As a self-proclaimed nerd, I’ve been addicted to geeky hobbies since I was a child. Whether playing video games or painting Warhammer 40K figures, there was nothing I would rather do with my spare time.
As an adult, little has changed.
To help you find your next obsession, I put together this list of geeky hobbies for nerds of all ages to help you find the right one for you! Check out our master list of creative hobbies if you’re looking for more options.
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Lego and alternatives
Everyone has played with Lego as a child, but you might not know that nowadays there are tons of Lego sets for adults. These range from Harry Potter and Minecraft to gorgeous Lego architecture sets, so you’re sure to find something that matches your interests.
If these are too expensive, there are lots of Lego alternatives worth exploring, too. For example, Nanoblock Pokemon sets are the best around, and Chinese brands like Nifeliz and Mould King make great cheaper knock-off sets.
Miniature modeling is a great hobby for geeks because it lets you recreate your favorite scenes, characters, stories, and more to display in your home. From Star Wars dioramas to railways, the sky’s the limit!
If you’re not into creating your own figures, you might be into painting them. You can buy figures for tabletop games, of course, but you can also buy figures solely to paint and display.
These figures can be pricey, but apart from that you just need a paintbrush and a paint set for miniatures. You may also want to invest in an airbrush kit for more professional results later down the line.
If you want to create your own minis, 3D printing is the perfect nerdy hobby for you. You can design your own figures or find and purchase files to print online.
You will, however, need to buy a 3D printer. Simple FDM models are cheap and easy to use, but if you want greater detail you’ll want to splurge on a resin model.
Wargaming is one of those timeless geeky hobbies that you see in the back of every hobby shop. It’s expensive and very time-consuming to prepare your army, but it’s a great way to meet like-minded people for friendly competition!
Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigmar are the big names here, but there are plenty of other sci-fi and historical tabletop games to play, too. Some even come in a self-contained box, which will save you a lot of money.
Woodworking hobbies are often thought of more as dad territory than nerd fodder, but there’s a lot more to it than just sawing 2x4s. You can create an NES controller coffee table, end-grain pixel art, and more.
Perhaps the type of woodworking that pairs best with geeky interests is laser cutting and engraving. This single machine will allow you to make simple models, engravings, and more. Carving is another option if you want to make and paint wooden figurines.
Watching movies and anime is a bit of a passive hobby, but it is a hobby nonetheless. Anime in particular is popular amongst the nerdy crowd, although classic movies are another common obsession.
If you want to explore this hobby, I recommend keeping a list of ratings and impressions about what you’ve watched. Letterboxd is a great place to do this.
Comic books have been one of the quintessential hobbies for geeks for more than 50 years, and there’s never been a better time to become a fan. Manga, or Japanese comic books, are every bit as engrossing.
Although you can read most comics online nowadays, this nerdy hobby combines nicely with collecting and other pursuits, like the next one on our list.
Cosplay is a portmanteau of costume and play, and it’s one of the most popular hobbies for crafty superfans. With some sewing skills and a little bravery, you can join your fellow fans in costume at different cons around the world, or just share your work online.
Apart from sewing skills (and a handheld sewing machine for emergencies), cosplay can involve 3D printing, resin molding, painting, and more.
Digital art is more accessible than ever before, even for total beginners. With an iPad for Procreate and an Apple Pencil, you’re fully equipped to create your own digital illustrations for printing, sticker making, and more.
I highly recommend taking a Procreate class to get started. It’s much more approachable than other methods of digital artwork.
Perler beads are a simple hobby that many people try as a child, but it lends itself very well to recreating pixel art due to the gridded rows of beads. Finished works are really only for display, but it’s still a very cheap hobby for nerds of all sorts.
Forget granny squares and blankets, amigurumi is the way to go for geeks. They are essentially stuffed plushies made using crochet stitches. Rather than having to buy plushies for your favorite characters, this geeky hobby allows you to create them yourself!
Cross stitching has been a popular hobby for homebodies for centuries, but it the gridded patterns are perfect for recreating your favorite pixel art.
Embroidery is another great hobby for geeks that allows for a bit more freedom of design. Both are easy to start, but you can really take things to the next level with some embroidery classes.
Most people have folded hats and cranes at some point, but there’s a lot more you can do with paper and a decent bone folder. Check out our list of the best origami books for ideas, which include hyperrealistic animals, fantasy creatures, and more. More advanced crafters should also check out the Star Wars Origami books.
Papercraft models are another option. These involve printing and assembling paper models, often of video game characters. Check out the work of my favorite papercrafter Ninjatoes for more.
There are A LOT of options when it comes to collecting, but as far as geeks and nerds go, things like Funko Pop, trading cards, retro video games, and others are popular.
If none of those sound interesting, you can also collect antiques, miniatures, books, etc. Just make sure you have the space to store it all!
I was very intimidated before I built my first PC, but it turns out it’s actually very easy! Once you’ve got your parts list, most of the process is just sliding parts into slots.
As a nerdy hobby, it can be a bit expensive if you want to keep building and upgrading your PC. You can branch out by building PCs for friends and family, or try to up your game by setting up your own home media server!
Programming is as much a nerdy hobby as it is a profession, but amateurs can accomplish a lot with just a little training under their belts.
For a lot of people, this will be one of the most useful hobbies for geeks imaginable since it can streamline processes in your work life and home life. It’s also pretty cheap to start since all you need is a computer.
A Raspberry Pi is a barebones PC that’s capable of performing a lot of basic tasks. In fact, if you buy a monitor and a few other peripherals, you can use it as a tiny home PC.
With a little experience, you can use a Raspberry Pi to set up a home server, smart-ify your home, create a weather monitor, make a retro gaming console, or countless other things.
Speaking of retro gaming, it’s a perfect hobby for geeks above a certain age. Even without the nostalgia injection, it can be a great way for gamers to reconnect with the history of gaming.
That said, finding old cartridges is difficult, and often the easiest way to play retro games is via emulation. You can use a computer or your phone for this, but if you want to take it more seriously I recommend getting a retro gaming device. My favorite is the Retroid Pocket 3 Plus.
Music is a great hobby for anyone, whether listening or playing. As far as nerds go, synthesizers are a popular choice, but what speaks to you will be very personal.
Anyone can take great pictures with their phone these days, but it can also be a great hobby for anyone who wants to dig deeper.
From classic analog cameras to niche devices like Polaroid and Instax cameras, there’s a lot to explore. If you want to go analog you can look into dark room exposure techniques, or go digital with some Photoshop classes.
As far as social hobbies for nerds go, board games are one of the most approachable. They’re more of an excuse to hang out with friends and family than anything else.
That said, there’s a big difference between Monopoly and Settlers of Catan. Being the person in your friend group who knows and owns the best board games can win you some major brownie points. They’re also fun to collect, although they can be pricey and take up a lot of space.
Card games are similar to board games in that they’re very collectible, but you’re more likely to pick one like Magic: The Gathering and stick with it. This means you’ll be playing with a more close-knit group of people, which is both good and bad.
There are, of course, many card games that use a standard deck of cards, like Poker or Rummy. Just don’t get addicted to gambling.
For the truly dedicated, solving Rubik’s cubes can be a fantastic nerdy hobby. It’s cheap to start and easy to learn the basics, but you can spend hundreds of hours improving your technique and speeding up your results.
All you need is a Rubik’s cube, but if you’re interested I recommend finding other people who share the same hobby. You can even compete in local tournaments.
When you think of hobbies for geeks, odds are roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons immediately leap to mind. D&D has been around for more than 50 years now, and there are countless other tabletop RPGs with different rulesets or settings.
You don’t have to be a nerd to play, but you will need a committed group of friends to play with. Just remember that finding a good DM is a difficult task in itself unless you’re willing to become one yourself.
While tabletop RPGs are becoming more mainstream, one nerdy hobby that has remained niche is LARPing. It stands for Live Action Role Playing, and it involves dressing up as fantasy characters and acting out battles and scenes in real life.
If you’re already into roleplaying games and cosplay, this is a pretty natural extension of those hobbies. Renaissance fairs are a slightly less nerdy alternative.
If you haven’t heard of it, geocaching is like a hidden object puzzle game played in the real world. You use GPS to find the coordinates of a hidden container, or cache, somewhere in the world. Then, you sign your name in the logbook and return it to the exact same spot for the next person to find.
Often geocaches are hidden in plain sight and require a bit of sleuthing to find. It’s a great hobby to do with kids, too.
Language learning is not only a great hobby, it’s a great way to learn a valuable life skill. Whether you want to connect more with your favorite anime series or K-pop group, or just love learning new language systems, the act of learning and practicing new languages is fun in its own right.
Reading/writing fan fiction
Book nerds are a well-treaded media trope, but the truth is reading remains one of the best hobbies for geeks and nerds of all interests. To take things even further, you can also try reading and writing fan fiction.
Fan fiction is essentially the telling of new stories using existing characters. For example, an original story within the Harry Potter universe. Since the characters are copyrighted, authors can’t profit from their works, but there are some excellent fan fiction works available for free online. Maybe you’ll write the next one.
If you love books, you have to try bookbinding. It involves binding pages to create books, and it’s a great way to show your appreciation for books without spending a lot of money. You can even bind your favorite fan fiction stories!
This is a pretty easy hobby to start. Check out our favorite book binding kits to learn more!
That’s it for this comprehensive list of hobbies for geeks and nerds! Any more hobbies to recommend? Drop them in the comments below.