Top 10 Things to Do in Cleveland, Ohio This Winter

Baby, it’s cold outside. But that doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up inside all winter long! Whether you’re eager to get out and enjoy some holiday events or you want to bundle up and enjoy the great snow-covered outdoors, there are plenty of ways to keep your family entertained this season.

This is a great time of year to experience fun things to do in the Cleveland area. Sure, it’s frosty and frigid, but that’s part of the fun! As long as your car is prepared for the cold Ohio weather, you’re good to go for a winter adventure.

Here are 10 unique things you can do in Cleveland to increase your family fun this winter.

1. See the light.

If you haven’t experienced the Winter Lights Lantern Festival at the Cleveland Museum of Art, you’re missing out on an annual tradition. Each year, Ohio artists create unique lanterns that are displayed throughout the museum and throughout the Environment of Lights Installation on Wade Oval. Lanterns are on display through Dec. 31, 2018 and there’s no charge for admission; check the CMA’s website for hours.

2. Take a hike.

Sure, the weather outside is frightful — but a hike is still delightful! Winter hikes are a great way to see the area in a whole new way (and burn off that holiday sugar high). Both Cascade Valley Metro Park and Gorge Metro Park offer spectacular views of the season, and you don’t want to miss the breathtaking Crystal Palace ice formations at the Gorge.

3. Hit the slopes.

From the toboggan chutes at the Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation to snow tubing at Brandywine Ski Resort and Alpine Valley Ski Resort, there’s no shortage of ice-cold, adrenaline-pumping fun on the Cleveland area slopes. They offer varying degrees of excitement, so check to see which one best suits your family’s thrill-seeking level.

4. Strap on some snowshoes.

When there’s too much snow on the ground to hike through it, might as well glide over it. Snowshoeing is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and Cleveland offers several options for renting snowshoes and trying them out, including the Winter Sports Center and Boston Store Visitor Center in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

5. Make a house call.

There’s no “wrong” time of year to visit the house from the movie, “A Christmas Story,” but it is particularly endearing in wintertime. Whether you’re there to catch a glimpse of the leg lamp or you want a closer look at the pink bunny suit, fans of the movie will find it here. No licking the flagpole or shooting your eye out allowed!

6. Salute a toy soldier.

For nearly 30 years, the Toy Soldier Show at Tower City Center has delighted kids and their parents. Watch the toy soldier and his friends come to life in this free show, which runs weekends through Dec. 16. There are multiple showtimes to choose from each day.

7. Get your Glow on.

Enter a magical world when you visit Glow, which is Cleveland Botanical Gardens’ annual winter celebration. From holiday music to a display of gingerbread houses to the magical children’s area, Evergreen Adventures, this is a full day of fun, creativity, games and of course, hot chocolate. It continues through Jan. 5.

8. Try some sledding.

For good old-fashioned fun, grab a good old-fashioned sled and head to one of the city’s snow-covered hills. You don’t need fancy equipment to make a day of it; a plastic saucer, a vintage Red Flyer or anything in between will do. Cleveland has many options; for starters, try Thornton Park in Shaker Heights or the Big Met Golf Course in Fairview Park.

9. Visit the Castle.

If you like Christmas — and we mean really, really like Christmas — then Castle Noel is nothing short of a dream come true. This year-round wonderland touts itself as being “America’s Largest Indoor Year Round Entertainment Attraction” and it’s hard to argue with that claim. This super-sized privately owned collection starts out with Hollywood Christmas movie props and costumes from some of your favorite holiday flicks. Wander among props from “The Grinch,” “Jingle All the Way,” “The Santa Clause,” “ELF” and many more. You’ll also see animated windows from places like Bloomingdale’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue, and if that’s not enough, it also has thousands of toys from the 1950s through the 1980s. Because it sprawls across 40,000 square feet, the tours are guided (you don’t want to get lost!) and they last up to two hours.

10. Do the Zoo.

There’s always something going on at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, even when winter rolls around. In addition to all the daily offerings that you’ve come to expect from this 183-acre zoo, winter brings some added bonuses, such as a visit with Santa at the Zoo. On Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 16, the Jolly Old Elf will be in the Zoo auditorium so that all the girls and boys can make sure they get their Christmas requests in. While you’re there, let the whole family pose with Santa for the perfect holiday photo.

Make the most of this winter by getting out and about Cleveland for some family fun. Whether you’re playing outside or visiting an indoor attraction, this is the perfect time of year to enjoy what the city has to offer. Just don’t let Cleveland, Ohio car troubles sideline your winter fun!

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