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Things to do in January in Ohio

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 7. 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 40th 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.
  • Downtown Mansfield presents the Emerging Artists Festival on Saturdays from January 14 through February 4. This is a great opportunity to discover new favorite artists and to support the Mansfield art community. Each week showcases new work, including musicals, comedy, and plays. 
  • The Ohio Bird Sanctuary hosts Winter Nature Camps on January 16th and 28th. 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 be celebrating its 100th Anniversary on January 9th. The entire month brings a wide variety of acts to the theatre, the perfect excuse to get out of the house on cold January nights. See tribute bands for George Michael, and Bruno Mars, plus classic bands like the Guess Who and the Buckinghams. 
  • Dillon State Park near Zanesville hosts The Park After Dark on several dates throughout the winter. January themes include a Full Moon Hike on January 6, a discussion of coyotes on January 7, and a Friday the 13th Night Hike and Cemetery Stroll on January 13. 
  • 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 8. Legoland is fun anytime of year, but this winter event puts a fun spin on your favorite building blocks, with snowy scenes, snow forts and holiday decorations. 

January 6 – January 8

  • 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.
  • This is the last weekend for Lights on the Northcoast, a drive-through light display and walk-through zoo at the Watering Hole Safari and Water Park in Port Clinton. Over one million dancing lights await you!

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 90s Party, and takes place on January 12. Special experiences, tasty food, craft beer and cocktails make this a fun adults-only party!
  • Ohio’s largest and longest-running boat show kicks off on January 12. 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. 
  • Bundle up and get ready for Winterfest January 13-15 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
  • On Friday, January 13, Zane State College hosts the Ethnic Food Fair in honor of  Martin Luther King Jr. The college’s culinary students will prepare dishes from Germany, India, Italy, and of course, soul food from the South.
  • Looking for winter activities for your teen? Troy-Miami County Public Library hosts After Dark for Teens on select Fridays. The January 13 theme is Trivia Night for teens in grades 6 through 12. They also have pizza, snacks, and door prizes. 

January 20 – January 22

A child is shown in a black coat and hat and on an orange sled sliding down a snow covered hill.
  • The Fitton Center for Creative Arts hosts Family Fridays once a month, inviting those in the Hamilton area to come to enjoy various family-friendly performances, with kid-friendly food and drink served beforehand. The January event features Tricky Max and his Abri-KID-azzle Show.
  • On January 21, 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 21st. 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. 

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 23 through January 28. 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! Protection Status
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