16 Best Winter Things to Do Northeast Ohio Offers for the Whole Family

Northeast Ohio is a fascinating spot, filled with historical sites, beautiful farms, and lakeside vistas. This dubbed Steel Country stretches east from Cleveland toward the Pennsylvania border, featuring Amish Country, state parks, metropolitan attractions, and much more.

Read on to learn everything you need to experience in the winter things to do Northeast Ohio offers!

Winter Things to Do in Cleveland Ohio

Visit a Frozen Waterfall

The waterfalls in and around Cleveland draw thousands of visitors every year, and the fun doesn’t stop when the temperature drops. In fact, many people make a point to visit during the cold months, when the waterfalls are frozen.

During this time, you can explore parts of the sites that are normally off limits when the water is flowing. You’ll even find ice climbing clubs that treat the ice like rock climbing walls!

Did you know that there are dozens of Ohio waterfalls, several of which are in Northeast Ohio? For instance, Brandywine Falls is one of many Cuyahoga falls in the area.

Brandywine Falls, Cleveland - Winter NE
Brandywine Falls | photo via @anniegiller

Soar Down the Toboggan Chutes

Cleveland is home to some of the most extreme toboggan chutes you can find anywhere in Ohio! These chutes have been in operation since 1966 and are temperature controlled so you can ride them at any time throughout the winter season.

They’re located at the Mill Stream Run Reservation, and visitors can purchase daily passes to soar down the twin, 700-foot chutes. The one and only requirement is gloves to keep your hands safe during the ride.

Feed Chickadees

The Cleveland area is home to several species of nonmigratory birds, which means there’s still plenty of wildlife when it’s cold outside. At the Brecksville Nature Center, you’ll find the forest still alive with animals when snow falls.

With the right tools, you can even approach them on their own terms. There’s nothing like getting to see chickadees up close and feed them right out of your hand!

Brecksville Nature Center, Cleveland - Winter NE
Brecksville Nature Center | photo via @curious_camera_lens

Winter Things to Do in Canton Ohio

Go on a Winter Retreat

The peace of winter offers a unique chance to reflect on life, which is exactly what the retreat at Inner Whisper Studio is all about. Part wellness retreat, part spa day, this experience takes place in mid-January and gives visitors the chance to journal, meditate, reflect, and get pampered.

Enjoy some yoga, get a facial, have a hand or foot massage, take part in a winter-themed aromatherapy hour, and finish it up with a sound bath.

Take a Winter Tour of Beech Creek Gardens

Beech Creek Gardens is a nature preserve and butterfly house featuring native Ohio butterflies. The gardens are open through the winter months for visitors to see a unique side of Ohio nature.

During this time, you can tour the grounds, feed wild chickadees, or attend an event. Winter programs there include educational programs for kids where they’ll learn all about animal life, hibernation, navigation, and identifying animal tracks.

Beech Creek Gardens, Canton - Winter NE
Beech Creek Gardens | photo via @nature_sister_

Winter Things to Do in Akron Ohio

Visit WinterBlast

WinterBlast has been one of the most popular winter things to do Northeast Ohio offers for almost two decades! This monthlong celebration includes all kinds of outdoor winter activities and events. It all starts in late November with a tree lighting ceremony.

You’ll also find plenty of winter fun on the ice, including ice skating and ice bumper cars. Additionally, there are chances to see Santa, enjoy a holiday parade, buy gifts, and indulge in great food by an outdoor fire or in a heated igloo.

Go Sledding at Cascade Valley Metro Park

Winter in Ohio wouldn’t be complete without going sledding. There are many popular spots to sled in Akron, but one of the top choices is Cascade Valley Metro Park.

The Oxbow Area in the park draws visitors all through the winter for sledding within view of the Cuyahoga River. Despite the steep climb, the descent is good enough to risk the exercise. There are restrooms and a shelter in the area as well, but you still need to dress warmly.

Beech Creek Gardens, Canton - Winter NE
Beech Creek Gardens | photo via @nature_sister_

Winter Things to Do in Youngstown Ohio

Do Some Holiday Shopping at White House Fruit Farm 

Most people visit local farms during the summer and fall when the fruit is fresh and newly harvested. But White House Fruit Farm in Youngstown is also open during the winter.

From the end of November until the middle of December, you can visit the Winter Gift Barn, where you can find handcrafted gifts and decor that are perfect for the holidays. While you browse, you can enjoy a hot drink to keep the cold at bay.

Experience a Historical Christmas 

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society is extremely active in preserving the culture and traditions of Youngstown in centuries past. During the holidays, visitors can join the society in one of its historical buildings for an authentic Old World Christmas.

The theme changes from year to year but is always rich with fascinating information. In 2021, the event took place at the Arms Family Museum and depicted Christmas traditions from the 1900s through the 1930s.

Go on a Resolution Run 5k

Running a 5k is a big deal at any time of the year, but doing it in January takes guts! Don’t worry, you won’t be doing it alone.

This race is chip-timed, and everyone is welcome to join no matter their experience. Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a 5k, or maybe you have a long line of races under your belt. Either way, this is the perfect way to start the new year right!

Winter Things to Do in Mansfield Ohio

Go on a Winter Hike

The temperature might get icy in Northeast Ohio, but that doesn’t mean the events at local parks stop happening. In Mansfield, you’ll still find winter hikes underway at Mohican State Park, including guided programs for kids.

There are plenty of interesting activities for adults as well, such as an Owl Prowl, eagle sighting tours, and educational hikes where you can learn about the history of the state park and its significance to the indigenous peoples of the region.

Mohican State Park, Mansfield - Winter NE
Mohican State Park | photo via @spiffycolumbus

Go Glow Tubing 

Sailing down a snowy hill in a snow tube is the quintessential winter experience. But if you happen to be in Mansfield this winter, don’t pass up the opportunity to go glow tubing!

This nighttime event happens every weekend at Snow Trails Vertical Descent Tubing Park. For this winter activity, the course is lit with colorful lights so you can enjoy flying down the hill in the dark. Snow tubing equipment is available for rent, and riders of all ages are welcome!

Attend the Annual Ski Carnival 

If you didn’t think that Ohioans love their winter sports, the Annual Ski Carnival in Mansfield will change your mind. This annual carnival has been going on for 60 years and features all kinds of races and events, from the Giant Slalom to the Kids Challenge and Couples Challenge.

Come to compete, or just to watch the events from the sidelines while you drink a hot beverage to stave off the cold.

If you’re looking for more places to ski, Ohio has five ski resorts. Three of them are in Northeast Ohio — Alpine Valley ski resort, Brandywine ski resort, and Boston Mills. For cross country skiing and snowshoeing, hop on the trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks, and more.

More of the Winter Things to Do Northeast Ohio Offers

Enjoy a Crisp Winter Hike & Cocoa in Parma

If you love being outdoors but don’t love the cold, this annual Parma event might be a good compromise. Every year, the community comes together in the frigid midwinter to explore the West Creek Reservation.

But they don’t go unprotected. They meet ahead of time to get a delicious cup of hot chocolate to take along for the hike. This is a great way to see a peaceful and beautiful side of natural Ohio beauty while making friends and enjoying treats.

West Creek Reservation, Parma - Winter NE
West Creek Reservation | photo via @joecola1983

Go to the Annual Festival of Lights in Elyria

The Annual Festival of Lights is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays while staving off the gloom of midwinter. This annual event isn’t just about lights, though.

There are all kinds of holiday celebrations going on, from meetings with Santa to ice sculptures, a petting zoo, and delicious food and beverages. There are plenty of kids’ activities and the chance to buy or win gorgeous holiday gifts, including a book and craft giveaway.

Finish off your visit with a holiday movie and a cup of hot cocoa!

See Holidays Lights on the Lake in Geneva

Geneva is one of the most beautiful places featuring winter things to do Northeast Ohio offers, and it’s situated right on the shore of Lake Erie. Even winter is an amazing season here, offering a side of life on the lake that you might not have seen before.

One event you won’t want to miss is the annual Lights on the Lake celebration. Businesses and organizations all over Geneva come together to put more than 70 light arrangements on display. These range in theme, color, and size, from average to taller than a freight truck!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Winter Things to Do Northeast Ohio Offers

What is there to do in Cleveland in December?

There are many winter and holiday events in Cleveland throughout December. These range from family-friendly events like the Wild Winter Lights at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to adults-only events like the annual Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl through town.

Other popular events include the annual Riverfest, touring the famous house from A Christmas Story, and attending holiday shows.

What is there to do on Christmas in Ohio?

Celebrating Christmas alone or in an unfamiliar place can feel strange. Luckily, many Christmas events take place throughout Northeast Ohio.

You can find community Christmas celebrations throughout the region, such as garden holiday events at the Cleveland Botanical Garden and holiday lights displays.

Enjoying Winter Events in Northeast Ohio

Northeast Ohio’s temperatures get frigid in the winter months, but events are still in full swing. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas celebration or something to chase away the winter blues, you can find it all in Steel Country.

Do you want to expand your winter adventure beyond the Northeast? There are dozens of other wonderful winter things to do in Ohio.

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