Wintertime Events

There is much to enjoy as the midwinter weather hangs on.

The holiday season has come and gone, and with spring more than two months away, it’s far too easy to let frigid temperatures, less-than-ideal driving conditions and snow-covered driveways and sidewalks bring one down with a case of the midwinter blues. Sure, some people eagerly embrace the frosty conditions and the opportunities such conditions offer: Skiing (cross country and/or downhill), snowmobiling and ice fishing immediately spring to mind. Yet others, such as myself, are more inclined to hunker down, preferably indoors, with a cup of hot chocolate, a warm blanket and a good book.

Let’s face the facts: Some people simply aren’t athletically inclined when faced with more than 10 more weeks of winter weather; I should know, I’m one of them. Yet that doesn’t mean one must hibernate in the weeks and months to come, no matter how bitter the cold may prove to be. In fact, there’s plenty to do while waiting for warmer weather, March Madness and that first outdoor barbecue or picnic.


Feb. 13-23

Downtown Syracuse

Winterfest, in its 29th year, draws thousands to downtown Syracuse, a perfect excuse to brave (at least some years) frigid temps and frozen digits to experience the best in food and dining, games, sports, music and entertainment. According to the fest’s website, organizers and volunteers share one simple goal: to “celebrate, rather than lament, winter in Syracuse and Onondaga County.”

Popular events returning for the 2014 edition include the annual Treasure Hunt (Feb. 13-23, or until the medallion is found); Culinary Cruise (Feb. 15, noon to 4 p.m.); Martini Mix-off (Feb. 15, noon to 4 p.m.); Sandwich Stroll (Feb. 22, noon to 4 p.m.); Bloody Mary Mix-off (Feb. 23, noon to 4 p.m.); and Hammond Jammin’ X (Feb. 23, noon to 6 p.m.). Visit for more information.

Ice skating in Clinton Square

West Genesee and South Clinton streets

Looking for that perfect first date or something fun for the entire family? Weather permitting, the Clinton Square ice skating rink might be the perfect solution. According to the city of Syracuse’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Groups, the rink is “one of the city’s most popular destinations” and lures more than 20,000 skaters to the open air facility each year.

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children 12 and under, and $2 for seniors over age 55. For those looking for the most bang for their buck, admission into the rink is free on Free Monday Skate Nights, Jan. 20 and 27, with skate rentals for $3.

Admission for Family Nights, which take place Mondays through Thursdays, 4 to 8 p.m., is $15 and includes skate rental. Lunchtime Skate, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., is $1.50 for admission, $2.50 for skate rental and admission.

Hours of operation (again, weather permitting) are Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Children under age 18 must be supervised by a parent after dark, so make sure to have your photo ID available. For information, call 423-0129.

Take a hike or grab your sled

If properly attired, a winter hike might be just the thing for those cooped up during the winter. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also options, and those with an adventurous streak might want to check out what some describe as a treasure hunt with a twist: geocaching. (Keep an eye out for a future Syracuse New Times article focusing on the popular hobby.)

There are literally dozens of destinations across Onondaga County and the surrounding countryside to hike, including Highland Forest (cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and sledding) in Fabius; Beaver Lake Nature Center (cross-country skiing and snowshoeing) in Baldwinsville; Oneida Shores Park (cross-country skiing) in Brewerton; and Onondaga Lake Park (cross-country skiing, sledding and snowmobiling) in Liverpool. Visit for admission and rental prices, as well as additional winter destinations.

These are just a few options to keep one active and entertained while waiting for warmer weather and a welcome respite from those winter blues. Get creative, use your imagination or simply do a quick Google search for winter activities near you, you’ll be surprised at what’s available.

And it’s not as if winter finds the local music or theater scene slowing down, so catch a show, check out a band or local musician you’ve never seen or visit one of the many museums located across Onondaga County. Even a downtown stroll offers a chance to do some window shopping and is better than sitting at home doing nothing at all. No matter what, don’t let those winter blues bring you down.

For more indoor and outdoor Wintertime Events – visit the Newtimes CALENDAR – HERE

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