what exactly lights your fire, but once you do, life just gets so much better. Whether you’re in it to fill a void, get away from your tech screens, work your creative muscles, or simply try something new, we’ve got you covered. These 20 summer hobbies are here to help you have your most fulfilling season yet:
1. Try your hand at flower arranging
Trust us, there’s more to it than taking off the packaging and plopping your blooms in a vase. Flower arranging is an art form in itself and one of the best summer hobbies to pick up as the weather warms up. After all, nothing screams summer like a bouquet of fresh flowers on the table. To hone your flower design skills, grocery store blooms will work just fine, or you could really go all in and try growing your own. Experiment with different types of flowers and vessels to create something unique and beautiful you’ll be proud to show off.
2. Make a scrapbook
By the end of the summer, your camera roll is going to be full of pictures anyway, so why not document those memories with something a little more special? Print out those photos and preserve your favorite summertime moments with a scrapbook. To make this summer hobby even more fun, throw it all the way back to childhood and stock up on colorfully patterned paper, stickers, washi tape, and other embellishments. If you work on it throughout the summer, you’ll have a full album of your favorite memories by the season’s end.
3. Practice sketching
You don’t have to be an artist to make something beautiful. Sketching is a low-pressure form of art that anyone can pick up as a summer hobby. To get started, gather up a blanket and your art supplies of choice, and plop down in front of a good view. It could be a view of your city’s skyline, a fountain in a park, a tree in your backyard—whatever strikes your fancy! Then take your time sketching out what you see onto the paper in front of you. This is a great way to spend some time outdoors and really appreciate the world around you.
4. Get into fabric-dyeing
Tie-dyeing was THE summer hobby when we were kids, and we think it’s high time to bring it back. Working with dye can get a little messy, which makes this the perfect hobby to do outside. For an adult take on this favorite childhood activity, try shibori, a Japanese dyeing technique that involves indigo dye. Once you get the hang of it, the sky’s the limit with what you can customize with new patterns of color—think clothing, beach towels, tote bags, bedding, and so much more.
5. Take your workout outdoors
Whether you’re into yoga, running, strength training, or something else, there’s just something about being outside that makes working out more fun. Take advantage of the warm weather by moving your usual workout to your backyard, a local park, or even the beach if you live nearby. You’ll get your daily dose of vitamin D in addition to all those great mental and physical benefits of moving your body.
6. Dabble in mixology
If whipping up classic, daring, or snazzy cocktails has been a feat on your to-try list, we’re declaring that this summer is the one that you make it happen. Try taking a virtual mixology class from the comfort of your backyard, check out a cocktail recipe book (that doubles as a coffee table book, of course), invest in some cocktail accessories, and toast to trying new things.
7. Take up photography
Remember that one time when you bought a DSLR camera and swore you’d use it, then refrained from bringing it anywhere because it’s just too chunky for casual use? Fair enough, but hear us out: Summer is the perfect time to pick photography back up and learn how to use your fancy camera beyond “auto” mode. Whether you’re documenting your favorite summer sights or learning how to get the perfect golden hour pics, there is no better time to learn the groundwork of photography than when you can comfortably be in natural, outside light without freezing your ass off.
DSLR or not, learning the basics of photography can make any picture (yes, even the ones you take with your iPhone) exponentially better. Watching YouTube videos to learn about photography basics (aperture, exposure, shutter speed, and ISO), tips/tricks, and mistakes to avoid can help you understand the camera you already have or inspire you to invest in one. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll has great reviews on Amazon and is another great place to start.
8. Develop your green thumb
Maybe you’re already a trusty plant mom, or maybe you’re like me who can’t get within 10 feet of a plant without it passing away. Regardless of your previous skill level, gardening can be a rewarding hobby to take up in the summertime. Starting a garden can be an intimidating task, but thankfully, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get your green thumb on. Whether you prefer to read about how to plan, sow, plant, and maintain your garden or watch a YouTube series on how to get started, there are plenty of ways to learn and get growing.
9. Make your own jewelry
Arts and crafts have always been at the tip-top of popular summer hobbies, but have you tried making your own jewelry yet? Capture your own design aesthetic in wearable pieces that you can make from the comfort of your own home. Make them for yourself, gift them to a friend, sell them on Etsy—the possibilities are endless. There are some awesome kits, books, and YouTube videos (essential techniques, supplies to purchase, and, of course, hacks) that will make getting started a whole lot easier.
10. Take a hike
Grab your hiking boots, ladies, because we’re trailblazing this summer. If you’ve been hiking before, you know that it’s one of the best ways to reconnect with yourself and the world around you. Hit up a local trail in your area or road-trip to a place with great heights and terrain—the world is truly your playground! Get lost in thought, get those endorphins pumping, soak up some vitamin D, and let the good times roll. If you’re a beginner, invest in some good hiking gear, stay hydrated, bring a good SPF, and check out these hiking tips to ensure that you have a safe and fun experience.
11. Repurpose old fabrics
We’re all for spring cleaning and donating or selling pieces that either don’t fit, aren’t our style, or remind us of darker days. But one thing we haven’t quite explored? Upcycling our fabrics into cool new pieces that you just can’t buy at any online shop or storefront.
Grab your scissors and your sewing kits (sewing machines, if you’re fancy) and prepare to transform your dusty old pieces into something fresh, trendy, and wearable. If you’re not into sewing (yet), start with some no-sew upcycle clothing projects and then move on to more advanced techniques when you’re ready to completely transform an item you’d otherwise get rid of. Whether you want to flip thrifted pieces, try out a new trend, or completely transform your wardrobe, upcycling your old clothes is a fun way to enter a creative flow, express yourself, and be a bit kinder to the environment. That’s what we like to call a win-win situation and we’re here for it.
12. Explore new places in your town
It’s never too late to appreciate the nooks and crannies of your own hometown. Between shopping small businesses, visiting farmers markets, and hitting up festivals, there’s plenty to do come summer that will help you rediscover the beauty of your own city. Challenge yourself to visit one to two new places a week to broaden your horizons and appreciate all that your city has to offer.
13. Read in the sunshine
Name a better feeling than curling up with a book while basking in the sunlight. We’ll wait. The slow moments of summer serve as the perfect opportunity to finally tackle that ever-growing “to-read list.” And whether you’re looking for books that keep you on the edge of your seat, let you escape reality for a while, or inspire you to be better, we’ve got some page-turning recommendations for you.
14. Hit the tennis court
Channel your inner Serena Williams because tennis is a phenomenal way to get outside, get your heart rate up, and get your sweat on. Do I personally know one thing about tennis other than the mandatory grunt that comes with serving? No. But do I enjoy the satisfying “plunk” that occasionally occurs when a tennis ball bounces perfectly off of the center of my racket? You bet. If you want to get official, you can hit up some YouTube tutorials like this one so that you can get a match going with a friend.
15. Practice journaling
Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your inner self, explore new ideas, and express what is weighing on your heart. Whether you view journaling as a way to record a stream of thoughts or as an outlet to discover your purpose, getting started can be a therapeutic addition to your “me time.” Plus, you can take it just about anywhere (early sunny morning on the Chicago lakefront, anyone?).
16. Hit a hole-in-one
OK, maybe a hole-in-one is a little ambitious for those of us who have never hit the links before, but golfing is a summer hobby that you can stick with for—pretty much—ever. There are so many components to golf that you can spend time mastering (putting, chipping, driving, driving the golf cart while looking cute in golf attire, etc.). While investing in a set of clubs can be a bit expensive, a good set can last you forever.
17. Switch up your form of transportation
I once saw this video of a gal effortlessly gliding on and off of a longboard, barefoot, and looking cool as hell. It seemed so liberating and the vibes were absolutely immaculate. I briefly thought to myself, “I want to do that!” before coming back to reality and remembering my super-average athletic abilities and impressive lack of balance. Though I’ll likely never zippity-do-da on a longboard like the aforementioned graceful woman, there’s something about biking, rollerblading, and scootering that reminds me of summer nights in my hometown as a kid and leaves me nostalgic AF. And who knows? Maybe you’ll spot me gliding on a longboard down Michigan Avenue one of these days.
18. Update old furniture (or start from scratch)
There’s a big learning curve when it comes to tackling anything handy—especially if you’re like me—but after watching stunning home improvement projects on TikTok for a few hours, I suddenly feel like I am Joanna Gaines herself and start looking at my old furniture thinking, “oh, I for sure can sand and stain that!” Entering the world of home improvement is no joke, but the payoff is great. Not only will you feel a sense of “holy shit, I did that” accomplishment, but it can also result in some really great pieces that save you a ton of money in the long run.
19. Brew some beer
Nothing screams “it’s summer” quite like cracking open a cold beer. But, as with most things, food and drinks tend to taste better when you put time into making them yourself. I’ll admit, until our editor-in-chief mentioned that her husband dabbled in beer-making last summer, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of brewing my own. Now, I am picturing myself in a garage, singing the wrong words to country music, brewing some beer, and enjoying the fruits of my labor, and I declare: This could be the most unexpected summer hobby yet.
20. Foster an animal
If you’ve fostered an animal before, you know that fostering is one of the most rewarding and mutually beneficial relationships in the game. Not only can it result in cuddles, kisses, and overall cuteness overload, but it’ll also help prepare the animal for future adoption and free up room in the shelter, allowing the shelter to take new animals in. It’s a great way to experience puppy or kitty love without long-term commitment and help out a furry friend in need (and your community). Reach out to shelters in your area to find fostering opportunities near you and thank me later!