Imagine a world without hobbies.
You get off work, head home, finish your chores and then stare at the wall until it’s dinner time.
That’s a pretty boring picture, isn’t it?
Having hobbies is important.
Hobbies offer you a way to express yourself, give you something to devote your time to and allow you to escape stressful situations and reconnect with yourself.
When learning Chinese, it only makes sense that you’d want to talk about the things you love doing.
Whether you’re introducing yourself, making small talk or getting to know a Chinese friend better, knowing how to talk about your favorite hobbies in Chinese can be key to a successful conversation.
In this guide, we’ll teach you four ways to describe your interests, 20 common hobbies and five useful questions for asking about someone else’s likes and dislikes in Chinese. We’ll also show you three example conversations that you can model in real life.
Let’s get started!
Pastime Paradise: Discuss Your Hobbies in Chinese with 20+ Words and Phrases!
How to Describe Your Interests, Passions and Hobbies in Chinese
Before we dive into popular hobbies in Chinese, let’s learn four must-know words.
1. 爱好 (ài hào) — hobby
2. 空闲时间 (kòngxián shíjiān) — free time
3. 活动 (huó dòng) — activity
4. 最喜欢 (zuì xǐ huān) — favorite/most like
Each of these words is a noun and is extremely useful for talking about hobbies in Chinese. Plus, you can add a little diversity to your conversation by throwing in a mixture of these words!
20 Common Hobbies in Chinese
In the following list, you’ll learn how to say 20 common hobbies in Chinese. Whether you like arts and crafts, sports or window shopping, here’s how to tell people what you like doing most.
1. 游泳 (yóu yǒng) — swimming
2. 跑步 (pǎo bù) — running
3. 唱歌/唱K (chàng gē/chàng K) — singing/karaoke
4. 跳舞 (tiào wǔ) — dancing
5. 运动 (yùn dòng) — working out/playing sports
6. 听音乐 (tīng yīn yuè) — listening to music
7. 看电影 (kàn diàn yǐng) — watching movies
8. 旅游 (lǚ yóu) — traveling
9. 逛街 (guàng jiē) — window shopping
10. 出去吃 (chū qù chī) — going out to eat
11. 玩（电脑）游戏 (wán (diàn nǎo) yóu xì) — playing video games
12. 园艺 (yuán yì) — gardening
13. 画画 (huà huà) — drawing and painting
14. 做饭 (zuò fàn) — cooking
15. 学外语 (xué wàiyǔ) — learning languages
16. 上网 (shàng wǎng) — surfing the internet
17. 和朋友一起玩 (hé péng you yì qǐ wán) — hanging out with friends
18. 看书 (kàn shū) — reading
19. 写作 (xiě zuò) — writing
20. 缝制 (féng zhì) — sewing
To help you learn hobbies in Chinese faster, we recommend checking out this short, two-minute YouTube video from Chinese Buddy:
How to Ask Someone About Their Hobbies in Chinese
You know how to describe some of your own favorite activities, but how do you ask someone else about theirs?
Let’s learn a few simple ways to ask someone what they do for fun in Chinese.
1. 你的爱好是什么？(What are your hobbies?)
Pinyin: nǐ de ài hào shì shén me?
We already learned that the word 爱好 (ài hào) means “hobby” in Chinese. This sentence literally translates to “your hobby is what?” Since the Chinese language doesn’t use plurals, it can also mean “what are your hobbies?”
You can respond to this question by saying “我的爱好是” (wǒ de ài hào shì), which means “my hobbies are,” followed by your favorite activity—or two!
2. 你喜欢什么娱乐活动？(What do you like to do for fun?)
Pinyin: nǐ xǐhuān shénme yúlè huódòng?
This question literally means “what entertainment do you like?” but is used to mean “what do you do for fun?”
As we already learned, the word 活动 (huó dòng) means “activity.” When combined with 娱乐 (yú lè), it becomes 娱乐活动 (yú lè huó dòng), which means “entertainment.”
To respond, you can use the sentence pattern “我喜欢” (wǒ xǐ huān), which means “I like,” followed by your favorite hobby.
3. 你有空的时候做什么？(What do you do when you have free time?)
Pinyin: nǐ yǒu kòng de shí hou zuò shén me?
This can also translate to “what do you do in your free time?”
In Chinese, the word 空 (kòng) means “free time,” and 有空 (yǒu kòng) means “to have free time.” When put into the structure 的时候 (de shí hou), it means “when you have free time.”
Literally, this question translates to “when you have free time, do what?”
A good response would look something like “我有空的时候喜欢” (wǒ yǒu kòng de shí hou xǐ huān), which means “when I have free time, I like to,” followed by your hobby.
Another way to respond is “我有空的时候一般” (wǒ yǒu kòng de shí hou yì bān), which means “when I have free time, I usually,” followed by your hobby.
4. 你最喜欢做什么活动? (What activity do you like doing most?)
Pinyin: nǐ zuì xǐ huān zuò shén me huó dòng?
We learned that 最喜欢 (zuì xǐ huān) is literally “most like” and means “favorite.” Therefore, your favorite activity would be 你最喜欢的活动 (nǐ zuì xǐ huān de huó dòng).
The question 你最喜欢做什么活动? (nǐ zuì xǐ huān zuò shén me huó dòng?) translates to “you most like doing what activity?” An appropriate response would follow the same pattern, such as “我最喜欢” (wǒ zuì xǐ huān), which means “I most like,” plus a hobby.
You could also say “我最喜欢的活动是” (wǒ zuì xǐ huān de huó dòng shì), meaning “my favorite activity is.”
5. 你的兴趣是什么? (What are your interests?)
Pinyin: nǐ de xìng qù shì shén me?
The word 兴趣 (xìng qù) means “interest” and is another great way to describe a hobby. Therefore, the question 你的兴趣是什么? (nǐ de xìng qù shì shén me?) literally means “your interests are what?”
To respond to this question, simply say “我的兴趣是” (wǒ de xìng qù shì), which means “my interests are.”
3 Example Conversations About Hobbies in Chinese
Now that you know some useful words for hobbies and how to use them in sentences, let’s take a look at a few basic conversations about hobbies in Chinese.
Conversation #1: What are your hobbies?
A: 你好！请问，你的爱好是什么？(nǐ hǎo! Qǐng wèn, nǐ de ài hào shì shén me?) — Hello! May I ask, what are your hobbies?
B: 我的爱好是游泳、唱歌、还有跳舞！你呢？你的爱好是什么？(wǒ de ài hào shì yóu yǒng, chàng gē, hái yǒu tiào wǔ! nǐ ne? nǐ de ài hào shì shén me?）— My hobbies are swimming, singing and dancing! And you? What are your hobbies?
A: 我想想看…我的爱好是学外语、看电影、还有逛街！(wǒ xiǎng xiǎng kàn… wǒ de ài hào shì xué wài yǔ, kàn diàn yǐng, hái yǒu guàng jiē!) — Let me think… My hobbies are learning languages, watching movies and window shopping!
Conversation #2: What do you do when you have free time?
A: 请问，你有空的时候喜欢做什么？(qǐng wèn, nǐ yǒu kòng de shí hou xǐ huān zuò shén me?) — Excuse me, what do you like to do in your free time?
B: 我有空的时候一般出去吃饭，和朋友一起玩，还有看书。你呢？(wǒ yǒu kòng de shí hou yì bān chū qù chī fàn, hé péng you yì qǐ wán, hái yǒu kàn shū. nǐ ne?) — When I have free time, I usually go out to eat, hang out with friends and read. And you?
A: 我有空的时候喜欢运动、游泳、跑步什么的。(wǒ yǒu kòng de shí hou xǐ huān yùn dòng, yóu yǒng, pǎo bù shén me de.) — When I have free time, I like to play sports, swim, run, etc.
Conversation #3: What’s your favorite activity?
A: 你最喜欢做什么活动？(nǐ zuì xǐ huān zuò shén me huó dòng?) — What activity do you like to do most?
B: 我最喜欢的活动是听音乐、旅游、画画。你呢？(wǒ zuì xǐ huān de huó dòng shì tīng yīn yuè, lǚ yóu, huà huà. nǐ ne?) — My favorite activities are listening to music, traveling and painting. What about you?
A: 我也喜欢这些活动！(wǒ yě xǐ huān zhè xiē huó dòng!) — I also like those activities!
And there you have it—your one-stop guide to talking about hobbies in Chinese!
With these new vocabulary words and phrases up your sleeve, we’re confident that you’re prepared to have meaningful conversations about doing the things you love.
Brooke Bagley is a freelance writer and passionate language learner. She’s learned Mandarin Chinese for seven years, Spanish for three and Indonesian for one. Aside from languages, Brooke runs her freelance writing business, Writing & Thriving, and specializes in B2B copywriting, content marketing and holistic health and wellness.