92 Hobbies in Chinese || Must-Know Vocabulary and Phrases to Level up Your Chinese

The Ultimate Guide to Talking About Hobbies in Chinese || Vocab, Useful Phrases AND Dialogues

Whether you’re a budding chef, painting protégé or e-sports enthusiast, everyone has a hobby.

Get ready to learn all about hobbies in Chinese!

Learning to talk about hobbies is a super fun way to expand your vocabulary and gain some cultural insights at the same time.

It’s also a great topic of conversation to break the ice with a stranger in any language and Chinese is no exception!

In this blog, we’re going to give you a list of need-to-know vocab so that you’re all set to chat away in Chinese about how you spend your spare time.

We’re also going to throw in some useful phrases and questions to really get the ball rolling!

Now, let’s get learning…

Hobbies in Chinese || Useful Vocab and Phrases

Hobbies in Chinese || Sports

Hobbies in Chinese || Arts and Crafts

Hobbies in Chinese || Music

Hobbies in Chinese || Outdoor Activities

Hobbies in Chinese || Miscellaneous and Common Hobbies

Hobbies in Chinese || Example Dialogues

Hobbies in Chinese || FAQs

Before we get started, here’s some insider tips for learning Chinese from the LTL team 😉

Hobbies in Chinese || Useful Vocab and Phrases

First things first, if you’re going to talk about hobbies in Chinese it’d probably help if you knew how to say “hobby”

👉 In Chinese, hobby is 爱好 àihào, or alternatively, interest is 兴趣 xìngqù.

So to talk about your hobbies and interests, you could use the following sentences and just fill in the blanks!


Wǒ de àihào shì…

My hobbies are…


Wǒ de xìngqù shì…

My interests are…

Let’s look at some complete examples:


Wǒ de àihào shì tī zúqiú.

My hobby is playing football (or soccer for our American readers!)


Wǒ de xìngqù shì tīng yīnyuè hé chànggē.

My interests are listening to music and singing.

Perhaps the simplest and easiest way of expressing what your hobbies are is using the structure 我喜欢… Wǒ xǐhuān… which means “I like…”. For example:

我喜欢画画。 Wǒ xǐhuān huà huà. || I like drawing.

我喜欢旅行。 Wǒ xǐhuān lǚxíng. || I like traveling

我喜欢打篮球。 Wǒ xǐhuān dǎ lánqiú. || I like playing basketball.


Alternatively, you could talk about what you like to do in your free time (空闲时间 kòngxián shíjiān). That might look something like this:


Wǒ zài kòngxián shíjiān xǐhuān kàn diànyǐng.

In my spare time I like to watch movies.

Asking Questions

Conversation, however, is a two way street. So whilst it’s always nice to talk about ourselves, it’s generally advised to show interest in the person you’re chatting to at the same time!

So here’s some some questions you could use to ask about other people’s hobbies and interests:

你有什么爱好? Nǐ yǒu shénme àihào? || What are your hobbies?

你有什么兴趣? Nǐ yǒu shénme xìngqù àihào? || What are your interests?

你喜欢做什么? Nǐ xǐhuān zuò shénme? || What do you enjoy doing?

你空闲时间喜欢做什么? Nǐ kòngxián shíjiān xǐhuān zuò shénme? || What do you like doing in your spare time?

PROTIP || if you’d like to steer the conversation a certain way, you could even ask specifically about a certain topic using the following structure:


Nǐ xǐhuān shénme…?

What ___ do you like?

For example:

你喜欢什么运动? Nǐ xǐhuān shénme yùndòng? || What sports do you like?

你喜欢什么音乐? Nǐ xǐhuān shénme yīnyuè? || What kind of music do you like?

These phrases should certainly be enough to get you started in a conversation all about hobbies!

Now, let’s get into more specific vocabulary…

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Hobbies in Chinese || Sports

Being able to talk about sports is a great way to bridge cultural gaps.

Whether that be talking about your favourite basketball team or discussing the best places to go for a swim or cycle, this topic can really be an ‘in’ to building connections and friendships in China.

So here’s a list of must-know sports vocabulary!

Note: some words, such as ‘basketball’ (篮球 lánqiú)require a verb, such as ‘play’ (打 dǎ). These verbs differ between sports and may follow different patterns than in English. To keep it simple, we’ve attached the appropriate verb, when needed, to each of these sports.

Play basketball打篮球dǎ lánqiú
Play soccer/football踢足球tī zúqiú
Play volleyball打排球dǎ páiqiú
Play tennis打网球dǎ wǎngqiú
Play table tennis打乒乓球dǎ pīngpāngqiú
Ride a bicycle骑自行车qí zìxíngchē
Ice skate滑冰 huábīng
Play golf打高尔夫球dǎ gāo’ěrfūqiú
Play badminton打羽毛球dǎ yǔmáoqiú
Play baseball打棒球dǎ bàngqiú
Play hockey打曲棍球dǎ qūgùnqiú
Play American football踢美式足球tī měishì zúqiú
Play handball打手球dǎ shǒuqiú
Play rugby打橄榄球dǎ gǎnlǎnqiú
Play squash打壁球dǎ bìqiú
Learn Taekwondo学跆拳道xué táiquándào
Learn Judo学柔道xué róudào
Play badminton打羽毛球dǎ yǔmáoqiú
To do boxing打拳击dǎ quánjī
To do Tai Chi打太极dǎ tàijí
Cheerleading啦啦队lālā duì

How many Chinese sports stars do you know? Learn some of these big names and you’ll take your Chinese small talk to the next level!

Hobbies in Chinese || Arts and Crafts

Ok aspiring Picassos out there, it’s your turn!

Artistic hobbies can vary greatly in different countries. For example, if you hear ‘paper cutting’, you might immediately think of making snowflakes or just those pesky little finger wounds!

But in China, paper cutting (剪纸 jiǎnzhǐ) looks more like this…

So, even if you draw like you have two left hands, it’s worth learning a few arts and crafts words in Chinese so you can have the chance to learn about not only people’s hobbies, but the surrounding culture too.

Let’s take a look at all the vocab you’ll need to get you talking about creative hobbies in Chinese.

Paper cutting剪纸 jiǎnzhǐ
Watercolor painting水彩画shuǐcǎihuà
Flower pressing压花yāhuā
Visiting museums参观博物馆cānguān bówùguǎn
Visiting exhibitions参观展览cānguān zhǎnlǎn

Hobbies in Chinese || Music

Whether you’re a fan of crafting performances for the big stage or just singing in the shower, music is a great way to bring people together.

Learning to talk about music will also help you delve even deeper into the world of modern Chinese pop culture.

Not to mention, KTV, or Chinese Karaoke, is a big deal in China and something you should know about!

Here’s an easy(ish) song we’d recommend, if you want to keep one up your sleeve – a song with no less 188 million Youtube views at that!

Your ultimate KTV song to bring out in China

Once you’ve finished practicing your new stellar KTV performance, let’s take a look at some other music-related vocabulary you can use in China!

Listening to music听音乐tīng yīnyuè
Writing songs写歌xiěgē
Playing a musical instrument演奏乐器yǎnzòu yuèqì
Playing the guitar弹吉他tán jítā
Playing the piano弹钢琴tán gāngqín
Playing the flute吹长笛chuī chángdí
Playing the drums敲打鼓qiāo dǎ gǔ
Playing the bass guitar弹贝斯tán bèisī
Playing the violin拉小提琴lā xiǎotíqín
Choir唱诗班chàngshī bān

Hobbies in Chinese || Outdoor Activities 

Calling all adventurers!

With so much incredible scenery in China, it definitely makes sense to spend some time in the great outdoors, whether that be at China’s magnificent coastlines or breathtaking mountain ranges.

And on that note, here’s a list of outdoorsy hobbies in Chinese to spark some conversations with your local friends.

Going to the beach去海滩qù hǎitān
Rock climbing攀岩pānyán
Sailing帆船运动fānchuán yùndòng
Horseback riding骑马qí mǎ
Cycling骑自行车qí zìxíngchē
Playing golf打高尔夫球dǎ gāo’ěrfū qiú
Walk my dog遛狗liúgǒu
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Hobbies in Chinese || Miscellaneous Common Hobbies

A lot of our students like to respond to the question “你的爱好是什么?” (what are your hobbies?) with “睡觉!” (sleeping!) but we’re not letting you get away so easily today!

Here’s a list of some of the more common hobbies in Chinese, ranging from bookworm favourites to night owl activies.

Studying languages学习语言xuéxí yǔyán
Studying Chinese学习中文xuéxí zhōngwén
Reading books看书kànshū
Watching movies看电影kàn diànyǐng
Watching TV看电视kàn diànshì
Watching dramas看剧kàn jù
Hanging out with friends和朋友们出去玩hé péngyǒu men chūqù wán
Playing video games打游戏dǎ yóuxì
Playing board games玩桌游wán zhuōyóu
Playing chess下棋xiàqí
Playing cards打牌dǎpái
Drinking alcohol喝酒hē jiǔ
Going to bars去酒吧qù jiǔbā
Going clubbing去夜店qù yè diàn


If your hobby was on that list, you might want to check out one of these related articles:

Hobbies in Chinese || Example Dialogues

Ok now let’s consolidate some of that new knowledge and see these hobby words in action.

Below are three dialogues for you to read, each accompanied by pinyin and English translations.

TOP TIP || read the whole dialogues before reading the English translations to really put your comprehension to the test!

Dialogue 1

A: 你有什么爱好?(Nǐ yǒu shénme ài hào?)
B: 我喜欢听音乐和看电影。(Wǒ xǐhuān tīng yīnyuè hé kàn diànyǐng.)
A: 很有趣!我喜欢画画和读书。(Hěn yǒuqù! Wǒ xǐhuān huàhuà hé dúshū.)
B: 那我们可以一起画画或者去看电影。(Nà wǒmen kěyǐ yìqǐ huàhuà huòzhě qù kàn diànyǐng.)

A: What are your hobbies?
B: I like listening to music and watching movies.
A: That’s interesting! I like painting and reading books.
B: Then we can paint together or go watch a movie.

Dialogue 2

A: 你平时喜欢做什么?(Nǐ píngshí xǐhuān zuò shénme?)
B: 我喜欢打篮球和跑步。(Wǒ xǐhuān dǎ lánqiú hé pǎobù.)
A: 那听起来你很喜欢运动。(Nà tīng qǐlai nǐ hěn xǐhuān yùndòng.)

A: What do you usually like to do?
B: I like playing basketball and running.
A: That sounds like you really enjoy sports.

Dialogue 3

A: 最近有什么新的爱好吗?(Zuìjìn yǒu shénme xīn de ài hào ma?)
B: 是的,我最近开始学习弹吉他。(Shì de, wǒ zuìjìn kāishǐ xuéxí tán jítā.)
A: 非常棒!学习音乐是很有意义的。(Fēicháng bàng! Xuéxí yīnyuè shì hěn yǒu yìyì de.)

A: Do you have any new hobbies recently?
B: Yes, I recently started learning to play the guitar.
A: That’s great! Learning music is very meaningful.

And there we have it, a crash course into talking about hobbies in Chinese!

What’s your hobby? Let us know in the comments – bonus points for writing it in Chinese!

Hobbies in Chinese || FAQs

How do you say ‘hobby’ in Chinese?

‘Hobby’ in Chinese is 爱好 ài hào.

If you’re not sure how to pronounce this, check out our pronunciation tool to help you get the hang of speaking Mandarin!

What are some useful phrases for discussing hobbies in Chinese?

Useful phrases include “我喜欢…” (Wǒ xǐhuān…, meaning “I like…”), “我的爱好是…” (Wǒ de ài hào shì…, meaning “My hobby is…”), and “我经常做…” (Wǒ jīngcháng zuò…, meaning “I often do…”).

How can I ask someone about their hobbies in Chinese?

You can ask someone about their hobbies by using phrases like “你有什么爱好?” (Nǐ yǒu shénme ài hào?) meaning “What are your hobbies?” or “你喜欢做什么?” (Nǐ xǐhuān zuò shénme?) meaning “What do you like to do?”

Are there any specific verbs I should know when discussing hobbies in Chinese?

Yes, some common verbs used with hobbies include “打” (dǎ, to play), “看” (kàn, to watch), “听” (tīng, to listen), and “学习” (xuéxí, to learn), depending on the activity.

What are some traditional Chinese hobbies?

Some traditional Chinese hobbies include practicing calligraphy, playing Chinese musical instruments, practicing Tai Chi, and engaging in Chinese painting.

How can I practice speaking about hobbies in Chinese?

There’s lots of ways!

To improve your vocabulary retention rate, you could use a flashcard app. For improving your conversational skills, you could take a class all about hobbies on our Flexi Classes platform.

To join a Chinese language learning community, you could also get involved in the LTL Discord channel, where you can access free Chinese language materials and chat away in Chinese with other learners!

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