50+ BEST Winter Things to Do in Ohio in 2024

Ohio winters bring cold and gray months, but you don’t have to stay at home wishing that you had something to do. Instead, you can embrace the season with outdoor winter activities and sports — hiking, skiing, tobogganing, ice skating, and ice fishing.

But that’s not to say that the Buckeye State doesn’t have indoor attractions. Actually, there are plenty of those too. We’ve created a comprehensive list of the best winter things to do in Ohio so that you can stay active and enjoy new experiences throughout the season.

Brandywine Ski Resort - Brandywine Falls
Brandywine Ski Resort | photo via @rharvz

Have Fun Skiing, Snowboarding, & Snow Tubing in Ohio

Ohio has a healthy winter sports industry with resorts and parks that offer skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, tobogganing, sledding, and more. So, grab your hat and gloves and get ready for some winter fun, no matter your level on the slopes.

Alpine Valley

In Chesterland, Alpine Valley is located in the snow belt, so it gets the most natural snow of all the resorts. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels can enjoy the 11 runs. Most of the trails are wooded and ungroomed.

If skiing and snowboarding don’t interest you, hit the snow tubing area or participate in other family-friendly activities.

Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Areas

Are you looking for an ideal outdoor winter adventure in Ohio? The Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Areas in Peninsula are large sister resorts with chairlifts that can accommodate up to 20,000 people per hour.

Located within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, both areas offer skiing and snowboarding on 18 trails, and they have three terrain parks — all of which are suitable for beginner to advanced skill levels.

People who want to learn to ski can do so with guided lessons from resort instructors. The gentle terrain is perfect for the novice skier. And if you are a first-time visitor, stop by the Boston Mills Base Camp to learn about the important spaces and how to navigate around the ski areas.

Experienced skiers and snowboarders are likely to enjoy the challenging slopes and terrain parks. The Tiger run at Boston Mills is perfect for adventure seekers because it’s the steepest slope in Ohio.

Visit during mid-week to have more of the mountain to yourself and to explore more of the terrain. Marvel at the untouched snow, enjoy the open runs, and experience the natural beauty from the lift when you “Ski the Week.”

The Chalet - Strongsville, Ohio - Winter Day Trips
The Chalet | photo via @_thefunkydrummer

Snow Trails

Experience outdoor winter fun when you visit Snow Trails, which is nestled near Mansfield in the Possum Run Valley. Take beginner skiing or snowboarding lessons, or hit the trails if you are an experienced skier.

Consider snow tubing at Snow Trails too. You have the option to choose between the moderate and fast lanes. Take a ride back to the top to avoid the neighborhood hills, which are a long walk back up to the top of the hill.

The Adaptive Sports Connection is a chapter member of the national organization Disabled Sports USA. Wounded warriors and disabled children and adults have the opportunity to experience winter sports and recreation activities.

The Chalet at the Mill Stream Run Recreation Area

If you just want to go tobogganing, check out The Chalet at The Mill Stream Run Recreation Area in Cleveland. Located between Route 42 and Route 82, it has the tallest, fastest ice chutes in Ohio.

Weather permitting, you can ride the twin, 700-foot chutes throughout winter with or without snow because they’re refrigerated. They’re the only public tobogganing chutes in the state.

Every person who slides down the chutes must wear gloves. Don’t have a pair of gloves or discover that you lost one on the way? There are gloves available for purchase at the Cleveland Metroparks Toboggan Chutes. Also, all riders must be a minimum of 42 inches tall.

Book a required reservation for the days that you wish to experience the thrill of tobogganing downhill at speeds of up to 50 mph against the backdrop of the scenic metroparks.

Mad River Mountain

Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield is Ohio’s largest ski resort. It is home to the “bubly Tubing Park,” which features more than 1,000 lanes for the ultimate snow tubing experience. The resort is open seven days a week during the winter months. 

You can start your day by picking up a trail map so that you can choose the trails that you want to conquer on your visit. Skiers of all levels are welcome at Mad River Mountain, and the resort offers both group and private lessons for adults and children.

Do you prefer another type of activity? Create fun memories as you enjoy a two-hour snow tubing experience. Participate in the Night Ski experience or other special wintertime events too.

In the middle of it all, you can take a break to dine at The Mad River Café, which offers a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and drinks. Plus, The Loft offers mixed drinks, beer, and wine. 

There are several hotels near Mad River Mountain if you need a place to stay when you visit the resort. 

Indian Lake State Park
Indian Lake State Park | photo via @bar_bee_bell

Get Your Gear Together for Ice Fishing in Ohio

Ice fishing is one of the most fun things to do in winter in Ohio with a group of people.

Indian Lake State Park

One of the best places to go is Indian Lake State Park in Lakeview, where Indian Lake is the first to freeze in the state because it’s shallow.

The shallow water is why it’s productive for catches, so fishing clubs love it. However, the lake has a 5,800-acre surface, so you don’t have to worry about not finding a good spot for your group.

You can expect to catch crappie, saugeye, and some of the biggest sunfish in the state.

Lake Erie

If you’re looking for a more intense ice fishing experience, Lake Erie won’t disappoint. Some of the best fishing spots are 6 to 10 miles from shore, so you might consider hiring a guide who knows the lake and icy conditions and can help you find active fish.

As far as catches go, crappie, walleye, trout, and yellow perch are plentiful. Just keep in mind that there’s a daily catch limit.

Fountain Square - Cincinnati, Ohio
Fountain Square | photo via @cassiekatenkamp

Lace Up for Ice Skating in Ohio

When winter approaches, one of the first things that some people think about doing is ice skating. Fortunately, there are several outdoor skating rinks throughout Ohio.

Fountain Square

In downtown Cincinnati, Fountain Square has been a focal point and gathering place for about 150 years. It turns into a winter wonderland with festivities, lights, and ice skating during winter. You can rent skates, grab a snack at the concession stand, and warm up in tents.

RiverScape MetroPark

In Dayton, an outdoor ice rink is located in RiverScape MetroPark. The rink is located under a pavilion and is open until the beginning of March. It offers ice skating lessons, skate and rink rentals, a concession stand with snacks, and many other activities.

Ohio State Ice Rink

If you prefer to ice skate indoors, the Ohio State Ice Rink in Columbus hosts open skates for all ages. It offers skating and hockey lessons too, and you can rent equipment and supplies from the pro shop.

Center Ice Sports Complex

Another option is the Center Ice Sports Complex in Canton, which has a schedule for open skates every week and numerous skating programs. You can rent the rink for birthday parties with supplies, pizza, and more included.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Peninsula - Places to Visit in Winter
Cuyahoga Valley National Park | photo via @worldwidehoneymoon

Enjoy Ohio Snowshoeing & Winter Hikes

With so much natural landscape, snowshoeing and hiking are some of the best winter things to do in Ohio.

Hocking Hills State Park & Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve

Hocking Hills State Park in Logan has seven main hiking trails, and all of them are one-way loop trails.

Part of the Hocking Hills region, Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve was under an inland ocean millions of years ago. The rivers deposited sand in such a way that, when it became buried under newer silt and clay, the buildup eventually led to the formation of what is known today as the Black Hand sandstone.

These cliffs now rise almost 200 feet above the valley floor. They provide fantastic views from the cliff tops, while the cascading waterfalls that freeze in winter provide an awe-inspiring experience for visitors. You can also explore the many varieties of plant and animal habitats during your visit.

Part of the hiking trail is wheelchair acceptable.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula has more than 125 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to challenging. The paths pass through a variety of habitats — old fields, wetlands, and woodlands — and cross streams via log bridges or stepping stones.

Mohican State Park

In Loudonville, Mohican State Park spans thousands of wooded acres and has a wild landscape. The miles of hiking trails range from easy to difficult and from 0.2 miles to 2.5 miles. You can hike the mountain biking and bridle trails as well, but be mindful of riders.

Wayne National Forest

Another fantastic place for a winter hike is Wayne National Forest in Stewart (a few miles west of Marietta). It has about 300 miles of backpacking and hiking trails for all skill levels. Some trails also accommodate mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicles, so be mindful of that traffic.

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

Hand-Feed Chickadees & Other Ohio Winter Birds

For a one-of-a-kind Ohio winter experience, try your hand at feeding chickadees.

Beech Creek Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve

The Beech Creek Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve in Alliance has a Bird in Hand program that allows you to feed wild chickadees and other birds too. The volunteers have trained the wild birds to eat out of human hands, and they’re on-site to give you a special food blend and explain what to do.

Along with black-capped chickadees, you have the opportunity to hand-feed red-breasted nuthatches and tufted titmice.

Brecksville Nature Center

Established in 1939, the Brecksville Nature Center in Brecksville is the last remaining Cleveland Metroparks trailside museum. It offers chances to interact with the beauty, treasures, and wilderness in unique ways.

Hand-feed a Chickadee is one of its most popular winter programs, and it has been active since the 1940s. The volunteers will give you a handful of sunflower seeds and explain what to do. The chickadees are located in a small fenced-in area next to the nature center.

Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve, Rockbridge - Places to Visit in Winter
Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve | photo via @maverick.tales

Visit a Frozen Waterfall in Ohio

If you don’t mind the cold weather, visiting a frozen waterfall is one of the most breathtaking things to do in winter in Ohio. It’s the only time that you can see the waterfalls frozen over, and you don’t have to worry about the trails being crowded.

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve

Although small, the Clifton Gorge Waterfall is worth visiting. It’s located within the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, which is connected to John Bryan State Park. Since the waterfall is small, it’s likely to freeze earlier in the winter than other waterfalls around the state. You only have to hike a short distance to reach the falls.

Cascade Park

Another option is the East and West Falls at Cascade Park in Elyria. The park has more than 3.75 miles of trails with views of a hemlock forest, the Black River, and the two large waterfalls. The crests of the falls were formed by berea sandstone. Because of their size, the waterfalls require consistently cold temperatures to freeze over.

Smolen Gulf Covered Bridge
Smolen Gulf Covered Bridge | photo via @harboryak

Plan a Scenic Drive to an Ohio Covered Bridge

The state of Ohio has more than 100 covered bridges. Some are tucked within the woodlands, while others rest in the middle of vast countryside. In any case, these bridges offer beautiful winter views and a good reason to take a scenic winter road trip in Ohio.

West Liberty Street Covered Bridge

The shortest of the Ohio covered bridges is the West Liberty Street Covered Bridge in Geneva. At just 18 feet long, it’s also the shortest covered bridge in the country. The bridge replaced a concrete culvert that required repair because it was a cheaper fix.

The foundation was laid in 2010, and it was opened to traffic nearly a year later. Footpaths on both sides allow you to walk and stand on the bridge without worrying about traffic.

Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge

The longest covered bridge in Ohio is the Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge in Ashtabula. At 613 feet long, it’s the longest covered bridge in the nation. It stands 93 feet above the Ashtabula River and was dedicated in 2008.

Paved parking is available nearby so that you can walk the pathways on either side of the bridge and explore the area.

Marblehead Lighthouse - Lake Erie Lighthouses
Marblehead Lighthouse | photo via @northcoastaerialimages

Snap Photos of Snow-Covered Lake Erie Lighthouses

Along the Ohio coast of Lake Erie are more than 20 lighthouses, some of which were built in the 18th century. Each tower is unique in some way, and you have the chance to capture amazing pictures of them during the winter, which is why we think it’s one of the best winter things to do in Ohio.

Marblehead Lighthouse

In Marblehead, the Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating Great Lakes lighthouse.

It was built in 1821 and is one of the country’s few original lighthouses that you can visit day or night no matter the season. Because of that, it’s believed to be the most-photographed structure in Ohio.

Ashtabula Lighthouse

In Ashtabula, the Ashtabula Lighthouse is a scenic gem and historical landmark. The original tower was built in 1836 on a wooden crib that connected to the east pier on Ashtabula River.

The current tower was built in 1876 on the west pier because of new dock construction. Since the best view is from the water, we recommend visiting this lighthouse early in the winter.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway - Nelsonville, Ohio - Ohio Polar Express Rides
Hocking Valley Scenic Railway | photo via @melissa_wandering_wv

Hop on a Scenic Ohio Train Ride in Winter

Winter is a magical time to ride a train, especially during the holidays. Several railroads offer holiday-inspired train rides in Ohio, which are perfect for children.

Ohio North Pole Express Train Ride

LM&M Railroad in Lebanon runs the North Pole Express, a 1 hour and 15 minute ride through Warren County. You and your kids can spend time with Santa Claus and elves while riding in train cars that are decorated with holiday lights.

The rides start just before Thanksgiving and last through Christmas, and we recommend getting tickets in advance.

Ohio North Pole Adventure Train Ride

In Peninsula, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates the North Pole Adventure from early November until mid-December. You and your children can write letters to Santa during the ride and hand deliver them to the North Pole Postmaster.

While you write, cookies and hot chocolate are served, and Santa’s elves sing and dance. Book a ride to see what other holiday festivities await.

Loveland Castle Museum - Loveland, Ohio - Winter Day Trips
Loveland Castle Museum | photo via jjjj56cp

Tour as Many Ohio Museums as Possible

Among the indoor things to do in winter in Ohio, touring museums is a top activity.

Loveland Castle (Chateau Laroche)

Also called Chateau Laroche, Loveland Castle is a medieval castle in Loveland. It took 50 years to build it, and then it was used as a youth group camp that encouraged following the principles of knighthood and the Ten Commandments.

That same group is called the Knights of the Golden Trail today, which maintains the castle for visitors to tour on the weekends.

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

In Dayton, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world. It offers a variety of aerospace activities and programs.

You don’t want to miss jumping into the flight simulators or watching a film in the Air Force Museum Theatre.

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

In Columbus, the Center of Science and Industry has a lot of interesting things for kids and adults alike.

The 320,000-square-foot facility has 9 galleries, more than 300 interactive experiences, a planetarium, and live shows. There’s even a National Geographic Giant Screen Theater and a High-Wire Unicycle.

Canton Palace Theatre, Canton - William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Things to do in Canton
Canton Palace Theatre | photo via @co.townes

Catch a Live Performance

Ohio has dozens of theatres, performing arts centers, and music halls that host and produce an array of live performances.

Playhouse Square

For kids, the Playhouse Square in Cleveland features the Children’s Theater Series. It’s a great introduction into the world of live performances. One of its most interesting features is the GE Chandelier — the biggest outdoor chandelier in North America.

Newport Music Hall

Seating about 2,000 people, the Newport Music Hall in Columbus is the longest continually running rock club in the country. It hosts a wide range of musical performances and indoor and outdoor events.

Akron Civic Theatre

In Akron, the Akron Civic Theatre is a longstanding cultural landmark. It was built in 1929 and designed after a Moorish castle, featuring medieval carvings, Italian alabaster sculptures, and authentic European antiques. The theatre caters to all kinds of entertainment from local to international productions.

Great Wolf Lodge - Sandusky, Ohio
Great Wolf Lodge | photo via @mrs_leah_vance_

Pretend It’s Summer at an Indoor Water Park in Ohio

While many kids love playing in the snow during the winter, they probably won’t complain if you plan a day at an indoor water park. It’s one of the most thrilling winter things to do in Ohio because it’s so cold outside. Fortunately, there are a handful of indoor water parks in Ohio.

Kalahari Resorts

Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky is the biggest indoor water park in the nation. It has an 80,000-square-foot facility with African-inspired pools and water rides.

Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge has two locations — one in Mason and another in Sandusky. Both indoor water parks have about a dozen ways to splash around.

Comfort Inn Splash Harbor

In Belville, the Comfort Inn Splash Harbor has a 6,000-square-foot indoor water park with a family whirlpool, water spray ground, and water slide. As long as you’re a guest of the hotel, you’re free to use the water park facilities, as well as the many other hotel amenities.

Jungle Junction
Jungle Junction | photo via @ladyeberhard

Burn Off Some Energy at an Ohio Indoor Fun Center

If you prefer dry indoor activities during winter, Ohio has plenty of indoor fun centers. Whether you want trampolines, arcade games, laser tag, inflatables, or roller skating, you can find fun for the whole family.

Jump n Shout

Jump n Shout in Smithville has blocks, puzzles, bouncy houses, and more on the first floor for young kids. Then, there are even bigger bouncy houses, air hockey, a basketball arcade, inflatable darts, foosball, and more on the second floor for preteens and teens. You can even grab snacks and drinks.

Jungle Junction

In Bellevue, Jungle Junction is the largest indoor play center in the state. Its goal is to offer a happy place with unique entertainment and activities to keep kids active. The facility features air cannons with plastic balls, climbing structures, tunnels, and slides.

Fun in the Jungle

At Fun in the Jungle in Sunbury, kids can have fun in a large play area and play mini-bowling and arcade games. The facility has a soft play zone for toddlers and safari kid cars as well. You can also get food and drinks at the mini cafe.

Hartville Chocolate Factory, Hartville - Indoor Things to do in Canton
Hartville Chocolate Factory | photo via @tinny711

Book a Fun Factory Tour in Ohio

For unique things to do in winter in Ohio, consider booking factory tours. Touring factories can be not only educational adventures but also delicious outings. Some of the tours are even free!

Wilson Football Factory Tour

You wouldn’t expect the small town of Aada to be the home of the Wilson Football Factory. This facility makes footballs for NFL games and other leagues, and you get to learn about the fascinating process on a tour. Call (419) 634-9901 to book your tour ahead of time.

Fannie May Tour

Fannie May is a renowned chocolate shop and offers free tours of the working factory in North Canton every hour. During the tour, you can try out samples of the confections, and then purchase your favorites in the shop afterward.

Warther Cutlery Tour

In Dover, Warther Cutlery is a shop with a viewing area where you can watch the process of making knives. If you call ahead and visit on a weekday, a staff member can explain what you’re seeing.

Cincinnati Food Tours in Cincinnati - Spring in Southwest Ohio
Cincinnati Food Tours | photo via @skowatch

Experience Ohio Culinary Talent on an Ohio Food Tour

Ohio has a flourishing culinary scene, and you can experience the many flavors during an Ohio food tour. Don’t miss tasting some iconic Ohio foods this winter!

Cincinnati Food Tours

Cincinnati Food Tours has partnered with locally-owned restaurants around the city. It features a wide variety of tours — such as The Original Findlay Market Tour, Cincinnati Streetcar Food Tour, or Signature Over-the-Rhine Tour.

Columbus Food Adventures

In the center of the state, you can take neighborhood walking tours, van-based tours, and adult beverage tours with Columbus Food Adventures. The company has been offering food-themed excursions since 2010, including foodie scavenger hunts. You can arrange private food tours as well.

Taste Cleveland Tours

With Taste Cleveland Food Tours, you can do more than food tours. The company arranges progressive dinners and special events too. Several newspapers and magazines have featured these culinary experiences since the company was established in 2011.

Butler County Donut Trail

For all the doughnuts that you could want, plan a trip along the Butler County Donut Trail. An expert helps you customize your donut trail experience.

To start, download your map and passport to get ready to have a sweet adventure. Also, you can find fun things to do along the way as you visit the 13 mom-and-pop shops.

Do you want to warm up with a hot drink while enjoying your donuts? There is no rush because this is a self-paced, sweet experience.

The View at Shires' Garden
The View at Shires’ Garden | photo via @ebbnflow

Eat Lunch or Dinner in an Igloo in Ohio

Since 2020, outdoor dining has become more popular and necessary. Because of that, more restaurants have become more accommodating, so igloo dining is quickly becoming one of the favorite winter things to do in Ohio.

The View at Shires’ Garden

In Cincinnati, The View at Shires’ Garden offers greenhouses and igloos with temperature controls and Bluetooth for playing music.

Betts Cleveland

At Betts restaurant in downtown Cleveland, you can enjoy Amish fried chicken and cold-pressed juices in intimate greenhouses.

Mudlick Tap House

The Mudlick Tap House in Dayton serves craft beers and cocktails alongside a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and various entrees. You can dine in one of its three igloos.

The Blarney Irish Pub

At The Blarney Irish Pub in Toledo, you can get a taste of Irish pub-style brews and dinners while sitting in one of four igloos.

Chocolate Cafe
Chocolate Cafe | photo via @dailyn_wallace

Visit the Best Ohio Coffee Shops for Coffee & Hot Cocoa

Few things make you feel cozy during the winter months than sipping hot coffee and hot chocolate.

The Root Cafe

In Lakewood, The Root Cafe makes Mexican Cocoa with housemade chocolate milk. It’s steamed with cayenne, cinnamon, and vanilla. The cafe serves plain hot cocoa without the spices as well, or you can add a shot of espresso to make a Mayan Mocha.

The Chocolate Cafe

The Chocolate Cafe has two locations in Columbus and arguably makes the best hot cocoa that you’ll ever drink. You can choose from regular, white, and dark hot chocolate. The cafe makes a variety of specialty hot cocoa too — such as butterscotch, caramel, kaffee wien (German), nutella, and peanut butter.

Dell’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee

Near Columbus in Powell, Dell’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee is known for serving some of the best ice cream in Ohio. However, it serves a range of coffee, hot chocolate, and other hot beverages to keep you warm during the winter.

Rhinegeist Brewery
Rhinegeist Brewery | photo via @abarrelofhoppiness

Tour Ohio’s Breweries & Wineries

One of the most adult winter things to do in Ohio is to tour some of the best Ohio breweries and wineries.

Rhinegeist Brewery

Located in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Rhinegeist Brewery is a 25,000-square-foot active brewery. The building used to be a bottling plant for Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., which made beer before Prohibition.

Kids are welcome, and you can order a bite to eat from OTR Chili, which is right next door.

Gervasi Vineyard

In Canton, you can experience the winery resort, Gervasi Vineyard. The 55-acre estate offers luxury accommodations in The Casa boutique inn, Tuscan-inspired villas, or a restored 1800s Farmhouse residence.

The estate features the Still House coffeehouse and cocktail lounge, casual dining at The Crush House Wine Bar & Eatery, and fine dining at The Bistro — all of which allow you to taste the vineyard’s award-winning wines and spirits.

Spa Walden
Spa Walden | photo via @cledowntown

Relax at an Ohio Spa

Sometimes, the winter weather can make you tense. When that happens, you owe yourself a relaxing spa day or weekend.

GreatStone Castle Resorts

Residing in a huge 125-year-old mansion with four stories and more than 4,200 square feet, GreatStone Castle Resorts in Sidney is a bed and breakfast, spa, and lodge.

The spa is located on the lower level and is run by highly skilled and licensed professionals who offer an array of services. You don’t have to stay at the mansion to book a spa appointment, but it makes the experience exponentially better.

Spa Walden

In Aurora, Spa Walden is a luxury inn, spa, club, and community. The state-of-the-art equipment and spacious private spa suites make it a great place to unwind and melt your stress away.

Spa services include massages, body treatments, facials, and back facials. On top of that, the facility offers salon services — such as blowouts, cuts, colorings, manicures, pedicures, and waxes.

Medina Ice Festival, Medina - Winter Festivals
Medina Ice Festival | photo via @ice_carving_aaron

Attend the Many Winter Events & Festivals in Ohio

Some of the best winter things to do in Ohio are the events and festivals.

Mohican WinterFest

In early January, Mohican WinterFest in Loudonville is a free event in January where you can see ice carving competitions between award-winning carvers. The sculptures are displayed throughout downtown. You can enjoy carriage rides, a scavenger hunt, winter hiking, and demonstrations.

Brite Winter

Brite Winter in Cleveland is a celebration of art and music in February. The festival is a community event where anyone can experience the city through innovative and traditional activities — participatory art, music, games, and food.

Medina Ice Festival

Another option is the Medina Ice Festival in late February. The event features more than 100 ice carvings that range from single blocks of 300-pound ice to 10 or more blocks of ice weighing thousands of pounds. The sculptures are lit with LED spotlights every evening during the festival weekend.

Romantic Winter Couple
photo via Pavel Danilyuk

Plan a Romantic Winter Getaway in Ohio

Planning a getaway can be romantic during the winter, especially since you’re more likely to cozy up together by a fire. Thankfully, Ohio has a ton of options for romantic winter getaways.

Ohio Amish Country

Ohio Amish Country can be one of the best options for couples who want to reconnect away from all the flashy entertainment destinations. The area has charming inns, Amish restaurants that serve delicious comfort foods, and opportunities to meet farm animals.

Everything here is made locally, and the Amish shops let you purchase pieces of that authenticity to take home. The Amish Door Restaurant & Village has a little bit of everything in one place.


If you prefer a variety of entertainment, Sandusky is the ultimate Ohio destination. You can arrange couples massages, splash around at an indoor water park, or take a winter hike at Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve. Also, various dining options are available from casual to fine dining.

Ma & Pa’s

Visit Ma & Pa’s in Burton Ohio for a memorable experience. The original Ma & Pa’s cabin was dismantled in 1820. It came to life again in the wilderness of Geauga County, Ohio. 

The winter fun starts with experiencing the simple life that takes you back to days gone by in Ohio. Live off the grid by renting Ma & Pa’s cabin. Enjoy the solitude and beauty of a crisp winter night on the wraparound deck. Gaze at the night skies and the beauty of the surrounding wooded area.

You can cook on a hotplate if it is too cold to use the BBQ grill on the deck. Also, there is a microwave and Wi-Fi available if you prefer a newfangled lifestyle.

For activities, you can take a sleigh ride and go dashing through the snow after Pa hitches up the horse and sleigh. Ma will be waiting when you return, with the warm fire ready for you to sit by while sipping hot chocolate or maple coffee and enjoying Ma’s delicious cookies.

Before you leave, stop by Ma & Pa’s Shop to take home some of their maple syrup, pancake mix, and apple butter. For more activities during your getaway at Ma & Pa’s, you can explore more winter things to do in Northeast Ohio.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Spring in Central Ohio
Columbus Blue Jackets

Attend an Exciting Ohio Sporting Event

The Buckeye State is a sports fan’s paradise and there are many chances to catch some incredible college and professional athletes in action during winter.

Cincinnati Bengals Football

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the National Football League’s up-and-coming teams and plays their games at Paycor Stadium. Come watch quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ other superstars as they take on some of the league’s best teams in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland Browns Football

The Cleveland Browns are the team of choice for northern Ohioans and play their games at FirstEnergy Stadium. Browns fans are known for being fiercely loyal to their team and the Browns are always a tough match for their opponents.

Colombus Blue Jackets Hockey

Wintertime means it’s hockey time and Columbus is home to Ohio’s only pro hockey team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Head to Nationwide Arena and watch the Blue Jackets face off against the best athletes in the National Hockey League.

Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the must-watch teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for much of the last 20 years, thanks in part to LeBron James playing for the Cavs. Cleveland is a few years removed from its last NBA title but is still an exciting team to watch with up-and-coming young talent.

Ohio State Basketball

Make no mistake, Ohioans love Ohio State football, but watching the Buckeyes play basketball at the Schottenstein Center in the winter isn’t a bad way to pass the time. The Buckeyes are always in contention to make the NCAA Tournament and plays a tough schedule against other talented Big Ten teams.

Pro Football Hall of Fame - Canton, Ohio
Pro Football Hall of Fame | photo via Erik Drost

Visit a Sports Museum in Ohio

It’s true that there are many opportunities to see live sporting events in Ohio during the winter. But if you want to avoid big crowds and still get your sports fix, there are several sports museums around the state worth checking out.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

If you’re a football fanatic, there’s nothing better than checking out the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Here you can learn all about the history of the game, see the busts of all-time greats who have been inducted, and even try some hands-on exhibits.

Reds Hall of Fame and Museum

The Cincinnati Reds are one of the most storied franchises in all of Major League Baseball and their Hall of Fame honors some of the best players to ever take the field.

The Hall of Fame has different hours depending on the time of year, so make sure to plan ahead before you go.

Baseball Heritage Museum

Located in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood, the Baseball Heritage Museum is a shrine to baseball’s rich and unique history. It includes founder Robert Zimmer’s personal collection of baseball artifacts and has expanded over the years to include youth clinics and special events at League Park.

Jack Nicklaus Museum

The Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus is the ultimate tribute to one of the greatest golfers of all time, commonly known as the Golden Bear.

The museum, which opened in 2002, gives visitors a comprehensive look at Nicklaus’ life. Visitors can see amazing exhibits celebrating some of Jack’s greatest wins, watch movies at one of three different theaters, and even check out an on-site gift shop.

Snow Trails Ski Resort, Mansfield -Places to Visit in Winter
Snow Trails Ski Resort | photo via @kaitlinnmp13

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Winter Things to Do in Ohio

How long is winter in Ohio?

Winter lasts for about 3.5 months in Ohio, starting in early December and ending in mid-March. On average, daily high temperatures are 46 degrees and below. January is the coldest month, with an average low of 24 degrees and an average high of 37 degrees. Sometimes, the temperature hits below 10 degrees but can reach around 50 degrees.

During those 3.5 winter months, Ohio gets about 4 inches of rain, most of which is ice and snow. Although it sounds like a small amount of rain, it amounts to 10-15 inches of snow in the northern half and 4-8 inches in the southern half of the state. The majority of this snowfall comes toward the middle of February.

What is there to do in Ohio in the winter?

You can do plenty of activities in Ohio during the winter — skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, tobogganing, hiking, ice skating, etc. You can take scenic drives to covered bridges, ride holiday-themed trains, and hand-feed small birds.

What can you do indoors in the winter in Ohio?

Even though it’s winter, indoor water parks, fun centers, museums, and theatres are just a few places that offer indoor fun. You can tour factories, take food tours, and get spa treatments too.

Where can I go for a day trip in Ohio?

Some places that make fun day trips in Ohio include the Amish Country, Hocking Hills region, and big cities — Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. However, Sandusky, Granville, and Ashtabula have a lot to offer as well.

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