Ever wonder why they call it the dead of winter? Sure, most every form of plant life is dead and the cold, gray days march on like a funeral procession, but there is still plenty to enjoy about the next two months in Wisconsin. So before winter’s icy fingers totally besiege you, here are a few activities and willful attempts at sanity to help you shake that cabin fever.
- Try indoor rock climbing at Historic Turner Hall. Many concertgoers don’t realize that the Milwaukee Turners were some of the shapeliest guys around and have a 125-year legacy of athletic prowess. The basement of this historic restaurant and concert venue still offers gymnastic and the more recent addition, a 26-foot-tall climbing wall. Climbing is open to all levels and instruction and equipment rentals are available. Check the website for rates and hours.
- Visit the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market, indoor, of course, at State Fair Park (640 S. 84th St.) every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon, through April 3. Enter at Gate 5 to enjoy free parking. Great seasonal picks are broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, cabbage, leeks, parsnips and onions, just to new a few.
- Nourish your body with a spa day. Personally, I see it as an investment in my health just as much as a trip to the pharmacy. For massages, I am a huge fan of Tori at InVivo Wellness, for facials, Nova at the WellSpa keeps my skin glowing, and Neroli in the Third Ward also offers a full menu of services seven days a week with access to their luxurious steam showers.
- Get out and dance! The Warehouse has Salsa Saturday and swing dancing on Tuesday nights. Studio Lounge offers free Salsa lessons on Sunday nights and Salsa and Bachata dancing on Friday nights. There is nothing hotter than spicy Latin rhythms and in my case, watching people who really know how to move. Even if you don’t know all the right steps, getting out there to shake your hips and work up a sweat is much more fun at a night club than at a gym.
- Learn a new skill, or brush up on an old one – The UWM School of Continuing Education has a full menu of classes that take place on evenings and weekends, catering to working professionals. Commitments and pricing is minimal. I’ve tried the advanced digital photography class, which was very helpful and one of these days, I intend on learning Portuguese. You have all become witnesses.
- Opt for a change of scenery and take a day trip from Milwaukee to the Kohler Arts Center (free admission) or do some antiquing up in Plymouth. Both are just about an hour drive from downtown. If are up for a bit of a longer drive, don’t forget that Wisconsin Dells is the “Water park capital of the world,” but there are many great indoor choices like the safari-themed Kalahari, that’ll make you feel like a kid again.
- Speaking of feeling like a kid again – hit up the arcade/bowling alley scene for some fun and friendly competition. JB’s on 41, Landmark Lanes, Bayview Bowl are all excellent choices.
- Visit one of the many free museums and attractions right here in Milwaukee. Two of my favorites are the Milwaukee Public Library and the Haggerty Museum of Art on Marquette’s Campus. Even if you aren’t a bookworm, the library has tons of current DVDs and music, too.
- Embrace the cold and make the best of it. Lapham Peak in Delafield has miles of gorgeous hiking and cross-country skill trails. The Urban Ecology Center is also a outdoor winter haven, offering rentals of cross country skis, sleds, and skates free to members (membership is only $25 per year for individuals and $35 for families!).
- If all else fails to cure your cabin fever, get drunk and forget about it! Tours at Great Lakes Distillery, Milwaukee Brewing Company and Lakefront Brewery all cost under $10 and include plenty of sampling that will leave you feeling warmer and happier.
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