January 22, 2023

30 reasons to love winter in metro Detroit

We’re not going to lie: winter sucks, but if you can survive a Detroit winter, you can (probably) survive anything. The key to making it through the coldest and darkest days of the year is to laugh in the face of them and fully embrace the season. Here are some of the ways we keep busy as we count down the days until spring.
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Head to Winter Blast 
No, a “winter blast” isn’t only what hits your face whenever you step outside these days. Downtown Detroit’s long-standing seasonal festival was moved to Royal Oak in 2021 due to what organizers blamed on “funding challenges,” and the wintry celebration returns to the suburb’s Centennial Commons (between Main and Troy Streets and 11 Mile Road and 3rd Street) from Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19. Guests can go ice-skating in an outdoor rink, learn to ski, or take a ride down the snow slide or zip line. There will also be ice sculptures, kid-friendly activities, live music, food trucks, and vendors, with warming zones and marshmallow roasting stations available. Admission is free and open to the public, and more information is available at winterblast.com. —Lee DeVito
Editor's note: The Winter Blast was originally slated for Friday, Feb. 3 through Saturday, Feb. 5. Organizers postponed the festival two weeks due to impending weather.
Courtesy of Winter Blast

Head to Winter Blast

No, a “winter blast” isn’t only what hits your face whenever you step outside these days. Downtown Detroit’s long-standing seasonal festival was moved to Royal Oak in 2021 due to what organizers blamed on “funding challenges,” and the wintry celebration returns to the suburb’s Centennial Commons (between Main and Troy Streets and 11 Mile Road and 3rd Street) from Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19. Guests can go ice-skating in an outdoor rink, learn to ski, or take a ride down the snow slide or zip line. There will also be ice sculptures, kid-friendly activities, live music, food trucks, and vendors, with warming zones and marshmallow roasting stations available. Admission is free and open to the public, and more information is available at winterblast.com. —Lee DeVito

Editor's note: The Winter Blast was originally slated for Friday, Feb. 3 through Saturday, Feb. 5. Organizers postponed the festival two weeks due to impending weather.
Enjoy s’mores at Valade Park
Valade Park on the Detroit riverfront is loaded with daily winter activities like sledding, oversized bonfires, s’mores, hot boozy and non-boozy drinks, food, and more. Every Saturday and Sunday from now through February, the park hosts wellness events like meditative walks, a dog pack meetup with Canine to Five, and hustle classes. There are also themed weekends like “Winter around the World” with an international food truck rally and performances, “Motown Love” with local vendors and an open mic, and “Mardi Gras.” Plus, all the events are free to attend. —Randiah Camille Green
Facebook/Detroit Riverfront
Enjoy s’mores at Valade Park Valade Park on the Detroit riverfront is loaded with daily winter activities like sledding, oversized bonfires, s’mores, hot boozy and non-boozy drinks, food, and more. Every Saturday and Sunday from now through February, the park hosts wellness events like meditative walks, a dog pack meetup with Canine to Five, and hustle classes. There are also themed weekends like “Winter around the World” with an international food truck rally and performances, “Motown Love” with local vendors and an open mic, and “Mardi Gras.” Plus, all the events are free to attend. —Randiah Camille Green
Experience curling
We have to admit, we became absolutely entranced by the strange sport of curling while watching the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where players slide stones across a sheet of ice toward a target, using tools to guide the stone’s movement by subtly altering the surface of the ice. Well, now we — and you — can try it out. A new $10 million facility called the HUB Stadium in Novi bills itself as the only place in Michigan for the general public to try curling. The 70,000-square-foot facility includes six curling sheets. The HUB Stadium is located at 44325 W. 12 Mile Rd., at the Fountain Walk mall. More information is available at novi.thehubstadium.com. —Lee DeVito
Courtesy photo

Experience curling

We have to admit, we became absolutely entranced by the strange sport of curling while watching the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where players slide stones across a sheet of ice toward a target, using tools to guide the stone’s movement by subtly altering the surface of the ice. Well, now we — and you — can try it out. A new $10 million facility called the HUB Stadium in Novi bills itself as the only place in Michigan for the general public to try curling. The 70,000-square-foot facility includes six curling sheets. The HUB Stadium is located at 44325 W. 12 Mile Rd., at the Fountain Walk mall. More information is available at novi.thehubstadium.com. —Lee DeVito
Try snowmobiling
Michigan has more than 6,000 miles of trails for snowmobilers to enjoy. Haven’t yet had the pleasure? The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced a free snowmobiling weekend on Feb. 11 and 12 where it is temporarily suspending the requirement for snowmobile registration and permits, the idea being to encourage experienced snowmobilers to bring along friends to try it out for the first time. (Just remember to please drive carefully!) —Lee DeVito
Shutterstock

Try snowmobiling

Michigan has more than 6,000 miles of trails for snowmobilers to enjoy. Haven’t yet had the pleasure? The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced a free snowmobiling weekend on Feb. 11 and 12 where it is temporarily suspending the requirement for snowmobile registration and permits, the idea being to encourage experienced snowmobilers to bring along friends to try it out for the first time. (Just remember to please drive carefully!) —Lee DeVito
Stay in a warm cabin
Escaping up north to a warm cabin in the middle of a snowy forest is one of the best things about living in Michigan in winter; extra points if the cabin has a hot tub, sauna, or indoor fireplace. There’s just something about leaving your everyday life behind for a rustic one (at least temporarily) that warms the soul, especially after a day of skiing or hiking. You don’t even have to go all the way to the Upper Peninsula to find a secluded cabin, although you totally should. Michigan State Parks like Brighton Recreation Area, Pinckney Recreation Area, and Bald Mountain offer affordable rustic cabins and yurts not too far from metro Detroit. You can reserve them through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, though the online booking system leaves much to be desired, so you may want to just call the park instead. You can also find everything from swanky shipping container homes to geodesic domes and classic chalets on Airbnb. —Randiah Camille Green
Shutterstock

Stay in a warm cabin

Escaping up north to a warm cabin in the middle of a snowy forest is one of the best things about living in Michigan in winter; extra points if the cabin has a hot tub, sauna, or indoor fireplace. There’s just something about leaving your everyday life behind for a rustic one (at least temporarily) that warms the soul, especially after a day of skiing or hiking. You don’t even have to go all the way to the Upper Peninsula to find a secluded cabin, although you totally should. Michigan State Parks like Brighton Recreation Area, Pinckney Recreation Area, and Bald Mountain offer affordable rustic cabins and yurts not too far from metro Detroit. You can reserve them through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, though the online booking system leaves much to be desired, so you may want to just call the park instead. You can also find everything from swanky shipping container homes to geodesic domes and classic chalets on Airbnb. —Randiah Camille Green
Rummage for a book from John King bookstore
There’s nothing like cozying up to a good book in the winter, and there’s no place quite like John K. King Used & Rare Books in Detroit to find a good read. With more than 1 million books on multiple floors, you could spend an afternoon perusing the shelves. And the staff is super knowledgeable if you’re looking for recommendations. Chances are, you’ll leave with a box full of books and have reading material for the rest of the winter. —Steve Neavling
Shutterstock

Rummage for a book from John King bookstore

There’s nothing like cozying up to a good book in the winter, and there’s no place quite like John K. King Used & Rare Books in Detroit to find a good read. With more than 1 million books on multiple floors, you could spend an afternoon perusing the shelves. And the staff is super knowledgeable if you’re looking for recommendations. Chances are, you’ll leave with a box full of books and have reading material for the rest of the winter. —Steve Neavling
Take a winter hike
We know it’s hard to find the motivation to get outside when the sun is nowhere to be seen for days, but going for a hike can actually ease the winter blues. Getting even the tiniest bit of vitamin D from the sun and moving your body will boost your mood and help you feel less “blah” from being cooped up inside all day. With metro Detroit’s plethora of parks, you’re spoiled for choice. Palmer Park, Rouge Park, Maybury State Park, Pinckney Recreation Area, and Kensington Metropark are some of our faves, but if you need more ideas, we’ve got a whole slideshow dedicated to winter hiking spots. —Randiah Camille Green

Take a winter hike

We know it’s hard to find the motivation to get outside when the sun is nowhere to be seen for days, but going for a hike can actually ease the winter blues. Getting even the tiniest bit of vitamin D from the sun and moving your body will boost your mood and help you feel less “blah” from being cooped up inside all day. With metro Detroit’s plethora of parks, you’re spoiled for choice. Palmer Park, Rouge Park, Maybury State Park, Pinckney Recreation Area, and Kensington Metropark are some of our faves, but if you need more ideas, we’ve got a whole slideshow dedicated to winter hiking spots. —Randiah Camille Green
Warm up with video games at Barcade
Step out of the cold and into the past for a beer, some pub grub, and a large collection of classic arcade video games and pinball machines at Barcade on Selden Street. These classics are certain to warm you up with nostalgia, and it won’t cost you a fortune. The games are only 25 cents to play. Barcade also has two dozen beers on tap. —Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling

Warm up with video games at Barcade

Step out of the cold and into the past for a beer, some pub grub, and a large collection of classic arcade video games and pinball machines at Barcade on Selden Street. These classics are certain to warm you up with nostalgia, and it won’t cost you a fortune. The games are only 25 cents to play. Barcade also has two dozen beers on tap. —Steve Neavling
Walk wintery acres of the Detroit Zoo
Bundle up and head to the Detroit Zoo, where you’ll find plenty to do. The zoo is open 362 days a year, and many animals are active in the winter months, including gray wolves, tigers, camels, polar bears, red pandas, Japanese macaques, bison, and wolverines. There’s also the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, one of the biggest habitats for penguins in the world. Winter is the perfect time to capture some wild-life photography. And if you want to get out of the cold, the zoo also has many indoor areas to explore. —Steve Neavling
Shutterstock

Walk wintery acres of the Detroit Zoo

Bundle up and head to the Detroit Zoo, where you’ll find plenty to do. The zoo is open 362 days a year, and many animals are active in the winter months, including gray wolves, tigers, camels, polar bears, red pandas, Japanese macaques, bison, and wolverines. There’s also the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, one of the biggest habitats for penguins in the world. Winter is the perfect time to capture some wild-life photography. And if you want to get out of the cold, the zoo also has many indoor areas to explore. —Steve Neavling