Winter is a beautiful time in the Midwest. From snow-capped hills and trails to chilly nights under the stars, there’s simply nothing like a Midwest winter.
Even though Christmas is over, it’s not quite time to think about spring yet. In fact, early in the New Year is a prime time to enjoy some outdoor winter activates, since tourist spots tend to be less busy after the holidays. From cross-country skiing to dog sledding, read on for five ways to embrace winter in the Midwest.
Winter Midwest Things to Do
Enjoy Some Stories by the Fire in Michigan
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy some cozy stories by a fire. The Chippewa Nature Center hosts a bevy of events, such as Stories by the Fire, featuring stories about how settlers and animals adapted to survive cold winters. Even if you don’t make it to a planned event, the Chippewa Nature Center offers picturesque winter hiking all season.
Additional information: ChippewaNatureCenter.org
Visit Hocking Hills in Ohio
If you’re visiting or live in Ohio this winter, the Hocking Hills is a must-see spot. The town looks like a winter paradise during the cold months, offering plenty of hiking, ice skating, cross-country skiing, state parks, warm food and more. One historic spot to stay while in Hocking Hills is Glenlaurel, A Scottish Inn & Cottages, but Hocking Hills offers plenty of cozy overnight options.
Additional information: HockingHills.com
Go Cross-Country Skiing in Wisconsin
The Midwest offers plenty of great cross-country skiing opportunities, and Wisconsin is one of the top spots. After all, Wisconsin hosts one of the biggest cross-country skiing events in the U.S., the American Birkebeiner, and offers miles of open land and snow-covered trails for skiing enthusiasts. We recommend the Nine Mile Forest Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing in Marathon County.
Additional information: WausauNordic.org
Ice Skating in Illinois
Every Midwest state has ice skating opportunities, but the biggest is in Chicago, Illinois. Ice skating on the McCormick Tribune rink in Millennium Park is basically the Midwest version of skating at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, but it’s actually larger than the NYC version. The rink is a popular spot for both travelers and Chicago residents during the winter months, and it’s less busy after Christmas, making it an even better time to hit the ice. Note that Detroit offers a cool ice skating rink, too, in the city’s Campus Martius area.
Additional information: MillenniumParkFoundation.org
Minnesota is home to the longest dog-sledding races in the United States, outside of the Iditarod in Alaska. That said, dog sledding is a huge part of the Minnesota culture. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to go dog-sledding in the New Year, Minnesota offers plenty of opportunities across the state. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that involves dog sledding, the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge has packages put together to make the trip easy to book.
Additional information: DogSledding.com