Celebrate the season with this fun Winter Bucket List!
You'll find 65 creative winter activities and ideas here (plus, a free printable list) that will keep you busy this year and beyond!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Are you a winter lover?
Personally, my winter dream is watching the snow fall while curling up in front of a roaring fire. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy that?
In reality though, winter often means trudging through a slush puddle with frozen feet. But there's no avoiding these cold months, and I'm all for making the best of every season ... winter included!
And there are so many things to love about winter ... like cozy sweaters, beautiful snowy landscapes, indulgent comfort foods, outdoor activities that transport you back to childhood, and so much more! So why not embrace the joys of the season?
If you're ready to celebrate the best of winter, too then you're going to love this fun list! It has all the best classic winter activities, plus lots more you've probably never thought of.
Winter Bucket List
If you’re looking for fun things to do in the winter, then this list is for you.
It can sometimes be hard to get excited about winter, so I've gathered a bunch of seasonal inspiration together for you! You'll find 65 creative Winter Bucket List ideas here. Whether you’re looking for recipe ideas, indoor or outdoor activities, ways to spend a winter break, or simply something that will warm you up, I guarantee there are at least a few ideas here you’ll want to add to your own list.
At the end of this post, you’ll find a free printable with all of these winter activities. Print it out, then start checking off your favorite winter things! There’s also a blank printable so you can create a custom winter to do list if you’d prefer.
Before you go ... if you're looking for things to do in other seasons, make sure to check out my Fall Bucket List, too. You can always save it for later! Stuck at home? Then, you need this list of 130 Things to Do at Home! And don't miss these At Home Date Night Ideas either. They're sure to bring a little extra romance into your life, just in time for Valentine's Day.
65 Winter Activities
I've included something for everyone on this list ... couples or friends, adults and kids, and more. You'll find indoor and outdoor activities, so you can choose something based on whether you want to brave the weather, go somewhere warm, or stay at home.
Try one of these winters ideas, or if you're feeling ambitious, attempt to do them if all!
1. Plan a Movie Marathon
Wrapping up in a cozy blanket and watching your favorite movies is one of the best ways to spend a cold winter day. Keep it simple or invite a few friends over to join you. I'm partial to 80's throwback movies, like The Money Pit and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or maybe a National Lampoon's Vacation marathon. But I wouldn't be adverse to including a slightly more recent fave, like Waitress, either.
And don't forget the homemade popcorn! This Parmesan Pepper Popcorn recipe is my absolute fave.
2. Build a Snowman
Whether you have kids or not, building a snowman is sure to put a smile on your face. So grab a carrot and an extra hat and scarf, then get out there!
3. Take a Trip Somewhere Warm
Are you feeling the winter blues? Having a trip on the calendar will give you something to look forward to, especially if it's a warm weather destination. If you're looking for affordable ideas, check out one of my favorite beach destinations: Chacala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Orange Beach.
If you're not a fan of the beach, then consider planning a trip to a southern city, like New Orleans, or head even further south to vibrant Mexico City. You may not experience any balmy beach temps in these cities, but the weather is generally very pleasant. Not to mention, you can leave that full-length puffer coat at home.
Are you a baseball fan? Then, start planning a Spring Training trip! My husband and I go every year, and it's so fun!
4. Travel Somewhere Cold
Are you a snow lover? Then take advantage of the frosty weather while it lasts. Some of my favorite recent trips have featured freezing temps! Winter in NYC is so pretty, especially at Christmastime, and Central Park is stunning after a fresh snowfall. And Niagara Falls is a veritable winter wonderland at this time of year!
Winter is also a great time to visit National Parks (crowds are much smaller than in summer), and of course, it's the perfect time of year to enjoy that ski trip you've been dreaming about.
5. Plan a Staycation
Can't get away right now? Then plan a staycation instead. Start by making a list of things to do in your city (or a nearby one), like must see museums, new restaurants, historical sights, walking tours, and seasonal events. Then, spend a day or weekend being a tourist in your own town.
6. Make Your Favorite Comfort Foods
Winter is the ideal time to treat yourself rich, indulgent comfort foods! Here are some of my go-to warming recipes to inspire you:
- Moroccan Spiced Cabbage Rolls
- Green Pizza (or any kind of pizza, really!)
- Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Kimchi Fried Rice
- Fettuccine Alfredo
- Black Bean and Cream Cheese Enchiladas
- Four Cheese Spinach Calzones
- Tamale Pie
- Check out my roundup of over 100 Vegetarian Winter Comfort Foods for even more ideas!
7. Brighten Up Your Home with Fresh Flowers
If blah winter weather has you down, brighten up your home with a pretty bouquet of flowers. It doesn't have to be anything pricey ... grab a bunch while you're picking up groceries. Winter is also the perfect time to take a flower arranging class if you want to learn a new skill in time for spring and summer flowers!
8. Listen to a New Podcast
Are you a podcast fan? I love listening to all sorts of podcasts, ranging from true crime to business tips! A good podcast is the perfect way to make time fly when you're cooped at home, traveling, or doing some sort of menial task, like chores or shoveling snow. I created a list of the best podcasts for binging here, and you can check out some of my more recent faves, too:
- 10 Things to Tell You
- Andrea Savage: A Grown-Up Woman
- Be There in Five
- Business Wars
- Dolly Parton's America
- Office Ladies
- Bunga Bunga
- Sibling Revelry with Kate and Oliver Hudson
- Stuff You Should Know
- The City
- Bad on Paper
- A Beautiful Mess Podcast
9. Go Bowling
When is the last time you went bowling? It's probably been awhile, but it's a great way to spend a cold night on a date or an evening out with friends. Is the weather not cooperating? Plan at At-Home Date Night instead!
10. Spend an Afternoon Reading Your Favorite Magazines.
I don't know about you, but I used to read a ton of magazines ... these days though, I rarely find the time. But what better time is there than a snowy day? So stop by a bookstore and stock up. Then curl up on the couch with your favorite magazines and a cozy blanket.
Tip: If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can read your favorite magazines for free through Prime Reading. It's a great membership perk!
11. Go Ice Skating.
True story: when I was a kid, there was a pond down the street from our house. We would put on our ice skates, then skate down the street to the pond. It was so fun!
While your access to a rink might not be quite that close, you can still relive a bit of childhood with this classic winter activity. Just head to your local rink and lace up your skates!
12. Send Valentine's Day Cards.
You don't need to be in elementary school to send Valentine's. Pick up a pack and give them to the most important people in your life ... it's guaranteed to be a sweet surprise! If you want to do something extra special, check out these adorable Valentine's Day cards from Shutterfly. They're easy to personalize, and a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family!
13. Make a Snow Angel
Who says playing in the snow is just for kids? When you've got a backyard (or park) full of snow, make the best of it. If you live in a warmer climate, head to the beach and make a sand angels instead.
14. Take a Weekend Off Social Media.
The temptation to constantly track notifications and keep up with your friends / family / favorite influencer is strong! Every once in a while though, it feels so good to completely disconnect from social media and recharge. So turn off your phone and spend that extra time hanging your family, working on a hobby, reading a book, or trying one of the activities on this list.
15. Do Something Crafty
A creative project is the perfect way to while away a cold weekend afternoon. You could work on a cute seasonal craft, like these Snowflake Coasters, or make something you'll use everyday, like this DIY Sunglasses Case. Need more ideas? Check out my DIY archives for lots of crafty inspo!
16. Bundle Up and Go for a Long Walk
A long walk on a cold day feels so invigorating, especially when there's a beautiful snowy landscape involved! Getting out the door is always the hardest part, but if you bundle up well, you'll stay warm once you start walking. Check out my DIY Walking Tours for inspiration, and remember to treat yourself to a hot drink when you return home!
17. Learn How to Cook Something Challenging
Since you're probably spending extra time inside anyway, why not deep dive into a cooking project or personal cooking challenge? You could learn how to make croissants, perfect your sourdough bread technique, learn how to sous vide, decorate a cake with fondant, or experiment with a new cooking technique.
For affordable online cooking classes, I highly recommend checking out Craftsy! You'll love their expert instuctors, easy to follow video format, and huge range of classes ... I've taken everything from The Flavors of Morocco to Mastering Modern Sauces.
18. Try a Winter Sport
Though it's extremely tempting to plant yourself on the couch (and stay there) once temperatures dip, winter is an excellent time to attempt a new (or rediscover a favorite) sport. There's a sport for everyone, too, from skiing (downhill or cross country, my fave!) to snow shoeing or even ice climbing.
You may even be able to adapt your warmer weather sports to the snow. My sister loves running no matter the temp, and reading her guide to snowshoe running has me seriously intrigued to give it a try!
19. Have a Snow Ball Fight
Embrace your inner kid and start a snowball fight ... you know you wanna!
20. Organize a Closet
Too cold to head out? Make the most of your indoor time by tackling a messy closet, disorganized drawer, or even a tangle of jewelry. Not sure where to start? Read my tips for organizing a small closet ... it breaks the process down into a few simple steps.
21. Buy Some Funky Socks
Is it just me, or do cute socks just put a little extra spring into your step? A fun patterned pair is the perfect thing to wear under a pair of cozy winter boots. And only you have to know they're there!
22. Do a Polar Bear Plunge
Okay, I hate being cold so this one isn't for me! BUT if you're feeling brave, why not take the plunge? Polar Bear Plunge events typically take place at the start of a new year, although you'll find them scheduled throughout winter. It's one of those bucket list activities you gotta do at least once ... or maybe not (ha)!
23. Plan a Cozy Evening at Home
Why go out, when your home is the comfiest place of all? Embrace the cozy spirit of hygge by lighting all your candles, pulling out your coziest blankets, serving a delicious casserole and mulled winter, and gathering your friends and family for conversation. Check out the Little Book of Hygge for more tips!
24. Spend the Day at a Museum
Winter is the perfect time to learn something new or view inspirational art while escaping the cold at a favorite (or new-to-you) museum. Don't have a museum nearby? You can always take a virtual visit to museums around the world with Google Arts and Culture.
25. Make Hot Chocolate from Scratch
Hot Chocolate is super simple to make from scratch, and the results are so much better than you'd get from a powder packet. Once you've mastered the basic recipe, you can try all sorts of flavor variations, like Mexican Hot Chocolate or even Spiked Hot Chocolate, too!
26. Watch the Snow Fall
Is there anything more peaceful that watching the snow fall? Pull your chair over to the window, grab a blanket and cup of hot tea, and relax.
27. Set Goals for the New Year
Are you a fan of resolutions? Whether you call them goals, intentions, or even pick a word of the year, setting some sort of purpose for a new year is never a bad idea. The key is to avoid setting yourself up for failure, being realistic, and not beating yourself up when you make a misstep. It happens!
If you're looking for inspiration and tips on how to actually achieve your goals, I'd recommend reading or listening to the book Atomic Habits. The author looks at achieving goals from a different perspective that's so helpful!
28. Plan a Game Night
There's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, so gather your family (or invite your friends) for a spirited evening of games! My guide to hosting a game night party breaks down everything you need to know, from the best games to play to easy food ideas.
29. Bake a Big Batch of Cookies to Share
Spend an afternoon making your favorite cookies ... you'll have a scrumptious treat to brighten your day, and bonus: your whole house will smell amazing. If you're feeling generous, you could even bake enough to share with your friends or neighbors.
30. Catch Up on Oscar-Nominated Movies
January is typically when Oscar nominations come out (although it's a little later this year), and there's no better time to catch up on all the must see movies. If you're especially into movies, make sure to grab a free printable Oscar Ballot (nominations come out in March this year) ... it's sure to make watching the Academy Awards ceremony extra fun!
31. Spend an Hour Coloring
If you haven't jumped on the adult coloring bandwagon yet, what are you waiting? It's a truly relaxing hobby that pretty much anyone will enjoy (even my father-in-law is hooked). Once you've finished your masterpiece, check out these 10 Easy Ways to Use Coloring Pages for some fun + easy ideas for showing off your hard work.
32. Warm Up with Your Favorite Homemade Chili
Craving comfort food? You can't go wrong with bowl of steaming hot chili! Here are some scrumptious recipes for you to try this winter:
- Classic Vegetarian Chili - The BEST veggie chili! So hearty and packed with healthy ingredients.
- Pumpkin Chili - Don't save this one just for fall ... it's so good!
- Crock Pot Spicy 3-Bean Chili - Super lazy recipe, and you can make it hot or not.
- Vegetarian White Bean Chili - A unique twist on the classic recipe!
- Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Chili - Total comfort food, yet super healthy, too.
- Easy Frito Pie - The perfect way to transform leftovers, and there's no baking required.
33. Throw a Football (or Basketball) Viewing Party
Winter is high season for sports lovers! You've got the BIG football game, professional basketball, hockey, and college playoffs, too. These games are the perfect time to get together with your friends, and even if you're not into sports, you can look forward to the amazing food.
34. Find the Perfect Sledding Hill
Sledding is a fun winter activity that all ages can get behind, and it's so easy to do, too. Just find a sled (heck, even a garbage bag works in a pinch ... just ask my former NYC neighbors!), locate a hill, and go!
35. Learn How to Knit
Knitting is the ultimate winter hobby, and it's much easier to get started than you'd think. You can find many tutorials online, but Craftsy is an excellent place to start. They offer a huge range of video classes covering everything from the basic for beginners to a wide variety of advanced techniques for more experienced knitters.
36. Cut Out Snowflakes
When is the last time you made paper snowflakes? This quintessential winter activity is easy and fun for all ages. Here's a simple tutorial if you need a brush up on the basics.
37. Get Cozy in Front of a Fire
There's nothing cozier on a snowy day than relaxing in front of a fire with a blanket and a hot drink. If you don't have a fireplace at home, you can turn your TV into a fireplace (just search for "fireplace" or "yule log" on your Roku / other device), or you could find a local restaurant / hotel that has one and make a day of it.
38. Make a Photo Album
A long winter winter weekend is the ideal time to get those photos off your phone and into an album. While you could use a traditional photo album, I personally prefer using Shutterfly to make custom photo books. There's no photo printing or finding the perfect album required, and you end up with a beautiful bound book. Check out this easy yearly family photo book tutorial, then get started ... it couldn't be simpler or more fun!
39. Visit a Video Game Arcade
When was the last time you played a video game or visited an arcade? I loved these games as a kid, then mostly stopped playing them. However, it's become one of my favorite date night activities in recent years (especially when it's super cold out). Give it a try, and you'll become hooked, too!
There are classic arcades all over the country, but some of my favorites are Cidercade here in Dallas, Ground Kontrol in Portland, and the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, which has the coolest vintage pinball games! The Up-Down in Milwaukee (they have other Midwest locations, too) is also fun, though it was crazy crowded the night we went.
40. Catch a Snow Flake on Your Tongue
Capture that winter magic by catching a snowflake on your tongue!
41. Plan a Spa Day
Just because you're all bundled up doesn't mean you should neglect your beauty routine. Treat yourself to a day at your local spa or indulge in a few at-home spa treatments, like a mask, this DIY Soft, Silky Hands Treatment, manicure / pedicure, or one of these DIY Beauty Treatments.
42. Learn How to Use a New Kitchen Appliance
Did you get a new appliance for Christmas? Whether you received an Instant Pot, air fryer, spiralizer, or something else, break it out of the box and start playing around with it! Here are some delicious recipes to try:
- Instant Pot Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Risotto
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- Instant Pot Pasta with Feta, Olives, and Basil
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Ninja Foodi Veggie Pot Pie - The Ninja Foodi is kind of a cross between a pressure cooker and an air fryer (it has other functions, too), and I'm obsessed with mine!
- Zucchini Spaghetti with Tomato Artichoke Sauce (Spiralizer)
- Roasted Veggie Bowl (Spiralizer)
- Zucchini Noodles with Romesco and Feta (Spiralizer)
43. Spend an Evening in Candlelight
Want an easy way increase the cozy (not to mention romantic) vibes in your home 100%? Simply light all your candles, then turn off the lights. Pure magic, especially if you have a fire to go along with it ... a TV yule log counts!
44. Learn a New Language
Want to learn another language? It's amazing how much progress you can make, just by working on it bit-by-bit for a few minutes every day. While there are lots of options out there, I like the free Duolingo website or app, which has 23 language options. It makes learning a new language fun and easy.
45. Spend the Day at an Indoor Pool (or Water Park)
Craving a beach day in the middle of February? Head to a hotel with an indoor pool or waterpark instead. You could even get a hotel room and turn it into a mini-vacay.
Tip: if you're traveling sans kids, go in the middle of the week, rather than on the weekend ... much more peaceful!
46. Start a Journal
Journaling is the ideal way to capture a daily snapshot of life (or something deeper) that you'll enjoy looking back on for years to come. And winter is the perfect time to start! If you're not sure where to begin or what journaling even is, listen to the "10 Ways to Journal" episode from the 10 Things to Tell You podcast. It's super helpful and covers all the basics.
Struggling to stay committed? I've always wanted to be "someone who journals", but I've never been able to keep up with a journal for long either. Recently though, I purchased this One Line a Day journal, and I'm LOVING it! It's super low pressure and easy to use. I keep it right on my bedside table so I remember to use it each night.
47. Try a New Restaurant
The colder months often mean indoor activities, making it a great time to stop by that restaurant you keep meaning to try. You might even find a new fave! Can't eat in restaurants right now? You can still support your go-to restaurants (or try some place new) by getting takeout or delivery.
48. Shovel a Neighbor's Driveway
If you're already outside shoveling (or snow blowing) anyway, why not brighten your neighbor's day by clearing their driveway or sidewalk, too? It's a little extra effort that's guaranteed to you to win lots of neighborly brownie points ... and maybe even some home-baked brownies, too!
49. Make a Meal with Seasonal Produce
Just because there's snow on the ground doesn't mean you can't eat seasonally. There are so many delicious fruits and veggies available in winter, like citrus, winter squash, and avocados. Hey, maybe this is the year you'll try turnips! Check out this seasonal produce guide to discover what's in season now.
50. Create a Winter Playlist
Does dark, dreary weather leave you feeling sluggish? According to UPMC, listening to your favorite songs has the power to improve your mood, reduce stress, and even increase your energy level. Make a uplifting playlist with your favorite, most upbeat songs, then start feeling the effects!
51. Gather Your Friends and Go Wine Tasting
Are a you wine lover? Wineries are open year round, and they're often less crowded in winter. Which means you'll get more personal attention and can ask all those pressing, wine-related questions! You could also do a wine tasting from the comfort of your own home. Check out my Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide and my tips for hosting a Blind Wine Tasting Party for ideas.
52. Visit the Beach
Have you ever gone to the beach in winter? It's actually kind of magical! Pick a warm day, then bundle up ... you'll probably have the whole place to yourself.
53. Try a New Soup Recipe
Is there anything better than a delicious bowl of hot soup on a cold day? Not much! Here are a few of my coziest soup recipes to inspire you:
- Vegetable Barley Soup
- Classic Vegetable Stew or Vegetable Stew with Dumplings ... both are scrumptious!
- Creamy Rosemary Potato Soup
- Beer Cheese Soup
- Easy Lentil Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons
54. Spend the Day in Your Pajamas
Every once in a while, it's fun to spend the day in pajamas ... and a winter weekend is the ideal time to do it! So grab your comfiest pair, pop on your slippers, and get cozy!
55. Make Snow Candy
Snowed in? Make the best of it and whip up a batch of Snow Candy! This simple treat couldn't be easier to make, and it will give you plenty of Little House on the Prairie vibes, too.
56. Get a Cute Sweater for Your Pet
Is there anything more adorable than a pet in a sweater? I can't think of too many things, and it's a great way to keep your dog warm on a long winter walk. Chewy has tons of cute sweaters for your dog (and your cat, too).
57. Attend a Winter Festival
Perk up a dreary day by attending a festival that embraces the season! You can find winter festivals pretty much everywhere, celebrating everything from ice sculpting to seasonal foods and so much more. These outdoor parties also make a fun winter trip that will give you something to look forward to during a long winter.
58. Decorate Your House with Cozy Accessories
The weather outside may be frightful, so keep things inside extra cozy. Make sure that every seat has a cushy pillow and snuggly throw (or organize them on a blanket ladder). Light some candles or even hang some fairy lights.
Personally, I LOVE the faux fur blankets and pillows from Pottery Barn. They are a little pricey (wait for a sale), but they're super soft, warm, and really well made. I've had my throw and pillows for years now (check them out in this Cozy Holiday Decor article to see them in action), and they still look like new.
59. Put Together a Puzzle
Too dreary to go outside? Start a challenging puzzle instead. Puzzles are guaranteed to give you hours of fun, and you can work on them alone or with family.
Need a little inspiration? Here are a few I love:
- Vase of Flowers Puzzle - A challenging wood puzzle that has a really pretty result.
- Retro Comics / Vintage Fruit Labels Puzzles - This 2-pack of puzzles would please a vintage lover!
- Purple Succulents Puzzle - Lots of deep, beautiful colors in this one ... looks super challenging!
- 3D Notre Dame Puzzle - Have you ever done a 3D puzzles? This one looks super cool! Also comes on St. Paul's Cathedral and Duomo di Milano versions.
- Donuts Puzzle - Just try not to get hungry! This would be a good choice for the whole family. It also comes in a 300-piece version for younger kids.
- National Parks Puzzle - Ideal for anyone who loves traveling or the outdoors!
- Personalized Puzzle - You could also create a puzzle with a personalized photo. This would make a special gift for grandparents or long distance family members, or you could do a funny photo for a friend! Shutterfly has custom puzzles ranging from 60 to 1014 pieces, so there's a size for everyone on your list.
Tip: if you don't have a space to keep a puzzle out, get a puzzle mat. That way, you can roll the puzzle up at the end of the night, then store it you're ready to work on it.
60. Warm Up in a Sauna, then Jump in the Snow
Relaxing in a sauna, then jumping in the snow or a freezing lake (or taking a cold shower) is a classic winter pastime. And needless to say, this bracing activity will perk you up fast!
61. Make a Winter Reading List
Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up with a good book. Give yourself a challenge by creating a winter reading list ... it could be all classics, chic lit, new releases, history, or whatever you enjoy reading.
If you need a little extra motivation, join a book club. You could find like-minded friends or co-workers to create one, check with your local bookstore, or find a virtual club. My library even has a book club, so don't forget to check with yours, too. There are so many options these days!
62. Get Serious About Your Exercise Routine
It's easy to slack off in winter, but it's actually a great time to kickstart (or re-start) your exercise routine. And best of all, you can do it right at home! You don't need a lot of equipment either, simply join an online workout program or watch a video.
If you enjoy yoga, check out this 30 Day Yoga Challenge. I really enjoyed it, and it's free if you have Amazon Prime (or you can get a free 30 day Prime trial). They have lots of other workout options, too!
63. Play a Card Game
When is the last time you played a card game? It's easy to get stuck in a nightly TV routine, but a fun game is a good old-fashioned way to disconnect from your phone and reconnect with your family and friends. Teach yourself a new game (find tons of popular card games here) or simply break out the UNO deck!
64. Take a Bubble Bath
65. Rewatch a Favorite TV Series on Netflix
And of course, there's that classic winter activity ... Netflix binge! It really is the perfect way to spend a cold night or weekend. There's always something new to watch, but sometimes it's even more fun to rewatch an old classic, like Friends, The Office, or Gossip Girl.
Winter Bucket List Printable
Ready for that winter to do list?
I've created two bucket list printables for you: one with all 60 winter activities, plus a blank printable so you can customize your own Winter Bucket List.
To download the free printables, simply click on the thumbnail images below. I’d recommend printing the files on card stock. That way, they’ll last all season long.
Then pull out the list anytime you're feeling bored, or use the blank one to create your own custom list.
I hope you found some fun ideas here. And if all these ideas fail to perk up your winter, you can always start planning your Spring Bucket List!
Ha ha, I'm only partially kidding. If winter's really getting you down, there's nothing wrong with fantasizing about how you'll spend that first warm day ... so go for it!