Favorite Ways to Spend Winter in Cleveland

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To start my seasonal post, I wanted to share some great news about Cleveland for Millennials – according to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, Cleveland is one of America’s Most Underrated Cities for Millennials. Grouping Cleveland with Seattle, Charlotte, Atanta, Denver, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Manchester, and Honolulu, the article describes that:

“Cleveland caters to the younger set in neighborhoods like the bar-filled Ohio City, popular among the more than 36 percent of adults who are single. Cleveland also ranks well as a cheap place to live, coming in 15th on Forbes’ list of inexpensive cities. Men’s Health ranks its religious involvement low on the list, just ahead of Austin, which should appeal to the less-devout Millennials—unless, of course, their church is rock and roll.”

It’s exciting to me that Cleveland has made the spotlight and is compared to other well-renowned cities. For those not in the area, come visit and you’ll understand why Cleveland is a fun place to be for young professionals.

With the first (official, not according to the weather :)) day of winter quickly approaching, below I have listed some of my favorite ways to spend winter in Cleveland for all of my Cleveland followers:

During the holiday season:

  • Winterfest in Playhouse Square – weekend after Thanksgiving – Every year, there is a beginning of Christmas festival in Downtown Cleveland. This year was the first Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Playhouse Square. The square was lit up with Christmas lights, and crowds gathered for concerts, performances, and fireworks throughout the day and evening.

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  • Holiday CircleFest in University Circle – beginning of December – Start the Christmas season and explore the University Circle neighborhood for free, with events, activities, music, shopping and food at the museums, gardens, galleries, and churches. Wade Oval Park has an ice skating rink and free horse-drawn carriage rides. I walked by some of the best gingerbread house and Christmas tree displays I have ever seen at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. I also enjoyed caroling at the Church of the Covenant.
  • Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden – end of November to the beginning of January – Walk through the beautiful gardens that are designed for the holidays and glow with Christmas lights. Hop aboard the Garden Express for a whimsical train ride, decorate your own gingerbread house, and watch carolers perform. I first attended this this year and was in “awe”!
  • Polar Express at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – mid-November until Christmas – “The award-winning book comes to life on this magical journey to the North Pole and back. Elves will read the story to you on the way to the North Pole to pick up Santa! While Santa visits each car, elves will lead you and your family in Christmas Carols and spread merriment! As in the story, we encourage everyone to wear their pajamas on this special journey. All passengers will enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie.” This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season in the Cleveland area – how could you not want to go to the North Pole during the Christmas season :)? I enjoy bringing the Christmas spirit to life by volunteering as an elf reader, the person who reads the Polar Express story and entertains the families!

PolarExpress-CuyahogaValleyScenicRailroad

  • A Christmas Story 5K – early December – Did you love A Christmas Story movie? Did you know that the movie was filmed (and Ralphie’s house) is in Tremont, Ohio? And even better – in December – you can run a 5K in Tremont, see A Christmas Story movie set locations, dress up like Ralphie or a leg lamp, and tour Ralphie’s house!
  • Santa Shuffle in Tremont – mid-December – Dress up in your favorite Santa gear, run a mile, and get hydrated at several of the Tremont bars. I will be trying this for the first time this year, but have only heard good things, and look forward to wandering around Tremont dressed up in the Christmas spirit.

After the holiday season:

  • The Rink at Wade Oval – late November to the beginning of March – enjoy ice skating for a nominal fee at Wade Oval Park. The University Circle area is beautiful in the winter, and it is fun to experience the outdoors while ice skating there.
  • Artists Uncork’d Wine and Painting Class – Since we often want to stay inside and bundled up during the winter, why not get creative at the same time? I enjoyed a wine and painting class for my February birthday last year and look forward to finding more wine and art classes this winter.

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  • Go to the Lake Erie beaches – Ok, I know you think I’m nuts, but it SO cool to see what a beach looks like in the wintertime. Last winter, I went to Edgewater Park and walked along the shoreline with my friend who was on her spring break – so she got her typical beach vacation in :). She even stuck her toes in the ice cold water!
Lake Erie at Edgewater Park

Lake Erie at Edgewater Park

  • MIX at the Cleveland Museum of Art – year round – if you haven’t yet attended this event on the first Friday of every month, I highly recommend that you go! Every month you can explore the art museum, see the latest exhibits, watch live performances, and enjoy cocktails and food with friends and fellow Clevelanders.
  • Tobogganing at the Cleveland Metroparks – late November to mid-March- I have not yet tried this, but have heard nothing but great things and hope to go tobogganing this year!
  • Short Sweet Film Fest in Ohio City – February – support up-and-coming filmmakers by watching some interesting, and sometimes abstract, films at the bars in Ohio City. This will help prepare you for the Cleveland International Film Festival which takes place in late March.
  • Brite Winter in Ohio City – late February – The event’s mission is “to embrace the Cleveland winter by celebrating with light, fire, art, music, games, and snow.” With the long winter ahead, it is important to get outside and make the most of the snowy days. I enjoy attending the concerts, exploring the restaurants and bars, and shopping throughout the evening at Brite Winter.
  • Lake Erie Monters Game – late October to April – there is so much spirit for the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland! If you are craving hockey, this is the best way for you to watch hockey without having access to a local NHL team.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Game – October to April – I have been to Quicken Loans Arena (home base for the Cavs) twice – for a circus performance and a Lake Eries Monsters Game, ironically – but have yet to experience a Cavs game. I can’t wait to attend one this year and see The King play live!
  • Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade – March 17 – Learn about the significance of the Irish population in Cleveland. You can watch performers and honorees of Irish awards. This is a great way to be downtown before going to the Irish pubs for the festive holiday.
  • The Corner Alley on E. 4th – Need to get outside but not outdoorsy? Go bowling on E. 4th! The Corney Alley is a classy bowling alley with great food and a fun ambiance.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – a staple to the Cleveland name, the glass pyramid-style building itself is a site to see. The museum has several floors of exhibits featuring rock and roll music legend paraphenalia and history, rotating exhibits, and the Hall of Fame theater where hall of fame inductees are recognized.

While winter can seem daunting in Cleveland or any midwestern United States city, I hope these exciting upcoming events and activities get you excited for the winter ahead. We’ll get through it together and have fun along the way!

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