30 winter activities to try this season


Elena Sherwood

From ice skating to seeing a show at the Fox, the possibilities for how to spend winter are endless.

Making the switch from summer to winter is difficult, especially in Missouri when the temperature can plummet 40 degrees within 48 hours. In summer, anything feels possible — days are sunny and hopeful, evenings are balmy and never seem to end. Then, after a week of exciting fall weather that brings hope of bonfires and long sleeves comes freezing rain and 5 p.m. sunsets. What is anyone supposed to do on a Friday evening when it’s almost unbearable to walk from the car to the front door? Well, here are some cold weather activities for when driving around Downtown Kirkwood in circles becomes intolerable.

Getting out

If you have money to spend:

  1. Tilles Park Winter Wonderland
    Price: $6 per person to walk, $10 per family car, carriage and other vehicle prices vary.Whether in a carriage, car or on your feet,* make sure to visit Tilles Park between Nov. 22–Jan. 2 from 5:30–9:30 p.m to see their Winter Wonderland light display. Tune in to the radio or play your own holiday music as you watch over 1.5 million lights shine. If you go, try to find all nine of Santa’s reindeer scattered throughout the park.
  2. St. Louis Ballet – The Nutcracker
    Price: $25-$75
    “The Nutcracker” is a classic holiday performance you’ll love if you enjoy ballet or classical music. Shows are Dec. 18–23 at 7 p.m. (2:30 p.m. for matinee shows). If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option, check out Alexandra Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” at Westminster Christian Academy Fri. Dec. 20 from 7-9 p.m.
  3. Ted Drewes and Candy Cane Lane
    Price: Varies
    I know what you’re thinking: frozen custard is meant for summer. However, Ted Drewes also has a Christmas tree lot, which may be helpful if you haven’t gotten your tree yet. When you’re finished with your Cindermint concrete or S’more sundae, head over to Candy Cane Lane, a street on Murdoch Ave. that puts on a light display each year and accepts donations for various charities. When you’ve finished driving through, check out Angel Avenue and Snowflake Street nearby.
  4. Steinberg Rink
    Ice skating is not only romantic, but great exercise. Steinberg Rink is the Midwest’s largest outdoor rink, and is open to the public all day, even on holidays. The Snowflake Cafe offers hot chocolate as well, the perfect way to warm up after skating for a couple of hours.
  5. Hockey game
    Dig around your couch cushions or inside the pockets of your mom’s winter coat for a five dollar bill. Hockey is the perfect winter sport to watch. Instead of being cold outside, you can be cold inside.
  6. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
    If you’re a fan of “The Voice,” you’ll be glad to know that Kennedy Holmes, season 15 finalist, will be performing gospel renditions of Christmas songs with IN UNISON Chorus Dec. 18-19. You can also hear your favorite holiday hits at the Mercy Holiday Celebration Dec. 13–15 at Powell Hall.
  7. Drive around rich neighborhoods
    Yes, gas does cost money (for those of you whose parents fill up their tanks). Gather some friends and find some big houses to ooh and ahh at. Playing Christmas music and going at night to see the lights is just an added bonus.
  8. Shop
    Yes, this is a bit cliché, and yes, it does require spending money. However, the opportunities are endless: whether it’s the satisfaction of flaunting that four dollar sweater from Goodwill, or trying on expensive clothes at Plaza Frontenac, browsing out and about is sure to entertain no matter where you go.


  1. Take a walk/run
    Sometimes, December and January bring some surprisingly warm days. Use this to your advantage and take a 20 minute walk to remind yourself what it’s like to be outside.
  2. Sit in a library or bookstore for an afternoon
    Pick out a book that sounds interesting, find a comfy chair and start reading. Libraries tend to close earlier, so Barnes and Noble (or any other book store) is a great alternative — and although it may seem a bit criminal, you really don’t have to pay for a book before you read it. Just make sure you have plenty of time to sit.
  3. Clean out your car
    This can be really satisfying once you’re finished, and starting the new year with a clean vehicle is always beneficial. Pick an afternoon and grab some Clorox wipes — maybe you could enlist a friend or two to help.
  4. Work
    Okay, let’s face it: no matter what holiday you celebrate, your bank account goes through a bit of a crisis during the winter. Whether it’s for gifts or gas, making a bit more bank can be worth the sacrifice. This also means you can participate in some activities from the “if you have money to spend” list above.

Staying in


  1. Make a fort
    Grab some blankets, heavy books and some siblings. Get ready to reorganize your living room. Feel free to have a sleepover when you’re done, but don’t forget to clean up — weaving in and out of forgotten blankets can be a bit tiring after two weeks.
  2. Organize a Secret Santa
    Use Elfster to draw names online, or do it the classic way and pull slips of paper from a hat. You can also add a twist by making people guess who their Secret Santa is before opening their gift. This can be done with family, friends or another group like coworkers.
  3. Make breakfast for your inner circle
    It’s always satisfying to have a nice spread of food laid out before 11 a.m., especially for people you care about. Trying a new recipe could add to the fun, or you can simply stick with the classics.
  4. Clothes swap with friends
    Get everyone together and have each person bring clothes (or even items like room decor, books or movies) that they don’t want anymore. It could be a free-for-all, or you could set some guidelines so all the Lululemon isn’t snatched in the first five minutes.
  5. Play Kahoots
    Either find random Kahoots online and get everyone to play, or have each person make a Kahoot about themselves. Everyone else plays and whoever wins gets a prize (or just bragging rights).
  6. Fun family photos
    Getting your family together for some creative photos can be a bit of a challenge, but even dressing everyone in ugly sweaters and recreating awkward family photos can be hilarious. Don’t forget the dog, either.


  1. Make fun playlists
    Create some unique playlists for any type of mood: to get you hyped up, driving at night or family time. If you’re extra bored, you can even organize the songs in the order you want them played.
  2. Reorganize
    Speaking of organizing, choose one place like your room, closet or even something like your computer desktop or phone apps to completely reorganize. Surprisingly this can be super refreshing.
  3. Set aside a few minutes for studying or homework
    This isn’t the most fun use of your time, but finals are coming up, not to mention that there’s still a whole semester of school after break. Even 15 minutes of looking over notes can make a big difference when it comes to homework or tests.
  4. Set some goals for the new year
    Even though it’s rare that people continue their resolutions past Jan. 2, it can be fun to think about what you want to accomplish in 2020. Whether this means better grades, getting a job or improving your self care, 2020 is full of possibilities.
  5. Look at colleges
    Searching for the right school can be extremely stressful, but if you break it down into small chunks on your own time (not when teachers are telling you to) it can be a lot easier. Start surfing around online and make a big list — then, start digging in and narrow it down. Or, look at the pretty campuses to start gauging your interest.
  6. Take a bath
    Go all out: candles, a nice book (make sure it’s not a library book just in case it gets wet) and fluffy towels. Set aside plenty of time to soak and get nice and warm.
  7. Plan some new winter outfits
    It can be frustrating to wake up late (thanks, shorter days) and have no idea what to wear. Jot down some possible combinations in your head or even in a notebook to make your mornings, or evenings, a bit smoother.
  8. Decorate your own space
    Print out some photos of your best memories with friends or family and create a stylish wall collage. Or, collect some fashion inspo or cool quotes to keep you going when you wake up in the morning
  9. Update yourself on the current election
    Even if you’re not able to vote in the next election, being able to speak with some intelligence about the subject is impressive. However, if you are able to vote in 2020, get familiar with the facts here.
  10. Make something from scratch
    This applies to anything from food to crafts. Pick a new recipe to try or make some cute homemade gifts for your loved ones (hello, Pinterest).
  11. Make lists
    This may seem a bit pointless, but making lists can be pretty entertaining if you do it right. Some ideas: favorite memories from 2019, movies to watch, my top 100 songs, bucket list, places I want to travel, things I love about the holidays.
  12. Start a list of movies you want to see and watch one per weekend
    Remember that movie list you were going to make? Start checking off those cool films and watch one every weekend.