Cool Winter Events
Chill out—there's still plenty to do in winter
By Heather Tunstall, Image by Cody York
The start of a new year is always energizing, and just because it may be cold here in the northern part of the U.S. doesn't mean we put that energy to waste. In fact, we here in Cleveland channel it into super fun events that do everything from celebrate the chill to warm the bones.
5: Dare to Dream | Disney on Ice
Give the kiddos a thrill with a trip to see their favorite Disney characters—including Moana, Elsa, Belle and more—skate an impressive show at Quicken Loans Arena.
12-16: Mid-America Boat Show
What better way to beat the winter blues than by staring at big, beautiful boats? Head to the I-X Center to shop for (or ogle at) yachts, sailboats and speedboats, take part in the interactive Cleveland Metroparks exhibit, or even learn how to scuba dive for free.
15: Ice Fest at North Coast Harbor
Hang out in between the Rock Hall and Great Lakes Science Center during this wintry celebration. The event is free, and will feature more than 20 ice displays, followed by free admission to both the Rock Hall and the Science Center for the day.
15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities
There are several events and free admission opportunities throughout the city to honor the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrate his life by partaking in community service, enjoying a performance, or learning about his legacy.
26-27: Cleveland Winter Beer Fest
Cheers! Check out amazing craft brews from all over the country in one place—Downtown at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. We'll drink to that.
2-11: Great Big Home and Garden Show
Now's a good time to start thinking about spring updates to the house and plantings for the garden. The Great Big Home and Garden Show at the I-X Center will have more than 600 exhibits, and HGTV celebrities, local experts and chefs on the main stage.
9: Adult Swim
Learn about sea life while you toss a few back and eat sweets. Because, why not? The Greater Cleveland Aquarium's Adult Swim is a popular event with themes rotating throughout the year—the February version just so happens to focus on wine and chocolate.
Scare winter away at this funky and fun annual tradition. Pegged the "Slovenian Mardi Gras," Kurentovanje is a festival featuring fuzzy "Kurents," ethnic food, music and a parade, among other activities. Don't miss this year's event, taking place once again at various locations in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood.
10: Donut Fest Cleveland
It's a festival dedicated to donuts. Need we say more? The best restaurants and bakeries in Cleveland go head-to-head to claim the title of "Best Donut," and we, as the tasters, all come out winners.
16-26: Cleveland Restaurant Week
Cleveland Restaurant Week takes place each year in February, and gives you a great excuse to break that New Year's resolution. Bust out those stretchy pants, because you're going to want a little extra room for all the food-centric festivities.
17: Mac n Cheese Throwdown
Mac. And. Cheese. Throwdown. Get to your cheesy happy place at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland for this epic day of noodles covered in cheddar, Gruyere and gouda galore. Similar to Donut Fest, this event brings together competitors from area restaurants to vie for "Best Mac."
16-18: Cleveland Golf and Travel Show
Score big on clubs, equipment and accessories at the I-X Center during the Cleveland Golf and Travel Show. Feeling lucky (or just really, really good?) Head over to the $25,000 hole-in-one challenge, long-putt challenge or long-drive championship to test your skills. Or, if your handicap is higher than you'd like, get free PGA instruction to shape up for golf season.
24: Brite Winter
This is the party of the season in Cleveland. This free event is open to the public and will take place in the Flats with the city skyline as the backdrop. It's an annual favorite, with live local music, art exhibits and plenty of outdoor activities to breathe a ton of life into the end of winter.
23-March 4: Cleveland Auto Show
The Cleveland Auto Show returns to the I-X Center for 2018, setting the perfect stage for intense drooling over insane cars. Stroll down Millionaire's Row to get up close and personal with Aston Martins, Porches and Rolls Royces, then go try your luck in the Vehicle Giveaway. Stop by the Classic Car Competition to cheer for your favorite vintage ride.
2-4: Wizard World Comic Con
Bust out your wand (you do have a wand, right?), because it's Wizard World Comic Con time in Cleveland. The Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland will be abuzz with celebrity photo opps (Jason Momoa, anyone?), entertainment and a heck of a collection of costumes and fan gear for lovers of magic, comics and superheroes. Bring your best.
15-17: NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Cheer on the best of the best college wrestlers in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, taking place at Quicken Loans Arena. In conjunction with the Championship, a fan fest will be held at Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland throughout the duration of the championship between sessions at The Q. The fan fest will feature autograph sessions, memorabilia shows, USA Wrestling National Team practice and a NCAA Finals Preview show as well as food and drink. Fan fest is free and open to the public.
17: St. Patrick's Day Parade
Seriously, don't miss this Cleveland party. The parade starts at 1:04 p.m. with the theme of Prominent Irish Pioneers of the 20th Century, but the shin-dig lasts all day long Downtown. Just about any restaurant and bar you go to will have you seeing green.
24-April 17: I-X Indoor Amusement Park
If you need a roller coaster fix before the warm weather hits, this is your place. The I-X Indoor Amusement Park is back for another season of rides, entertainment and fantastically fried fair food.
Throughout the winter months, schedule a stop at one of these ongoing events.