14 Best Winter Things to Do in Northwest Ohio to Enjoy the Chilly Season

Northwest Ohio is a one-of-a-kind place, with many towns situated within driving distance of Lake Erie. So close to the Great Lakes, this part of the state is known for its summer tourism. But winter is also a great time to visit. If you are looking for fun winter things to do in Northwest Ohio, look no further! 

Excellent Winter Things to Do in Toledo Ohio

Enjoy Some Winter Horseback Riding

Whether you have experience riding horses or not, you can enjoy an afternoon on horseback in Toledo! At Marmon Valley Farm, you’ll find a team of 150 horses and trail guides. Visitors ages 6 and up are welcome to join riding lessons or, even better, take a guided ride on the trail.

During the winter, the view is particularly beautiful with the surrounding farmland and forest covered in snow, offering the chance to see unique wildlife. The team at Marmon Valley Farm strives to match each rider with the ideal horse, both in size and temperament.

If you love spending time in nature — even during the winter — this is a perfect day trip to experience winter things to do in Northwest Ohio!

Go Ice Skating at Ottawa Park

There’s nothing better than ice skating under a fresh, cold winter sky. Ottawa Park in Toledo is one of the top spots in the area to enjoy this classic winter experience.

The park is the most beautiful and popular in the city, with a large green area and gorgeously-maintained amenities. And visitors can enjoy getting some exercise on the outdoor skating rink while looking over the surrounding vistas.

You’ll also find other events going on at the ice rink, such as community hockey games. The rink is only open as long as weather permits, so don’t waste the chance to visit this popular spot! 

You can check out a lot of other winter things to do in Toledo Ohio too, such as the Toledo Museum of Art and the National Museum of the Great Lakes. And if you visit outside of the winter months, you’ll find even more things to do in Toledo!

Best Sandusky Ohio Winter Things to Do

Hit Up an Indoor Water Park

You might not think about going to a water park in Northwest Ohio in the middle of winter. But in Sandusky, one of the water park capitals of the world, the fun doesn’t stop when the temperature drops. Instead, visitors flock to the biggest indoor water park in the state.

Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky features 173,000 square feet of indoor water fun, which means that you can visit at any time of the year. You’ll spend hours exploring the pools, waterslides, flow rider, lazy river, water spas, and play areas for toddlers.

There’s even a swim-up bar for grown-ups, ensuring good times for the entire family.

Attend Sandusky Winter Wonderland 

Every year before the holiday season, the Sandusky County Fairgrounds is transformed into a winter wonderland. The event continues throughout the month of December with new activities and events every day.

In addition to light displays, you’ll find goods made by local vendors, crafts for kids, delicious treats, and of course, a meeting with Santa. Thanks to the extra-long nature of the event, you have plenty of time to see all the sights, no matter what you’re interested in.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public, welcoming visitors of all ages to celebrate the holidays.

Visit Marblehead Lighthouse

Marblehead Lighthouse and Marblehead Lighthouse State Park are some of the most famous tourist attractions in Sandusky. During winter, it’s one of the most breathtaking winter things to do in Northwest Ohio.

In fact, they’re a downright must-see and attract thousands of visitors for the one-of-a-kind view over Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay. Visitors have the chance to view the frozen lake and breathtaking ice formations on the shores.

Marblehead Lighthouse is the perfect place to get a view, which is why the attraction remains open all year. The building itself is a fascinating piece of history, dating from the early 19th century and staffed by many generations of lighthouse keepers.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Sandusky - Winter NW Ohio
Marblehead Lighthouse | photo via @callmehomephotography

Awesome Winter Things to Do in Lima Ohio

Bring Your Kids to a Winter Extravaganza 

When the weather gets cold, kids tend to go stir crazy inside. If you are in Lima, don’t just sit in the house. Bundle up your kids for the annual Winter Extravaganza.

This kid-centered event takes place at Ottawa Metro Park and features all kinds of outdoor winter fun, including sledding and hot cocoa. If there’s no snow on the ground, the event transitions into an outdoor nature hike and wildlife scouting activity.

This event is the perfect way to get your kids out of the house and expend their energy in the crisp winter air!

Attend Lima Holiday Fest

When it comes to celebrating the holidays, the town of Lima Ohio knows what it’s doing. This annual event is free to the public and takes place in the center of downtown. It kicks off with a parade to welcome Santa and is followed by a special breakfast for kids of all ages.

The rest of the day has offerings for all attendees, with everything from entertainment to crafts, games, gifts, and plenty of good food. The lineup of participating businesses changes annually, so you can always find something new and exciting at Lima Holiday Fest!

Fantastic Bowling Green Ohio Winter Things to Do

See a Show at Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts keeps things rolling all winter long with plenty of amazing musical performances. These range from Christmas concerts to symphonies and much more. The events feature both performers from the university and visiting shows on tour.

At Bowling Green State University, you might have the chance to see shows like the BG Philharmonia performing Winter Dreams, student recitals, and a wide variety of other holiday-themed performances.

Things are never idle at the College of Musical Arts, where you can find shows, concerts, and solo acts performing all year long, including throughout the winter. You can find ticket information on the university website.

Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, Bowling Green - Winter NW Ohio
Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts | photo via @bgsucma

Celebrate All Things Wintry at the Winterfest BG Chillabration

Don’t think that frigid temperatures will keep Bowling Green residents from celebrating the winter season in style. In fact, they welcome the ice and snow with the annual Winterfest BG Chillabration!

This winter festival usually takes place over a weekend in February and features all kinds of chilly activities, including live ice sculpting demonstrations, horse-drawn carriage rides through the snow, and a Frostbite Fun Run.

Of course, there are plenty ways to warm up too, including live music, ice skating, a chili cook-off, and indoor activities. Adults can visit the Frozen Swamp Tent for beer, wine, and music.

Best Winter Things to do in Findlay Ohio

Go Skating at The Cube 

The Cube is arguably one of the most well-known institutions in Findlay. It has been in operation since 1974 and serves as a central event space for the town. This enormous ice arena draws visitors throughout the year, including well into the winter.

You can find open ice skating, as well as hockey games, figure skating lessons, and much more. The facility also offers adaptive skating and can fit a grand total of 2,400 visitors at a time! If you love ice skating, hockey, or any other ice sports, you need to visit The Cube while staying in Findlay.

Hop on the North Pole Express

The annual North Pole Express event is one of the most popular in Findlay, drawing visitors of all ages year after year! This quarter-scale train takes visitors through a winter snowscape like none you’ve ever seen before, including holiday light displays and seasonal decorations.

The train even runs on certain nights throughout December, offering a magical outlook. Take the kids to see Santa after the ride, or stop into the train museum, which features hundreds of toy trains and plenty of fascinating history about the area.

The whole experience is a wonderful winter family vacation activity!

A Unique Put-in-Bay Ohio Outdoor Winter Activity

Go Ice Fishing From an ATV

Even if you’re an experienced angler, you’ve probably never gone fishing like this before! In Put-in-Bay, you can go fishing through the ice from an ATV.

Put-in-Bay experiences harsh winters thanks to the unique climate of the Great Lakes, and its inhabitants know how to make the best of the frigid temperatures. When the ice thickens, local anglers have their own way to get out on the water — they pack up ATVs and hit the ice.

If you’re fortunate enough to experience a Put-in-Bay winter, you won’t want to miss this experience. It’s one of the most unique winter things to do in Northwest Ohio!

A Fun Winter Activity to Do in Marion Ohio

Shop Locally at the Winter Craft Show

If you’re looking for gifts for the approaching holidays, the Winter Craft Show in Marion is worth the road trip. This annual event draws craftspeople of all kinds to show off their wares.

You never know what you’ll find here, from paintings to pottery, embroidery, knitted goods, and much more. It’s the perfect way to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and support local artists as you do.

A Perrysburg Ohio Family Favorite Winter Thing to Do

Participate in a Professional Ice Carving Competition

Have you ever wanted to be a professional ice carver? Probably not. But visiting the Perrysburg Winterfest offers the chance to not only witness a live ice carving competition but also take part in it yourself, should the moment strike you!

Of course, that isn’t the only attraction at the Winterfest. You’ll also find live music and good food and drinks to enjoy while celebrating the season throughout the weekend, making it one of the best winter things to do in Northwest Ohio.

Frequently Asked Questions About Winter Things to Do in Northwest Ohio

Where can you go sledding in Toledo?

There are several great sledding hills in Toledo. Some of the most popular include Blue Creek, Side Cut, and Pearson Metropark, which includes lighted trails for night sledding.

What is there to do in Ohio in January?

Don’t think that things slow down after the holiday season. Northwest Ohio has plenty of January events. Popular ones include the Toledo Walleye Winterfest, events at the Toledo art museum, and live music events in Sandusky. You could even watch ice carving, go fishing, or shop at a craft show.

Find More Winter Things to Do in Ohio

While there are plenty of winter things to do in Northwest Ohio, there’s so much more to explore throughout the Buckey State. From festivals and outdoor activities, you can indulge in a plethora of Ohio winter things to do when the temperature drops.

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