Winter Activities in Columbus, OH
The front lawn at the Ohio Statehouse comes alive each winter with the arrival of a temporary ice rink, Skate on the State. Located at the center of downtown Columbus, this outdoor rink makes a great way to end a fun day downtown. Admission is $7 for adults and $6 for students. Bring your own skates or rent them for $2. This activity isn’t free for even the littlest skaters, but it is cheap – children under four are just $4 and that does include skates. After you’ve finished gliding on the ice, warm up with hot chocolate under the attached heated tents.
Battelle Darby Creek is the largest of central Ohio’s Metro Parks, consisting of over 7,000 acres. Visit the park after a fresh coating of snow and be sure to bring your sled, saucer or toboggan. Battelle Darby is one of the city’s metro parks well-known for its sledding hill. The big bumps on the way down make the hill a favorite of young children, and parents love the easy walking path that leads back up to the top. The hill can be accessed from Alkire Road, near the bridge over Darby Creek.
Buckeye Lake is a hot spot of activity in the summer, but few realize this state-owned park is also a winter jewel. Try your hand at ice-fishing during a day at the lake. Since the man-made Buckeye Lake is one of the state’s most shallow, it’s one of the first to freeze. Average depths are 6 feet, and the deepest part of the lake is only 14 feet deep. To stay safe, avoid areas where the ice is less than 4 inches thick. The State of Ohio does require all fishermen between the ages of 16-65 carry valid fishing licenses. Purchase yours online before your trip, or locally at one of the many bait shops or hardware stores.
Get a handle on two of the winter’s toughest sports at the Chiller Dublin. The Chiller Dublin offers winter skating and hockey lessons for everyone aged 4 and up. Get your lessons in this season, and show up all of your friends next year. Sessions are eight weeks long and meet once each week. Classes for both sports fill up quickly, so register early and pay online to secure your spot. Hockey players willing to play goalie sometimes can squeeze into a full class, due to the tough to fill position.
Head over to Nationwide Arena and cheer on the Blue Jackets, Columbus’ own NHL hockey team. You don’t have to pay top dollar for the expensive seats. Instead, line up at the ticket window two hours before every home game, when 200 seats, located at the top of the arena, are released for just $10 each. Family packs and multi-game packages are also available. Parking in the Arena District can be pretty pricey, so if you don’t mind walking a little farther, look for a spot near the statehouse or the Convention Center. The area is always hopping with activity, so you can see a movie, have dinner or grab drinks before or after the game.