Fun winter activities in Cincinnati, OH

February 25th, 2021 by
Snowy Winter Pond

Image via Flickr by David Paul Ohmer | Licensed by CC BY 2.0

All of us at Performance Kings Honda know that one of the best parts of living in Cincinnati, Ohio, is enjoying the winter beauty. Whether you’re looking to spend some time outdoors in the cool winter air or find an enjoyable indoor activity, check out some of these fun options nearby.

Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum

The beautiful scene above is at the Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, a 733-acre place of peace and sanctuary in Cincinnati. When covered in a blanket of snow in the winter, a walk through the grounds imparts a special kind of serenity. Established in 1844, it’s one of the city’s jewels, with walking paths and spots for quiet meditation.

UC Health Ice Rink at Fountain Square

Ice skating is a favorite winter activity for kids and adults alike. From November through February, Fountain Square becomes an ice rink for both skating and bumper cars. A reservation system limits the number of skaters on the ice at any time, so even a beginner can feel comfortable lacing up their skates. The rink is open seven days a week.

Hamilton County Parks Winter Activities

For a more rustic ice skating experience, Hamilton County Parks permits ice skating in all the parks except for Campbell Lakes Preserve and Lake Isabella. You’re responsible for checking for safe ice thickness, but a nice walk to a pond with some skating can make for a fun winter afternoon. 

Ice fishing is allowed in the same places where fishing is normally permitted, excluding Campbell Lakes Preserve and Lake Isabella. 

Enjoy the pristine white winter on your cross-country skis in all areas of the park except golf courses and conservation areas. Find a hill outside the golf courses and natural areas, and you can hop on a sled or a tube and go sailing down the snow. Some of the best sledding spots are in the Miami Whitewater Forest (Overlook off Harbor Ridge Drive), Sharon Woods (Cardinal Crest Meadow Shelter), and Winton Woods (Butterfly Bluff Shelter).

Indoor Skating

If you love to bundle up and get your skates on but don’t want to rely on the weather cooperating, indoor ice skating is a perfect winter activity. The Goggin Ice Center at Miami University offers a wide variety of winter ice activities, including figure skating lessons, ice hockey, and public skating at specified times.

The Northland Ice Center is open year-round for hockey, figure skating, and public skating. Celebrate your winter baby by renting a party room for a birthday party with pizza or cake, with free skate rentals for guests.

Winter Camping

If you’re ready to brave the elements to embrace winter peace and quiet, you can camp year-round at Indiana State Parks. All state parks have primitive campsites with no water or electricity, fit for hardy campers with the proper gear for staying safe, warm, and dry. Some locations have electricity, water sources, and heated comfort stations. Cabins are also available for rent for those who want to enjoy a winter experience without hauling all the gear. Check the website for reservations, up-to-date open locations, and available amenities. 

Riverboat Cruise

Bundle up in your warmest winter attire and book a cruise on the beautiful Ohio River aboard one of the BB Riverboats. You’ll set sail from Newport Landing for a sunny High Noon cruise, or enjoy the Captain’s Lunch Cruise with a fully stocked bar and deluxe buffet. Take your out-of-town guests along for a Historic Cincinnati Sightseeing Cruise, or admire the sunset in the evening. Feel the crisp winter air on the outside decks or warm-up indoors while admiring the stark beauty of the season. 

Carew Tower Observation Deck

For a bird’s eye view of Cincinnati, access the open-air Carew Tower Observation Deck located on the 49th floor of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Hotel. For just $6, you can enjoy winter views of the snow-covered city and the Ohio River seven days a week. Before your visit, be sure to check for any unexpected closures or restrictions.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

When the weather is too chilly for outdoor activities, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center provides a somber education about the concepts of freedom from the era of the underground railroad until today. Located on the banks of the Ohio River, it’s a stark reminder of the physical barrier that once existed between enslaved people in the southern United States and those who were free in the northern states. Exhibits and displays empower modern abolitionists by educating them about past efforts. Tours available by reservation.

Newport Aquarium

If the kids are getting stir crazy in the house, try a visit under the sea. Just across the river, the Newport Aquarium has thousands of aquatic creatures, including penguins, sharks, stingrays, and the newest exhibit with a sunken ship and the sea life calling it home. Kids will enjoy interactive exhibits like the tide pool, where they can touch sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and anemones. Tickets are available by advance reservation.

EnterTRAINment Junction

Kids (and grown-ups) who love trains will find plenty to enjoy at EnterTRAINment Junction. Boasting the largest train display in the world, G-scale trains travel over two miles of track to both entertain and educate about the life-changing effects of introducing the railroad to America. Trains move through scaled cities and towns with intricate buildings and natural elements. Keep learning through the 5,000-square-foot museum, with fun little tests at trivia stations scattered throughout.

Kids can get the wiggles out at the A-MAZE-N Funhouse, designed like a carnival midway with a curtain maze, mirror funhouse, and illusions that will make everyone question reality. Check the calendar for special events like a Thomas & Friends-themed train ride. You can purchase tickets in advance via the website.

Cincinnati is a beautiful city at any time of the year, and winter offers plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for kids and adults to enjoy. Did we miss anything? Let us know what YOU love to do around town in the winter!

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