Winter is here. Snow, ice, and twinkling lights line streets and towns all over Ohio! You're not going to want to be left out in the cold with nothing to do, so here are the 15 best winter activities to enjoy in Ohio!
The Boston Mills Brandywine Ski Resort is great for ski enthusiasts and snowboarders alike. They feature eight different ski trails that range from beginner to intermediate level, and have snow cams placed around the resort to catch your moves in action! If it's your first time, or you want to bring the kids along, you can sign up for lessons with one of their licensed instructors and hit the beginner slopes as soon as you're ready.
Every year from late November to early January, the Columbus Zoo puts on a magical celebration of winter with millions of LED lights, animated musical light shows, Santa, reindeer, and more! While you're exploring, you and your family can enjoy some of the outdoor wildlife exhibits still on display.
The Brite Winter Festival in Cleveland is a free festival showcasing music and art from local artists, as well as participatory art and games for the whole family to enjoy. You can build snow forts, tap a keg of Christmas ale, slide around on ski bikes, or just enjoy the music and beautiful light show that they put on every winter.
The Dickens Victorian Village provides a window into the past where you can experience life as it was in the late 1800s in Victorian-era America. You'll feel like you've stepped into a Charles Dickens novel and never want to leave. Every year from Nov. 1 to Jan. 1 they decorate the Courthouse with over 55,000 colorful pulsating lights synchronized to holiday music. The courthouse is surrounded by 20 foot lighted Christmas trees and 60 different animated displays.
Take a stroll the woods at the month-long winter festival of the Woodland Lights in Washington Township Ohio. For almost 25 years, Washington Township has created a half-mile path decorated with holiday lights and animated displays. Santa Claus is available every night to listen to your kids' Christmas wishes, or they can take a free train or carriage ride. They offer free movies on Fridays and entertainment from local arts groups, and even a Star Wars themed weekend. Fun for the whole family!
The Sunrise Farm in Burton, Ohio decorates their glass house with thousands of Christmas decorations to get into the holiday spirit. They offer delicious gourmet foods and candies, wrapped gift baskets, and you can even join Santa Claus on a hayride in November.
Sledding is the classic winter activity for families. You don't have to know how to ski or snowboard. Just sit down on your sled and let gravity do all the work. Cleveland Metroparks has over a dozen hills for sledding and tobogganing, ranging from the steep and scary to the gentle and fun. Strap on your snow boots, bundle up, and hit the sled.
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has nine different trails available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you don't like attaching things to your feet to travel through the snow, you can also go hiking, sledding, or ice fishing.
For over 30 years, the Toledo Zoo has put on the Lights Before Christmas celebration every December, all month long. The celebration began in 1986 with over 50,000 lights and 71,000 visitors. Thirty years later, attendance is up to over 200,000! They feature an 85-foot Norway Spruce Christmas tree decorated with thousands of lights. It takes around five months to decorate the entire zoo with over 10 miles of extension cords and over 70 miles of lights.
For the best indoor ice skating in Ohio, you must hit up the Chiller Ice Rinks in Dublin! They offer skate rentals and lessons for beginners. You can also come for hockey nights where they'll teach you the basics of the game, and even offer adult-only hockey nights if you want to leave the kids at home.
The Snow Trails Resort has almost 20 trails that you can snow tube or sled down, ranging from beginner to expert-level in difficulty. You can rent snow equipment for cheap or bring your own. They offer lessons for beginners, and all courses are ages nine and up.
The Christmas Ranch is decorated with over one million dancing Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music, and has been featured in Good Morning America, Extreme Home Makeover and in the New York Times. You can sign up for trail or wagon rides, visit Santa Claus with your Christmas wish list, or just walk around and enjoy the incredible light show.
The Mohican Winterfest is an award-winning celebration festival of lights, hand-carved ice sculptures, fire spinning, and more! With over 25 elegant ice sculptures lining Main Street in Loudonville, Ohio, and constant entertainment, you're sure to have a good time at this magical Winter Festival.
The Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park Lights on the Hill is great for kids and adults alike who want to get into the winter spirit. They feature dozens of ice displays and over one million animated Christmas lights. Come enjoy the special themed nights where you can explore the museum by night, give your letters to Santa or even bring toys to give to underprivileged children on Toys for Tots Night!
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad hosts the Polar Express night to create a warm and wonderful winter night that you won't soon forget. The trip lasts for two hours on nights in November and December and you can bring in your private party or just come along and enjoy the ride!