Hobbies are pastimes that the villagers in the player's town may take up to occupy their time. Hobbies include walking, fossil collecting, bug catching, fishing, fashion, gardening, and home improvement. Hobbies affect villagers in many ways—their conversations vary, the content of their homes change, and what they wear or carry may differ as well.
In Wild World the hobby of the villager will change if the player prevents them from moving.
Villagers often talk of their hobby depending on their personality, explaining why they chose it and what they would like to achieve. In City Folk, lazy villagers may ask the player to guess what their current hobby is.
List of hobbies (pre-New Horizons)
- Bug catching – Much like fishing, villagers collect insects for display in their homes. In Wild World, residents have competitions with the player to find a certain insect as fast as they can. In City Folk, villagers simply ask for a specific insect, often in exchange for a reward. Villagers with this hobby carry nets.
- Fashion – Villagers ask for new clothes in exchange for gifts. Sometimes, requests may be very specific. Items of clothing can be rejected if the villager deems them too unattractive. Lazy villagers might say that they are becoming a superhero, named Super Spiffy [name], and that may ask the player for style tips later on. They also can call themselves Fashion Lad.
- Fishing – Villagers with this hobby collect fish to put in their house. In Wild World, villagers often treated their hobby as more of a competition to see who could catch a fish the fastest. They could ask for a specific fish, the rarest fish, or even the biggest fish, and would always take the fish in exchange for a present if they lost. In City Folk, animals ask for a certain fish that they would like, often in exchange for a reward. Animals that enjoy fishing carry fishing rods around town.
- Fossil collecting – Villagers who enjoy collecting fossils will sometimes ask for a fossil, specific or any. These will usually be placed inside the villager's homes. They will not accept or even acknowledge unidentified fossils. Villagers with this hobby can be seen carrying shovels.
- Furniture – Animals may ask for a color or specific furniture set. With colors, there are items that they may reject if there is not enough colors on the furniture piece.
- Gardening – Villagers with this hobby enjoy planting flowers and often carry a watering can. Flowers appear around the villager's house in great amounts, but are not tended to or organized.
- Walking – Villagers talk of their favorite routes and how refreshing it is. They can sometimes ask the player if they want to walk together. Normal villagers will usually say that there are little flowers blooming when there were none yesterday.
- Seashell collecting – Villagers with this hobby will usually be seen walking on the beach and talk about seashells. They will not ask the player to get seashells for them, but they may ask the player to deliver gifts to other villagers.
List of hobbies (New Horizons)
- Education – Villagers will inspect artwork, bugs, fossils, flowers, and trees with a magnifying glass. They will often be seen wearing rimmed glasses while reading a novel. Many villagers with this hobby are Cranky and Normal.
- Fashion – Villagers will often be seen wandering with a pink bag with an Oxeye Daisy on it and wear certain accessories, even if they have not been gifted any by the player. Prior to the 2.0 Update, all villagers with this hobby were female, and many of them had the Snooty or Peppy personalities. Sasha is the only male villager with this hobby.
- Fitness – Villagers can lift heavy dumbbells anywhere, while other villagers will only do so in the plaza. Most villagers with this hobby are Jocks, and every gorilla has this hobby, except Rilla who has the nature hobby.
- Music – Villagers can sing and dance anywhere on the island, even if there is no music playing. Many villagers with this hobby are Smug, Sisterly, or Cranky.
- Nature – Villagers will examine flowers while reading a book about flowers, examine trees or bugs while reading a book about bugs, or examine placed fossils while reading a book about fossils. They can water multiple flowers at once, while other villagers will only water one flower at a time. Most villagers with this hobby are Normal and Lazy.
- Play – Villagers will run around the island or their own house in their spare time, while other villagers will only run around in the plaza. Most villagers with this hobby are Lazy.