Top Winter Activities in Cleveland - Part 1

February 22, 2022

It’s cold out there, but that’s no reason to keep on hibernating. Whether you’re looking for indoor fun or want to enjoy the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone during winter in Cleveland. Check out our highlights for some winning activities to do with family, friends, and kids during the dreary winter months. Here’s to staying sane ‘til spring!


Snow, Speed, and Icy Outdoor Adventure


Sure, ice skating can be done year-round if you have a well-maintained indoor rink nearby, but getting outside and skating the way it was meant to be done brings an extra thrill to a chilly winter’s day. Across the area you’ll find seasonal rinks that are typically open from late fall through late winter. While the Cleveland Foundation Ice Rink at Public Square is now closed for the season, it typically opens on weekends, from late November through mid-January. Definitely check out the Rink at Wade Oval in University Circle, too, featuring pink ice on Valentine's Day weekend! A couple more to investigate are the Real Ice Skating Rink at Crocker Park (thanks, Monsters!) and Cuyahoga Falls’ public rink.


Strongsville’s Mill Stream Run Reservation is home to the famous toboggan chutes, and they’re open on weekends from late November through the beginning of March. These toboggan chutes boast some impressive stats, and are 70’ tall and about 700’ long! Not to mention that up to four people can cram into a toboggan and fly downhill at speeds of 40 MPH or higher. This is winter’s rollercoaster and a highlight of the season in Cleveland–just be sure to reserve your tickets in advance.


The flat land of Ohio only seems to lose elevation as it approaches the lake. That’s not the best topography for winter sports. But just a short drive from Cleveland you’ll find Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts in Peninsula, Ohio where you can ski, tube, and snowboard to your heart’s content. Now that’s winter fun at it’s best! Also check out Alpine Valley and Snow Trails, Ohio’s very first ski resort.


A bit outside of the city you can take the family to check out the traditional art of ice sculpting at Medina’s Ice Festival. If you’re especially daring, check out the Cleveland Polar Plunge® for Special Olympics at the end of February on Edgewater Beach. Get cold for a great cause! Into surfing? What about ice fishing? That’s happening out on the lake too. But for safety’s sake, be sure to reach out to the appropriate groups to get involved.


Take a Hike!


Cleveland is blessed with its own, one-of-a-kind Metroparks system, connecting 18 reservations, over 100 hiking trails, eight lakefront parks, and five nature centers. That’s a whole lot of ways to get out and reconnect with nature over the colder months. Their 2022 Trail Challenge initiative asks participants to complete 10 or 20 of the trails across all 12 months of the year. Start now and get ahead of the pack! Besides being a safe and invigorating activity, trailwalking or snow biking (yep, that’s a thing!) can be done at a range of difficulty levels and is a great way to get the whole family out and moving. If we get a particularly frigid weather front, you might even catch a glimpse of a frozen waterfall––talk about winter magic!


Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also options, including equipment rental. Watch for year-round avian residents, migrating birds and other seasonal wildlife to make the outing even more enjoyable. And if you’re into geocaching, a snowy search can make the hunt even more challenging, which is shorthand for more fun!


Indoor Festivals and Fun for Everyone


What’s better than spending a chilly day indoors sampling some killer brews with your best buds? Not much, really. The Cleveland Beerfest at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland in mid-March is your ticket for some (responsible) day-drinking, featuring hundreds of craft beers and live music. For some raucous musical entertainment, hit up the annual Brite Cleveland music festival.


If all that isn’t your speed, then duck indoors to escape the cold and enjoy one of Cleveland’s many museums to experience world-class exhibits. Take your pick of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland’s own Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Natural History Museum, Cleveland History Center, or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among others. Take the kiddos to let off some steam at Children’s Museum of Cleveland or one of Northeast Ohio’s many water parks, and get your resident budding scientist to the always engaging Great Lakes Science Center. Indulge in some seasonal whimsy and visit the Christmas Story House and museum for a tour or book an overnight stay at the actual site of the beloved Christmas classic. In the dead heat of summer or the icy chill of winter, these temperature-controlled attractions are always worth a stop. 


If you really just need an excuse to chill, why not visit the impressive downtown branch of the Cleveland Public Library to peruse their offerings. Borrow a riveting read and curl up at one of the city’s many cozy coffee joints as you watch the flakes swirl. For a sweet treat that pairs perfectly with your rich java, be sure to tip your hat to Cleveland’s strong Polish heritage on Pączki Day (pronounced “ponch-key”) on Tuesday, March 1st. Support local bakeries and satisfy your sweetest tooth all in one go. (And no, they’re not “just doughnuts,” they’re so much more.) 


For a dinner to remember, you really have your pick in Cleveland. Visit Little Italy for an Old Country feast, check out a trendy, up-and-coming spot in Ohio City, or visit a tried-and-true homebrewed classic to warm up on a chilly winter’s eve. And if you find yourself in town on Superbowl weekend, you can be sure to find the perfect place to cheer on your team.


Botany and Zoological Zen


In the doldrums of winter, bright flowers and the lively animal life of summer can feel a million miles away. But not so in Cleveland! On the inevitable mild winter day, a trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo might surprise you. Animals can feel more like romping and playing in cooler temperatures, and enclosed exhibits like The RainForest offer respite on even the coldest winter days. Enjoy the tropical humidity of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, along with special exhibits and showcased plants and flowers. On your way home, be sure to stop in and see the landmark Rockefeller Park Greenhouse––an affordable (read: FREE!) retreat from winter’s worst and venture downtown to check out the gorgeous exhibits and creatures at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. These spots are open year-round, but they take on special interest during the dark, gray days of a Northeast Ohio winter. And they’re the perfect places to keep your cooped-up kids entertained, engaged, and learning! For grownups working on home and garden improvements this coming year, a visit to the annual Great Big Home & Garden Show at the I-X Center will always get those creative juices flowing.

No matter how you choose to enjoy the winter months here in the CLE, we’re sure you’ll find a unique way to celebrate the season. Get in touch with the team at Althans to be sure that you’re protected, every step of the way. Here’s to the season, and to a great 2022!