15 Hobbies That Were Trendy in the ’80s But Now Make You Look Ancient

Who doesn’t love a trip down memory lane to revisit the awesome 80s? These days kids will never understand the blissful joys of growing up in a world free from social media, a time where the closest thing there was to texting was the occasional email or pager. 

Fast forward 30 years, and what was once cool now seems to be a tell-tale sign of your age. Here’s a somewhat nostalgic look back at some of the coolest hobbies from the decade that nowadays might make you look ancient!

Roller Skating

young people listening to music while on roller skates
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Recently revived thanks to the new Barbie film, roller skating was the coolest mode of transport – not to mention the perfect opportunity to dress up in your most fluorescent leg warmers, headbands, and knee pads. 

Bowling

Person playing bowling
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Bowling seems to have become a bit outdated nowadays or at least ‘retro’, but back in the 80s, the bowling alley was the place to be. Whether on an awkward date or hanging out with your best friends, those horrible rental shoes became witnesses to countless memories. If you close your eyes, you can probably still sense the lingering smell of ketchup stains and greasy hot dogs, transporting you back to the good old times.

Long Phone Calls

Man trying say no during phone call
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From the thrill of calling your crush’s house, prank calls, and cord-coilingly long convos with your besties that would leave you in a tangle, there’s something the younger generation will never get to enjoy, not to mention, these days kids wouldn’t know what to do with a payphone, other than maybe take a snap for their social media pages.

Bikes

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Bikes were everything in the 80s, the ultimate mode of transport. Back then, a bike meant freedom, and due to fewer cars on the road safety rarely seemed an issue. So long as you had your bike and your walkman, anything was possible.

Listen to Music

Van Halen music album
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Let’s face it, nothing compares to the inimitable sound of the 80s. From Van Halen to Kate Bush, Guns N’ Roses to Madonna, Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson, the music of the decade far surpasses any of modern-day pop. Gone are the days of sharing in the joy of getting a fresh new vinyl or brand new cassette, kids these days will never experience the thrill of gathering around to hear your favorite artist’s new album.

Start a Band

Guitarist on a stage playing rock to the crowd of people. black and white
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We all had big dreams when we were young and starting a band seemed to be an incredibly popular one. Kids of the 80s will certainly remember the frustration and betrayals of trying to patch together the next best band from the confines of your friend’s dad’s garage.

Cable TV

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Despite what the youth of today may think, cable TV was excellent. From the Cosby Show to The Golden Girls and even Saturday Night Live, TV brought us all together – mainly because the screen was so small but also because we were all watching the same things and waiting excitedly for the next episode to air.

Jazzercise

woman doing Jazzercise
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Zumba is probably the closest thing kids have to jazzercise these days, and even that seems out of fashion. The 80s was an interesting time for fitness, obsessed with celebrity exercise tutorials, colorful, upbeat workouts, and dance-inspired fitness. 

The decade helped make exercise fun and accessible thanks to Jane Fonda’s at-home video tutorials. For the first time you could take a jazzercise class from the comfort of your living room.

Walkman

young woman listening to music on a walkman
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Invented in 1979, this magical little creation transformed how you listened to your music and revolutionized the listening experience. Nothing was more exciting than realizing you could carry your favorite hits wherever you went, even jamming while riding your bike. Looking back, this was probably not the safest thing to do!

Moon Walking

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Exact date unknown - circa 1990 - Michael Jackson arriving at a celebrity event
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The man, the myth, the legend, Michael Jackson debuted his iconic moonwalk during a performance in 1983, and suddenly, kids around the world seemed to be fixated on learning how to imitate him. 

Long before the time of TikTok dance challenges, we had the moonwalk. Every school, playground, home, and club had us giving our best attempts at recreating his effortlessly stylish glide.

The Park

Two women friends walking with baby prams and their kids in park
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Long summer evenings hanging about in the park, kicking a ball, or playing in the grass, kids spent a lot more time outdoors back then. From collecting tadpoles in old jam jars to catching frogs, kids don’t get the same freedom to play in nature these days.

Movie Theaters

A crowd of happy spectators are in the movie
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Nothing beats the excitement of seeing a long-awaited new movie in the theatre. From awkward dates to the best hang-out spots in town, the cinema was a lot cheaper back then, and the theatre was more than just for movies, it was an experience in itself. 

TV and movies are too accessible these days- there is no suspense, thrill, or community. With only a handful of movies released each year, they became a huge part of our lives you could discuss them with anyone. Nowadays, the options are limitless and you never know what you should be watching.

Going to the Mall

People at a mall
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Going to the mall just to hang out was a huge part of late 80s culture and one of the most popular meetup spots. Back then, the mall phenomenon was just emerging and the novelty of the whole thing was an experience in itself. The mall was the perfect place to meet up, spy on friends, and keep up to date on all the gossip. You just had to be there!

Arcades

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Video arcades were all the rage in the 80s. Kids would spend hours glued to the machines thanks to the introduction of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, or SpyHunter, not to mention by the late 80s, Nintendo had taken control of console gaming, meaning we could even play at home.

Play Board Games

Family playing board games
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Board games were a defining feature for the decade, with iconic games such as Monopoly, Guess Who, Trivial Pursuit, Mouse Trap, and the Game of Life being staples in family homes. Kids these days will never understand the joys of a brand new board game or the drama caused by an overly intense game of Monopoly that could ruin even the strongest of relationships. 

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