Your Cleveland winter fun survival kit


Courtesy of National Parks Service

Cleveland offers a variety of exciting snow-centered activities such as ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding.

Christie Lanfear, Life Editor

Just over a week ago, Case Western Reserve University saw its first proper snow of this school year. Real, bus-stopping, slippery, fun snow. As a New Englander, a foot of snow accumulating in one storm is not at all bizarre. For some students, however, this was their first-ever snow. I only vaguely remember my first real snow, granted I was only a toddler, so I wasn’t expected to remember much. But I do remember the thrill and the wonder at the curious ice falling from the sky. When walking back from a friend’s dorm during the storm here on campus, I was not surprised to see dozens of 18 or 19-year-old students transported back to those childhood years; the years when white fluffy stuff was mesmerizing. It was almost comical watching toddlers temporarily surfacing in the bodies of fully grown college students. 

Even for students such as myself who have been experiencing a snow-covered winter for as long as they can remember, snow is so much fun and is rich with the potential to make some lifelong memories. 

The difficulty with snow is deciding what to do in it. Once you’ve participated in enough snowball fights that you are now basically an armed and dangerous snowball maker and have made so many snow angels that your arms are ready to fall off, what do you do? This is where my article comes in. It will be a roadmap for your winter here at CWRU, detailing the best places to go and activities to do with your friends, all in between classes and homework of course. 

Ice Skating 

Although it might seem cliche, this only tradition is an essential piece of any winter fun survival kit. Take your friends and learn together! I promise it will be worth it and become something that you look back on fondly in the future. You will spend an hour laughing so hard that your ribs hurt by the end; a memory worth every penny. Below I have listed a couple of places located near or on campus where you can unleash the pro skater within you. 

The Rink at Wade Oval – located right on campus, this little rink is irresistibly Instagramable, super dinky and wonderfully cute. What makes it even better is the reasonable prices: you can get skates and rink time for only $3. They even have free lessons! Utilize Wade Oval’s close proximity and “take winter for a spin.”

Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights – if you are looking for something a little bigger, this is the place to try. It is slightly more expensive than Wade Oval—$9 an hour—but is justified by the larger skating space. I can’t wait to get over there and attempt to teach some of my friends the art of staying on your feet for just over five minutes—big flex I know. 


I am sure that this is quite familiar to anyone who grew up around snow, and it is such a winter classic. No matter your age, there is something so thrilling about going down a hill at a million miles an hour, hoping that you don’t fall off and get a face full of snow. The only hitch here in Cleveland? Well, finding a hill. But don’t worry, I got you. As well as the occasional little one on campus, I found some nearby that are more suited to the thrill-seekers. 

Knob Hill at Forest Park – only slightly beyond Coventry, it is the perfect sledding spot. Definitely the location for bombing down the hill holding on for dear life. 

Thornton Park – just a short bus ride away through the beautiful Shaker Heights. This location looks equally fun and thrilling as Knob Hill. 

Hot Cocoa 

Drinking this liquid heaven is a fundamental winter activity, and it is one of my favorite things to do. Below are a couple of the best places to find that perfect cup of hot chocolate. 

The Coffee House – starring you in the face and located across from the North Residential Village, this place is so cute for hot cocoa or any warm wintry drink. It is also equally perfect as a study stop if you are pressed for time and want to bring your homework with you to accompany your hot drink. 

Phoenix Coffee – located just off campus in Coventry, Phoenix Coffee is renowned for its amazing coffee and equally delightful hot chocolate. 


Despite being slightly more unique than the other activities on this list, snowshoeing is definitely equally as entertaining. Walking on top of the deep snow is such a cool feeling and it is still one of my favorite activities back home. Luckily for us students, a majority of the national parks in the Cleveland area rent snowshoes. There are a few just a short drive away and most have snowshoes for rent! 

Winter Hiking 

Lastly, we have one of my favorites. Although it may seem boring in comparison to some of the other activities, I promise that you’ll be taken aback by the winter wonderland beauty that can be found near campus. The first place that comes to mind is the gorgeous CWRU farm. I went walking here before the snow arrived, and it was so peaceful. I can’t wait to get over there to see its winter transformation. It feels so refreshing to get out of the city and breathe purer air. 

The activities listed above are just some of the necessities for winter excitement. There are, of course, countless more. Your friends might have unique hometown traditions to share, or maybe you’ll come up with your own unique winter pastime. Either way, I promise that snow is so much more than traffic-stopping, cold-inducing white stuff. I hope that my article inspires you to venture out and enjoy it!