When the first frost arrives in Toledo, both local residents and visitors know that they are about to endure several months of cold weather, snowfalls, and chilly breezes. However, the winter weather doesn’t stop these hardy people from living their best lives.
While the winter months may seem like a season in which most people would hunker down, this city actually seems to come to life. Here are some of the best winter things to do in Toledo, Ohio...
Immerse Yourself in Culture at the Toledo Museum of Art
Since the Toledo Museum of Art was founded in 1901, it has been so much more than just a place where people can go to be inspired by art. Rather, it’s a place where visitors are educated — a place where they learn about how art has shaped the world, and how it has the potential to change their lives.
With an emphasis on art education, the Toledo Museum of Art has become a favorite destination among local people and visitors of all ages. The museum is constantly planning special events, such as wine nights for adults, and it also hosts groups of school children throughout the year.
Located on Monroe Street in the heart of the city, this art museum has earned a reputation for having one of the largest collections of art in the country.
The best part is, admission is always free, which means that everyone in the city has access to these breathtaking works of art. It’s the perfect place to go on a snowy winter day when you need to get out of the house, but you don’t want to brave the elements.
Enjoy a Festive Evening at the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo
The Toledo Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and people from the local area as well as from out of town come to visit the animals who call this place home throughout the entire year. While the zoo is open all winter long, and you can always take a snowy stroll around the zoo, the most festive time of year to visit is during the Lights Before Christmas event.
The Lights Before Christmas is the zoo’s annual Christmas lights display, and it’s been brightening the city’s spirits during the holidays for more than 30 years. Today, the zoo’s display consists of millions of sparkling bulbs strung throughout the zoo as well as dozens of innovative light structures.
Of course, nothing is more breathtaking than the large Christmas tree that is near the Conservatory at the zoo, and the dancing tree lights that are synchronized to music delight both the young and old who come to the event.
This family-friendly holiday event in Toledo begins in the middle of November each year and runs through the end of December. It’s become a holiday tradition for many in Toledo, and if you haven’t visited this holiday lights display in northwest Ohio before, it should be at the top of your winter to-do list this year.
Tour the Wildwood Manor House
To experience the more elegant side of the city during the quiet winter season, consider taking a tour of the Wildwood Manor House. This iconic Toledo destination is situated in the heart of the Wildwood Preserve Metropark.
At any time of year, visitors can enjoy free tours of the Wildwood Manor House, and learn more about how the home was constructed, who lived in it, and the role that it played in the city throughout the 20th century.
While you can visit the Wildwood Manor House any Sunday of the year, winter is perhaps the coziest season to explore this Georgian Colonial mansion. If you visit during the holiday season, you will be able to see the home decked out in holiday decor. These tours offer you a chance to take a step back in time and experience what the merriest time of the year would have been like in Toledo nearly a century ago.
Once you have finished your tour of the estate, you can then take a stroll through the tree-lined grounds, which glisten with snow throughout most of the winter. This is a chance for you to take in the beauty of the city while learning a little bit more about its past.
Make the Most of the Snow by Sledding, Skiing, or Snowshoeing at the Toledo Metroparks
While the dwindling temperatures may tempt you to stay inside, you might be missing out on one of the most beautiful and exhilarating seasons in the city. There are many ways that you can enjoy your favorite Metroparks Toledo outdoor winter activities, such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding.
Toledo is not known for its hilly terrain, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t strap on a pair of cross-country skis during the winter. In fact, cross country skiing is becoming increasingly popular throughout the city. Two of the Metroparks have designated trails that are exclusively for skiers, including Oak Openings and Secor.
When snow covers the city, transforming it into a winter wonderland, everyone knows that the best place to go is to the local Toledo sledding hills. The Metroparks maintain these hills and even offer after-dark sledding when the conditions are right. You can find sled hills for people of all ages and skill levels at Slide Cut, Glass City, and Pearson.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to abandon your favorite nature trails during the winter season. In fact, the walking trails at the Metroparks throughout the city are ideal for snowshoeing. This fun winter activity is becoming more common throughout the city, so don’t miss out on the chance to try it out this winter.
Discover Your Nautical Side at the National Museum of the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes often freeze over during the winter, and they certainly become too cold to enjoy — but that doesn’t mean that you need to forget about your connection to these magnificent bodies of water. In fact, winter is one of the best times to visit the National Museum of the Great Lakes, which is located in the heart of Toledo.
This interactive museum aims to provide visitors with information about the important role that the Great Lakes play in the Midwest and throughout the world. The exhibits at this museum offer insight into the history of maritime on the Great Lakes, the natural resources that depend upon the Great Lakes, and the stories of the people who have lived near the lakes.
With many hands-on exhibits, it’s the kind of place where people of all ages can come and learn a little bit more about the massive bodies of water that have long sustained life in Toledo, throughout the Midwest, and even around the world.
Let the Kids Touch Everything at the Toledo Imagination Station
Inevitably, you spend a lot more time stuck inside during the winter — even if the city is full of trails that are perfect for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. When you simply need to get out of the house and find a place where your kids can burn some energy, look no further than the Imagination Station.
The Imagination Station is located in downtown Toledo and is filled with interactive exhibits that help kids see and experience science for themselves. From the gravity-defying high wire cycle that travels right over the museum itself to the hurricane chamber, where youngsters can experience what it might be like to stand in the midst of hurricane-force winds, there are endless experiences to be enjoyed that your children will never forget.
With nearly 30 exhibits in the museum — all of which are designed for children at different ages and stages of development — there is no way your children will utter the words “I’m bored.” If you need an escape on a cold winter day, then make this place your next stop.
Catch a Show at The Valentine Theater
For a timeless Toledo experience, consider purchasing tickets for a show at The Valentine Theater. This theater was built more than a century ago, and it still hosts some of the most powerful performances in the city. With 901 seats, it is a theater that is both accommodating and intimate.
The theater hosts a Broadway season every year, bringing in shows such as Rent or Jersey Boys. In addition to its popular Broadway season, the theater also creates opportunities for community engagement.
Young families can bring their children to the theater for storytime during the week, and there are also are “School Days” shows scheduled throughout the year that allow students in the area to experience the wonder of live theater.
If you are in need of a romantic night on the town in Toledo, consider grabbing dinner at one of the fabulous local restaurants in downtown Toledo and then catching a show at this historic theater.
Attempt a Figure Eight on a Local Ice Skating Rink
There is one benefit to living in Toledo or visiting this city during the peak of winter, and that’s having the ability to ice skate. The frigid temperatures lend themselves to frozen ice, allowing skaters of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the rinks that can be found outdoors in Toledo.
One SeaSkate is a synthetic ice rink that is assembled in downtown Toledo each winter, just between One SeaGate and the Renaissance Hotel. If you are looking for that big-city skating experience, then this is the best ice skating rink in Toledo for you. Skate rental and skate sharpening services are available on location.
Another outdoor skating rink in Toledo is the Ottawa Park Ice Rink. This natural ice skating rink is only open when conditions are right, so it’s important to check in advance before you head to the rink. Generally speaking, this rink opens in early December and is open throughout the rest of the winter. Skate rental and skate sharpening services are available.
More Things to Do in Toledo Ohio
Beyond these best winter things to do in Toledo Ohio, there is so much more to do and see in this vibrant city in northwest Ohio!
Perhaps a visit to one of the best Toledo breweries or a meal at one of the best local restaurants in Toledo would be a great addition. Or maybe you’re looking for an overnight getaway in Toledo, and one of the best Toledo hotels or vacation rentals.
No matter if you live here or are just visiting, there are so many great things to do in Toledo making it a great place to enjoy winter activities in northwest Ohio!