40 reasons to rejoice you're in Michigan for the winter 

How to have fun (in the lack of sun)

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Hang out at the Detroit Public Library. The DPL isn't just packed with books, it's packed with history, too. And it's packed with fun things to do on a cold, boring winter day. Bring the kiddies for preschool story time every Friday so you can browse the Burton Historical Collection in peace. Or, take the free art and architectural tour that happens every Saturday at 11 a.m.

Pretend you're drinking by the beach. Hey, we don't have the sunshine and sand of Florida, but that doesn't mean we can't have frosty drinks in a colorful setting. Choices range from Bahama Breeze, a perennial MT Best of Detroit winner, to Parrot Cove in Troy, where they mix margaritas in four-gallon batches and sell more than 500 shots' worth of tequila a day. You'll almost feel the trade winds tousling your hair.

Go record collecting. Detroit has a dozen great record stores, but none have as many 45s as Peoples. The store doesn't just boast a big box of only James Brown 45s — there is one for his releases on King Records, plus another box of Brown 45 releases on his own label, People. And the box covers were decorated by the late Motown artist Hermon Weems.

Get cozy in a restaurant. Half the appeal of excellent comfort food spots such as Polish Village, Loui's, and Buddy's is the decor. Think back to when you first walked into Loui's and saw the blood-red ceilings and ancient Chianti bottles, or Polish Village at Christmastime when all the paintings are wrapped like presents — didn't it instantly feel like home?

Go camping — in the winter. Yes, some people do it. They have even devised outdoor wood-burning stoves like the Riley Wall Tent Stove to keep you comfy and help you dry those clothes. Though winter camping doesn't have wide appeal, its fans love the silence, the chance to see wildlife, and the lack of yahoos swearing and whooping between mouthfuls of whiskey as they canoe by your parcel of the great open spaces.

Indulge on Paczki Day. Some of our readers complain that Paczki Day is just an excuse to boost doughnut sales. But for the revelers who crowd Hamtramck for several hours of irresponsible day-drinking, it's our jelly-smeared Mardi Gras, and a bar crawl that slips (and slides) in and out of the city's dozens of drinking and dining establishments every February.

Rock out at the Hamtramck Music Festival. The first weekend in March is a great time for a music fest because we all need an excuse to stop hibernating. And Hamtramck is an ideal spot for it, with so many bars and venues crammed next to each other. This fest aims for inclusivity and all proceeds go to a cool local music charity.

Be wowed by winter rally racing. It's kind of a hike up to Atlanta, out in Montmorency County, but at the end of January, that's when the Sno*Drift Rally takes over closed county roads, with speedy little production-line cars racing through small towns in timed stages. It's quite a thrill to line up by the side of these snowy roads and watch tricked-out Focuses, GTIs, and Jettas take corners with fancy footwork on the brakes, clutch, and gas. See sno-drift.org for more info.

Rediscover the wintertime activities of your childhood. Not everything that was super fun when you were 7 years old remains that way into adulthood, but when's the last time you made a snow angel? Obviously it has to have recently snowed, when the stuff is still wet and packs well. This is an excellent couples' activity — see who made the best one (no arguing, though)! And if you haven't built one since you were a kid, perhaps now is the time to revisit the art of the snow fort. Need some help? Ideal's Sno-Castle Kit has all the shovels and brick molds you'd need. Pick one up from Royal Oak's Toyology for $29.99.

Go shopping at Eastern Market. Sheds 3 and 5 are heated during the colder months, which makes it possible to still enjoy and shop for produce, plants, specialty goods, meat, and more. In fact, there are certain items only available during the winter. Why would you want to deprive yourself of that?

Get berserk at Berserker. In its inaugural year, this extreme music festival (named for ancient Norse warriors who went to battle in an insane fury) brought out attendees en masse. Sweaty, heavy, fast, and loud, this four-day fest split between the Loving Touch and WAB in Ferndale, features over 50 bands.

Take the Polar Bear plunge. Nothing like jumping in a frigid body of water in the middle of winter to make the Ice Bucket Challenge look downright silly. Thrill-seekers looking to contribute to a good cause can sign up for one of the Special Olympics' 29 Polar Plunges scheduled around Michigan in 2015. Check out somi.org for more information.

Hang out on a heated patio. Metro Detroiters love any excuse to sit outdoors, even when "outdoors" is in a mostly enclosed patio. That's where you'll find us, under blazing heat lamps at such places as Como's, Anita's Kitchen, and Public House in Ferndale, Arbor Brewing in Ypsi, or even the "smoking patio" at the Renshaw Lounge in Clawson. C'mere, cold — let me laugh at you.

Tap that. Because it's Michigan, it is still cold in March. One of the perks of that fact is that March is maple sugaring time. Didn't know we do that here? We're actually the sixth highest maple-producing state in the country!

Head up north to the ol' cabin. A cherished Michigan tradition — although metro Detroiters' ideas of what counts as "up north" vary somewhat. Some regard anything north of Flint to be up north, while others insist Saginaw's Zilwaukee Bridge is a sort of psycho-geographical border. The point is, there are plenty of places to get away and have a bit of a Walden experience — even if just for a weekend.

See what snowshoeing is all about. You don't have to travel to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula to showshoe in Michigan. Wixom, Clarkston, Northville, Metamora, Pinckney, Waterford, Commerce, Holly, Saginaw, Monroe, and Lake Orion are all local municipalities that offer enough space and scenery for us lucky Michiganders to try out and enjoy one of the oldest forms of transportation.

Do doughnuts in the parking lot. There's nothing like doughnuts in the morning — especially if we're talking doing doughnuts in a parking lot after a fresh snowfall. Though frowned upon in the eyes of the law (what isn't?), this is one of the simple pleasures of living in metro Detroit: All you need is a car with manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, and a set of cheap tires.

Watch the river. OK, maybe this is one a little corny, but the Detroit River is one of the most beautiful things the metro area has to offer. When the weather gets cold enough, the river freezes into beautiful formations, and when spring comes, the ice flows are both gorgeous and cathartic — a sign that warmer weather will indeed one day arrive.

Check out ice sculptures. The eighth annual Fire and Ice Festival in Rochester runs from Jan. 23-25 and has a multitude of wintry things to do: dogsledding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and a stroll around downtown to view badass ice sculptures.

Build a bonfire. If you live in metro Detroit, you know someone with a huge yard. Get a group of friends, bundle up, buy some beer, find some wood, (and a legal fire pit, of course), and experience a bona fide Michigan winter evening with only the flames to keep you warm.

Hit the bowling lanes. If anything, this will at least get you out of the house. No matter how dumpy the bowling alley may be, chances are your local spot will be buzzing with activity on a Friday or Saturday night. Plus, bowling alleyes typically have low beer prices.

Give back to the less fortunate. Take time out from your busy schedule and pitch in at a local soup kitchen. This time of year, it's perhaps more important than ever to remember that thousands of people across the city deal with the frigid temps in ways most could never imagine.

Or just stay in. Baby, it's cold outside so cuddle up with a good book, a cup of (spiked) cocoa, popcorn, and a cozy blanket and enjoy a guilt-free night in. Of course, staying in doesn't mean you can't be productive. Even if you still struggle with makng grilled cheese, winter is the perfect time to tackle new recipes. Punch an idea into Google and find something that fits your skill level. Or try getting some serious DIY projects done, cleaning out your closets, painting a room, or rearranging furniture for better feng shui.

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