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10 Best Things to Do in Cleveland in January

The New Year has begun and the busy holiday season has ended, but there’s still plenty going on in Cleveland during the month of January.

Although it can be cold and snowy outside, you can take advantage of the weather for fun seasonal experiences like snowshoeing and ice skating. And if you’d rather stay cozy and warm indoors, there are other options for indoor things to do in Cleveland this January.

January is also the month of several holidays, including MLK Day and the Lunar New Year.

Here are some of the best things to do in and around Cleveland in January.

Weather in Cleveland in January

January is the coldest month in Cleveland. The average high for the month is 34° F and the average low is 23° F, so most days are below freezing.

This is also the month where Cleveland usually experiences the highest snowfall, averaging over 18 inches and 13 days of snow. When exploring Cleveland in January, you’ll want to make sure you’re bundled up and have the proper winter gear!

Top 10 Things to Do in Cleveland in January

1. Hand-feed chickadee birds

When: Weekend mornings in January*

Where: Brecksville Nature Center, 9000 Chippewa Rd, Brecksville, OH 44141

Chickadee eating out of a hand
Hand-feeding chickadees at Brecksville Nature Center

*Note: Feeding the birds is canceled this winter (2023) at Brecksville Reservation because of bird flu in the area. There are places in the Summit MetroParks that appear to still be running their programs, though, including at the Liberty Park Nature Center in Twinsburg.

Brecksville Nature Center, part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, is located about 25 minutes outside of downtown Cleveland. It’s home to one of the most unique winter activities you can try: hand-feeding chickadee birds.

The tradition goes back to at least the 1940s, not long after the historic Brecksville Nature Center was built by Works Progress Administration (WPA) craftsmen in 1939.

Going on a cold, snowy day armed with some black oil sunflower seeds, and with some patience, you’ll have these cute little birds landing in your palm to feed in no time.

Since this is an outdoor activity that requires you to stand for a while in cold wintry temperatures, be sure to come prepared. Warm clothing, winter coats, boots, hats, and gloves are all recommended.

2. Check out the Cleveland Boat Show

When: January 12-15, 2023

Where: International Exposition Center, 1 I-X Center Dr, Cleveland, OH 44135

The Cleveland Boat Show is the largest and longest-running boat show in Ohio, perfect for everyone from seasoned boating enthusiasts to those with a casual interest in boating.

Held indoors at the I-X Center, this multi-day event features educational tracks for beginner, intermediate, and experienced boaters, live local music, food and drink, family activities, and unique experiences like a sailing simulator.

Tickets are $20, with discounts available for military and seniors at the door. Kids 6 and under are free.

3. Have a museum day

When: All month long

Where: Museums around Cleveland

Cleveland Museum of Art atrium
The atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland is home to some really great museums. And there’s no better way to spend a bitterly cold January day than indoors exploring a new museum.

Some of the best museums in Cleveland to check out are:

  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
  • Children’s Museum Cleveland
  • Cleveland History Center

The ice skating rink at University Circle, which is near the Cleveland Natural History Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and other museums, is also open all throughout January.

4. Celebrate MLK Day

When: January 15-16, 2023

Where: Various locations

Cleveland Orchestra
Inside Severance Hall

MLK Day honors civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. every third Monday January. There are many ways you can commemorate this day in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Orchestra is hosting a free Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Concert at Severance Hall on Sunday, January 15, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. The concert features music from black composers and vocals from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Chorus. (Tickets are free, but they will sell out soon after they go on sale on January 7th.)

The Cleveland Museum of Art is also hosting a celebration in honor of MLK on Monday, January 16, 2023, from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. This family-friendly event includes storytelling, art-making, and reflective writing prompts.

5. Go to Guards Fest  

When: January 21, 2023, from 1:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Where: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, 300 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44113

Guards Fest is an annual event for fans of the Cleveland Guardians MLB baseball team. Although baseball doesn’t officially start until spring, this is a great winter activity for fans.

The event includes panels from players on the main stage, autographs and photo opportunities with players, and interactive games for the whole family.

Tickets are $15, or $5 for Guardians season ticket holders. Autographs and photo opportunities are an additional fee.

6. Celebrate Lunar New Year

When: January 22, 2023

Where: Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave #204A, Cleveland, OH 44114

Chinese lanterns
Lanterns for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is the beginning of a New Year for a calendar that observes moon cycles. It’s celebrated in many cultures, but it’s often known as Chinese New Year because it’s a major festival in China.

In 2023, the Lunar New Year falls on January 22. There are several places you can celebrate the Lunar New Year in Cleveland.

In the AsiaTown neighborhood of Cleveland, Asia Plaza hosts a big Lunar New Year celebration every year including traditional performances and a lantern festival. (Happening this year from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on January 21st.)

Li Wah Restuarant is also a great place to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with a traditional Lunar New Year meal and Lion Dance performances.

7. Go snowshoeing

When: All month long

Where: Various locations

Snowshoeing in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Snowshoeing in CVNP

Snowshoeing is a great outdoor activity to try in January if you don’t mind braving the cold.

There are many locations around Cleveland that rent snowshoes during the winter when there’s enough snow, including:

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Chapin Forest Reservation (Lake Metroparks)
  • Penitentiary Glen Reservation (Lake Metroparks)
  • North Chagrin Nature Center (Cleveland Metroparks)
  • Liberty Park Nature Center (Summit MetroParks)

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is especially good for exploring during the winter, and you can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, hiking, and seeing frozen waterfalls.

8. Farmpark Ice Festival

When: January 27-28, 2023

Where: Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Rd. (Rt. 6), Kirtland, Ohio 44094

For a truly unique event in January, don’t miss the Lake County Farmpark’s annual Ice Festival. Located about 30 minutes outside downtown Cleveland, this weekend festival features impressive ice sculptures and ice carving competitions.

On Friday night, enjoy ice carving demonstrations and the battle between fire and ice. On Saturday, witness some of the best ice carvers from around the country take part in a speed carving competition and warm up by the fire with hot cocoa and s’mores.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $6 for children aged 2 through 11.

9. Go ice skating

When: All month long

Where: Ice skating rinks in Cleveland

Public Square ice rink
The Public Square ice rink is open all winter long

January is the coldest month in Cleveland, and the city’s outdoor ice rinks are all open throughout the month.

Some of the best locations to go ice skating in January are Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink in Public Square, The Rink at Wade Oval at University Circle, and the Crocker Park Holiday Skating Rink.

10. Enjoy a cozy brunch

When: All month long

Where: Various locations

Brunch at the South Side
Brunch at The South Side

There’s no better way to warm up on a cold January day than with a cozy brunch. Head to one of Cleveland’s best brunch spots such as:

  • Juneberry Table
  • Lucky’s Cafe
  • Luxe Kitchen & Lounge
  • The South Side
  • Heck’s Cafe

Some restaurants, such as The South Side, even have private heated igloos that you can rent for a memorable brunch experience.

READ NEXT: 10 Best Indoor Things to Do in Cleveland

What are you most excited to do in Cleveland in January?

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