A group of people skiing down a mountain.

7 things to do around Cleveland in the winter

Though winter doesn’t officially begin until Dec. 21, there are plenty of ways to embrace the season in Cleveland. Whether you prefer to stay cozy indoors or adventure outside, Northeast Ohio has plenty of offerings to stay busy during the colder months—you need only take your pick. 

Read on to learn seven things you can do around Cleveland this winter. 

1. Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

Looking to break a sweat this winter? Try your hand at cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There are several places to do both around Cleveland where you can also rent the needed equipment. Locations include Chapin Forest Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Girdled Road Reservation, Holden Arboretum and others. 

Plan your snowshoeing or cross-country skiing visit.

2. Attend the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Wild Winter Lights.

See Cleveland Metroparks Zoo transform into a winter wonderland during Wild Winter Lights, an event featuring hundreds of light displays along a holiday trail through the zoo. The event boasts more than 1.5 million lights across holiday-themed areas with names including Candyland, Enchanted Forest, Starry Skies and more. You can experience the event on foot or in your car on select dates. Tickets are limited and advanced online reservations are encouraged.

Book your Wild Winter Lights tickets.

3. Go ice skating.

From Parma to Mentor and everywhere in between, there are many options to ice skate this winter—and you don’t even have to be outside. But, if you do want to be in the elements while gliding across the ice, you need only walk a few hundred feet from Case Western Reserve to The Rink at Wade Oval. 

See indoor and outdoor ice skating opportunities around Cleveland.

4. Check out Brite Winter Fest.

Mark your calendars for Feb. 25 for the return of Brite Winter Fest. The nonprofit festival brings together people of all backgrounds, allowing them to discover new art and music as they enjoy their community. The event—created by Case Western Reserve alumni—will take place on the West Bank of the Flats and will feature more than two dozen musical acts.

Learn more about the event and view the lineup.

5. See a show at Playhouse Square.

Did you know Cleveland is home to the largest performing arts center in the United States outside of New York City? Seeing a show at Playhouse Square is always a viable option, and this winter has a stellar line up, including shows such as “Black Nativity,” “The Nutcracker,” “Hamilton,” “Beetlejuice” and “Sense and Sensibility.”

Pick your show and buy your tickets.

6. Plan a trip to Boston Mills or Brandywine.

Take a day (or weekend) trip to Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts to ski, snowboard or snow tube! The resorts are slated to open for the season Dec. 17, and you can even book lessons or rent equipment. 

Plan your ski, snowboard or tubing visit. 

7. Visit Cleveland Botanical Garden’s winter show.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden, just steps away from Case Western Reserve’s campus, is presenting its winter show, Twinkle in the 216, until Dec. 31. The indoor and outdoor garden event will pay a festive holiday homage to the beautiful blocks that knit neighborhoods, people and plants together. 

Discover Twinkle in the 216 and secure your tickets.

Looking to fill up your calendar even more? Check out Cleveland Magazine’s Winter Fun Guide.