My Top Ten Winter Activities (under $30) in CBUS

If you’re like me, you get pretty stir crazy during the long winter months that are nigh upon us (thankfully we have had a very slow beginning to the cold weather this year).


I am the type of person that needs regular outings and a full schedule in order to feel normal (if you couldn’t already tell that by my instagram). So during the winter, I tend to get a little bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder simply due to the fact that I don’t get as much time DOING things as I do during the warmer months.


My remedy? Finding ways to stay active and have new adventures to experience that aren’t limited by the snow, ice, and ridiculously low temperatures.


Here’s my list of top ten winter activities (that also happen to be reasonably priced at under $30 per person) in Columbus.

1.Get Air Columbus

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Get Air Columbus in Hilliard is a trampoline park that is fun for kids from age 1 to 92.

This place will really let you work out your winter blues through jumping like crazy in their 42,000 square-foot facility.

They’ve got everything from dodgeball, foam pits, slacklines, slam ball (which is basketball on steroids), a fidget ladder, and a Ninja Course for the aspiring American Ninja Warrior in your family or friends circle.

A two-hour jump session is just $21. You’ll also be required to purchase a pair of jump socks for $3, putting this fun event at only $24 a person.

  1. Sledding

It’s no secret that Columbus isn’t the hilliest of places, but we do have some higher places that boast great sledding spots once we do get a few inches of snow (maybe this weekend?!)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love our Metro Parks, so the sledding hills discussed here will all be in the Metro Parks.

There are sledding hills at Battelle Darby Metro Park in Galloway, Blacklick Woods Golf Course in Reynoldsburg, Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center, and Sharon Woods Metro Park in Westerville. 

The sledding hills are all free to access, you just need to bring your own sled! Or, you could always make your own.

  1. Big Room Bar at CD1025

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I love CD1025; I listen to Columbus’s independent alternative radio station all day long at work. They play the best music and promote local like nobody’s business.

The Big Room Bar on the second floor of the radio station (which is on Front Street in the Brewery District) started out as a place to host acoustic sessions for bands that were in town and would later be performing in larger venues around the city.

The Big Room still serves as a venue in this way, but certainly has attracted nationally-touring artists such as Handsome Ghost, Bash & Pop, and Joan of Arc for evening shows. The venue also hosts local artists, true to form for local-loving CD1025. 

The Big Room Bar also has a menu featuring items such as smothered fries and build-your-own hot dogs. Their happy hour is from 4-8P Monday through Saturday, and features local craft pints for just $3.

There are events from Thursday to Monday, including  Front Stage Live on Wednesday evenings, which a presentation of local musicians exclusively. Cover charges vary and tickets can be purchased through PromoWest.

You can also get free passes for the Big Room events by listening to CD1025 and earning lounge points every hour.

This coming Sunday, December 11th, The Big Room will be hosting Lydia Loveless and serving a pancake breakfast as part of the CD1025 for the Kids Thon fundraiser. Admission is free but donations are encouraged (it’s for the kids, guys!)

  1. Kingmakers Board Game Parlour

Board gamers, prepare to be delighted. Kingmakers is a bar and lounge that features a HUGE library of board and card games, including mainstream and lesser-known, “indie” games.

My favorite game there is Coconuts Crazy Monkey Dexterity Game, which is a Korean game of flinging coconuts with spring loaded monkey figurines into cups. Sounds weird and terrible, but it is a blast.

Kingmakers is in the basement level of the same building as Forno on Buttles Avenue in the Short North (it’s a very short walk from the corner of Buttles and High).

They do have beer on tap, wine, hard soda, specialty soda, a coffee menu with lattes and espresso, and a small snack menu.

Kingmakers is a steal, at just $5 a person for unlimited play for an entire evening. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 5-11P, Friday from 5P-1A, Saturday from 1P-1A, and Sunday from 1-8P.

  1. Winter Park Outdoor Ice Rink
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(this photo is from last year, just FYI)

For the past several years, the Columbus Blue Jackets have hosted an outdoor skating rink in McFerson Commons in the Arena District called Winter Park.

This year is no different, so you can count on spending some outdoor fun on ice from January 9th through March 12th.

If you happen to have your own ice skates, and can’t wait until January 9th to break in your skates, the Metro Parks has got you covered yet again (can you see why I love them?). Blendon Woods Metro Park (on the East Side off of Cherry Bottom Road) has a man-made ice skating rink that is two whole acres, and should be ready to skate on soon as it is only one foot deep.

  1. Laser Tag

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Is there a better way to let out your inner kid than playing a couple of rounds of laser tag? I think not. Lazer Kraze in Gahanna is the place to go with a group of  friends to experience the fun of laser tag and more.

Their laser tag course is multi-level, and features several different gaming formats, so you can choose your style of fun. No matter what you play, your adrenaline will be pumping and you’ll get a great workout!

Laser Kraze also has a fun game called Cyber Sport, which is a cross between lacrosse and basketball played on these little cyber cars (they kind of look like bumper cars).

On Friday nights from 9PM to midnight, you can purchase an all-you-can-play pass for just $15, making Lazer Kraze a blast at a reasonable price.  

  1. A Plethora of Outdoor Actvities at the Metro Parks

“More Metro Parks, Hillary?” you ask.“Really?”

Yes, really. The Metro Parks are great all year round, but they do such a great job of filling their winter calendar as well, with both indoor and outdoor activities for people of all ages.

Here’s a few that I’m looking forward to in particular:

  • December 11th at 5PM-Howl at the Moon at Highbanks
    • Meet at the Nature Center at 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center
    • 3.5-mile walk with your dog, leash required
    • No registration required
  • December 13th at 5PM- Full Cold Moon Hike at Battelle Darby Creek
    • Meet at the Ranger Station at 1775 Darby Creek Rd
    • No registration required
  • December 17th at 10AM- Take A Walk Along The Creek at Blendon Woods
    • Meet at the Nature Center at 4265 E Dublin Granville Rd
    • No registration required 
  • December 18th at 1PM- ‘Tis the Season at Slate Run Farm
    • Make an ornament or popcorn garland to take home, stroll around the farm
    • Meet at the Farmhouse at 1375 State Route 674 N in Canal Winchester
    • No registration required
  • December 31st at 10AM at Battelle Darby Creek- Off-Trail Hike
    • 3-mile off-trail hike through prairies, forests, and ravines
    • Meet at Indian Ridge Bulletin Board at 2705 Darby Creek Rd in Galloway
    • No registration required
  • January 7th at 10AM at Blacklick Woods- 44th Annual Winter Hike Series
    • A 2- or 4-mile hike through Blacklick Woods
    • Hot drinks and snacks provided
    • Meet at Ash Grove Picnic Area at 6975 E Livingston Ave in Reynoldsburg
    • No registration required
  • January 22nd at 2PM at Inniswood Gardens-44th Annual Winter Hike
    • A guided 2-mile hike along the trails and garden paths
    • Meet at the Gardens Entrance-940 S Hempstead Rd in Westerville
    • No registration required
  • February 4th at 2PM-Geocaching Hide & Seek- Sharon Woods
    • Hunt for hidden caches in the Natural Play Area using your own GPS or borrow one from Sharon Woods
    • Meet at the Natural Play Area- which is near the last parking lot in the Apple Ridge Picnic Area-6911 Cleveland Ave in Westerville
    • No registration required
  • February 18th at 10AM-44th Annual Winter Hike Series at Three Creeks
    • Take a 1-, 3-, or 5.6-mile hike along the creeks, then enjoy hot food and drinks
    • Meet at the Confluence Trails Bulletin Board at 3860 Bixby Rd in Groveport
    • No registration required
  • February 25th at 1PM- Maple Time at Slate Run Farm
    • Sample some maple syrup and learn how it’s made the old fashioned way
    • Meet at the Farmhouse at 1375 State Route 674 N in Canal Winchester
    • No registration required

All of these events I listed are FREE, so these are great options when you’re feeling broke during the holidays but still want to enjoy what our great city has to offer.

These options are all perfect ways to work out that cabin fever, but I would definitely recommend bundling up and wearing proper footwear!

8.16-Bit Bar+Arcade

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16-Bit is a fantastic place to bask in the nostalgia of your 80s or 90s youth with classic arcade games. Located downtown on South 4th Street, it’s conveniently adjacent to such classics as Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, Mikey’s Late Night Slice, and The Walrus.

You can enjoy classic video and arcade games like Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, Frogger, and many more.

Gaming is free to those who drink, so purchase one of their delicious cocktails such as the Kevin Bacon (Jim Beam Maple Bourbon, ginger ale, and bacon jerky), Ice T (Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade), or my personal favorite, the Lisa Bonet (Sailor Jerry Rum, St. Germain, simple syrup, lime juice, and ginger ale).

Every Friday night this month is Gotta Get Down on Friday, which is a fun night where the bartenders choose the feature cocktails. The feature cocktails are $2 off all night long.

Depending on how much you drink, this could very easily be a fun night done on the cheap.  

9.Cross-Country Skiing

Did you know that our very own Metro Parks have trails designated for cross-country skiing during the winter months? I had no idea until I started doing the research for this article. What a great way to get an amazing workout while getting in touch with nature during the winter months.

There are trails at Battelle Darby Creek, Highbanks, Blendon Woods, and Prairie Oaks. The trails range from anywhere between 2 miles and 5.7 miles.

If you’re like me, and don’t have a pair of cross-country skis lying around, you can actually rent a pair from Outdoor Pursuits, which is a non-profit dedicated to providing outdoor adventure to Columbus residents. You can rent a pair for a weekend for just $15.

Be sure to contact the respective Metro Park office to determine if conditions are suitable for cross-country skiing before heading out.  

 

  1. Vertical Adventures

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Finally, we have Vertical Adventures, which is a 15,000 square foot indoor rock-climbing gym off of Busch Road in Columbus.

Rock-climbing is a fun, full-body workout that also challenges you mentally. Rest assured that you will be sore for the next day or so, but the rush of reaching the top of the wall and ringing the bell after a long physical and emotional struggle is like no other.

You can purchase a day pass, rent a harness, shoes, belay device and carabiner all for just $28.

On New Years Eve, they will host a party for adults ages 21 and up that goes from 9PM-1AM and will include climbing, games, and food.  You can register for the event on their website here.

All of these amazing events and activities in Columbus just show that there is absolutely no reason to stay at home and get cabin fever this winter. So join me in my adventures this winter by getting out there and trying some or all of the fun activities I’ve highlighted. Enjoy!

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