When I asked the office about their favorite things to do during the winter in Cleveland, it prompted a half hour brainstorming session of all the activities, events, and classes that happen when the temperatures drop. We’ve narrowed it down to about 42 activities (from close to one hundred), but if you have additional favorites we didn’t include, please comment here!
To get into an icy mood, check out Ice-A-Fair tomorrow (February 1st), a quick drive away in Vermilion. Brite Winter is fast approaching; over 40 performers will take over the west bank of the Flats on February 22nd, with plenty of hot cocoa, fire pits, and energy to keep you warm. Live music is good for the soul any season of the year, but it can be vital to kicking the winter blues. Find a nice dark pub with great food and cold beers and listen to local talent…start with this list of great small live music venues in Northeast Ohio?
Block the last week in March and the first week in April on your calendars now to immerse yourself in a day-long movie marathon at the Cleveland International Film Festival. This will be its last year at Tower City prior to relocating to Playhouse Square in 2021, so this swan song year will be big! (And yes, we know the end of March is technically spring, but in Cleveland, spring comes a little bit later.)
Good Eats (& Drinks)
Cozy up at Algebra Tea House next to their wood-burning fireplace or for a homey vibe, check out Felice Urban Cafe. On the south side, we have Compass Coffee, an industrial-esque shop in which every purchase helps Akron locals. If you’re up for a little road trip, The Feve in Oberlin doesn’t disappoint. Or check out one of our secret bars like the Northside Speakeasy. Walk up to the newsstand where you have to find the right item to pull in order to get in!
There are a bunch of restaurants we frequent for EA days around town, too – Fire Food & Drink, M Italian, Astoria Cafe & Market, and L’Albatros Brasserie are just a few.
A little over an hour away, you can escape from the cold at Kalahari – an indoor water park perfect for families or friends looking for a mini vacation. Visit places that will fill your senses with the outdoors – sunshine, dirt, warmth, water – such as The Ames Family Atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse. Stop at stores where you can buy plants (STUMP and Lakewood Plant Co. are great options!) or flowers (like Lush & Lovely and Paradise Flower Market).
Grab a rink buddy and head to Public Square for ice skating (The Pond if you want to stay indoors) or ski at Brandywine.
Cleveland recently got its own Topgolf, a target-driven game appropriate for all skill levels, or hone your axe-throwing skills at Class Axe Throwing. For board game enthusiasts, get a group together to visit Tabletop Board Game Cafe or head to Malted Meeple for games and alcoholic milkshakes. 16-Bit offers retro games and 80s/90s star-inspired cocktails for a fun night on the town.
For a more action-packed day, check out Adrenaline Monkey for an indoor obstacle course or jump on (and off) trampolines at Skyzone.
The winter months are a great time to learn something new. For those of us who enjoy being in the kitchen, Tri-C offers cooking classes on the east side. And those with a sweet tooth can check out Annie’s Signature Sweets baking classes at the Hildrebrandt. (For already-packaged sweets, we recommend a trip to b.a. Sweetie Candy Company!)
We have a wide variety of classes available through the Cuyahoga County Public Library, which recently received the coveted five-star rating through the Library Journal for the 10th year in a row.
Take sewing lessons at Bolt & Spool or head to Soulcraft at the Hamilton Collaborative (where you may have attended IngenuityFest in the past) for woodworking. You can even learn glassblowing at Ohio City Glass or the Glass Asylum.
Northeast Ohio is well known for the Cleveland Museum of Art, but you can also customize your museum-going experience to your specific interests; we have so many to see! From the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there’s something for everyone. We also have more niche locations such as the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick and Orchid Mania at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
There are plenty of specialty stores in Cleveland to pop into and warm up. Cleveland Curiosities offers oddities for the adventurous, stop at Fair Trade on Main for global gifts, and find your next comic book love at Carol & John’s Comic Book Shop. If you’re out by us in Cleveland Heights, you can check out our gift guide for store recommendations!
When all else fails, Clevelanders are well-versed in the Netflix binge-watch, complete with a crockpot soup and the practical-yet-unfashionable snuggie. And if you start to feel guilty about being lazy, remind yourself that cold weather doesn’t always necessitate productivity. It’s okay to snuggle up on your couch away from the snow and ice every so often.
Recruiting talent to Northeast Ohio in the dead of winter can be a challenge, but our team knows how to warm up candidates coming from even the hottest climates. If you need a little help with your talent attraction efforts for out-of-towners, contact us here or give us a call at 216.231.9311!