What to do after retirement: 30 activities to try

Published Date: September 12, 2023

A couple goes on a hike while contemplating what to do after retirement.
As you bid farewell to the world of work, it's the perfect time to embrace a diverse range of hobbies and activities that will fill your days with creativity, purpose and excitement. Whether you're seeking leisurely pursuits, intellectual stimulation or opportunities for personal development, there are plenty of fulfilling things to do in retirement. From baking and traveling to hiking and antiquing, here are 30 experiences to enrich this exciting phase of life.

1. Make a bucket list

An image of a retirement bucket list to help you decide what to do after retirement.
Crafting a list of experiences and goals you wish to achieve allows you to set meaningful intentions for this new phase of life. Consider the destinations you've dreamed of visiting and the activities you've longed to try. Whether traveling to exotic locations, mastering a new skill, volunteering or spending quality time with loved ones — your bucket list can serve as a roadmap for all of the wonderful things you’ll do next.

2. Take road trips

Pack your bags and hit the open road to enjoy the on-the-go retiree lifestyle. Buckle up because this hobby can quickly lead to a lifetime of adventure. Whether it's the thrill of discovering quaint towns, indulging in local cuisines or simply cruising along scenic routes, road trips grant you the autonomy to customize your travel experience. 

3. Work part time

Two people at a plant store try a part time job while exploring what to do after retirement.
Part-time employment allows you to continue using your skills and experience. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to supplement your retirement income and maintain financial stability. Or you might want to try something in a new field and join an organization that matches your interests.

4. Become a mentor

As you enter the realm of retirement, your wealth of knowledge and life experience can serve as a guiding light for others on their journey. Becoming a mentor allows you to share your expertise, offer valuable insights and support to those seeking guidance in their personal or professional pursuits. You can mentor individuals in your field of expertise or volunteer to mentor younger generations.

5. Become a consultant

Your years of expertise and knowledge in your field make you a valuable resource for businesses and individuals seeking guidance. Stepping into a consulting role allows you to continue leveraging your skills while enjoying a flexible work schedule and earning money. 

6. Become a tour guide

A group of people enjoy a guided tour while exploring what to do after retirement.
Becoming a tour guide allows you to share your passion for travel, history and culture with others. Immerse yourself in destinations you love while crafting unique and enriching tour experiences for your customers. Embrace the art of connecting with people from all walks of life as you lead them on curated journeys through one of your favorite places.

7. Become a tutor

If social interaction is high on your bucket list, consider becoming a tutor. Your wealth of knowledge and experience becomes a precious gift as you guide eager learners along their educational paths. From assisting students with academic challenges or helping adults acquire new skills, your patient guidance and personalized approach can help them accomplish their educational goals. Becoming a tutor not only keeps your own mind sharp but also allows you to help others.

8. Practice calligraphy

In the tranquil realm of retirement, you can explore the ancient art of calligraphy. Enjoy the meditative rhythm of taking pen or brush to paper in this simple yet gratifying hobby. Calligraphy hones your fine motor skills and can result in beautiful works of art.

9. Sign up for a group sport

A group of people enjoy a group fitness class while exploring what to do after retirement.
Being part of a sports team in retirement allows you to stay physically active while making new connections. Playing team sports promotes physical fitness, and fosters camaraderie and a sense of belonging. You can join local recreational leagues or community teams of like-minded individuals. Consider transforming your outdoor living space into a dynamic area fit for exercise between practice.

10. Play chess

Prepare to ignite your strategic prowess. The 64 squares become your battlefield, where each piece carries its own significance and every move demands careful contemplation. With the luxury of unhurried hours, you can dive into the complexities of the game, honing your skills and exploring various tactics. Whether you're competing against fellow enthusiasts or engaging in solitary matches, each game presents an opportunity to challenge yourself and refine your critical thinking abilities.

11. Practice origami

Create the intricate folds and precise creases of classic origami motifs, transforming ordinary sheets into delicate cranes and complex flowers. The act of crafting these paper wonders becomes a journey of patience and precision, a perfect embodiment of the unhurried pace of your retirement.

12. Participate in outdoor cleanups

A group of people clean up trash on a beach while exploring what to do after retirement.
Participating in beach, park and trail cleanups can be a meaningful and environmentally conscious hobby. Engaging in these cleanups allows you to help preserve our waterways and ecosystems. Begin by joining local cleanup initiatives or volunteering for conservation organizations. You can also start advocating for cleaner beaches and parks in your local community. 

13. Try tai chi

Discover the graceful art of tai chi, a captivating activity that nurtures both your body and mind. The slow, flowing movements become a dance of balance and harmony, guiding you through a gentle yet invigorating exercise routine. Delve into the intricacies of this ancient practice, mastering its forms and sequences. The mindful focus required by each movement allows you to let go of the stresses of the past and worries about the future. 

14. Go on a cruise

Seize the opportunity to see the sights from the comfort of a cruise ship. The horizon becomes your playground, as you immerse yourself in diverse cultures, and collect stories from every port of call. The sense of freedom and exploration is palpable, as you revel in the solitude of the open sea– or river, and the camaraderie of fellow sailors you encounter along the way.

15. Go foraging

A family forages for berries while exploring what to do after retirement.
Foraging allows you to connect with the outdoors while identifying edible plants. Learning about local flora and fauna is mentally and physically stimulating since it typically involves hitting the trails or digging around your backyard. The thrill of discovering wild edibles and the satisfaction of preparing meals with your finds await you.

16. Ride bikes

Cycling is one of the most active things to do when you retire. With more time, you can explore scenic bike trails, participate in group rides and hone your cycling skills. And if you’re not sure about your fitness level, consider trying an ebike. Cycling in retirement allows you to maintain physical fitness, connect with fellow cyclists and enjoy the simple pleasures of the outdoors.

17. Discover local attractions

There's a wealth of hidden gems and fascinating places right in your backyard that you might not have had time to discover while working. From historical landmarks and museums to scenic parks and quaint cafes, your local area offers enjoyable experiences. Plus, staying close to home also cuts down on vacation costs.

18. Write a book

A person sits down to write a book while exploring what to do after retirement.
With ample time on your hands, you have the perfect opportunity to share your stories, knowledge and experiences with the world. Writing a book allows you to explore your passions, engage in self-expression and leave a lasting legacy. Whether fiction, a memoir or a niche topic you’re an expert on, your story is waiting to be told.

19. Learn a new instrument

Ready for something challenging and rewarding? Learning an instrument is one of the best activities for retirees because it uses both your mind and body in new ways. Making music can become a gateway of creative exploration that can open the door to other artistic pursuits. 

20. Declutter your home

By decluttering, you can create a more organized and serene environment, which fosters a sense of clarity and peace. Take the opportunity to sort through your belongings, identifying items of sentimental value and those you genuinely need. You may consider donating or selling items that no longer serve a purpose in your retired life. Embrace the process of letting go, as it allows you to create space for new experiences and decorate your home in a new way. 

21. Go antiquing

Two people go antiquing while exploring what to do after retirement.
Exploring antique stores and markets allows you to immerse yourself in history, uncover unique treasures and connect with the past. You can learn about various eras, styles and collectibles. Embrace the thrill of the hunt as you seek out valuable items and one-of-a-kind design pieces to add to your collection or home decor. 

22. Audition for a play

The audition process becomes a captivating journey of self-discovery, as you dive into scripts, practice dialogue and hone your acting skills. Each audition is a chance to immerse yourself in new roles, pushing your boundaries and uncovering hidden talents. The camaraderie among fellow actors and the anticipation of performance nights offer a renewed sense of purpose and excitement. As the spotlight shines on you, you are showcasing that retirement is a chapter for reinvention and the pursuit of passions.

23. Practice yoga

Developing a yoga practice allows you to enhance flexibility and strength, and nurture your overall well-being. In retirement, you can fully immerse yourself in this ancient discipline by attending yoga classes or enjoying a yoga flow in your own zen room. Practicing yoga in retirement can help you to prioritize self-care and maintain a sense of balance, making this a time of healthful exploration and self-discovery.

24. Bake 

A person mixes batter in a bowl while exploring what to do after retirement.
Indulge your culinary creativity by experimenting with baking recipes, flavors and seeing your creations rise in the oven. Baking offers you the opportunity to nourish your loved ones as well as your passion for the culinary arts. Your retirement years can be a time of delectable exploration and culinary satisfaction. If this hobby sticks, you may want to invest in high-end kitchen appliances.

25. Go wine tasting

With time now on your side, indulge in the nuanced flavors and aromas of wine. Explore vineyards in places like Sonoma and Napa, savoring each carefully crafted vintage. The process becomes a journey of discovery, as you learn about grape varieties, regions and winemaking techniques. Whether you're uncorking a rich red or indulging in a crisp white, the act of swirling, smelling and sipping takes on a deeper meaning. Your palate becomes attuned to subtleties you may have missed before, enhancing your appreciation for the artistry behind each bottle.

26. Brew beer

Homebrewing can be a fascinating and educational hobby. The art of brewing beer allows you to experiment with various flavors, creating unique brews tailored to your taste preferences. From lagers and IPAs to pilsners and stouts, there are an endless variety of styles to experiment with. You can delve into the intricacies of the brewing process, honing your skills as a craft brewer. 

27. Spend time with your family

Two people share headphones while exploring what to do after retirement.
Now is your opportunity to tune into what your family needs most. Whether you’re an empty nester or still enjoying a house full of family, spending quality time with your loved ones can take many forms. You can learning a creative skill or traveling together, or simply be more present in their lives. Offering your time is a great way to spend your retirement. 

28. Upcycle clothing

Transform discarded pieces of clothing into unique fashion statements using sewing skills you may already have, or can learn in a class. Each thread, button and patchwork becomes a testament to your ingenuity and craftsmanship. With a keen eye for design, you can reimagine the possibilities of repurposed materials, turning forgotten fabrics into wearable art. This process not only fosters sustainability but also offers a therapeutic outlet for your artistic expression.

29. Create an online course

With the luxury of time, you can become an expert in subjects you're passionate about. Develop a curriculum, record video lectures and create interactive materials ti share your knowledge online. The digital realm will become your classroom, where you can inspire learners from around the globe, all from the comfort of your home office. This hobby not only enables you to continue a lifelong journey of learning but also leaves a lasting impact by empowering others with knowledge and skills.

30. Find your dream home

Retirement is the perfect time to carefully consider your lifestyle preferences and envision the ideal living space that suits your needs. Whether it's a cozy house in the tranquil countryside, a beachfront retreat or a vibrant urban condo, take the time to explore different neighborhoods and property options for a new primary or secondary residenceYou have lots of ideas of things to do in retirement, and you’ll likely add more of your own. And if your bucket list includes a second home, Pacaso co-ownership might be the perfect fit. You spend less up front for a luxury retreat, leave all of the hassles of maintenance to us, and simply show up and enjoy your home with your family.

What to do after retirement FAQ

What is the best way to earn money after retirement?

The best way to earn money after retirement depends on your circumstances, skills and preferences. For example, for active income, you can work a part-time job or begin consulting. For passive income, you could invest in rental properties.

How can I maintain a healthy and active lifestyle after retiring?

To maintain a healthy and active lifestyle after retiring, incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine, things like walking, swimming and cycling. Engage in hobbies that keep you mentally and physically stimulated, like gardening, yoga and dancing.

How can I stay socially engaged and connected with others after retirement?

To stay socially engaged and connected after retirement, prioritize activities involving interaction with others, such as joining clubs, volunteering or attending community events. 

How can I continue learning and pursuing personal growth in retirement?

In retirement, you can continue learning and pursuing personal growth by enrolling in classes or workshops that interest you, whether in person or online. Consider exploring new hobbies or skills, reading books on topics that interest you and attending lectures or seminars.

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