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Things to do in January in Ohio (2024)

Tonya Prater, Owner

The temperatures are starting to drop, the snow is starting to fall and a hush begins to come over our house as we get past the hustle and bustle of the holidays and take down our Christmas decorations.

But just because the flurry of holiday events are over (not all of them, you have a few more days to check them out) doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck at home this January. We have a list of ideas to keep you busy this month.

Things to do in January in Ohio

From the last few Christmas displays to small-town first Fridays and ice sculpture festivals, you’ll find things to get you out of the house and celebrate a new year.

Ongoing Events Throughout the Month

An audience gathers round to listen to a performer in a darkened room in Mansfield's Theatre 166.
Theatre 166
Photo provided by Destination Mansfield
  • The world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers can be seen at the Steubenville Nutcracker Village until January 6. Over 200 are on display in Steubenville and can be seen for free 24 hours a day. Additional days will feature special events like fireworks, Polar Express hayrides, a holiday market, a holiday hike, and a Nutcracker theater. 
  • Through January 8, the Cincinnati Zoo will host the 41st Annual PNC Festival of Lights. Featuring 4 Million LED lights, roaming characters, 30 giant animal lanterns, a s’mores station, a North Pole Express train, and a family-friendly New Year’s Eve Countdown, this is one Ohio event you won’t want to miss.
  • The Ohio Bird Sanctuary hosts Winter Nature Camps on January 15th and 27th. Kids ages 6-12 will experience games, crafts, and hikes, and they will discover many ways to love winter in Ohio! Make sure to call now to reserve your spot!
  • Robins Theatre in Trumbull County will feature a wide variety of acts this month, the perfect excuse to get out of the house on cold January nights. See tribute bands for Elvis, Frankie Valli, Pink Floyd, and others. 
  • Dillon State Park near Zanesville hosts The Park After Dark on several dates throughout the winter. January themes include a fireside chat about coyotes on January 5 and a Full “Wolf” Moon hike on January 25. 
  • The Middletown Holiday Whopla is a Dr. Seuss-themed festival that runs from late November through mid-January. The Whoville ice-skating rink is open daily, with group lessons available. 
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus hosts the Holiday Bricktacular from mid-November through January 7. Legoland is fun any time of year, but this winter event puts a fun spin on your favorite building blocks, with snowy scenes, snow forts, and holiday decorations. 
  • Wildlights at Columbus Zoo is another holiday event that runs through January 7. Once the zoo closes each afternoon, millions of LED lights come on, with Santa and his reindeer, plus animated light displays. Weekends also feature a Holidays Craft Beer Celebration, with craft beer, seltzer, and cider from 25 breweries.

January 5 – January 7

  • Downtown Mansfield and the Historic Carousel District host the First Friday Shop Hop on the first Friday of each month. Activities change monthly, but you can expect live music, dinner and drink specials at local restaurants, and lots of great shopping!
  • The Artist Colony of Zanesville presents the First Friday Art Walk, a great opportunity to stroll through local galleries and meet the artists. Enjoy live music, food and drink specials, and of course, art!
  • There’s a First Friday in Dayton, too! This free art hop features exhibit openings, street performances, live music, roaming entertainers, plus dining and shopping specials. You can even go for a spin on the ice at The MetroParks Ice Rink.

January 12 – January 15

An electric saw is shown carving a block of ice during an ice festival.
  • Ever wanted to experience COSI without kids? COSI After Dark is the perfect opportunity. This month’s theme is the “Art of Body Modifications” and takes place on January 11. Special experiences, tasty food, craft beer, and cocktails make this a fun adults-only party!
  • Bundle up and get ready for Winterfest on January 13 in Loudonville. Take a stroll down Main Street to view the ice sculptures and ice carving demonstrations. The Train Expo will be held simultaneously at the Loudonville Fair Building on North Water Street, and the Mohican State Forest will have special activities. Take a drive along the Wally Road Scenic Byway while in the area and if it’s not too late, make reservations to stay in one of the treehouses at The Mohicans or book a room at Landoll’s Mohican Castle
  • Perrysburg will once again host the annual Winterfest from January 12 – 14. Elaborate ice sculptures are the highlight of the event, which also features a heated tent with kids’ activities like cookie decorating, magic shows, and music.
  • Cleveland’s Great Lakes Science Center will host the Brewsology Beer Fest on January 13. The event, marketed as a boozy version of a middle school field trip, includes beer samples and museum admission with food available for purchase.

January 19 – January 21

A child is shown in a black coat and hat and on an orange sled sliding down a snow covered hill.
  • Ohio’s largest and longest-running boat show kicks off on January 18. The Cleveland Boat Show is the best spot to see what’s new in the boating world and to start thinking about summer boating plans. Live music, local food and drink, fishing demos, and family activities await you at the I-X Center. 
  • On January 20, head to the Hocking Hills region for the 6th Annual Logan Frozen Festival. This family-friendly winter event features all things ice: ice sculptures, ice block carving demonstrations, ice games, food vendors, and more! Check out the new hobbit-inspired underground dwellings and make it a special weekend getaway.
  • In Northeast Ohio, the city of Mentor hosts the Mentor Chill Out on January 20th. Sledding, snowshoeing, and ice skating are a few of the activities planned in addition to snowman-building contests and a chili cook-off. A fireworks show will end the day!
  • The Heritage Gun Show comes to Cambridge this weekend, with two days of exhibits at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center. See what’s new in firearms and military surplus. Join or renew your NRA membership at the show for free admission. 
  • Columbus Winter Beerfest returns to the Greater Columbus Convention Center on January 20. This is a fun opportunity to sample more than 150 local and craft brews. This adults-only event will also feature a few wineries, distilleries, and food vendors.
  • The Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland will launch the annual Ice Festival on the evening of Friday, January 26 with an ice carving demonstration. The fun continues on Saturday with more ice carving, an ice slide, and other winter-themed family-friendly activities. S’mores and hot cocoa will be available for purchase.
  • In Westlake, the Crocker Park Ice Festival also starts on Friday, January 26.  Ice displays and ice carving demonstrations are available all three days, as well as live music, and local vendors. A special scavenger hunt is also planned!

January 27 – January 29

Fried egg rolls are shown on a plate with dipping sauce for Columbus Ohio's Restaurant Week.
  • Restaurant Week comes to Columbus from January 22 through January 27. Dozens of local restaurants offer food and drink specials, which makes this a great (and affordable) way to try out some new spots in town. 

Besides these scheduled events, check with your local library or community college; there are always classes, workshops, tours, and lectures happening. If you’re not a big fan of winter, the busier you stay, the faster the months will go and before you know it, it will be the summer festival season in Ohio!

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