8 Reasons to Get Out of the House This Winter

If you’re like us, you just can’t take another night on the sofa.


Hit the Slopes of Slinger

A local ski hill that might surprise you with its terrain and amenities is Little Switzerland in Slinger, less than 40 minutes north of Downtown Milwaukee. Skiers have flocked here since the 1940s, though new owners took the reins 10 years ago. In addition to checking the weather before heading out, consult the live cams on Little Switz’s website as they pan in nicely on the hill’s 18 runs. You won’t find the miles-long stretches of the Rockies here, of course, but there are four black-diamond runs to supply that speed rush, as well as three terrain parks for tricks and jumps. Lessons range from one-on-one coaching to four-week programs for kids, and all ski and snowboarding equipment is rentable on site.

Photo courtesy of Little Switzerland


Create Something Cozy 

Winter can be brutal, but a new pair of socks (that you knit yourself!) can soften the chill. The ladies at Knitch, a yarn shop in quaint Delafield, can set you up with a one-on-one class, coaching how to knit, purl and cast on and off. Instead of a group class, this new approach works around your schedule. Even if you’re not taking a class, the employees are passionate about knitting and love to answer any queries you may have. The shop carries dozens of varieties of yarn with various fibers, colors and weights, as well as needles, hooks and other tools for anyone from newbie to expert.

Photo by Getty Images


Get in the Swing 

Add some heat to your workouts – or revive date night – with a tutorial in swing dancing at Delaware House in Bay View. Milwaukee Rebels Swing Dance Club invites clumsy feet and experienced danseurs alike to West Coast swing, a partner-based style rooted in the Lindy Hop but with tons of room for interpretation. Solo participants are welcome; you can easily partner up on site. Sunday Practice Parties kick off with a free beginner lesson at 6:30 p.m.

Photo by Getty Images


Watch Snow Become Art 

Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva

Itching to get out of town? Head to Lake Geneva for the 27th annual Winterfest 2022 (Feb. 2-6) in the city’s Flat Iron Park. You can witness the country’s best sculptors work their magic during a 72-hour competition at the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship. The sculptures will be on display until they, um, melt. Also on tap: a downtown ice-sculpture tour, s’mores and bonfires on the beach, and a hot-chocolate crawl. And, of course, all the region’s great attractions and lodging options are close by.


Sweep Like an Olympian

Beat the post-Olympics rush – the Winter Olympics kick off Feb. 4 in Beijing – by trying your hand at curling, a sport that dates back to 17th-century Scotland. Tucked into the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in Cedarburg is the Milwaukee Curling Club – the country’s oldest, operating since 1845. The club’s “Learn to Curl” classes (Dec. 31-Jan. 2) promise to

Photo by Getty Images

get you “game ready” in two hours – followed by beer, soda and pizza for a peek at the sport’s legendary postgame camaraderie. If you’re hooked on curling, league play for beginners starts up on Jan. 10.


Let’s Glow Bowling, Dude

The night is young and you’re itching to go out. Have you tried glow-in-the-dark bowling? The lanes at JB’s on 41 (4040 S. 27th St.), are literally lit on Saturday and Sunday nights, with black-lighting adding a spooky-cool aesthetic to your pin pounding. A crew of up to six bowlers need only invest in the $45 hourly rental fee, which includes use of shoes and balls. But for maximum effect, you gotta accessorize with the glow bracelets, wands, necklaces and faux teeth for sale.

Photo by Getty Images


Throw Some Clay 

Searching for a new winter hobby? What about playing with clay? What holds most would-be potters from churning out cups, plates, mugs, pots and vases is not having access to a wheel. Problem solved when you sign up for a class at Cream City Clay in West Allis. Friday’s Couples Night Out classes (for sweeties or BFFs, $84 per couple) guide you in making a pottery piece to use at home, while seven-week Adult Pottery Wheel and six-week Hand Building I (using your hands to shape, not a wheel) help you take this hobby to a deeper level. If you’re hooked, monthly membership fees include studio access.

Photo courtesy of Cream City Clay


Be Ensconced in Nordicity

Photo courtesy of Brickhaven

Pack your Fair Isle sweaters and step into snow-fringed Scandinavia without hopping on a plane at the 12-acre Binkhaven near Door County’s Fish Creek. One of the two buildings was even imported from Telemark, Norway. Elliot Taillon snapped up the four-bedroom, three-bath property in 2018 after a family trip and left his luxury home-goods career in New York City. Revamping it to its 1962 roots, he kept the Nordic peasant-cottage charm intact, retaining the art collection, a ceiling in each room painted by Norwegian-born rosemaling artist Sigmund Aarseth, heart-shaped cutouts in the staircase and a cozy wood-burning fireplace.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s January issue.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.