Winter Activities in Columbus, OH
A popular spring event in Columbus has been reinvented to liven up the dreary city winters. The Columbus Beerfest, now happening every January as well as May, takes place at the Columbus Convention Center, located downtown just outside of the Arena District. At this two-day event, over 160 different beers will be on tap for taste-testing, including every delicious type of beer brewed in Columbus. The attached Hyatt Regency Columbus offers rooms on both nights at a reduced rate of $99, just in case you drink too much to make it home safely. You must be over 21 to enter this event, and the Columbus Division of Police does patrol the building and nearby areas heavily.
Not everyone is a fan of winter’s blustery cold weather. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole season sitting on your couch, waiting for the big thaw. Instead, head over the Downtown YMCA for Downtown Dodgeball, a way to squeeze some inside fun and exercise into Columbus’ winter months. You have to recruit your own team, so start looking now for friends, family and co-workers who need help beating the winter blahs. Teams must be at least six people, but they can be as large as you want. The more you find, the cheaper it will be for everyone – team registration is $235 per team for the six-week league. Park at the public parking garage on the corner of Marconi Boulevard and Spring Street and have your parking stub validated at the YMCA. It’ll only cost $1 when you leave – not bad for downtown parking!
The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is less than a 10 minute walk from downtown Columbus, located on a quiet and beautiful curve in the Scioto River. This area, which has been set aside as a conservation area for local and migrating birds, is often forgotten in the midst of winter. Take a quick break from the city and walk through the 160 reclaimed acres, looking for seasonal birds, such as the hooded merganser and Ohio’s state bird, the cardinal. If it’s too cold for a long stroll, step outside the heated center onto the observation deck and see what’s visiting the feeders.
Get outside and breathe in the fresh winter air while taking in a view of central Ohio’s gorgeous winter landscapes with Metro Park’s Winter Hikes series. Through this program, which takes place each January through February, hikers meet up with trail experts and explore 13 trails at 13 different parks across the Columbus area. Trails range from 1 to 7 miles and most locations offer more than one trail to choose from. Go to the first hike and pick up your Winter Hikes series punch card. If you complete at least seven of the hikes, you’ll get a patch to prove you aren’t afraid of the cold.
Old Man’s Cave is gorgeous any time of year, but during the winter, it’s breathtaking. The mile-long gorge, which throughout the rest of the year is filled with waterfalls and rock formations, is transformed into a winter wonderland during the colder months of the year. The waterfalls become giant icicles, and the wind blows snow banks into works of art. Old Man’s Cave is located just 30 minutes south east of Columbus. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and tread carefully, especially during the winter when the trails often become solid ice. Keep in mind that ice usually takes an extra week or two to melt at Old Man’s Cave, since much of the area is tree-covered.